The Actor’s Guide to Blackheath

Where to live, eat and play: the Backstage guide to arts and artist-friendly neighbourhoods in London.

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Blackheath pulls off the sharpest of coups by having the appearance of an English country village, complete with village green and picturesque church steeple, while being just a cool 25 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

As the name suggests, the area is characterised by a large expanse of heath. Its 275 acres of open country is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London. And if that’s not enough grass for you, it sits right next door to Greenwich Park – one of the largest single green spaces in south-east London. 

In the middle of the heath is Blackheath Village, where most of the action happens. Here you will find shops, restaurants, bars, and Blackheath’s very own microbrewery. The farmer’s market assembles every Sunday in the station car park.

Former residents include Jude Law, Glenda Jackson, and Kate Bush, and if that’s not enough to pique your interest, Blackheath has its very own annual kite festival.

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Culture

In recent years, the area has played host to the On Blackheath, a food and music festival pulling in artists such as Grace Jones, Massive Attack, Primal Scream, and Madness. If you need to hear live music more than once a year then the O2 Arena in Greenwich is just down the road.

The Blackheath Conservatoire offers a multitude of arts education and events. Group classes or individual tutoring in the areas of music, art, and drama are available and there are regular public performances from both students and professionals. Next door is Blackheath Halls, a venue owned and managed by the exceptional Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. It presents a diverse programme of concerts and events throughout the year including classical and folk music, comedy nights, talks, literary events, films, exhibitions, and children’s theatre.

READ: How to Survive In London as an Actor

Eating + Drinking

The Hare & Billet Pub won the Time Out Award for the best pub in Blackheath. It offers a warm welcome and community atmosphere that keeps people coming back. In summer, drinkers spill out onto the heath from the pub. They serve fresh, seasonal food.

The Princess of Wales also allows punters to relax on the heath with a beer or Pimms in the summer months. Their fabulous Sunday roasts keep customers coming back in the winter.

For light lunches, head to The Exchange Café. It’s a fairly priced, not-for-profit cafe run by the Age Exchange Charity and proud recipient of a Time Out Love London Award.

For a dinner with a difference, head to Hand Made Food Restaurant, located in a converted flat above a deli, cafe, and catering business. Come for the homely atmosphere, stay for the sublime food. We hear their beetroot smoked salmon is a dream.

Transport

Overground: The area is served by Blackheath railway station (Zone 3) with services to London Bridge, Charing Cross, Victoria, and Cannon Street. To head out of town, trains go to Slade Green, Dartford, Woolwich Arsenal and Gravesend via Bexleyheath. Trains reach Charing Cross in around 25 minutes, with London Bridge reachable in an even shorter amount of time. Waterloo is also available via direct links.

Buses: Blackheath is served by several bus services linking the area with Greenwich, Lewisham, Charlton, Woolwich, Catford, Eltham, Sidcup, Bexleyheath, Sydenham, Beckenham, Stratford, and Westminster.

Health + Wellbeing

The open spaces of Greenwich Park and the heath mean tennis courts abound in the area, and getting your trainers on and having a run is a very good option. But if that’s not your jam then head to PureGym in Lewisham, where you’ll find state-of-the-art equipment and free weights as well as an extensive programme of studio classes for £16.99 per month with no joining fee. 

Blackheath Yoga runs small classes in a number of venues across the village. Drop-in classes are £13.50 or pay as little as £9 per class if you buy a bundle of 20.

Rental Costs

Average price per week for a one-bedroom flat is £317, or £397 for two bedrooms. A room in a house share can be found for as little as £110 per week.

What we love

Exchange Café, the music festival, the kite festival, and – thanks to the heath – the sky.

What we don’t

There’s no underground. And you won’t find many subcultures here – Blackheath definitely colours inside the lines.

Considering other areas? Check out our Actor’s London guides below:

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