11 of the best things to do in Peckham
Peckham is fast becoming one of the best places to go in London for trendy bars, cafes, art venues and more. Therefore, it is no surprise that it has recently been named as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Time Out. To celebrate this creative and cultural hub of South East London we thought we would compile a list of our 11 favourite things to do in Peckham.
So what is there to do in Peckham we hear you say?
Have a peek inside one of Peckham’s coolest corridors; Holdrons Arcade
Holdrons Arcade which is part of Copeland Park dates back to the 1930’s. It was once a department store situated on Rye Lane which was once known as the ‘Golden Mile’, a destination shopping street, second to Oxford Street. Fast forward to 2018 and you find a small corridor to the right of Peckham favourite Khan’s Bargain Store which is known as Holdrons Arcade. This vibrant space houses around 20 small independent businesses. Taking a stroll down this buzzy corridor you will find local radio station Balamii, beauty hub Keash and Bambrows offering creative hair braiding and brow treatments and DKUK, a gender neutral hair salon and art space. A handful of fashion stores like Tens Studio, Little Sister and Wavey Garms, Done London and Childsdraw have also taken up residency in Holdrons. You will also come across Peckham Vision, a citizens’ action group that promote community action and help create opportunities for people locally and vegan cafe Deserted Cactus.
133 Copeland Road, Peckham, SE15 3SN
Head to an Art Gallery; South London Gallery
Peckham has always been home to artists and creative folk, especially as it is only a stone's throw away from Camberwell College of Arts and Goldsmiths. So it’s no surprise there are many galleries and art exhibitions in the area, with South London Gallery being the most well known and a must visit especially as the admission is free for everyone. The SLG which has been around since 1981, was established by philanthropist William Rossiter as a place to ‘bring art to the people of South London’. The gallery showcases the best in international and contemporary art, with its year round exhibitions and shows. South London Gallery has an on-site cafe The Habit that serves locally roasted coffee, brunch and lunch dishes as well as wine and craft beer. Most recently South London Gallery has opened The Fire Station - a new art space spread over four floors of the former Peckham Road Fire Station.
South London Gallery, 65-67 Peckham Rd, London, SE5 8UH
Watch a film at one of London’s cheapest cinemas; Peckham Plex
Peckhamplex is the independent cinema in Peckham everyone loves, it’s a Peckham institution. Established in 1994, Peckhamplex quickly became a favourite among South London film fans. It has six screens with a programme that features the latest blockbuster films as well as foreign language and independent films. The best bit about this no frills independent cinema is all tickets are £4.99 all day, everyday!
95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
Take a breezy stroll through the Japanese gardens in Peckham Rye Park
At first glance, Peckham Rye park seems no more than a huge green open space with a playing field, pretty standard as parks go however, as you walk deeper into the woodland you will come across some beautiful and well preserved gardens and wildlife conservation areas. Peckham Rye Park boasts two gardens - the Japanese garden which dates back to 1908 with a Japanese shelter and bridge together with many distinctive Japanese plants. The other is the Sexby garden in the centre of the park. Named after the designer Lt-Col. JJ Sexby this garden is designed in four quarters with a decorative fountain in the middle. You will also find ornamental flower beds, a bowling green, conservation area and a serene lake surrounded by weeping willows. The Round cafe in the park has recently been refurbished alongside the newly renovated children’s adventure playground.
Peckham Rye Park & Common, Strakers Road, London, SE15 3UA
Jump on the South London Soul Train at The Bussey Building
If you’re visiting Peckham for the night then you have to check out the legendary South London Soul Train at the CLF Cafe aka the Bussey Building. The South London Soul Train is London’s biggest soul night runs every Saturday night until 5am. The night is spread across the multiple floors of the Bussey Building with various DJ’s and music from Funk, Soul to Rare Groove and Disco. Doors open at 10pm and tickets are £5-£13 in advance or £15 on the door. This is a soul night you have to check out at least once if you’re partying in Peckham.
Block A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST
Sip on cocktails whilst gazing at the London skyline at Near and Far bar in Peckham Levels
Peckham Levels - which spans across the six floors below Frank’s bar is fast becoming Peckham’s trendy food and drink hub. On the sixth floor you will find Near and Far bar - the team behind the Magic Roundabout have transformed the bar into a buzzy space adorned with retro furniture, palm prints, disco balls and a warm neon glow. If you are feeling peckish you can head to one of the many street-food stalls on levels six such as chicken wings from Drums & Flat, poke bowls from Lords of Poke, falafel burgers from Nandine and vegan pizzas from Pickywops. If you are looking for more of a dining experience then check out the tasty vegetarian vegan restaurant Wildflower, a canteen which by night morphs into Ghostnotes - a late night bar and music venue.
