Reasons to visit Tooting

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Tooting has enjoyed a bit of cool rebirth recently after decades of relative ordinariness.

Like Clapham and Brixton before, the district has been subject to gentrification in the past five years with a plethora of hip shops and restaurants popping up to the point that it is now often referred to as the new Shoreditch.

London mayor Sadiq Khan regularly speaks highly of Tooting – he grew up here – so what’s good about it?

Tooting Market

Tooting’s indoor market has been trading for more than 80 years, but this could be your last chance to visit South London’s original market.

That’s because it is currently under threat from Crossrail 2 plans that could result in it being demolished to make way for the new rail route. There’s nothing concrete yet, so for now, enjoy its wealth of cool and unique stalls.

For one-off vintage fashions, there’s Lilyflower Vintage/Amber Skye’s Wardrobe while gaming geeks are sure to spot a retro rarity that takes their fancy at Boss Game Bros.

Fill your belly at Brickwood Coffee & Bread with a Polish hot dog or one of its mouth-watering brunches or get a sugar kick at Get Juiced with one of its smoothies or vegan cakes.

If you fancy something stronger, Secret Bar can be found hiding in a corner at the back of the market, serving wine, beers and cocktails at tempting prices, while you can enjoy hand-distilled organic gin at Graveney Gin.

Tooting Market is located at 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN. The closest Tube station is Tooting Broadway on the Northern line.

Tooting Bec Lido

If you thought open-air swimming pools were reserved for mainland Europe and hotter countries, think again.

This 91-metre long fresh water pool is the largest in the UK and is open to the general public between late May and the end of September.

In addition to the main pool, the lido has a children’s paddling pool, showers, toilets, changing area and café.

Interesting Hollywood fact: The lido served as the shooting location for Brad Pitt’s boxing pool scene in the 2000 movie Snatch.

Find it at Tooting Bec Rd, SW16 1RU.

Amazing places to eat

Tooting is home to some truly outstanding eateries, especially if you’re into curry and spicy food. We’d recommend Apollo Banana Leaf, Dosa n Chutny and Sree Krishna for this kind of grub.

Graveney & Meadow is a classy cafe-bar, serving sensibly priced tapas while the beautifully-styled Chicken Shop is a smaller branch of Kentish Town’s Soho House.

For authentic London cuisine, Harrington’s Pie & Mash shop is definitely worth a visit, as is the family-friendly Antelope pub, which boasts a pretty beer garden in the summer.

The Wandle Trail

Any walkers could use Tooting as a sound launching pad to embark on the Wandle Trail.

You’d have to join the trail at neighbouring Collier’s Wood but this 12-mile route provides a link from the Vanguard Way to the Thames Path National Trail at Wandsworth for walkers and cyclists.

The trail obtained its name due to roughly following the River Wandle – London’s fastest flowing river at one time – running through semi-rural park-lands for much of its course.

It also takes in many public parks and small nature reserves including two Wandle Parks, Waddon Ponds, Beddington Park, The Grove, Wilderness Island, Dale Park, Watercress Park, Watermeads, Ravensbury and Morden Hall Parks, Wandle Water Meadow Nature Park, Garratt Park and King George Park.

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