As recently as five years ago, if you’d put Peckham – the fictional home of Del Boy and Rodney Trotter with its high rise blocks and troubled history of crime (10-year-old Damilola Taylor was tragically stabbed to death with a broken beer bottle here back in 2000) – on the list of London’s hotspots, chances are you would have been laughed out of town.
But that was then and this is now. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s all going on down south. Make no mistake: Peckham has unquestionably become one of London’s hippest, hottest postcodes – packed as it is with independent (there’s not a chain in sight) cutting-edge clubs, cafes, rooftop bars, restaurants, galleries and gigs.
Ready to cross the river? TNT shows you the way to go…
Cultural and entertainment options abound – it’s simply a matter of choosing your pleasure in Peckham. But – since you ask – TNT recommends Bold Tendencies (www.boldtendencies.com) – a not-for-profit commissioning organisation founded in 2007 that’s famous for its annual summer arts festival.
Meanwhile Bussey Building (www.clfartcafe.org) – once a derelict Victorian warehouse – is now a hive of activity and home to a pop-up theatre, yoga studios, restaurant, rooftop bar and, during the summer, the Rooftop Film Club (www.rooftopfilmclub.com/). Situated on the top floor of the Bussey Building, this is where hipsters flock to enjoy their films al-fresco.
Over on Peckham Road, The South London Gallery is a modern gallery attached to No 67 (www.number67.co.uk) – a wonderful restaurant that, under the hem of Nick Hurdman and Hamish Pritchard, is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the capital’s best kept culinary secrets.
Other attractions include the lovely Sterling Prize-winning Peckham Library – designed by top architect, Will Alsop – mural mosaics by Royal Academician, Tom Philips, bollards by local boy Antony Gormley (the sculptor best known for his ‘Angel of the North’ sculpture in Gateshead) and shocking pink street-lights courtesy of fashion guru Zandra Rhodes.
Peckham is heaven for London food lovers – with a new restaurant or bar seemingly opening every week. Standouts include Thai street food restaurant The Begging Bowl (www.thebeggingbowl.co.uk) and Southerden (www.southerden.com), which specialises in divine doughnuts, breads and other sweet and savoury treats such as the Choumert bun. Created by Southerden’s owner and pastry chef, Mel Southerden, the creamy choumert – best described as a cross between a cronut and a sweet bun – has been named after the area’s own Choumert Road.
For an excellent cold-brew coffee served in an old glass Coke bottle which you can take away, look to Lerryn’s (220 Rye Lane, SE15) while Ali Baba Juice and Matcha (115a Rye Lane, SE15) is the perfect place to get some Vitamin D in your diet.
For all that, Campari bar Frank’s Cafe (www.frankscafe.org.uk) – the brain child of Frank Boxer, grandson of foodie writer Arabella Boxer – is arguably the place that has helped put the SE15 postcode on the map, helping draw trendy creative types who have been priced out of Dalston, Hackney, Hoxton et al to the area. Perched atop the 10th floor of Peckham multi storey car park, Frank’s has become one of the most popular places to salute the South London skyline with a cold beer in hand – something the queue that invariably snakes half way around the block – attests to.
Shop to it
The local council has designated Rye Lane – Peckham’s main, multi-cultural shopping street – a conservation area and, with the help of £1,675 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is looking to restore historic facades.
Away from the bustle of Rye Lane, Bellenden Road boasts Threads (www.facebook.com/vintagethreadspeckham) – a fun to browse retro store owned by mother and daughter Jane and Tara Postma – and Review bookshop. Run by Peckham Literary Festival creator, Roz Simpson, and author Evie Wyld (a Grantas Best of Young British Novelist who has lived in SE15 since she was nine), it’s the kind of bookshop you’ll wish you lived around the corner from.
A disused rail track is being turned into an elevated ‘greenway; – a 1km long park terminating at Kirkwood Nature Reserve that’s being billed as London’s answer to the New York High Line (www.peckhamcoalline.strikingly.com).
For now, though, Peckham is flanked by two large, public parks: take a bow Common and Burgess Park and Peckham Rye Park (www.peckhamryepark.org), both of which have benefitted from a recent revamp. If you prefer your parks smaller, wander to Warwick Gardens off Lyndhurst Way.
Peckham is a mere four miles’ south-east of central London with Camberwell to the west, Walworth and Elephant and Castle to the north, New Cross to the east and East Dulwich to the south. Trains run to Peckham Rye from London Bridge (10 minutes) and Victoria (16 minutes). Alternatively take the Thameslink (www.thameslinkrailway.com) to Peckham Rye from Farringdon (23 minutes), St Pancras (26 minutes) or Blackfriars (17 minutes). There’s also a service from London Bridge to Queens Road Peckham Rail Station that takes approximately eight minutes. Both Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham Rail Station are on the Overground and in Zone 2.
Planning on putting down roots in Peckham? If you want to purchase a one-bedroom flat in Peckham you’re looking at average price of £349,000, with a two-bedroom flat priced at £454,000 and a two- bedroom house at £598,000. (Source: Rightmove). Rental rates hover around the £1,216 a month mark for a one-bedroom flat and £1,506 a month, for a two bedroom flat.