London is such a huge metropolis that venturing to a part that you don’t live in can feel like visiting an entirely different city. I’ve been an East London girl for the past decade, which means I rarely head South unless it’s to hang out with one of these babes below. So I thought why not ask them for their insider knowledge? So here is my South London local’s guide from some seriously fabulous locals.
All of these tips are on my South London map: check it out here!
Alex is my oldest friend in London: I met him at a Monday night lesbian club in Soho called Potty Mouth in 2005 and the rest is (riotously funny) history. He’s a great photographer and a West London boy born-n-bred, but he made the move to South of the river a few years ago.
Here are his 5 favourite places in South London:
Maloko: tasty vegetarian & gluten-free creperie, serving delicious crepes and galettes plus tea, coffee and fresh juices. Relaxed atmosphere, cosy, colourful, friendly service and well-priced. Perfect for brunch or light lunch.
The Great Exhibition: the Best Sunday roast in South London (vegetarian and meat). If you like your plate full, then this is the place to go. Beautifully secluded pub offering relaxed yet un-intrusive live music with your roast. I recommend you book a table. Perfect for a lazy Sunday!
The Gowlett: the ideal local pub. Off the beaten path, so never stupidly crowded. Enjoy lazing on the comfortable chesterfield while eating one of their delicious crispy thin pizzas. There are open deck nights, so expect some lively evenings with music ranging from reggae to 80s electro. Perfect for a chilled night out.
Il Giardino: cute, family run Italian restaurant. Charmingly decorated with a cosy romantic atmosphere. The prices are very reasonable and the food is great. Perfect for a date night!
The Four Quarters: if computer games and alcohol are your thing, then this place is your heaven. A ‘no frills all thrills’ bar mixes craft beer and retro arcade slot machines. For the price of one pound, you get four quarters to use on the medley of games. Perfect for a geeky fun night out!
Clare has been a serious colour inspiration in my life. She makes fantastic cycling clothing for women, which you can buy here, and prints amazing political slogans onto recycled clothing, which you can’t buy anywhere but can check out here.
Check out her 5 favourite places in South London:
Bussey Building and Rye Wax: my studio is in the Bussey Building so I just love it. There’s a sweet community of people here: Rye Wax record shop/bar in the basement has delicious tacos; there’s cheap yoga upstairs plus a rooftop bar and cinema. Lucky us 😊
The Ivy House: the best, first (& only?) community-owned boozer in London. So sweet and welcoming. Host to dreamy local folk musicians on a stage with gold drapes. Oh, and great beer of course.
Lovely House: cheap dim sum is a public service in my opinion. The food here is served by the cutest family.
Peckham Bazaar: delicious, cosy, a fusion restaurant with real personality in the menu and unusual wines.
Asian Take and Away: aside from the fact that I love the name, this long-standing Asian food place, under the arches opposite the train station. The homemade fresh flatbreads and veg curry is my favourite. Lunch or dinner for £4.
Phoebe is a ray of sunshine wrapped in sassy 50s housewife attire. She’s lived south of the river longer than anyone I know and writes like a dream, so she is bursting with great suggestions for this part of London. Also, she loves dogs.
I’ll pop all her recommendations on my South London map (coming soon!) but here are a few you shouldn’t miss:
Ganapati: a South Indian restaurant and a really magical little place with delicious dishes served with banana leaves and killer cocktails.
Zeret Kitchen: Walworth Road is grim but well worth braving for Zeret Kitchen. A traditional Ethiopian restaurant that also offers a Coffee Ceremony.
Persepolis: a very strange little Persian shop selling all sorts of tasty things from the Middle East, as well as offering food if you want to sit in. And it’s family run.
Brockwell Lido: it’s not exactly pool weather at the mo but in the summer this is a beautiful Art Deco lido with a café that does hearty brunches perfect for a post-swim brunch.
Review Bookshop: my No.1 bookshop hangout. Great for birthday presents. Also if you’re lucky you might see the shop’s whippet.
Fabulous member of my Sink The Pink family, Ross has lived in New Cross for many years. He’s an electrician’s assistant and a drag queen, which means he has the handy ability to fix your wiring and your weave.
He name-checks all his fave places in South London as follows:
Amber Tree Cafe: small family run cafe. All food is cooked with love. Most items on the menu are vegan, raw and gluten-free.
The Rosemary: organic Hungarian restaurant on New Cross Rd.
Dirty Apron: my friend just opened this amazing deli in the newly revamped market area of Deptford High Street.
Deptford Market: flea market glamour on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Bonnington Cafe: amazing veggie/vegan restaurant hidden in Vauxhall.
I met Sophie when we both (ever so briefly) worked as travel agents together. Adventurous and loads of fun, she has one of the most mischievous smiles I know!
Here are her 5 favourite places in South London:
Hootananny: this is my favourite place to ‘not get dressed up’ and dance all night long! Great crowd, jerk chicken BBQ out front with super fun live music on stage all night. Prepared to get sticky and not care!
Silk Road: simply the best Chinese food in the world! This is not your sticky MSG Chinese food either. You won’t find any sweet and sour sauce. You will find heavenly hand-pulled noodles, the tastiest aubergine dish and speciality lamb skewers. Cash only.
Frank’s Café & Campari Bar and the Bussey Building: these two places are a couple of doors down from each other but boast the best views in South London. Frank’s is closed for the winter but is the best place for a summer drink. Bussey has club nights all year round and in the summer a rooftop cinema
Brixton Academy: the best music venue in London. Great for shorties as the floor slopes to the stage so everyone can see! Beautiful dramatic style theatre venue. Recently saw All Saints here and it was awesome!! Blast from the past eh?!
Brockwell Park: after visiting all of the markets in Brixton and Herne Hill at the weekend, I love to wander around Brockwell Park. Great place for a swim in the summer but the pool is not heated so can be a bit of a shock! There’s a garden nursery at the top that has local community support and an old stately home. Perfect Sunday afternoon stroll after a roast and too many glasses of red!
All of these tips are on my South London map: check it out here!