South East London’s loop

By | Art & Design
Image Courtesy of MOCA London

London Overground's new spur completes the final stage of a £1.5 billion investment in the orbital railway around the capital

Tube-free South East London may soon see more connection to the capital’s public transport network thanks to the “Ginger line” extension from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction.

There are many interesting and innovative places to visit along the hipster curve including Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich, already popular with artists and actors. Peckham’s high profile residents include actress Olivia Coleman while its high profile buildings include Alsop-designed Peckham Library, which won the Stirling Prize in 2000. Bellenden Road, with its independent shops and cafes, seems to be the arty heart of Peckham.

Peckham Library London

Local journalist Bethan Ryder (news editor of Livingetc) has watched the area evolve. “Review is a fab independent bookstore owned by novelist Evie Wyld, who also runs the Peckham Literary Festival.” There’s a flourishing restaurant scene too: “They’ve revamped The Rye pub, owned by the same peeps as The Victoria, my favourite gastropub. Petitou is a nice cafe on Choumert Grove,” adds Ryder.

Other art-related highlights on the new loop include the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Peckham Rye) and the unique Horniman Museum (Denmark Hill). Brainchild of a wealthy Victorian tea trader, the collection consists of anthropological and zoological artefacts, including giant ostrich bones and elephant skulls. The 16-acre gardens are a treat with their stunning views of the city.

South East London View

Photo: Richard Bence

The local Peckhamplex cinema in Rye Lane (with summertime Frank’s Campari Bar on the roof) is owned by John Reiss, executive chairman of Soho’s Premier Public Relations, which handles Daniel Craig. It’s may be the most affordable cinema in London (tickets are £4.99) and Reiss has brought in film expert Marianne Gray to put on more independent movies.

Love Walk South East London

Denmark Hill is the next location along the cool loop which bring one straight into the heart of arty Camberwell, home to singer Florence Welch of indie rock band Florence and the Machine. Local artist Brian Adam Merry has a studio at Clockwork, which is next door to another studio called Coldharbour where one may buy artwork directly from the artists. ”There’s a little bit of a buzz about the place”.

Artist Brian Adam Merry of Clockwork

On the foodie front, Camberwell’s coolest pub may be without doubt The Cambria. “The decor is amazing and you wonder what it’s doing there!” says Merry. “We always have our Christmas party there.” Nearby Angels and Gypsies on Camberwell Church Street, brings a taste of Spain to SE5. The South London Gallery may also a great spot and there is a fabulous cafe next to it.

Little Cat Cafe South East London

The new spur aims to give people access to some of London’s most beautiful and undiscovered parks, including Ruskin Park, which has unexpected views of London’s skyline (including the Shard and Big Ben). In addition, Myatt’s Fields seems to be pretty with its cute Little Cat Cafe and bandstand. With the new rail link and an ever-increasing influx of arts crowd trendies, Shoreditch and Islington had better watch out. It seem like it may all be happening south of the river.

What other areas of London are up and coming?


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