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Talk about a transformation! From a former and largely forgotten industrial area, Battersea has bloomed into one of London’s trendiest destinations, with a new riverside village, luxury apartment complexes and some of the capital’s most gorgeous green spaces.
Overlooking the River Thames and rubbing shoulders with neighbouring cosmopolitan Chelsea, find out all about all the best activities and things to do in Battersea, South London.
Things to do in Battersea, London
1. Battersea Park
One of London’s biggest and best green spaces, Battersea Park has a number of attractions and beauty spots including a boating lake (complete with cafe), tea gardens, a children’s zoo as well as ponds and fountains.
Perfect for picnics and weekend walks, this 200 acre site also has an art gallery (the Pump House) and bands-stand as well as several food and drink outlets dotted around the park. Each November, Battersea Park also hosts one of London’s biggest firework displays
2. The London Peace Pagoda
A little bit of Asian culture and beauty on the banks of the River Thames, Battersea Park is home to the London Peace Pagoda. Built in the 1980s, this is one of 80 peace pagodas located around the world constructed as part of the same peace project.
With four bronze gilded statues representing various stages of Buddha’s life and a view overlooking the river and surrounded by trees and green lawns, this is obviously one of the most serene settings in London. It is also very popular too with keep fit enthusiasts and personal trainers too – the steps leading up to the pagoda often seem like the stairs scene in Rocky!
The London Peace Pagoda is over 30 metres high and was the second to be installed in the UK after the first was unveiled in Milton Keynes in 1980.
3. Battersea Power Station – Housing Development and Village
Nowhere in London has been through quite as much change in recent years as the area in and around Battersea Power Station.
Once an industrial powerhouse that supplied a fifth of London’s electricity, the Power Station itself has now been transformed into luxury flats and apartments whilst still retaining the character of the original building. The iconic four tower columns of the station as seen on the front cover of the classic Pink Floyd album Animals are still retained.
The whole area around Battersea Power Station is slowly being transformed to give it a riverside village feel, with new bars, restaurants, cinema and a theatre all becoming part of the complex – it is quite easy to spend a day eating and drinking your way around the complex here.
If you want to learn more about the history of the area, there is a Battersea Power Station heritage trail map and app which takes you round Circus West Village, the first phase of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment.
4. The Coaling Jetty
Pier-less in terms of riverside views in Battersea, this awesome alfresco area suitable for BYO food and drinks (food stalls sometime open here for special occasions too). This former industrial jetty and wharf was built originally in the 1920s to enable vast quantities of coal to be quickly unloaded to help fuel Battersea Power Station in its industrial days.
With stunning views of the River Thames and nearby Chelsea across the river, the Coaling Jetty is a popular picnic spot and also a prime spot for events including the annual Battersea Park fireworks display, sports screenings and the Summer Showtime open air cinema (some of these may be ticketed).
5. Battersea Pubs
We’re busy at work on bringing you a dedicated guide to Battersea’s best bars and pubs but for the time-being, of all the Battersea public bars we’ve visited, these are our favourite pubs
Cold beer at the source always tastes Battersea…sorry… better, see. So Battersea Brewery is the perfect place to unwind after a walk along the Thames path. With ample indoor and outdoor seating, the brewery is located in the Arches Lane area, nickel nestled between Tonkatsu and Cinnamon Kitchen. The sheer number of beers on tap at any one time at Battersea Brewery is a delight and indoors, you can sit amongst the huge brewery vats.
Yes, you read that right – a Secret Garden garden (sort of) in the middle of urban Battersea. A pretty peculiar pub (in a good way), the Secret Garden bar has an outdoor seating area (with a marquee style roof so suitable for all weathers) where you can enjoy your drinks in caravans or disused taxi cabs. Bohemian as (with prices to match), this is one boozer that has bags of character.
A nice, neighbourhood pub located along Battersea Park Road, home to hearty home-cooked fare and a cute beer garden in the reared with themed huts and cabins, the Lighthouse is a warm and welcoming Battersea boozer (and their calamari is to die for).
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6. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Not so much an attraction or Battersea thing to do but Battersea is synonymous with its charitable enterprise the Battersea Dogs and Cats home, which has being rescuing and rehoming abandoned pets in various forms since the 1860s
In fact, as you leave on the train from Victoria Station, your main view out will be the Battersea Cats and Dogs home just past the River Thames, amongst all the development and new builds.
They often have Meet the Dogs / Meet the Cat days if you are serious about rehousing but pre-registration is mandatory and public visitors are not allowed.
