Contrary to popular belief, London is not simply ‘everything within the M25’.
Administrative changes mean that the city has grown and shrunk as responsibility for different areas has switched from the Home Counties to London and back.
It means that London’s most extreme points (north, south, east and west) might not be where you would expect. Two of them do not resemble ‘quintessential London’ at all, being unmarked points along random country lanes, far from the nearest red London bus stop.
READ MORE: The tiny, pathetic motorway designed to ease congestion on the M25 that disappeared overnight
The exact centre of London based on these four points would be Pearman Street, Lambeth North – although the traditionally accepted ‘central points’ are either Centre Point at Tottenham Court Road, St Martins-in-the-Fields church which has an official ‘centre of London’ sign or Charing Cross where all road distances in London are measured from.
(Image: Callum Marius)
The furthest point north in London is lane 1 of the clockwise M25 carriageway at Crews Hill, specifically at a live traffic information screen just beyond the distance marker ‘M25 A 142.8’ between junctions 24 and 25.
As its a live motorway, you cannot stop there to visit and there’s not much to see other than cars but there is a nearby cycle path at Burntfarm Ride which gets you pretty close if you’re on foot or two wheels.
Trains between Crews Hill and Cuffley travel under the M25 just a stone’s throw from the most northerly point, although there is nothing to spot from the window to point this out to you.
The southernmost point is a passing place on a single track road called ‘Ditches Lane’, which links the Farthing Downs green space in the borough of Croydon to the Surrey hamlet of Chaldon. Again, there is nothing obvious which marks the exact spot.
Ditches Lane does indeed seem to have a few small ditches along it, probably formed by drivers wearing down the verges of the road to pass each other. It means that if one considers London to ‘start’ in northernmost Crews Hill, it ends in a ditch.
This is the most isolated of the four points by public transport, as the long single track road does not have a footpath and there are no TfL bus services nearby, a handful of Surrey bus services do stop at the bottom of Chaldon village on weekdays though.
(Image: N Chadwick / Geograph, CC)
This point is easy to find although not the easiest to get to. It’s a field to the south of Fen Lane, an unclassified road which runs through farmland in the only part of London outside the M25, North Ockendon. Again, there is no footpath here but there are a series of paths through the fields nearby.
The point is also the most obvious as there’s one sign along Fen Lane which says ‘London Borough of Havering’ and one which says ‘Thurrock’. The field immediately south of that point is the most easterly place in Greater London.
An Essex bus service, the 565 circular, goes closest to the exact point although as it is such an isolated location, there is no bus stop there. Two TfL bus services, the 347 and 370, stop at the start of Fen Lane over a mile from the easternmost point.
Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinion from across the city?
MyLondon’s brilliant newsletter The 12 is absolutely jam packed with all the latest to keep you keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.
You’ll get 12 stories straight to your inbox at around 12pm. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
And what’s more – it’s FREE!
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets, so you’ll never miss a moment.
Don’t skip a beat and sign up to The 12 newsletter here.
This is certainly the easiest to get to.
The exact point is where Horton Road meets the roundabout at M25 Junction 14, not too far from Heathrow Terminal 5. An Ibis Hotel overlooks the exact point, which is also marked by a sign which welcomes motorists to Poyle in the unitary borough of Slough, which is outside of Greater London.
In the event that Heathrow’s third runway is built, depending on final specifications, it could potentially move the westernmost point although it is unclear as to whether the runway would simply start outside of London and enter it or if the whole space would be transferred to the London borough of Hillingdon.
Have you ventured to one of London’s furthest points before? Tell us in the comments below!
You can read all of MyLondon’s transport-related trivia, news stories and features on our dedicated page here.