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Herne Hill London Guide

21 September 2017 Simon Banks Read time: 4 min
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Simon Banks

When people talk about South-East London, they can’t help but bring up popular areas like Brixton and Dulwich. Herne Hill, which comfortably finds itself nestled between the two, doesn’t receive as much attention, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it.

The SE24 postcode offers excellent transport links, one of South London’s most popular open spaces, and competitive rental rates compared to its Dulwich and Brixton counterparts. In fact, the area has been attracting a plethora of young professionals and families, and the trend looks set to continue.

On a map
Map of Herne Hill

Herne Hill is a town in South-East London and is located four miles from Charing Cross. The area finds itself split between the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.

Historic picture of Herne Hill

The origins can be traced back as far as 1291 when it was part of the Manor of Milkwell and featured both farms and dense woodland until the 18th century.

As of 1726, the area went under the guise of “Island Green”. It's likely that this name derived from the local presence of the River Effra. The first reference of Herne Hill wasn't until around 1792, after the Sun Insurance Company documented it as “Hearns and “Herns” Hill for fire insurance policies.

By the mid 19th century, Herne Hill had become a well-known upper-class area with several large residential estates. Then, in 1892, a railway station was constructed which afforded quick access to London Victoria. This led to a strong middle-class presence, with many of the terrace houses you see today are from this period.

Exterior of Herne Hill train station

The main travel hub in Herne Hill is the railway station (Zones 2 and 3), which offers direct services to Victoria in 11 minutes. From Victoria, you have the whole of London on your doorstep. There is also a service to Blackfriars in less than 15 minutes, Farringdon in 20 minutes and St Pancras in 24 minutes.

You will find several convenient bus routes in the area, including the no.68, which goes all the way to Euston station, and the no.3, which travels directly to Oxford Circus. The 37, 196 and 322 all head towards Brixton, where you can pick up the Victoria Line on the tube.


Renting in Herne Hill

Herne Hill is dominated by period properties from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These often come in the form of terrace builds, with many remaining as houses, although some are converted into apartments.

As a result of the number of houses in Herne Hill, the area is popular with house shares, and the average price of a room will cost between £600 and £800 per month. The average price of a one-bedroom property is £1,250 per month, a two-bedroom home will set you back around £1,600 per month, and a three-bedroom property averages £2,40 per month.

See the latest Herne Hill rental properties

Restaurants in Herne Hill

Café Provencal
Exterior of Cafe Provencal Photo credit: www.pigeontalks.com

This offbeat cafe is one of Herne Hill’s oldest restaurants and has entrenched itself in the folklore of the area. After suffering damage from flooding, locals set up a crowdfunding page to make sure that Cafe Provencal didn’t go out of business. If you’re in the area, a visit is an absolute must. And if you decide to call SE24 your home, you’ll enjoy regular visits to this quirky cafe.

Address: 2-6 Half Moon Ln, Herne Hill, London SE24 9HU

Phone: 020 7978 9228


Llewelyn’s brings a touch of European class to the area with it luxury interiors, top-notch service, and, of course, delicious menu. Favourites include Hereford beef shin ragú, grilled whole plaice, and roast Swaledale leg of lamb. Come for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a few drinks.

Address: 293-295 Railton Rd, Herne Hill, London SE24 0JP

Phone: 0207 733 6676

The Half Moon Pub

Exterior of the Half Moon Pub Photo credit: Wikipedia


Located on Half Moon Lane, inside a Grade II listed building, The Half Moon Pub is another Herne Hill favourite and doubles up as a hotel. The pub has a rich history which has seen rock legends such as U2, the Police and Van Morrison perform there. These days it’s known for its fantastic ales and Fuller’s menu.

Address: 10 Half Moon Ln, Herne Hill, London SE24 9HU

Phone: 020 7616 5276

Milkwood Kitchen and Bar

Whether you're after tasty food or a few cocktails to see off a long day at work, Milkwood Kitchen and Bar has you covered. Open Tuesdays through Sundays; there is a brunch and dinner menu to choose from, which keeps it simple with classics such as cod loin, cauliflower steak, and their 8oz beef burger.

Address: 214-216 Railton Rd, Herne Hill, London SE24 0JT

Phone: 020 7733 9950

Things to do in Herne Hill

Brockwell Park
Autumn time at Brockwell Park

Enjoy 84 acres of green space at Brockwell Park, where you can glide along on a scenic stroll, no matter what time of the year it is. There are also several events which take place in Brockwell Park, including the popular Lambeth County Show, which offers an eclectic mix of village fete, city farm, reggae concerts and general good vibes.

Brockwell Lido
People swimming at the Brockwell Lido

Attached to Brockwell Park, the Brockwell Lido is one of London’s most popular outdoor swimming pools. Originally opened in 1937, it closed down for four years in 1990 before reopening in 1994. It’s had a lick of pain since, yet still embodies its art deco roots. The pool is open seven days a week, all-year round, although it's unheated and will take a brave and dedicated swimmer to dip their toes in during the height of winter.

Herne Hill Farmers’ Market

The farmers’ market at Herne Hill has soared in popularity over the years and recently won a TimeOut Love London Award for the best shop in Herne Hill. Located on Station Square, the market features locally-produced foods and arts and craft. It’s been going strong for four years now and draws shoppers from all over London.

Herne Hill’s soul

London is made up of many small communities, but Herne Hill has a distinction that, at times, sets it apart. Locals take pride in originating from the area and are just as welcoming to newbies.

Whether you’re enjoying a drink at Half Moon Pub, having dinner at Cafe Provencal, or taking a brisk autumn stroll in Brockwell Park, it won’t be long until you feel like a true Herne Hiller and embrace this pocket of South-East London as your own.

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