Where to go and what to do in Peckham, our guide to spending the weekend in one of London’s most culturally rich and vibrant areas
Words Helen Brown
What do house prices, chicken shops and Only Fools and Horses have in common? They’re the cliches abundant in Peckham’s coverage as London’s new coolest neighbourhood. Hot on Hackney’s hipster heels, Peckham is a melting pot of art, food and culture and is more ethnically diverse than ever. Just one day in the area is enough to indicate just how much it’s got to offer. The energy of Peckham lasts day and night; with hot spots including some of the City’s best clubs, a chocolate shop, bargain cinema and a multi-purpose car park. Here’s our guide of how to spend a weekend in the dynamic SE neighbourhood.
Food & Drink
With Peckham’s surge in popularity came an influx of new openings, denoting the area as a top dining spot in our foodie Capital. Founded by the team behind Little Bird Gin – yes Peckham has its own gin – is the trendy Pedler. It’s fresh food ethos and quirky décor draws the London-wide masses. It’s open all day and evening but is particular favoured for its breakfast menu which offers everything from gin sausages to angry scrambled eggs.
Elsewhere, Anderson and Co. is a chirpy, modern cafe and opens its doors at 8am. On the menu is your classic run of eggs, porridge, French toast and granola, which can be enjoyed outside in the garden when the weather warms. Peckham Refreshment Rooms is another great early-morning haunt serving some of the best eggs south of the river. It’s rustic Barcelona-style tapas menu means that it’s also a prime location in leafy Bellenden Village for dinner goers.
Just around the corner you’ll find The Begging Bowl, a faultless Thai restaurant with a menu of sharing dishes such as crispy squid and charcoal grilled brill; or hop across the road for a taste of Italy at Artusi. Its menu changes weekly and focuses on the simplicity, freshness and flavour of authentic Italian cuisine.
After dining comes wining and there’s no better place for a party than Frank’s Cafe. It is the summertime alter ego of Rye Lane’s multi story car park and sees tribes of hipsters migrate south to knock back Campari on it’s roof with a view of St Paul’s just four miles north.
Frank’s Cafe has a history firmly rooted in Peckham’s art scene and was set up in conjunction with Bold Tendencies, a summertime non-profit commissioning art project, now in its 10th year. This thriving art scene in Peckham has long been a permanent fixture on London’s cultural scene and is one of the main reason’s non-Peckhamites are drawn here. Get your creative fix at the Hannah Barry Gallery, a venue hatched from a series of temporary exhibition projects in South London before it established a permanent home in Peckham; or Jupiter Woods, a curator-led space that sits on a council estate off the Old Kent Road.
Very close to Peckham Rye station is the Peckhamplex cinema, an independent cinema which is popular with locals for its price tag – at a bargainous £4.99 you can watch all the latest blockbusters. Or come May, Rooftop Film Club pops up on the roof of the Bussey Building to showcase cult and classic films with added extras, including wireless headphones and blankets.
The gentle chaos and vibrancy of Rye Lane is fun for its fruit stalls and meat markets; nail bars, barbers, street food vendors and cafes. The Review is an independent bookshop run by novelist Evie Wyld and perfect for weekend wilings. It focuses largely on art, design and architecture, although it has a choice selection of fiction and children’s books as well and even hosts its own literary festival. Despite its misleading name, The General Store is one of the prettiest grocer-cum delis you will come across and offers rows of fruit, veg, chutneys and jams, cheeses and charcuterie that is Instagrammers dream.
Mélange has been supplying locals and Londoner from afar some of the best artisan chocolate in the City. Their flavour combinations are inspired and the chocolate slabs to die for. Pop in for a chocolate workshop where you can taste chocolate and wines of different origins and learn how to pair them.