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This pocket of southeast London’s claims to fame are swimming and curry.

The famous Tooting Bec Lido is the UK’s biggest open-air pool and a set for Guy Ritchie’s hit film Snatch with Brad Pitt.

And the curry comes courtesy of a strong contingent of residents from the subcontinent and their string of award-winning restaurants.

The historic backdrop of the area was named after the grand Bec Abbey in France’s Normandy, which was given land here after the Norman Conquest.

The area has since had myriad settlers but is now renowned for its vibrant multi-cultural population.


Why Tooting Bec?

Local real estate agent Leigh Pay says the variety in the area makes it ideal to live in.

“I can’t think of another place in London that offers so much diversity,” says the Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward lettings manager. “And with over 50 restaurants and bars, Tooting Bec has something for everyone.”

Who lives there?

During the Noughties, Tooting Bec had an influx of new families from eastern Asia lured by the affordable prices.

The borough of Wandsworth still has London’s cheapest council tax, but Pays explains that with prices rising everywhere in the past four years, especially along the Northern line, the demographic has evolved again.

“It’s seen a big influx of young professionals and families, which has resulted in a really great mix of people,” she says.


Don’t move here if...

If you’re looking for a bustling nightlife.

Neighbouring suburbs Balham and Tooting Broadway have a livelier bar and club culture to excite the night owls among you.

But for some peace and quiet after a tough working week, bed up here.

Where to hang out?

Tooting Bec has a busy and well-serviced high street and is blessed with coffee shops and top-value restaurants.

As said, there’s no shortage of curry outlets.

Try traditional Indian and Pakistani joint Chatkhara or authentic tandoori grub at Spice Village (, both on Upper Tooting Road.

There’s also kebaberies, plus Thai and Italian restaurants, just in case you get bored of curry.

For drinks it has to be The Wheatshea, directly opposite Tooting Bec station.

This is a trendy young boozer with real ale and cider.

The Smoke Bar Diner (020 8767 3902) also has a relaxed,mellow vibe, ideal to sip and chat to mates until the wee hours at the weekends.

Sports fans should make a beeline for the King’s Head (

Though it can be a bit of an old man’s pub during quiet times, the atmosphere is great on match days.



Tooting Bec area guide: Live in southeast London by the UK's biggest open-air pool
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