Top 20 Things To Do In Peckham

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LONDON | Peckham in London’s South East, is an area that’s been going through huge changes in recent years. Touted by many as ‘the new Shoreditch’, this previously neglected and maligned part of London is fast becoming a creative and cultural hub full of trendy bars, cafes, art venues and more. Chanel hosted an exhibition here in 2016 and Vogue has spoken in praise of the area. Peckham has always been a cultural melting pot, and has always had a creative streak but there’s no doubting that it character is changing.

As is the case with these sorts of things, the changes aren’t all positive. Property prices are increasing, and as the area continues to gentrify, many long standing Peckham business owners and residents are being priced out of the area. Many are trying their best to maintain Peckham’s character and inclusiveness while being agents of change, and today the area is very much one in flux. It’s exciting, vibrant, and fun and there’s a good mixture of old and new Peckham to explore for those who visit.

Whether this balance can be sustained is something that only time will tell, but as it stands there’s no doubting that Peckham is a place worth visiting whether you’re from London or further abroad. Here are some of our favourite things to do when visiting.

Head To The Roof

Housed on the upper levels of a multi-level car park, Frank’s Cafe plays host to gallery exhibitions, live gigs and some of London’s coolest summer parties. Head to the rooftop for a drink and some of the best uninterrupted views of London.

Enjoy Seasonal Fare

Peckham Refreshment Rooms is a small bar, cafe and restaurant located in an unassuming spot to the side of Peckham Rye station and serves up “seasonal regional cooking” that can best be described as British food, with flourishes from around the continent. It’s a welcoming place that gets the balance between old and new Peckham right.

Discover New Music

CLF Art Café is great spot for lovers of music and theatre. In its basement you’ll find Rye Wax, a record store and live music venue. It’s also a magazine and comic book store that offers coffee, beer cocktails and food. It’s a great place to visit if you want to discover some new independent bands, and part of the – keep an eye on Rye Wax’s events page for their rotating line up of DJs, live music and label takeovers.

Watch A Movie

It’s not just the basement of The Bussey Building that’s worth visiting. Its also one of London’s most popular venues for rooftop cinema sessions, boasting impressive panoramic views over the city, and comfy deckchairs. The range of cult, classic and new releases that are screened means there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Discover Iranian Delights

Persepolis is a Persian corner store that sells an assortment of delicacies from Iran. Head to the back of the store where you can sit down and order a few Persian influenced share plates with local Peckham influences and other Levant ingredients.

Get Fired

There’s something special about the simple act of cooking food over an open fire, and that’s what they do best at Peckahm Bazaar. The menu is inspired by food from the former Ottoman lands – think places like Greece, Albania (where co-owner John Gionleka is from), and Turkey, and is delicious.

Visit A Gallery

South London Gallery was founded in 1891 is one of London’s best contemporary art galleries. It features a programme of contemporary “cutting edge” art exhibitions and live art events, with integrated education projects for children, young people and adults. Entry is free.

Go To The Pub

The Montpelier is a traditional British pub that gets all of the important things right. It’s a welcoming space with a cozy atmosphere, decent drinks and proper tasty pub food with a strong community flavour. In the back room you’ll find a 30 seat room where an assortment of films are screened each night.

Visit A Brewery

Owner Ian Stewart started home brewing in his shed in the mid 2000s and in 2009 he opened Brick Brewery under the Peckham Rye rail arches. Inspired by the Brick team’s travels, the tasty beers are varied and showcase the diversity of beers from around the world.

Search For Street Art

There’s a lot of street art in Peckham, ranging from the good to the bad, the mindless to the political, the fun to the thought provoking. Just walk around and keep an eye out, you never know what you’ll find.

Discover The Flavours Of South India

Ganapati is one of the best Indian restaurants in the area, and specialises in the home style cooking and street food of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It’s all very tasty stuff, with a menu that changes every few months to keep things interesting.

Get Creative

Peckham Levels provides affordable space for independent businesses, artists and local entrepreneurs to work, grow, trade and learn. Members showcase what they do with those who visit, with the space including things like a kids open area, street food, bars and cafes, a hair salon, live music space, and yoga studio.

Have Your Cake & Eat It Too

Cookbook writer Rosie Lovell opened her cafe Rosie’s in Brixton in 2003 (since closed), with the Peckham branch opening 12 years later in 2015. It’s a charming cafe that sells an assortment of cakes, lunches, coffee and deli produce.

See A Movie

It might not have the ‘cool’ vibe of the rooftop cinema but Peckhamplex is a great place to watch new release films any time of the day on the cheap. No matter when you visit tickets are only £4.99 a pop. Bargain.

Get Retro

Four Quarters is a retro themed bar that features 15 original arcade cabs from the early 80’s up to the 2000’s, 10 retro consoles, two pinball machines, and a hidden basement cocktail bar and club space. The craft beer selection is great and there’s some tasty American bar food if you’re hungry. Street Fighter anyone?

Go To The Market

Rye Lane Market is home to around 50 retailers selling an assortment of clothing, fruit and vegetables and other assorted items. The market and its surrounding stores are especially worth visiting if you’re after specialty ingredients and produce from Africa.

Bao Down

Mr Bao is a Taiwanese restaurant that specialises in bao. You’ll find some of the fluffiest, tastiest bao in London here – try the signature ‘Mr Bao’ with slow Braised Flock & Herd Pork, Pickles, Peanut Powder, and the dessert S’more bao, which is filled with melted chocolate and toasted marshmallow then deep fried.

On Yer Bike

OK so Pedler doesn’t actually have anything to do with bikes, but this neighbourhood eatery does offer some of the best breakfast, lunch and dinner in the area. The menu features seasonal, fresh ingredients and changes daily, and the wine and cocktail list is fantastic.

Get Caffeinated

Old Spike Roastery sell fantastic coffee, using beans that they ethically source from around the world and roast on site. They also provide expert training, jobs and housing support for people experiencing homelessness across the UK. A visit to their cafe is highly recommended.

Explore Vietnamese Flavours

Bánh Bánh was started up by five siblings of the Nguyen family, and offers up some of the best Vietnamese food in town. Dishes are based on recipes left behind by their grandmother, who worked as a chef in Saigon in the 1940s, and range from the traditional to the contemporary. The food is affordable and packed full of flavour.

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Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences.Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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