Authentic food, a vibrant market and easy access to green spaces are just some of the attractions Tooting has to offer.

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calendar-icon 25 September 2017

If you’re joining St George’s, University of London this year, we bring you the top spots from the neighbourhood.

Students' Union President, Sam Khavandi, said: “It’s been four years since I moved to Tooting, and I must say, a lot has changed.

“There are so many spots for food and drinks that I’ve rarely found myself venturing into central London.

“To live in an area of London with so much diversity, but without the overwhelming bustle found in the centre, gives you a real sense of home that only grows over the years.”

We’ll be revealing a new attraction every day, so keep checking back to find out what else made the list.

1. Tooting market

Running for more than 80 years, Tooting market boasts stalls selling fresh produce and a vast array of places to eat. You can buy authentic food from around the world, including Turkish, Mexican, Japanese and Jamaican. You’ll also find a good choice of drinks – there’s a juice bar, a gin bar and a craft beer shop, to name a few.

It’s a great place for socialising at any time of day, and we think you’ll appreciate the value you get for your money!

Sam Khavandi said: “One of my personal favourite locations is Tooting Market. You’ll be sure to find many of your fellow St George’s students here.”

2. Tooting Common

If this is your first time living in London then we think you will be surprised by just how much green space there is.

Tooting boasts Tooting Common which lies between Tooting, Balham and Streatham.

It’s a popular place to go for a run, walk or cycle and offers a great space for socialising or chilling out with a book during the summer months.

Its history stems back to medieval times. Doctor Johnson’s Avenue, which runs through Tooting Common, was originally a country path that Doctor Samuel Johnson (one of the greatest literary figures of the eighteenth century, most famously compiling A Dictionary of the English Language) is reputed to have frequently walked when visiting diarist and author Hester Thrale, whose diaries are an important source of information on his life.

3. Gala Bingo

Deceptively ordinary at first glance, look up and you’ll notice the unmistakable straight lines and crisp edges synonymous with the Art Deco era. But you have to step inside to appreciate the real beauty of this Grade I-listed building. Originally built as a cinema in the 1930s, this is an exceptional example of the luxury and glamour of the ‘super cinema’ era, featuring a grand marble staircase and outstanding Gothic interior by director and designer Theodore Komisarjevsky.

Intrigued? You can take a look for yourself during one of London’s Open House events.

Oh, and it’s also a great place to go if you enjoy a good round of Bingo!

4. Tooting Lido

When the sun is out, you can take a dip in one of the country’s most famous Lidos, Tooting Bec Lido. At 100metres long, this open-air swimming pool is the largest fresh water swimming pool in the UK. Its secluded location on the edge of Tooting common makes it a great place to get some sunshine while relaxing, socialising or keeping fit.

And, if you think you’ve seen it before, you probably have. The alternating brightly coloured changing cubicles on the poolside make the lido a popular filming location. Among others, Brad Pitt’s boxing pool scene in the film Snatch was filmed here. This year, Red magazine highlighted it as a must see in the heatwave.

5. Vast array of curry restaurants – better than Brick Lane!*

Tooting boasts an impressive selection of curry houses. If you enjoy a good masala mix, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with a mix of Sri Lankan, Pakistans, Gujarati and East African Asian restaurants to choose from.

Lahore Karahi remains a solid favourite with our students, providing excellent value and an authentic food.

*in our opinion.

6. The Tube to central London – 20 mins to the River Thames/Westminster

Tooting Broadway station is only a short walk from the university, so if you want to head into central London soak in the atmosphere, see a show, take a boat down the Thames or do some serious shopping, it will only take about 20 minutes.

7. Wimbledon

It’s not quite Tooting, but right around the corner is the country’s most famous tennis courts. Are you a tennis fanatic? Tooting is not far from Wimbledon, taking you only an estimated 20 minutes to go from one place to another via train.

So if you’re tempted to watch a match when Wimbledon season approaches, you know it won’t take a mission to reach your destination.

8. Honest Burgers

There are so many good places to eat in Tooting it’s hard to single one out, but last year our international students voted Honest Burgers their top Tooting attraction, so we couldn’t not put this one on our list!

A classic when it comes to burgers, Honest Burgers states that it sets out to do one thing well, a simple burger menu inspired by great British produce, with homemade rosemary chips.

9. Tootopia

Tootopia is an annual three-day festival that celebrates Tooting’s diverse food, drink and live entertainment scene. Most events are free and there’s always a variety to choose from. There’s the famous street food party, featuring outdoor DJs and food treats from London’s best traders. Do you fancy yourself a bit of a baker? You can attend the Big London Bake and create a sweet treat in a Great British Bake Off format.

If you enjoy a bit of music, there are multiple dance events featuring live music from the 50s onwards. Art-lovers can browse and buy paintings from local artists. With so much going on, it’s well worth popping in. Here’s a list of the events from this year.

10. Our archives and exhibitions

We have a long history of training doctors, dating back more than 250 years. Among our alumni we can count some of the founding fathers of medicine. These include: John Hunter, known for pioneering the application of science to surgery; Edward Jenner, who successfully performed the first vaccination against smallpox, as well as Henry Gray and demonstrator in anatomy Henry Vandyke Carter, who collaborated to produce Grey’s Anatomy.

You can see to original book in our archives, which also boasts records which document the history, functions and development of both St George’s Hospital and the medical school. You can view post-mortem records, rare artefacts and medical records.

Keep your eyes peeled for a special Halloween event, featuring some gruesome and ghostly tales from our archives, and the five-day Edward Wilson exhibition, exploring his life and tragic return journey from the South Pole in 1912.