Dip a toe into one of Herne Hill’s cosy caffs, perfect pubs or its lovely lido.
Why go there?
Because it’s the Stoke Newington of the south, just with slightly fewer beards.
Sounds very civilised. Any green space?
There’s plenty to keep fitness freaks happy here. With its 125 acres of grassland and tree-lined walkways, Brockwell Park is a perfect jogging spot. The park is also home to the beautiful art deco Brockwell Lido. If you’re feeling hardy, go for a dip in the (unheated) waters or just watch from the sidelines with a coffee in the light and airy Lido Cafe (Dulwich Road). Cyclists, on the other hand, will want to check out Herne Hill Velodrome (Burbage Road), one of the oldest cycling tracks in the can find out if you’re the next Victoria Wiggo. You’re not, but it’s worth a go, eh?
Phew, I’m exhausted.Where can I pile the calories back on?
It’s all about pub grub here. The Florence (Dulwich Road) is a popular spot for Sunday roast and has an impressive range of beers on offer, with three brewed on site. The Commercial (Railton Road) is cosier, with plenty burgers on the menu and a good selection of spirits and numerous craft beers. For something sweet, find a table in Blackbird Bakery (Railton Road) which has heaps of home-baking as well as fresh juice, doorstep sandwiches and even tasty treats for your pooch. If you feel jaded at the thought of yet another gastropub, try fish and chips from the award-winning Olley’s Fish Experience (Norwood Road), which offers ‘small appetite’ takeaway meals for a fiver.
And if I want to stay up all night?
Brixton has more offerings in this department, but you could trot along to Effra Social (Effra Road) for no-frills dancing until 1am on Friday and Saturday night.
And what if I’m after some retail therapy?
At Lowie (Dulwich Road) you’ll find cute knits and quirky jewellery, while bookish types will love the tiny Herne Hill Books (Railton Road) and foodies won’t be able to resist the salamis and gooey cheeses on offer at Mimosa Foods(Half Moon Lane). If you’re looking for beautiful retro furniture items, you should head to Bleu on Railton Road.
And if I only do one thing?
Take a stroll through HH’s popular Sunday market in the small square outside the station, where you’ll find coffee from Perks and White, baked goods from Love and Cake, plus vintage clothes and plenty of crafty bits and pieces. Look out too for the Frenchman who sells tartiflette, a cheesy Alpine dish that’s the perfect hangover cure.
By Gail Tolley , who prefers her icy cold water in a glass, next to her gourmet burger.