Lewisham Guide: from street food markets to museums, discover everything to do, eat and see in London’s coolest up-and-coming neighbourhood
Words Georgie Rutherford
WHERE TO EAT
If you’re after a hearty and soulful burger joint, we’ve got just the place. The owners stand by the fact that their food has no shortcuts, no processed ingredients and no freezing. Whether it’s the beef in their burgers or the sauces on their tables, everything you eat has been made from scratch with tender-loving care. They’ve swept up several best burger awards over the past couple of years but see what you think for yourself.
TEN THOUSAND HANDS CAFE
Sitting snug in the heart of Ladywell Fields, Ten Thousand Hands Café is a picturesque little café set up in the memory of Jimmy Mizen – a16-year-old local boy that was tragically killed in an unprovoked attack in 2008. The café raises money for the For Jimmy foundation and provides training for young people and helps the local area to promote prosperity. Serving a variety of English Breakfasts, sandwiches, coffee and much more high quality produce, the café is the perfect place to stop for some peace and quiet.
With neighbourhood restaurants on the rise, locals are flocking to new tapas-style restaurant Sparrow. Founded by husband-and-wife team Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar, who between them have experience at restaurants such as Bao, Pollen Street Social and The Square. Here, their focus is on small plates, which range from classic Italian dishes to punchy Malay-style salads. We recommend the roast pork belly served with fiery harissa, and the brown shrimp and kohlrabi salad.
Lewisham’s former music venue, Dirty South is back, but not as you know it. The pub has finally reopened six years after it was forced to close after sustaining extensive damage during the London riots, and is now back as a laid-back pub and restaurant. The kitchen is now occupied by fried-food experts Other Side Fried who will have you drooling over their buttermilk chicken burgers in no time.
WHAT TO DO
Gear up for another summer of booze, fun and excellent street food. Street Feast’s southernmost hub will be settling in to regular Friday and Saturday slots throughout the summer. Lewisham’s nighttime food party takes place in an abandoned 1950s covered market in Lewisham and food will include burgers from Mother Flipper, Caribbean from Mama’s Jerk, chicken from Mother Clucker and many many more.
A weekly Saturday market which has quickly established itself as one of London’s leading outlets for artisan and small producers. Located in Lewisham College car park, this friendly market is the perfect place to pick up some quality groceries. Whether you’re looking for a joint for your Sunday lunch, some fresh fruit and veg or some charcuterie for a special occasion, this is the place to go. If you get peckish along the way, there’s also a regular gang of star-studded street food vendors that will definitely help satisfy your appetite.
Organise a cultural family outing to this anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens. There is lots to see with the museum featuring an aquarium, a permanent gallery dedicated to African, Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian art, and a collection of around 1,600 musical instruments – you can even pick up, try on and play with some objects. Make sure not to miss out the traditional natural history gallery, which is dominated by a bizarre, overstuffed walrus.
Lewisham Arthouse runs an exhibition and events programme of visual art and experimental music. Its members come together to share their time, equipment and knowledge with wider communities on a non-profit basis. Besides renting creative workspace, each studio member commits at least 5 hours per month in support of the organisation’s wider programmes. Stay tuned and help the community nurture its creativity by going for a visit.
MANOR HOUSE GARDENS
If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air in this overcrowded city, a visit to Manor House Gardens is just what you need. Situated on the borders of Hither Green and Lee Green, it is a very popular location on a sunny day. With a children’s playground, huge picnic area, tennis courts and lovely café serving delicious ice cream, there’s no place you’d rather be. Make sure to stay in the know this summer as they will be holding their annual Manor House Garden Festival in June and pop-up outdoor cinema will also be returning for another year.