Published: 02/09/2013 By Jane RobathanWhen I lived in Camberwell, you’d only cross Burgess Park in broad daylight. It's great to see what £8 million can do for 140 acres of parkland. These days, the Park houses a cool café, a supervised adventure playground (with free entry), a go-kart track and designated barbeque areas for summer gatherings. Not only has Southwark's largest park been done up, but neighbouring Elephant & Castle is in the midst of a massive facelift. Plans include a pedestrian-friendly shopping centre, new residential housing, better retail units and an updated transport hub.
What kind of high street?
Two busy main roads slice through Camberwell centre; one leads up towards Elephant & Castle, the other strikes from Oval to New Cross. Camberwell's busy junctions bring with them numerous retail opportunities; at its heart is a shopping mall while each road sprouting from Camberwell Green is buzzing with chemists, shoe shops, grocers, newsagents and mini marts. Walworth Road is another high street in itself, crammed with shops and having a rather good street market at East Street.
Pubs here can be particularly good and if you nose around you'll also find some superb restaurants. Try the ultra-brilliant Crane’s Kitchen inside South London Gallery, or Theos an exceptional pizzeria. The Crooked Well is a beautiful pub with an elegant menu while locals and Jay Rayner alike rave about the authentic Chinese food dished up at Silk Road.
Camberwell housing stock and residents
This is a large area and Camberwell ward boundaries aren't best placed for the census data I normally use to check housing and demographic. The obvious area to use is Camberwell Green Ward, but this doesn't include some of the poshest parts: Camberwell Grove, Grove Lane and Myatt's Fields. Likewise, the alternative ward choices don't include Camberwell Green. Essentially, the centre of SE5 is mostly made up of flats/maisonettes (a whopping 4,759 flats/maisonettes and 708 bedsits) with only 69 detached homes, 146 semi-detached and 434 terraced houses in total. This changes in the conservation areas outlined above, with Camberwell Grove and Grove Lane both offering exemplary Georgian and Regency townhouses (some of the finest south of the River) while Myatt's Fields is crammed with sprawling Victorian homes fringing a beautiful park.
Crime in Camberwell
Appears to be dropping. Have a look at the Metropolitan Police Department's latest crime statistics. Crime figures increase along Coldharbour Lane, in East Walworth and towards—facts which won't surprise locals as these are notorious troublespots.
Where to buy in Camberwell
If you've got the cash to splash, then head for Brunswick Park, Myatt's Field, Camberwell Grove and Grove Lane—conservation areas certainly worth buying in, if not near to. Buyers looking for something more affordable can explore Champion Hill where you'll find ex-local flats, an attractive, modern development at Langford Green and a huge Deco development (Ruskin House) with apartments that are certainly worth viewing. Anything close to the Green, Camberwell Church Street and off Peckham Road is also good, while the estates off Southampton Way offer the most value for money.
Culture lovers will enjoy the annual Camberwell Arts Festival, well-known jazz nights in a church crypt, the acclaimed South London Gallery and degree shows at Camberwell College of Art.