Peckham Town Centre Carpark, 95A Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST
Tuck in to some cheap, filling and delicious Peckham street food
Peckham is leading the way for London diners - with eateries of all different styles and cuisines. But what about Peckham street food vendors? If you are looking for quick, tasty and cheap food in Peckham then try out Asian takeaway a small shack that contains a tandoor (big clay like oven) where they cook fresh naan, kebabs, and a have a vast array of curries - a mix of meat and veggie, think chicken, mutton, spinach, chickpeas and lentils. Or hunt down Salas a food truck serving Turkish inspired wraps - choose from a toasted flatbread wrap of either falafel, chicken shawarma, lamb merguez/shawarma or spiced halloumi, all served with a choice of daily prepared dips (£5/£6). Another favourite is Yada’s - a humble Kurdish restaurant serving delicious authentic Kurdish delicacies such as chicken shawarma served with garlic lemon, kubba (rice patties stuffed with lamb and nuts) and giant flatbread, called Kalana.
Knock back a few cocktails under the Peckham Arches; Peckham Springs
Peckham Springs is one of the best bars in Peckham. Tucked underneath Peckham railway arches is an atmospheric bar with good music and great cocktails. The venue has two bars and a covered outdoor area adorned with festoon string lights. As well as a bar, Peckham Springs is also a space which plays host to many local events, most recently being part of the new Kerb X Peckham weekly market. Every week Peckham Springs invites the best food traders to cook on the premises - currently they have JD’s, Asian inspired burgers like Korean fried thigh burger or Korean Fried tofu burger.
22A Blenheim Grove, Peckham, SE15 4QN
Grab a few beers at a local microbrewery; Brick Brewery
This local microbrewery under the Peckham Rye railway arches started life in founder Ian’s Peckham Shed! Brick Brewery now has a ‘Taproom’ with indoor and outdoor seating where you can sample the beers straight from the brewery. Try Peckham IPA, Peckham Rye, Kinsale best bitter, Peckham Pils, Peckham Pale and Blenheim Black. As well as craft beers, you can also munch on a burger from their permanent food resident Slow Richie's. Run by two Peckham locals serving up BBQ meat, burgers (veggies options available) and hot sauces made from the Brick Brewery Beer.
Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL
Party all night long at Peckham’s late night bars
Luckily Peckham caters for those late night revellers. If you are looking for Peckham bars that are open late, head to the retro arcade bar The Four Quarters which is open until 2am or the Prince of Peckham pub which has a variety of live DJ’s on a Friday and Saturday banging out the tunes until 2.30am on the weekend. Still not late enough? Then it’s time to head to late night bar and music venue Tola or a local favourite Canavan’s pool club, an intimate space with great DJ’s and cheap booze. Both bars are open until 4am. The Peckham club open the latest is the CLF Cafe aka the Bussey Building - a popular creative warehouse which turns into a vibrant club - you can party the night away until 5am!
Have a browse at the cute shops down Bellenden Road
Leafy Bellenden Road just off Rye Lane known as ‘The village’ is one of Peckham’s most aesthetically pleasing neighbourhoods. Not only is is home to some of Peckham’s best restaurants; South Indian restaurant Ganapati, The Begging Bowl for Thai sharing plates and Artusi for contemporary Italian dining but also lovely independent clothing boutiques like D.A.Y, Form SE15 and vintage shop Threads. You will also find the picturesque grocer The General Store, quality butchery Flock and Herd and artisanal coffee shop Anderson & Co. Come armed with you camera as Bellenden road has some colourful street art. You will come across the beautiful Windmill mural by Walter Kershaw and an enormous rat-like whippet on the side of The Victoria Inn pub by Belgian artist ROA.
Okay, as you have made it this far, we have thrown in a bonus 12th suggestion…
Try Mr Bao’s buns - they are delicious!
If you are visiting Peckham then you have to try Mr Bao’s steamed buns. This contemporary Taiwanese-style restaurant serves up a variety of mouth-watering hirata buns filled with stuffed with delicious fillings like slow braised pork, beer marinated prawns and shiitake mushrooms. Mr Bao is a buzzy restaurant, simply decorated with wooden table tops and white washed walls. The queues outside Mr Bao prove this joint is a popular choice for locals.
293 Rye Ln, Peckham, SE15 4UA