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Forest Hill London Guide

26 June 2021 Simon Banks Read time: 3 min
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Simon Banks

Once an area in the capital that was relatively cut adrift, Forest Hill now has a new lease of life with a line on the London Overground. That means connections into the city are more frequent, making commute times much faster. 

But it’s not all about the transport in this southeast London neighbourhood. Forest Hill has plenty more going for it, whether it’s the charming period houses, independent shops and restaurants or nearby open spaces. 

In this London guide, we’re visiting Forest Hill to find out what’s in store if you’re thinking of moving to the area. So read on and discover everything there is to know about the SE23 postcode. 

On a map

Forest Hill is located in southeast London and falls under the London Borough of Sydenham. It features a SE23 postcode, is located around 7.5 miles from Charing Cross and neighbours Dulwich, Catford, Crystal PalaceBrockley and Sydenham. 

Forest Hill history

Forest Hill’s name derives from “The Forest”, which referred to the woodland that once engulfed the area. The area was sparsely populated right up until the mid-19th century, with a new local train station opening the area up to urbanisation. 

Demand for homes grew, and many were constructed after the Crystal Palace was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham in 1854. Around this time, a tea merchant named Frederick Horniman built a museum to house his collection of natural history artefacts. The museum still exists today and is arguably the most famous landmark in Forest Hill. 

Who lives there?

There’s a good mixture of young families and single professionals living in Forest Hill. Many first-time buyers flock to the area for affordable house prices, though the number of renters has also increased over the years. Around 53% of residents rent their home in the area. 

Renting in Forest Hill

Most of the large Victorian homes in the area have been converted into flats and made available on the rental market. You will also find a smattering of Georgian homes, as well as properties from the Twenties and Thirties. Development around the station means there are a growing number of new-build homes in the area. 

Expect to pay around £1,100 per month for a one-bedroom home in Forest Hill. A two-bedroom apartment fetches in the region of £1,350 per month, while three-bedroom houses rent for an average of £1,800 per month

Forest Hill travel

Forest Hill features good travel connections, both by car and public transport. Its location on the South Circular road makes it easy to get about by motor, while a stop on the Overground line has trains to Canary WharfShoreditch and Canada Water. Forest Hill is located in Zone 3. 

Eateries in Forest Hill

Canvas & Cream

Head to Canvas & Cream, a stylish gallery with seven art studio spaces and a contemporary therapy room. There’s also an eco-friendly restaurant where you can tuck into a tasty menu with options like chimichurri bavette steak and teriyaki salmon.


There’s great food from all over the world no matter which pocket of London you find yourself in. Pizzarte in Forest Hill is hidden gem, serving up tasty pizza with fresh ingredients. We’re big fans of the Funghi with mixed mushrooms, mozzarella, tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, parsley and olive oil. 

Forest Cafe & Bistro

If you’re looking for a local friendly cafe, then get yourself down to Forest Cafe & Bistro. There’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere here with great food at very reasonable prices. Order one of the scrumptious desserts and delight your taste buds. 

Things to do in Notting Hill

The Horniman Museum

It’s impossible to live in Forest Hill without visiting The Horniman Museum at least once. Founded by Frederick Horniman, the museum has been a staple of the community for more than one hundred years and features anthropology, natural history, musical instruments and taxidermied animals. There’s also a pleasant garden to explore. 

Sydenham Hill Wood

Nearby Sydenham Hill Wood is run by the London Wildlife Trust and has plenty of wildlife areas to discover. It offers a little slice of tranquillity amongst London’s hustle and bustle and is a great place to go to escape the noise for a few hours. 


If you’re looking for a beautiful flower arrangement for your new place, then look no further than Yolly. Choose from the many arrangements that include seasonal blooms and hand-crafted bouquets. 

Moving to Forest Hill

Forest Hill is an intriguing area in southeast London. It has more affordable prices than nearby Dulwich and Crystal Palace and features open spaces, independent businesses and fantastic homes full of character. If you’re thinking of making a move to Forest Hill, you could be about to find your new favourite neighbourhood in South London.

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