Said to be ‘one of London’s most pleasant suburbs,’ Putney offers something for everyone. From food and drink to shopping and pampering, our local area guide provides inspiration for a fun-filled day in the South West neighbourhood
Words Georgie Rutherford
While Putney’s riverside and pubs may be swarming on boat race day when the famous competition kicks off at Putney Bridge, it proves to be just as popular on non-race days. By day, locals and visitors to the area compete for an outdoor seat overlooking the Thames while by night, the bars and pubs along Putney High Street attract big crowds who have come to enjoy live music and cocktails aplenty. The food scene in Putney is definitely up and coming with friendly local cafés and family run restaurants proving to be the most popular. Take a look at our guide to see where you should go in this upmarket part of town.
Top spots in Putney to have on the radar now
Food and Drink
Forget Costa and Caffe Nero for your coffee pick me up. If you want one that is worth your money, Ground Coffee is the place to go. This Scandinavian-style contemporary café roasts their own coffee beans for epic espressos and arguably the best flat whites in London, alongside delicious lunch options including hummus and halloumi wraps and quinoa power pots.
If it’s brunch you’re after, New Zealand inspired Tried & True has locals returning every weekend for its award-winning pulled pork benedict. The coffee is also one of the finest quality with lots of milk alternatives on offer. With friendly staff and a mellow vibe, this place will kick your weekend off to a fantastic start. Make sure to go early as it fills up quite quickly.
For lunch or dinner in Putney, an old-time favourite is Isola del Sole on Lacey Road. This is an authentic and lively Sardinian restaurant with an Italian influence. Start with the burrata on aubergine ‘caviar’, move onto the wild boar ragu, and compliment them both with a Sardinian cocktail from a list designed by Kay Plunkett-Hodge, the author of Make Mine a Martini. There’s a neighbourhood-restaurant feel here, so expect a big welcome and an abundance of locals.
Another riverside gem that never disappoints is The Boathouse with its chic terrace and balcony where you can watch the day go by. Serving all the British classics, tuck into the Ploughman’s starter that includes a scotch egg, pork pie and pickled onion. Follow this with a big juicy burger, fish and chips or if it’s a Sunday, a succulent cut of British beef.
After dining, make your way to Tequila Mockingbird, Putney’s favourite cocktail bar. Situated just a stone’s throw away from Putney Bridge, this buzzing bar is the perfect spot for after work drinks, date nights or a casual catch up with friends while the DJ plays your favourite tunes. If you’re looking for something a tad more adventurous, pop a few doors down to Putney Pies where you can find a secret tunnel that leads to an underground bar called The Vault. This intimate space is frequent to live music and is open until the early hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
Culture and Sport
Not only is The Half Moon a cosy pub, it’s also a fantastic music venue. It has been showcasing live music for decades and is always packed with locals on weekends. With performances on nearly every night of the week, there’s something for every musical taste.
If you’re a budding theatregoer, make sure to keep your eye on productions by the Putney Arts Theatre which is home to two companies, Putney Theatre Company and Group 64 Youth Theatre. Both are community theatre groups and members are a wide range of ages. They constantly put on a range of varied and innovative productions and all tickets can be bought online.
Another attraction of Putney life for active Londoners is its abundance of sporting opportunities. There are several rowing clubs situated along the Putney riverbank, catering for all standards from novice to international competitor. If you want to go one step further, Active 360 offer paddle-boarding classes. Here you’ll congregate in Barn Elms before making your way along the Thames, under Putney Bridge. Be warned – you may receive a few strange looks.
Shopping and Pampering
Whether you want to shop till you drop in the high street chains that line Putney High Street or would rather have some downtime reading a new book in the newly refurbished Waterstones, Putney has it all. Everything from Waitrose to Oliver Bonas is here, so there is no need to trek into Central London for a retail splurge.
Bookworms looking for some antique classics will also fall in love with the quirky hidden gem that is Hurlingham Books. This wonderfully old-fashioned shop has been selling great literature and quirky paperbacks to South West London locals since the 1960s.
If you’d rather treat yourself to some well deserved me time, Putney has no shortage of relaxation options. Head to the award-winning Escape Spa where you can have some time out from your hectic schedule. Book in for a massage, facial or body treatment and use their complimentary facilities such as the steam room.
If you’d rather a speedy manicure or pedicure, book in for a treatment at the nail-bar London Grace. You may even want to book a treatment table with a couple of friends and make your experience extra special by splurging on some fizz.