South London is pretty much built of little pockets of interesting discoveries, and East Dulwich is certainly one of them. Shapa Begum of Dulwich On View has chosen five secret East Dulwich spots to entice you onto the overground and into the area where you’ll find hotdogs, masterpieces and a lot of tea and cake.
‘On a cold, rainy afternoon, I always crave tea and cake, but there is only one tea room I would pop into: Le Chandelier. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by a warm smile from a friendly face. The tearoom is light, airy and meticulously clean. I love sitting back into one of the cosy armchairs with the tea menu, taking in the grand French and Middle Eastern decor and the beautiful chandeliers. On the menu you will find thirty-four varieties of loose leaf teas, all stacked in glass jars for curious customers to see. There are also various cakes and pastries on offer, from fresh tarts to meringues, as well as in-house baked fresh scones. Even though I do drink a lot of tea and try to be adventurous in my flavours, at Le Chandelier I always opt for vanilla (vanilla tea is my happy place) and a delicious cake to share. The tea is always reassuringly full-flavoured and is served in beautiful old fashioned crockery.’
‘I stumbled upon this bookshop inadvertently and was so glad I did. Rye Books is a quaint, small and cosy independent store on Upland Road, East Dulwich. This is my idea of a true bookstore, shelves bursting with words, a cosy plush velvet armchair in the corner and the feeling you can really take your time to choose and soak up the atmosphere. For bookish types, it’s a must-see! They have a small café in the store selling hot drinks and freshly-baked goods to accompany the good reads. The bookshop boasts fiction, travel, art and design, local, children’s, hard-to-find, and a selection of previously owned books.’
Dulwich Picture Gallery
‘Set in picturesque Dulwich Village, Dulwich Picture Gallery is England’s first public art gallery and was designed by Sir John Soane. I’ve seen some really good temporary exhibitions here, but never get bored of the amazing permanent collection packed with old masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Watteau, Gainsborough and Van Dyck. After touring the Gallery, I like to walk around the surrounding garden. It’s definitely a sophisticated oasis in south London and only a short walk away from the heart of the village and Dulwich Park.’
‘London is a beautiful city, not least from above, and you can take in the impressive panorama from Dawson’s Heights housing estate in East Dulwich. The striking design of the estate takes advantage of its hill-top location and the views across London are incredible. It’s quite a walk to get there, but worth seeing the chaotic, angular design of the estate up close.’
North Cross Road Market
‘You will find this small street market just off Lordship Lane, but don’t expect to see the traditional fruit and veg you might expect. There are a number of stalls selling everything from freshly baked bread and cakes, homemade specialist foods, organic meats, fresh fish and freshly ground coffee, to household furniture and decorative items, books and handmade jewellery. Food is definitely the main attraction at North Cross Road Market, and there is one stall that has a particularly big buzz about it. According to its fans, The Dogfather (a gourmet hot dog stand run by a charismatic man called Cooper) sells the best hot dogs in town.’