Peckham – if you hadn’t noticed – is in. But unlike Shoreditch or even Dalston, there’s a good chance it will stay the hand of gentrification a little longer than its east London chums. Possibly because it’s south of the river, hopefully because of its own unique style. Follow our Peckham taxi driver’s guide and we’ll take you to the best cafes, restaurants and bars around. Over the past few years London’s young professionals have been moving to Peckham in their droves. Drawn in by lower house prices and an ever increasing desire to experience a more ‘genuine’ side of London, the area – which also benefitted from a £290m European grant – has completely transformed over the past twenty years. Addison Lee have been providing the people of London with a reliable, comfortable and safe service since 1975. Over that time we’ve grown with the ever-changing London landscape and have adapted to an increasingly diverse city with verve and enthusiasm. By offering our customers journeys that are up to 30% cheaper than some Peckham taxi services; never charging extra when we’re busy, and remaining a reliable and professional service throughout, we like to think that we’ve always shown a true commitment to being the best at what we do. Check out our Peckham taxi driver’s guide for the inside scoop on where to while away your days and nights while you’re in the area.
Where to drink
Part gallery, part patio, all bar. Peckham Springs is a well loved spot among locals largely for its vivacious outdoor summer vibes and its always excellent cocktails. Named after one of Peckham’s most famous son’s biggest scams, Peckham Springs is open Thursday through Saturday for all your street drinking type needs. Widely praised for its extensive and cheap (£6) cocktail menu, this is the kind of place you can easily lose an evening to. We say embrace that attitude and go for it. You’ll almost certainly not find a better place of its kind in all of London.
22a Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QN
One great way to get repeat custom is to hold a nightly happy hour that everybody knows about. Hugely popular with locals, Bar Story is found under the railway arches by Peckham Rye station. The drinks are terrific and inventive and the happy hour (runs from 6-7pm every weekday) makes trying them an affordable venture. On the outside you’ll find an industrial feel, warmed by the occasional fire-pit. While indoors you’ll uncover a cavernous network of arches. Lending the place an inviting subterranean feel. They also serve food and the pizzas are a particularly popular choice with their late night drinking crowd.
213 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL
The Bussey Building
Also known by its proper name the CLF Art Cafe, The Bussey Building is one of Peckham’s proudest features. Rescued from demolition in 2007, this art gallery, bar, cafe, music venue and theatre is simply one of the best places to hang out in south London. Every level of this multi-storey warehouse serves a different purpose. From stores selling old vinyl and comic books through to a bar proper both indoors and on its roof. Local resident will tell you that the Bussey Building serves as a lovely antidote to the more ‘tourist driven’ Frank’s over the way.
Roof B Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, SE15 4ST
Where to eat
Good pizza can be hard to find. Not when you’re in Peckham it would seem. Mama Dough is everything you want from a pizza restaurant. Classic and traditional enough in its cooking to satisfy even the most hardened pizza critic. The interior is bright and industrious enough to still rank well with the local trendsetters. All their ingredients are sourced carefully and locally. Including all their vegetables. Their coffee is made in Shoreditch and even their beer all comes for nearby breweries. These guys tick all the hipster boxes without ever feeling too snobby about it.
179 Queen's Rd, Peckham, SE15 2ND
If you’re into Mediterranean flavours and ingredients – and all the good they can do you – then get yourself down to Artusi. Its modest and economic use of flavours is reflected strongly in its bold but simple interior design. The slender menu is daubed onto the wall in chalk, the tables are simple but comfortable. But what we love the most about this place is the feel of the whole thing. Lots of new restaurants have popped up on Bellenden Road recently, but few come with so little mouth and so much muscle. Everything about it relies on strong culinary skills and excellent, friendly service.
161 Bellenden Rd, SE15 4DH
The Refreshment Rooms
For anyone seeking out a more legitimate and authentic Peckham experience, head over to the lively Refreshment Rooms. Set in a community building that it shares with an African restaurant, some afro-caribbean hairdressers and a studio and art space, The Peckham Refreshment Rooms is a charming little bistro with a heavy focus on affordable but excellent food. Most of the food here is served on smaller dishes mezze style. But there are no clear rules on how you should eat them so make sure you come with friends. We recommend a whole mess of food along with one of their lovely cocktails. They also have a decent wine list that deserves exploring.
Unit 3 & 4, 12 to 16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL
What to do
It may not be the most famous of London’s green spaces but there’s ample reason to make Peckham Rye a stop off on your trip around the area. Not only is it surrounded by trendy little bars, cafes, restaurants and shops; but the park itself a pleasant place to wind down from stressful city life. There are streams aplenty, ornamental gardens, ample woodland and even a lake to frolic around with all the abandon of your gleeful inner child. All of which combine to make Peckham Rye one of Southwark’s best kept secrets.
You will struggle to find a better cinema than Peckham’s own Peckhamplex. And not just because cinema tickets here are set at an astonishing £4.99 each, but also because since being established in 1994, this independent 6 screen cinema has been catering to everybody’s tastes. Which means unlike some indie cinemas, it doesn’t just show arthouse pictures. It also screens major blockbusters too. They also hold events and special screenings. Including quite a few Q & A sessions with directors, actors and producers.
95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
Love it or hate it (hipster locals tend to shun it), Frank’s is an important part of Peckham culture. This summer bar was one of the first in south London to embrace the idea of opening a drinking den on a car park roof. As a model that’s now been mimicked across not only London, but other UK cities too, it’s not hard to see that it was a success. And what’s not to love (except the crowds maybe)? A wide open space with plenty of room to drink and eat your afternoon away from. Lots of lovely views and if the weather is playing ball, a good place to get your tan on. It’s open Tuesday through Sundays every summer.
10th floor, Peckham multi-storey carpark, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST