Just like Dalston, and Shoreditch before it, London’s Peckham wasn’t much to speak of — at least as far as being a place you’d like to visit — before the artists arrived. Now, however, this small neighborhood in southeast part of the city has followed in the footsteps of so many hip districts before it, attracting creative types and students (Goldsmiths and Camberwell College of Arts are both nearby) with reasonable rents.
This migration, of course, has paved the way for restaurant, bar and gallery owners, who are collectively making the area a must-visit destination for London’s cool crowd. Check it out now and you’ll be able to say you were one of the first to explore.
What to do
The best way to get a sense of this arty, multicultural area is to simply stroll around and soak up the atmosphere. Still, a couple of locations to make it a point to visit are contemporary gallery The Sunday Painter and the multi-arts space The Bussey Building.
The Sunday Painter, set up a few years ago by Camberwell graduates Harry Beer and Will Jarvis, showcases the work of emerging and mid-career artists. It’s a great spot to plug into the local visual arts scene.
The Bussey Building (also known as The CLF Art Café), meanwhile, hosts theater performances, film screenings, comedy gigs and club nights that attract a fun, young crowd. The South London Soul Train, which takes place on the first and third Saturday of the month at the Bussey Building, is a good place to start with nightlife in the area. Check out the Rye Wax record store in the building’s basement, too.
Where to drink
Peckham Springs is a funky cocktail bar with a decidedly informal vibe that’s a perfect fit for the crowd partying in this neck of the woods. This bar-cum-gallery, which is housed near railway arches at the Peckham Rye Station, began life as a summer pop-up but is now open year-round Thursday through Saturday nights.
The cocktails are strong and served without any of the pretension you might find in bars in more salubrious parts of town. And on top of that, delectable burgers from the Patty & Bun pop-up are also available.
Where to eat
Tuck into some authentic Nigerian cuisine (Peckham is home to one of the U.K.’s largest communities from the African nation) at 805, a cheery, family-owned eatery where Star Wars’ newest leading man (and Peckham native) John Boyega took Harrison Ford when they were in London in the fall.
The restaurant, located on Old Kent Road (yes, the same address that’s better known to travelers as the cheapest property on the London Monopoly board), serves up classic Nigerian dishes like tilapia with fried plantain and jollof rice, plus more adventurous treats like peppered snails.
Where to stay
The best place to base yourself for exploring Peckham is Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf, which rests just across the River Thames. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property boasts waterfront views from most of its 142 rooms while its sleek, modern interiors keep you in the lap of luxury.
Take a swim in the 65-foot indoor pool or relax with a spa service in the River-View Treatment Suite. And if you’re not too tired from pounding the Peckham pavement, you can also play a spot of tennis on courts at the Virgin Active health club next door.