Clapham Common is a vast park that is a haven during the summer months and a breath of fresh air for a stroll in winter. It’s one of the best public parks in London and it’s one of the most appealing reasons to visit or live in Clapham. This Clapham Common guide explains everything you need to have a great day out on the common.
The easiest ways to get to Clapham Common are:
There is very limited parking, so try not to drive. If you have to, you will need to park in one of the neighbouring roads because there is no car park.
For a more detailed map, routes and directions, go to Google Maps.
Clapham Common is huge and you can easily spend an entire day here relaxing in the sun, walking past the woods and ponds, taking part in outdoor sports or simply stopping for a cuppa or pint at the surrounding cafes and pubs. Most people tend to gather at the corner closest to Clapham Common tube because of its proximity to Clapham High Street’s shops and transport.
This corner is also close to the Windmill pub (on the above map it’s the food and drink icon next to the public toilets), one of only a few businesses actually on Clapham Common itself. It’s also this area of Clapham Common that catches the sun into the early evenings, as such it is usually the busiest area.
If you want to escape the crowds you’re best off heading to the Clapham South corner of the Common because you are still close enough to local amenities. Alternatively, walk a little further toward the West side to escape to the quietest area, although you’ll be further away from shops and toilets.
The Windmill pub serves fantastic food and provides drinks in plastic cups to take out onto the Common on the East side. There are also two small cafes, one smack bang in the middle next to the Clapham Bandstand and another by the skateboard park. Both serve a good selection of drinks and snacks.
Both the High Street and Clapham South have a number of supermarkets and other shops in case you need to stock up on food and drink for a picnic. Clapham High Street starts at the Clapham Common tube corner.
A number of events are held on Clapham Common. Primarily, Get Loaded in the Park and South West Four are two large festivals held in mid-summer. They all take place at the point market number 3 on the map.
The famous and free Clapham Common fireworks display is also held in this area in November. It gets spectacularly busy for all of these, so leave extra time to get there.
Clapham Common also has a regular fair that sets itself up at point number 6 on the map. It has various rides that seem to be reasonably priced for a London fair.
The real sight is, of course, the park itself and its lush greenery which people began building houses around in the 1790′s. However, there are a few historic landmarks on Clapham Common that will be of interest to most people.
The Holy Trinity Church (1 on the map) built in 1776, was seriously damaged in the Second World War and is known as the home of the Clapham Sect who were instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade. For more information visit the Holy Trinity Church website.
In the centre is the Clapham Common bandstand, the most famous landmark in Clapham. It was constructed in 1870 and has since been restored with a massive £2 million restoration fund completed in 2006. Originally it was built to help bring the Clapham community together, but sadly, even after the restoration this structure is still rarely used.
Near Clapham South tube and just around the corner from Clapham Common tube are two of London’s World War Two air raid shelters. Now completely boarded up, locked and deserted, they remain as an eery reminder of what people must have gone through during the war.