North London v South London

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Two Time Out writers go head to head in an attempt to settle the age old question: which is better, North London or South London? See what they have to say, then let us know which hemisphere you think has the edge...

  • northvssouth.jpg

    North London sucks
    The city north of the Thames is a land of organic cafés, fake socialism and smugness, argues Michael Hodges

    South London sucks

    North London born and bred, Alan Rutter puts his case for why south of the river is an anachronistic desert

    North v South - Cultural highlights Time Out's critics select their top five spots for arts, entertainment and shopping on both sides of the river to see which has more cultural ammunition

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28 comments
Louisa
Louisa

North V South. Let me see North London has leafy Hampstead, Primrose Hill, there is Hyde Park, Regents Park as far as greenery goes. Maida Vale, St Johns Wood, Queens Park, Notting Hill, one of which I live in. Not to mention the tube network allowing you to be anywhere and get home via the last tube. South London, mmm middle class wanna be's smuggling it up saying they live in East Dulwich when in actual fact Brixton is more expensive. One train line that each time takes you into London Bridge - total pain. Lets face it people would love to live in the North but it's far more expensive than the south. 7 million people can't be wrong can they! Who would rather live on a train line than the tube. I love the way people harp on about the south, there really isn't much there, there is no comparison.

Marshall Major
Marshall Major

Very simple really......... Neurotic North Savvy South That's it, in a pint glass!:

Gregory Whitehead
Gregory Whitehead

Let us set personal views to one side and deal in facts shall we? Officially 5 out of the 20 WORST places in the U.K. are in London. And they are ALL north of the river (Islington; Newham; Tower Hamlets; Haringey and Hackney). All 434 U.K. Local Authorities were surveyed... Now, whilst 'North london' may have Hampstead and what one ought to more truthfully classify as 'Central London', pray tell what does it have besides that? Dangerous, conrete jungles that are forever in the news for some fatal gang-related incident or another. Moi, I'll stick to my salubrious part of the truly green, clean, heatlhy and wealthy [aswell as hilly] South London thank you very much.

Gregory Whitehead
Gregory Whitehead

Let us set personal views to one side and deal in facts shall we? Officially 5 out of the 20 WORST places in the U.K. are in London. And they are ALL north of the river (Islington, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Haringey, and Hackney). All 434 U.K. Local Authorities were surveyed. Now, whilst 'North london' may have Hampstead and what one ought to classify as 'Central London', pray tell what does it have besides that? Dangerous, conrete jungles that are forever in the news for some crime related incident or another. Moi, I'll stick to my salubrious part of the truly green, clean, heatlhy and wealthy South London thank you very much.

Theophil Arthur
Theophil Arthur

South London is by far worst. The people who live there have to look at North London!!

Candy Rosario
Candy Rosario

I don't buy Time Out any more as features are complacent, lazy, on a rosta of every 2-3 years as mentioned above, middle-class, snobby and redundant rubbish. I look at it for facts re:event addresses etc and saw this article (online of course) and oh what a surprise, it was crap.

Anita SW15
Anita SW15

"Definitely the north of the river! Coz East London and West London are also on the North... South is alone... " can't get any dumber. Richmond is in the south of the river. Yes? Greenwich is in the south, along with Southwark, Brixton, Streatham.. Yes? look at a London map.

Northic Northernlover
Northic Northernlover

Definitely the north of the river! Coz East London and West London are also on the North... South is alone...

Anita SW15
Anita SW15

I don't get why people have to debate whether North or South London is better. I think each is special and has it's own charm. When I moved from Coventry to London, my friend who lives in North London asked warily "but you're surely gonna live in the north of the Thames right"?.... as if South London is very bad. Well I used to live in Brixton and I have to agree the area is quite rough, but the diversity and the market and charming. Anyway I heard that some parts of North East London is pretty rough too so what's the difference? Also to compare simply North vs South is stupid. South West London (Barnes, Richmond, Putney) has a totally differing typology when compared to South East London (Dulwich, Deptford, etc). North West London (Hampstead, Maida Vale) is like a different city altogether from North East London (Brick Lane, Stratford, City)...

Lara Jakob
Lara Jakob

North London is far superior and I'm very smug about it. Now excuse me while I take advantage of the local organic cafe and talk left wing politics. We have good reason to be smug.

ArchieMac
ArchieMac

The whole argument is balls anyway. To think of anything north of the Thames as 'North London' is daft, as it ignores the existence of East and West London. As an Eastender, I don't want to be roped in with the pretentious tossers of North London. I'd say the rivalry between East and West London is much more relevant than the rivalry between North and South. There are not two, but five Londons - North, South, East, West, and the City and Westminster, which are their own bit.

Joppa
Joppa

Sorry 'they're everywhere!' I should have gone to a proper north London school.

Joppa
Joppa

Yawn! Oooh North London, oooh south London. nur nur. It's London, it's full of poseurs and their everywhere. Dulwich is lovely, north Peckham is pretty grim. Hampstead is lovely, Seven Sisters Road is pretty grim. Blah blah................

