Where to move to in Forest Hill


I’m looking for advice about moving to Forest Hill. I don’t know the area at all and lockdown makes it impossible to explore…(although viewings still allowed)…so thought I’d do it virtually.

Are there any residential areas that are known for being nice? We saw a property on Farren road today which was lovely, but it felt quite far away from ‘stuff’. Is that fair or am I way off? I spent 7 years in Oxford opposite a community pub and a road away from cafes etc. Obviously I won’t find that but keen to feel part of a community and near places.

Thanks so much for any advice!


Are you looking for a family house, a flat or what? What’s your budget, roughly? Are you looking for off-street parking? Is the availability of schools an issue?

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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.


Thanks for replying! Really struck by how helpful this forum is and how passionate people are! I’m looking for a two bed garden flat for myself and my partner. We’re hoping to have a child in the next year or so, so I guess that would take us into the ‘young family’ bracket. Budget is around £450. Thank you!


Thank you so much! Again, just so noticeable how much people love FH which is lovely. It’s how I felt in Oxford and keen to feel similar in London. The property we saw was towards Perry Vale. Do you know about it as an area? Thanks!!


I don’t really know the Perry Vale are that well, other than there is some heated discussion about calling it Perry Vale Village :slight_smile: , but others can comment and I think you have found an older thread which might help.

A couple of other points re schools - you really should factor this into your thinking (unless you think you might move again before your child might start primary school) - catchment areas do change each year and you can go on waiting lists which do move, but getting into a local school can add to the community feel as you wil instantly meet lots of other parents etc. It can be very helpful if you can take a child in for another parent and vice versa and all adds to that nice feeling.

Some information on applications (and biggest distance for schools offered - it’s as the crow flies) here: https://se23.life/t/dalmain-primary-school-virtual-tour-video-is-now-online/16463 and @ForestHull put an excellet primary school guide here which also lists the cathcment areas: https://se23.life/t/local-primary-school-information/16296 .

Good luck - there is great support in the community. There is also an excellent local FB Group called SE23 mums (it’s not just for mums but anyone involved in parenting) that is worth joining at some point.


We live on the Horniman side of Forest Hill and love it. It is near to the main two high streets and green spaces and an easy walk/bus ride away from Crystal Palace, East Dulwich Nunhead and Peckham where there is a greater variety of bars, restaurants and shops.

I know you are looking for a “garden flat” but don’t discount purpose built. This area has a lot of decent private mid century blocks of flats. They often have balconies and communal gardens and you usually get more space for your money than with conversions.


We live just off farren road, moved here 1.5 years ago and we never felt far away from stuff. You don’t fall out of your door into a pub (though honour oak pub is just a 5 min walk), but it’s only a 10 min walk to forest hill station, maybe 15 min max to hop high street, ca. 20 min to sydenham high street (not to underestimate) and maybe 20 to catford, for commuting purposes. Otherwise many buses in all directions.
So yes, the immediate neighbourhood is very residential. But otherwise you’re not far away from interesting stuff here, I feel, speaking in London dimensions maybe.
On the other hand, sounds like you would rather be bang in the middle of the action, or at least very close. In which case there are better streets, of course. Good luck!


Hi there, have lived in Perry Vale since ‘95 so know it pretty well. My daughters went to local primary and secondary schools and think it’s a great place to put down roots.

Very happy if you wanted to have a conversation about the area.


I lived in Farren Road for 7 years, probably in the flat above the one you viewed. You are less than 10 minutes from the station and town centre and two good pubs are pretty close - Honor Oak pub is less than 5 minutes away.

My only annoyance with my Farren Road flat was the layout, with the toilet and bathroom through the kitchen, and the distance of both from the front room. But that’s just personal preference.


Welcome to the forum @LBrydge!

You might find the following topics of some use/interest:

Farren Road is in the middle is a more residential area, which may be a good thing, and you are still only a short walk from Forest Hill centre, shops on Stansted Road, Brockley Rise and Perry Vale. I think you would be looking at primary catchments for Perrymount, Dalmain, and Kilmorie - all good schools with a bit of variety in the size (they are 1, 2 and 3 class entry respectively).

Good luck with your search!


One of the benefits of the Perry Vale area is fewer hills. I love our road but the steep hill does sometimes defeat me!


We are just off Farren Road and moved here 1.5 years ago. we love the area. We will definitely be here for years and it feels like a village. Its quiet, our road is a community and we know 70% of the road. Most are young professionals and every now and then we will have road drinks (not in corona times though). We are very happy here and the closest supermarket is co-op for the odd emergency. 5min walk from honor Oak pub and there is a new deli that opened diagonally opposite the pub that has amazing sourdough bread.

