Crossrail will put Abbey Wood and Woolwich within even easier commuting distance of Canary Wharf.

When the Elizabeth line goes live, the former will be an 11-minute journey, a reduction of 20 minutes and the latter an eight-minute ride, a reduction of 11 minutes.

But time-saving is not the only reason to consider living in the two areas.

Here are eight reasons why they should be on London buyers’ radars.

Abbey Wood

1) History

Lesnes Abbey Woods

It is named after the ancient woodlands that surround the remains of Lesnes Abbey, founded in 1178. The site was close to a marsh that was prone to frequent flooding when the Thames burst its banks.

The monks had to maintain the river wall to prevent the floods and a small settlement developed. The hamlet had only a hundred inhabitants when the North Kent Railway arrived and a small station opened in 1850.

The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society began building the Bostall estate in about 1900 and the council built the Abbey Wood estate in the 1950s with local amenities following.

Abbey Wood has historically been a first step on the ladder for cash-strapped buyers looking for somewhere to raise a family.

2) Eat

The Crafty Cafe

The Crafty Cafe in McLeod Road offers treats such as cakes, fresh cream and jam hot cross buns, smoothies and ice cream but also regularly holds themed food events such as Pizza Day.

It has featured on Netmums and the Plummy Mummy blog with praise for its craft activities for children and the Wi-fi it offers helps keep parents occupied.

3) Drink

The Birchwood

The Birchwood in Grovebury Road is a proper pub with a homely feel fostered by novelty Toby mugs, random memorabilia and a friendly atmosphere.

There is a good choice of beer on offer, with a changing menu of real ales, a small range of wine and plenty of conversation to accompany drinkers’ beverages by way of the chatty staff and regulars.

Food is typical pub fare and there is a function room to the rear which is also used as a dinning room for Sunday lunch.

There is also a small beer garden and live music and quiz nights.

4) Fun fact

Rapper Tinie Tempah attended St Paul’s Catholic School in Abbey Wood


5) History

Women munition workers stacking cartridge cases in the New Case shop at the Royal Arsenal, 1918

Founded by the Romans in the Iron Age, in 1513 Henry VIII created a dockyard there to build royal ship Henri Grace à Dieu, also known as the Great Harry.

Munitions works at Royal Arsenal was officially established in 1805 and by the early 20th century covered 1,285 acres.

The Royal Military Academy moved there in 1808 and it was an important naval, military and industrial town through the 17th, 18th, 19th and most of the 20th century.

Military use of the Royal Arsenal site ceased altogether in 1994 – the culmination of a period of decline.

But the land is now being developed by Berkeley Homes into homes, and leisure facilities. In March, Greenwich Council approved plans for a 450-seat theatre, a performance courtyard and 10 rehearsal studios.

6) Eat

Dial Arch

Champions of British food Young’s have turned this atmospheric old munitions factory into Dial Arch - a dining room and terrace pub serving cask ales and modern classics such as Aperol Spritz.

Brunch dishes include eggs Florentine and the English Dame and English Gent cooked breakfasts, will the bar menu features items such as wild boar terrine with sourdough and bubble and squeak risotto.

It also has The Montgomery, The Wellington and The Pantry private hire rooms for parties and special occasions.

7) Drink

Woolwich Equitable

Set in a former headquarters of Woolwich Building Society, quirky pub Woolwich Equitable is run by the Antic Collective.

Marble and vintage decor provide nods to the building’s former use and there is a pub quiz every Thursday.

Heavily driven by locally and regionally sourced beverages, it has six real ale hand pumps and you can expect to find a variety of handpicked brews on rotation from local microbrewery Hopstuff Brewery.

There are also draught and bottle beers, fine wines and spirits alongside a menu of seasonal British pub fare.

8) Fun fact

Woolwich became home to the UK’s first McDonald’s hamburger restaurant in 1975.

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