Photo: Nick Richards
A green and pleasant land, Brockley’s got plenty to keep you busy.
What’s the vibe?
It’s really very nice. Leafy, and all that sort of thing. A classic bit of Victorian and Edwardian London, which has recently felt the ‘Overground effect’, along the lines of nearby Peckham, as epitomised by the craft-ale Brockley Brewery on Harcourt Road.
Where can I get a bite to eat?
A deserved Time Out Love London Award winner last year, The Orchard bar and kitchen on Harefield Road is a cracking place for high-quality rustic grub, and the staff are super-nice, too. Round the corner, The Gantry on Brockley Road is popular with those who favour brunch (ie, all right-thinking people) and is blessed with a pretty garden.
Flickr: Ewan Munro
And a drop to drink?
Mr Lawrence on Brockley Road has been a local institution for donkey’s years (assuming that the donkey is in its midtwenties). It’s a classic Parisian-style wine bar with none of the ’80s coke-andred- braces associations of the term. It also does decent food. Next door is its impressive wine merchant operation, so you can keep the good French vibes going chez vous. Further up Brockley Road, The Brockley Jack is a colossal late-Victorian tanking house with a well-respected studio theatre attached.
How about somewhere to walk it off?
The picturesque and picturesquely named Hilly Fields is a delightful and surprisingly lofty green space offering great views across London. This year it’s hosting Art in the Park on Saturday June 6 as part of the Brockley Max arts festival. On other Saturdays, carry on down towards Lewisham Way and pay a visit to Brockley Market (10am-2pm, car park of Lewisham College). It has plenty of authentically mudcaked veg, hand-curdled cheese and pigsty-conditioned cider, plus tasty hot food from Hix’s Fishdog van and the awesome thing that is a Mike & Ollie lamb wrap.
And if I only do one thing?
We’ve saved the best till last. The Rivoli Ballroom is London’s last intact 1950s dancehall. It has a sprung floor, incredible Chinese-red decor and runs an intermittent programme of jive and swing evenings (the next one is on Saturday June 13). It has appeared in videos for Elton John, S Club 7 and Oasis, and is possibly the only venue in the world ever to have played host to a gig by The White Stripes and a pensioners’ tea dance in the same week.
By Chris Waywell, who once lived on Hilly Fields in a house built for Edwardian policemen. Evenin’ all.
Fancy a change of scene? Here’s the best bits of Chelsea.