We love the coffee shop in mayow Park and it is conveniently located to go in any direction. Bell Green for a bigger food shop or HO High Street is both a 15 min walk away and Forest Hill is 10 minutes away. It is also a 20 min walk from Catford train station so if the trains have issues we normally go there.


Hello. Welcome to SE23. We’re about 5 minutes from the property you’re looking at. We moved about 5 years ago from the hustle and bustle of SW London as we could afford to buy here. We haven’t looked back.

Yes there is less within your immediate 5 minute vicinity but it’s much quieter at night and we really benefit from the extra steps. Residents are generally really friendly. We have made many friends for life moving here. You’re only about 10 minutes walk from Mayow Park which is really lovely and has a great cafe. Great for kids; spent my whole two maternity leaves there :wink:

I walk along Shipman road near Farren Road most days along the alleyway to cut through to Forest Hill centre and it’s really not far via that quick route. There you have so much choice and the lovely Dartmouth Road. If you head directly north for about 7/8 mins you have the new Sans Store, and great Coffee at Number 41. In normal times The Honor Oak Pub is a decent ‘trendy’ London pub or walk a little further and you’ve got Chandos which is equally good with great Pizza. If you want a longer walk you’re only about 15 mins from the lovely Blythe Hill Fields or HOP.

Happy if you want to DM me with more questions. We are on Woolstone Road near Kilmorie Primary. Really glad we bought here as hopefully our eldest will be going to the primary later this year and it has a brilliant reputation (as do most schools locally) and Outstanding on Ofsted.


We live very close to Farren, on Cranston road.
Ours is a much busier road, but I think the area is great. When I first moved here I was also wondering whether I would have been more ‘amongst it’ closer into FH or HOP, but don’t feel that way anymore. This is a great triangle to be equally positioned for both places as well as Catford. Catford is a gem for transport to central london, especially if you’re not into the tube, which I’m not. Also you can get a bus up the road on brockley rise to Crofton park for direct trains to Blackfriars.
This location has come into its own even more since my daughter started at Kilmorie, it’s a really friendly school in a pretty residential area, so a lovely little stroll for drop off and pick up.
And agree with all the nods to the coffee shops and Sans store.
Good luck with your search!


Thank you everyone I really appreciate your responses. Where does Perry Vale begin and end? It’s rather confusing!

Also, completely off topic, for anyone on Farren road…we saw a possibly sick/ elderly but rather lovely ginger cat towards the bottom end yesterday. Not sure if the chaps in need of some TLC! Hopefully a known character.

Perry Vale is both a road (from Forest Hill station down to a affectionately named shops at ‘Perry Village’ before it turns into Perry Rise), and also a council ward.

I hope that helps!

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Perry Vale actually starts at it’s junction with the South Circular(A205) number 2 Perry Vale is the New Island Fish Bar, number 1 Perry Vale is EJ Carpets.

We live on the Horniman side of Forest Hill and love it, The Sylvan Post is a great pub within a 5 minute walk and you have The Signal and Dartmouth Arms all very decent pubs with food the same distance.
Honor Oak is walkable as is Lordship Lane and East Dulwich, Dulwich Village.
Christal Palace is also walkable.
having spent my life living in W2 (where I grew up and lived until 20),SW10 and W10 when we moved here I was scared it would feel Suburban and isolated but Shorditch is a 25min train ride away or theres always nearby Peckham if you feel like a more urban vibe or going out to a bar or somewhere buzzy.
I really value how many lovely green space there are here and that came into its own in 2020.
The only negative for me is the dependence on the overground station as I find the bus routes here aren’t that great for going anywhere other than deeper into South London
but I dont think I’ve heard anyone else complain about that as much as I do so I guess its what you’re used to! (I was lucky enough to get through life rarely using the underground or trains in general until I moved here so I think that has some baring on my feelings about local transport!)
We’ve lived here 10years and other than my afore mentioned gripe its a great area.


Ha ha! Where I grew up we had two buses a day and one train an hour from the next village.

I have lived in South East London since I moved to London in 2000 so am very at home with buses and Overground trains. Train to London Bridge and then Charing Cross is still a great and underated way to get in to central London.

I think your bus woe is more to do with us being a bit more suburban that it being South London. When I lived in New Cross and then Camberwell I pretty much used the buses to go everywhere, that is not really possible here.

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