Just south of the Greenwich park there is a nice village of Blackheath. And it has a farmers' market! (Okay, just once a week.)
While the streets near the village centre are indeed packed, those slightly off the main road look a lot nicer. The air traffic is identical to Greenwich, which is only natural. There are also more cafés than pubs, which was quite a suprise.
Also present was a clear sign of communal safety: separate clothes lines down in the yard, with some laundry hanging. Nowhere else have I yet witnessed this otherwise familiar phenomenon. Apparently everywhere else the laundry would get prompty nicked, vandalised or both.
Once we get outside the village centre, there is an eerie familiarity. It's like both the Esplanade and Boulevard from Helsinki were merged, tinted to British shades and scaled up to cover a whole village.
All in all, a nice place.
Slightly to the west we find another village, in another borough.
Lewisham is a bit like Blackheath, but only less polished. Where the first place radiated a more or less constantly nice air everywhere, Lewisham oscillates between different vibes from street to street.
There are lots of families, more than in Blackheath. Or they show up better against the background.
Quite a nice place indeed, and mostly I wouldn't mind living here either.
Somewhat further south we come to a slightly[tm] different part of town.
This is a weird place. Something rubbed me the wrong way while circling the area, but I could not figure out what it was until later. It was more than just the slightly unwelcoming general brush of the neighbourhood.
Hither Green is, I feel, a place between places. A kind of place that has sprung up to allow movement from one Place (with a capital) to another, but which by itself is rarely anyone's destination. A place that is trying to apologise for being there at all. A place you pass through, when going from Somewhere to Somewhere Else. Just with the distinction that while there, you wish you were already Somewhere Else.
It is like a (re)tired industrial suburb. The old industry has moved elsewhere, new one has not yet discovered the place, and in the meanwhile, the suburb is merely laying low and waiting. Waiting for something, anything to happen.
Oh, and it has no pubs. Pubs imply happy crowds and living people, but this place did not really portray either. It might not be a place to actively avoid, but it's not a place to aim for either. I wouldn't want to end up in there.
The distance from Hither Green to Lee is roughly 1km, but the most notable change happens right around the railway bridge. On the west side, one is still elsewhere, in a place quite unencouraging. On the east side, in Lee, the streets start to look different.
Soon after the bridge, there is a pub. Only it does not call itself one, it claims to be a restaurant. It's almost as if it's still too close to a place without pubs, and does not want to attract the attention. A nicer place, certainly.
For a family I would still try to find something a bit further due east.