Dub
Dub

This kind of crap is the reason I gave up my TO subscription - constant snarky comments about South London, concentrating on the 'real' London of the North and West. Funnily enough, the only people I know who actually care to argue about North v South are people who aren't real Londoners anyway.

Andy Ropek
Andy Ropek

TO really seems to have a fixation about this and is generally heavily biased towards events in North and East London. Getting a decent listing/coverage for an event in South London is almost impossible !

Roger Mortimer-Smith
Roger Mortimer-Smith

Michael Hodges is exactly right - many parts of north London are pleasant enough in themselves but rendered unbearable by the sort of pretentious, phoney working class (but terrified of meeting the real thing) people who live there. Every time they joke about "needing their passport" because they're briefly venturing to south London, it makes me think there really should be a border, or preferably a wall.

Ian
Ian

I liked Katie's comment also. More fun, and more insightful, than the ho hum articles... And N/S doesnt quite do it... London is a collection of small neighbourhoods, villages; and we tend to work and play mostly in the same one or two, rarely traveling outside of our comfort zone.

Dogg
Dogg

Well said, Katie..

Katie
Katie

Where was the balanced debate in this shite, joyless feature? Where was the praising of the gems and idiosyncracies of each side of the river? Each writer seemed to know sod all about their subject matter - and the feature descended into a lame lampooning of social stereotypes of very small enclaves of London. Which has been done a million times before by writers of much more talent. 'Chloes and Nathans of Clapham', blah blah blah. 'North Londoners pretend to save the world while sipping overpriced cappuccinos'. Yawn. No-one really cares whether North or South London are best. But people read Time Out to find out interesting things about this fantastic city - not just a rehashing of tired stereotypes from bitter hacks who no doubt frequent the 'faceless gastropub-lounge-bars' of Clapham and 'ersatz versions of working men's caffs' as much as the next middle-class white journo. Why not be a bit different? Find a Brixton drug-dealer to write an article about what they like about SW9. Find a single mum living in a Hackney tower block to write about E8. Find a cravatted aristo to sing the praises of St James's. Instead there's a half-assed, lame, negative and thoroughly predictable rant on your pages which left me indifferent to both sides of the river. And for the record, I was born in South London, where I currently live, but I also spent many years in North London and love them with equal fervour. The only people who are debating North vs South are cab drivers and cretins.

John
John

there is no such thing as north london. Anything north of the Thames is North England. Anything south is simply London. So, if Aarsenal play Man Utd that is simply a North England Derby.

Dave Edwards
Dave Edwards

Alan Rutter cleary has a very poor understanding of where South London is as half the places he mentioned are north of the river. As a Lewisham boy born and bred I think Alan should venture a bit further East in South London for a slice of 'real london'. We may not have foccacia on tap like you north London bougies but places like Lewisham are where real Londoners moved when you media types priced us out of places closer to zone 1.

Alex
Alex

Is Alan Rutter so unable to find critical things to write about south London that he has to look the west for ammunition? Twickenham and Stamford bridge? If it aint south of the river "mate" then it aint south london! At the same time he ignores the south's plethora of real sporting venues including the Den, the Valley and (god help me) Selhurst Park, although being a North Londoner he's probably never heard of them. In contrast the Emirates is about as relevent to real football as the O2. Furthermore he heaps scorn upon Clapham (rightly so) but suggests there are no "real" areas of London in the south, excuse me? Brixton, Peckham, Camberwell, Walworth, Lambeth, Old Kent Road, New Cross, Deptford, Lewisham, Woolwich, Charlton; this is as "real" as London gets. I would counsel that he remove himself from his middle class north London bubble and come and see what this city is really about.

Rhys Bowen
Rhys Bowen

Only a Northerner would use 'anachronistic' to describe any part of London. Truth be told, the North is where the yellow framed sunglasses kids move to - all the time sneering South - believing there really is that much difference. The only real difference is that if you share that attitude down South - you'd get slapped. Sorry chaps; you just have too many ponces, designers and media folk to bring it.

John, SE9
John, SE9

I'm curious as to why neither side has a proposition? The feature merely vindicates both the north and south. I like all London, but saying that might be a bit too extreme for Time Out, who next month will be recommending you the same restaurants and pubs rubbished here.

Steve M
Steve M

Boring! Time Out trot out this feature every 2-3 years. Please think of something new to write!

Shella
Shella

This is my favourite ever Time Out feature... and there have been some good ones of late. I actually laughed out loud whilst reading it on the tube, not something you ever want to do on the tube i'm sure you're aware. Having lived on both sides of the river I recognised both arguements as equally valid and correct and now consider myself as the best bits of both with none of those bad bits described. Thank you time out

Mick S, Wallington
Mick S, Wallington

As a Sarf Londoner born & bred even I have to agree the place is largely a sh!t hole, with very few decent gig venues (unlike the Norf), an every declining number of pubs (with the exception of The Royal Oak in Tabard St...) etc. The only thing that saves us is our parks, which we need 'cos most of us can't afford back gardens! "South London, about as hospitable as the rings of Saturn (no Uranus gags please) and slightly less accessible!" Mick.S