Hi Louise, welcome to the forum, and possibly the area!
We moved to SE23 some 15 or so years and have pretty loved it ever since. We’ve got married and had our kids whilst living here, so some fairly important milestones and have never regretted moving here!
SE23 is essentially Forest Hill and Honor Oak (often referred to as HOP), some people count them as one, some as different areas.
One important consideration is if you have children, or might have them in the nearish future, as catchment areas for many primaries can be quite small (they change each year but 300-500 metres is not uncommon) so their are some blackspots.
Also keep in mind the Ulez is coming in next year, which means anyone inside the South Circular with a car will need to meet the minimum emmissions standards or pay a daily fee each time they drive their car in the zone, on the outside of the South Circular there will be no charge. There are different views on how pollution will affect people inside and outside the zone.
Forest Hill Town Centre is quite a bit bigger than HOP town centre, which is more of a small (but excellent) High Street. In normal times it’s easy to get to one from the other on the bus, train, or by walking or cyling.
I’m in HOP and here I know the roads that no entry and near them like Garthorne, Bovill, Whatman road in that block are really nice community feel roads - Halloween is amazing then. The reality though is so many roads are nice around here, there is a really good community feeling in SE23 and some of that has been very evident during this pandemic, but also before.
Good coffee places in HOP are No41 Brockley Rise, Two Spoons by the station and The Rise (there are probably others, I never go out for coffee…), Mont58 who supply local businesses also operate from their back gate on Blythe Hill Fields sometimes
If you can find a property on on Duncombe Hill, Lowther Hill, Brockley View or Brockley Rise (this last one is a busy main road) that back onto Brockley Hill Park that is a truly magical space to be able to access.
I also quite like the roads around Blythe Hill which go into Catford, they always seem really nice when walking around.
Keep in mind some roads are very hilly aka steep if that is a consideration!
Happy to answer any other questions and will stop rambling now.