London - Balham area

May 1st, 2003, 04:13 PM
  #1  
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London - Balham area

Fellow travellers: My husband & I have been to London a number of times, but this trip we'll be going with my parents. In my zeal for finding a reasonable lodging with few stairs, I booked what seems a lovely B&B -- in SW17/Balham area. Now that hotel rates are so much less, I'm wondering if we should move to a more central location. I have the info on the transport, but wonder if anyone has "real time" knowledge of getting to and from the center.
chinita_v is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 10:31 PM
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The area is south on the Northern Line. Unless your accomodations are a LOT cheaper - that is a ways out.

Not only will it take you longer to get everywhere - but it is in zone 3 so your transport will cost more than if you are inside zone 1.

The Northern Line is one of the REALLY deep tube lines so it can be more difficult to manage if your folks have mobility problems. There are escalators in most stations - but they are REALLLLY long ones and there are steps/stairs in most stations.
janis is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 02:21 AM
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The Northern Line isn't the only way out to Balham - you can get the main line trains from Victoria too. That said, it wouldn't be my place of choice to stay if I could find somewhere a bit more central.
keith_l is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 03:30 AM
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UK residents with a long memory will recall there was some tourist information from Peter Sellers about Balham (Gateway to the South)..
PatrickLondon is online now  
May 2nd, 2003, 09:57 PM
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Balham to Leicester Square on the Tube should take about 20 minutes. It is not that far, and since you have been to London several times, you might really enjoy being in a 'real' area and not surrounded by tourists.
Balham about ten years ago was not a preferred place to live. But then we got gentrification, home make-over shows and even more obsessed with property prices. Clapham refugees, ie. those priced out of Clapham and Battersea, turned their attention to the next area down the road and got cracking. Now it's all stripped floors and Chablis on the patio. So, if your hotel is REALLY nice and you enjoy being near to real London life, near to Clapham Common and all its associated cafe/restaurant/bar life, then go for it. There are some great places to eat and drink, especially in Clapham, which is 1/2 stations up the line. (Polygon restaurant/Gastro/Cafe Wanda/Strada/La Rueda/El Rincon Latino).
nigel is offline  
May 3rd, 2003, 09:27 AM
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thanks so much, nigel -- it is always the best to hear from a native.
chinita_v is offline  
May 3rd, 2003, 10:39 AM
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seconding what Nigel said. Balham ain't wonderful, but it has colour and it's REAL. Much better than one of those anonymous chain hotels. Check out the great Indian restaurants thereabouts.

I used to live in Battesea!
alice13 is offline  
May 4th, 2003, 04:55 AM
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I agree with Alice. Venture one or two stops down the Northern line and check out all the lovely Indian restaurants. Also, on a day like today - sunny and warmish - Clapham Common is hard to beat for a stroll, a picnic (having got your food and drink from the BRILLAINT Marks and Spencer food-only shop near to Clapham South Tube station), feeding the ducks or a beer at the Windmill Pub. Also have a look at Abbeville Road (now christened Abbeville Village by those loveable estate agents) which is choc-full of restaurants, cafe bars, bijou knick-knack shops. I was there this morning at the new Bon-Bon cafe. All around there is leafy and pleasant, though the main road through Balham and into Clapham/Tooting is rather busy.
nigel is offline  
May 5th, 2003, 06:50 AM
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Apologies but this is a UK-based question for nigel - is there *really* a Cafy Bon-Bon...? And has Dolly gone back to work there? Or have you not watched "dinnerladies"..
PatrickLondon is online now  
May 5th, 2003, 08:52 AM
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Hello to Patrick,

Indeed there is. I am a huge Victoria Wood fan too, but I do not remember a Caffy BonBon reference. It does sound like the kind of thing that Brenda and co. would say in 'dinnerladies'.
nigel is offline  
May 6th, 2003, 05:28 AM
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It was Dolly's piece of one-up-man-ship; anything she didn't approve of - 'It was NEVER like this at the Cafy Bon Bon!'

I imagine the people who've set this one up might be making an in-joke. Just don't order the soup.....
PatrickLondon is online now  
May 6th, 2003, 06:33 AM
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Soup? Soup?

Ready to order?

Twooooo sooooupps!

(You know the sketch!)
nigel is offline  
May 7th, 2003, 01:42 AM
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That was the point rather, but perhaps we should close this correspondence, before anyone asks 'Is it on the trolley?' (or are we off ours)
PatrickLondon is online now  
May 7th, 2003, 11:05 AM
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PatrickLondon: I've lived in the US since the 70's, and my only knowledge of Balham is exactly that Peter Sellers tagline (where was it from? I'd love to get a tape!)

From the other posts, it's evident that Balham has changed for the better. I lived NW of London (Pinner), so anywhere south of the Thames was terra incognita.

Thanks for the reminder.
~ Sonia
SB_Travlr is offline  
May 8th, 2003, 03:21 AM
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It was a send-up of the short travelogue films you used to get in the cinema (I think there was one particular presenter who specialised in them), usually made with cheap library footage and full of guide-book clichys.. 'And so we say farewell to the twinklings lights of downtown Balham's pulsating nightlife...as they change from green to red, from red to red-and-amber...'

You might find it on ebay, and I know someone's reissued it as part of a bog boxed set of CDs.

And for chinita, I also see there is a (serious) website www.balham.com. Apparently there's a Balham Festival.......
PatrickLondon is online now  
May 8th, 2003, 03:30 AM
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the last time I weas in Balham (at the Bedford Arms Comedy club) the evening ended with a famous comedian singing the Moldovan National anthem stark naked in front of woolies in Balham High Street.

I'm not promising that this happens every night though.
david_west is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 01:34 AM
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Nothing over sixpence, eh...
PatrickLondon is online now  

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