Pimlico: living here, the experience

Tenth – and last – in a series of articles on Pimlico, putting words to page on an area of London that I’ve lived in for a few years.  If these read well, I might cover other parts of London I know or explore in the same manner. You can use the ‘Pimlico’ category tag on this site to see the related posts. This one summarises my view on living here.

If looked at as a self-contained area, Pimlico offers a pretty full range of facilities and services. There’s a local library, a school and an academy, a gym, a swimming pool, several groceries, as well as a large and a medium-sized Sainbury’s. There are pubs, bars, gardens, places to walk and places to run to. And there is a small outdoor market at the end of Tachbrook Street.

Tachbrook Market.

There are numerous churches for those that wish to visit them, easy access to other parts of London, and the area is actually pretty safe. I’ve only rarely seen anything disturbing the peace around here. Except for the foxes, at three this morning…

This all (not the foxes) contributes to high house prices, but there is also social housing here, and a rental market in the area, too. It’s not only a place for the wealthy – which given it does have a reputation for being.

The area has always had a slightly sleepy small-town feeling to me, although the lunch-time office crowd do make it seem busy if you pass through the food stalls of the market at the right time. The pubs and restaurants will provide a degree of things to do, but there isn’t much more than that. The cultural elements in the area tend to lean towards singular events, or learning a little bit about the local history on your own initiative.

But Pimlico is right next to Victoria, which has the theatre shows Wicked and Hamilton, and there is the Tate Britain nearby, as well as a large number of London’s most famous attractions and museums. To say there isn’t much to do in Pimlico, therefore, is only to apply that strictly within the specific boundary of the area called Pimlico, and not take into account the huge number of other things to do that fall within only a short walk.

St George’s Square – public gardens in Pimlico.

Pimlico is a very good location to live in, from the point of view of access to other areas and local amenities, and it is possible to live here on a less than a spectacular salary, providing you are willing to compromise – in my case, I rent and live with two flatmates.

That I don’t really get on well with either of them has I think coloured my overall view of living in this area with a negative tone. I don’t get a sense of ‘home’ at the end of the day, so tend towards the pubs and coffee shops, or isolating myself by sitting in my (well provisioned) room like a bit of an introvert. For a long while I blamed Pimlico itself, until realising it was the lifestyle that I was pursuing which was causing the detachment, not the area.

I’ve not made too many other friends that live locally, and the ones I have tend to be pretty busy, but I have had friendly conversations with plenty of people here – I don’t think I’ve ever picked up any feeling of exclusion or exclusivity: the locals are a friendly and open bunch.

Tachbrook Street.

If asked by anyone whether Pimlico is a good area to live in, I’d say yes. It isn’t without problems – there was a gang issue around one part of the area – but that’s the other end from me and I seldom visit that part. And there are a lot of rough-sleepers around Victoria, which means there are a fair few regular beggars in the area. But for that I solidly blame underfunding of care, support and wellbeing programs by the government – not the local council or the individuals themselves. I was a little amused that I once got asked if I could spare ten pounds by someone. They know there is money in the area, too.

A summer beer.

With the right company or social group, and with a willingness to explore local areas, there is nothing to say Pimlico isn’t worth visiting or living in. I’m a little sad that the artists and creatives of the world have been pushed to live so far away from the centre of London, as I do wish this area had something of a more bohemian feel to it sometimes. But, well, that isn’t why you go to Pimlico. You go elsewhere to find that.

There’s a boating club. The Thames. Good views of sunrise and sunset. Political demonstrations rarely impact the area. The Victoria line is fast. There are plenty of places to drink. Good shops. A local health clinic, and lots of eating to be done. There’s a small  Curzon cinema within a ten-minute walk, and then all the attractions and plenty of shopping not far beyond that.

On a summer’s day, sitting outside the Marquis of Westminster with a beer and a book as I soak up the afternoon sun, it is hard to think of Pimlico as anything other than a good area to be.

And in the winter? You’ll find me sitting at the bar. Mine’s a glass of red, thanks.

You can use the ‘Pimlico’ category tag on this site to see the related posts.

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