29 year-old software developer and Time Out reader David Hawkins wanted to pay homage to the often forgotten delights of south east London. As a Camberwell resident, we asked him for the top five local spots in his ‘hood:
The bustling streets of south east London are lined with pubs, restaurants, art galleries, theatres, cafés, greengrocers, bakeries, fast food outlets and even a second-hand record shop. An artistic vibe pulsates through the community and, for an inner-city area, the people are remarkably friendly and accommodating. Welcome to Camberwell! While you’re here be sure to check out these local hot spots.
John Ruskin Park (above)
An oasis of quiet in a busy urban area, John Ruskin Park provides a picturesque setting for a relaxing meander or an afternoon’s sunbathing. Additional highlights include an ornamental wildlife pond, tennis courts, a couple of five-a-side football pitches, and (my personal favourite) a good old-fashioned bandstand.
Situated just off the vibrant Church Street, a walk down Camberwell Grove provides an impressive mix of genuine and mock Georgian architecture. Last year after Christmas, when the snow really started to fall, this felt like a scene from a Charles Dickens novel. In fact it’s so beautiful and historically interesting that the BBC felt it worthy to be part of its 2012 ‘The Secret History of Our Streets’ series.
A small, but intriguing modern art gallery with ingeniously utilised space, the South London Art Gallery is located next door to Camberwell’s world famous College of Arts. And if modern art isn’t really your thing, there’s an immensely popular café appended to the main building that warrants a visit.
Whether you order a full English breakfast, a light lunch or one of their wonderful soups, the Love Walk Café won’t disappoint. Aside from the delicious, reasonably priced food, the café offers a warm, cosy dining environment perfect for catching up with friends and an excellent spot to watch the world go by when the sun comes out.
Located smack bang in the heart of Camberwell, the Tiger is a popular choice with local residents. Its cheap chic, run-down interior makes you feel like you could be in east Berlin, while the reasonably priced drinks, home-cooked food and friendly bar staff make drinking (and eating) here an easy-going pleasure.
And finally, a few other local gems that didn’t make the top five but are well worth a look:
Camberwell Free Film Festival (Every March)
Camberwell Arts Festival (Every June)
The Sun of Camberwell (Pub)
Angels & Gypsies (Spanish restaurant)
FM Mangal (Turkish restaurant)
Wuli Wuli (Chinese restaurant)