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South London facts for kids

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South London
London, south of the Thames
South London's emergence was a result of the existence and location of London Bridge
South London's emergence was a result of the existence and location of London Bridge
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region London
 • Total 249.34 sq mi (645.78 km2)
 • Total 2,835,200
 • Density 11,370.95/sq mi (4,390.35/km2)

South London is the informally defined southern part of London, England, south of the River Thames, which broadly consists of the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, and Wandsworth.

South London Map 1800
South of London in 1800. The border between Surrey and Kent is shown running south from Deptford, through Sydenham

South London originally emerged from Southwark, first recorded as Suthriganaweorc, meaning 'fort of the men of Surrey'. From Southwark, London then extended further down into northern Surrey and western Kent.

Boundary Commission

The River Thames divides Greater London into two parts. The southern part includes the historic central areas of Southwark, Lambeth and Bankside and also maritime Greenwich. The area has only a small section of the London Underground network, but has a much more extensive suburban railway system than North London and is the location of all of London's tram services.

This area is made up of the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton and Wandsworth. This definition is used by the Boundary Commission for England. The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames includes sections on both sides of the River Thames and the boundary commission classes the entire district as part of South London, pairing it with Kingston upon Thames for the purposes of devising constituencies.

In 1965 Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Wandsworth were designated Inner London boroughs and Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton were designated Outer London boroughs.

Planning sub-region

London plan sub regions (2011)
The current sub regions
London plan sub regions 2004
The 2004-2008 sub regions

For the purposes of the London Plan, there was a South London sub-region in operation from 2004 to 2008 consisting of Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton. In 2001 this area had a population of 1,329,000. This definition is used by organisations such as Connexions.

Between 2008 and 2011 it was replaced with a South East sub-region consisting of Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley and a South West sub-region consisting of Croydon, Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton, Richmond and Wandsworth.

In 2011 a new South London region was created consisting of Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth. Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham. Richmond now lies within the West London region, and Lambeth and Southwark are part of the Central London region.

List of boroughs

This list includes all boroughs included in the Boundary Commission area:

London borough Postcode areas 2008 sub-region London Assembly
LondonBexley.svg Bexley DA, SE South East Bexley and Bromley
LondonBromley.svg Bromley BR, DA, SE, TN South East Bexley and Bromley
LondonCroydon.svg Croydon CR, SE, SW South West Croydon and Sutton
LondonGreenwich.svg Greenwich SE, DA, BR South East Greenwich and Lewisham
LondonKingston.svg Kingston KT, SW, TW South West South West
LondonLambeth.svg Lambeth SE, SW South West Lambeth and Southwark
LondonLewisham.svg Lewisham SE, BR South East Greenwich and Lewisham
LondonMerton.svg Merton CR, KT, SM, SW South West Merton and Wandsworth
LondonRichmond.svg Richmond SW, TW South West South West
LondonSouthwark.svg Southwark SE South East Lambeth and Southwark
LondonSutton.svg Sutton CR, KT, SM South West Croydon and Sutton
LondonWandsworth.svg Wandsworth SW South West Merton and Wandsworth


South London is, like other parts of London and the UK in general, a temperate maritime climate according to the Köppen climate classification system. Three Met Office weather stations currently collect climate data south of the river; Kew, Hampton and Kenley Airfield, on the southern edge of the urban area. Long term climate observations dating back to 1763 are available for Greenwich, although observations ceased here in 2003.

Temperatures increase towards the Thames, firstly because of the urban warming effect of the surrounding area, but secondly due to altitude decreasing towards the river, meaning the southern margins of South London are often a couple of degrees cooler than those areas adjacent to the Thames. Often snow can be seen to lie on the North Downs near Croydon when central London is snow free.

The record high temperature at Greenwich is 37.5 °C (99.5 °F) recorded during August 2003. Sunshine is notably lower than other London area weather stations (by about 50–100 hours a year), suggesting Greenwich may be a fog trap in winter, and that the hillier land to the south may obscure early morning and late evening sunshine.

The highest temperature recorded across South London was 38.1 °C (100.6 °F) on the same occasion at Kew Gardens. Although the Met Office accepts a higher reading from Brogdale in Kent, many have questioned the accuracy of this and regard the Kew reading as the most reliable highest UK temperature reading.

Climate data for Greenwich 7m asl 1971-2000,
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 51.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 45.9 66.1 103.2 147.0 185.4 180.6 190.3 194.4 139.2 109.7 60.6 37.8 1,461
Source: MetOffice

Associated organisations

  • South London Gallery
  • South London Botanical Institute
  • South London Press
  • South London Radio
  • South London Storm
  • South London Theatre


A significant feature of South London's economic geography is that while there are more than thirty bridges linking the area with West London and the City, there is only one, Tower Bridge, linking the area with East London.

Very little of London's underground rail network lies south of the river, largely due to the challenging geology; however, 21st-century technology makes tunnelling much cheaper (though stations are still expensive) and this may lead to an improved underground provision in South London with the Crossrail 2 line proposed alongside extensions to the Northern and Bakerloo Lines.

South London contains an extensive overground rail network and all of London's trams operate within the area.

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