7. Roti King Battersea
The incredibly popular and renowned Roti King now has a Battersea branch, handily located next door to Battersea Brewery (can we just say now that this is our idea of heaven?!
Located towards the end of Arches Lane at Circus West Village near Battersea Power station itself, this is one way of trying their fantastic Malaysian and Singaporean food without the massive queue you usually get at their original branch at Euston Station – good value and tasty as.
We’d obviously recommend their roti canai dipped in fish kari (veggie options also available) plus their char kway teow stir fried noodles.
8. Birdies Battersea
A little ‘Birdie’ recently told us about this marvellous new mini golf course. ‘Fore’ real – colourful crazy golf is now available at Circus West Village in Battersea courtesy of Birdies.
With bright lights and a neon backdrop as standard and a 9 hole course, this is a great way to combine a little sporting action with a cheeky craft beer or bite to eat – particularly with some of their midweek specials like a game of golf, burger and fries for £25.
There are oodles of eating out and drinking options located next to Birdies Battersea so you could easily make a day of it – very much our cup of ‘tee’.
9. Nine Elms Sunday Market
Open every Sunday from 8am to 2pm (arrive in style via the brand new Battersea Power Station tube line extension), the Nine Elms Sunday Market takes over the new Covent Garden Fruit and veg market (not to be confused with the Covent Garden in central London) with a variety of market and car boot stalls plus street food set-ups (although don’t believe their website that says it is 400 stalls – many of these are car-boot sellers).
Also known as the Vauxhall Sunday Market, this is within easy walking distance of Battersea Power Station too so plenty of options are nearby to celebrate any car-boot bargains or cheap as Sunday market purchases.
10. The Cinema in the Arches
The Cinema in the Arches (formally known as Archlight cinema) is Battersea’s newest cinema complex, situated within the shadow of the transformed Power Station area and underneath the railway line, making for an iconic and quirky interior.
With three screens and an eclectic line-up of the best of independent and mainstream movies, make a day of it and catch up on your cinema releases before heading to one of the nearby restaurants or bars nearby (Battersea Brewery is right next door – you’re welcome!).
11. Turbine Theatre
Located near to Battersea Power Station along Arches Lane, the Turbine Theatre opened in 2019 and is a public space by day and small theatre by night. Whilst is may be small in size (with less than 100 seats inside), it has an ambitious programming schedule with a combination of new productions and more established pieces.
12. Battersea Barge
A converted 1930s Dutch barge that now floats on the River Thames near to Battersea Power Station and Tideway Village, Battersea Barge is a bar and restaurant aboard a boat that has an incredible deck with million dollar views of London plus specialises in Swiss black beer and hand-stretched pizzas.
Regular events aboard Battersea Barge include comedy nights, live DJs plus it is a popular venue to hire for weddings (so make sure you check their social channels before visiting especially).
13. Go Ape Battersea
We have to admit that heights are not really our thing – we can do viewing platforms atop buildings or rooftop bars but flying foxes and shaky roof ladders just aren’t our bag. That said, if you are in the market for some aerial antics and high up walks, Go Ape at Battersea Park might be for you.
This is a terrific / terrifying (delete as appropriate depending on your mindset) treetop walk and adventure aerial course suitable for all ages with a zip wire. There is a cafe directly below which serves booze if you need a stiff pick-me-up afterwards!
With courses available for all levels (and quite the alternative team build day out too), this is one Battersea thing to do with real ‘altitude’.
14. Battersea Putt in the Park
There are 5 Putt in the Park locations in London and Battersea Park’s course has 12 holes (par 30 in total so no slacking on the back four).
Benefitting from the lush green setting and surrounding by tall trees (plus all the aerial apparatus from nearby Go Ape adventures), Battersea Putt in the Park is a fun Battersea day out and afterwards, you can enjoy freshly cooked pizza from the on-site cafe. Prices start from £11 per adult / round as of July 2022 with a 10% booking fee.
15. Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Little animals for little explorers! Located in Battersea Park where normally the most exotic animal you will see is a dog off a lead or aggressive pigeon, Battersea Children’s zoo is a treasure trove of critters and cute animals from chinchillas and chipmunks to emus and lemurs with an adventure playground included in the admission.
Fees start from £10.95 per adult and £8.95 per child as at July 2022. Check the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo website for specific feeding times.
16. Awesome architecture at Prospect Place
Whilst not strictly a Battersea activity or thing to do, if you are in the area and visiting Battersea Power Station, make sure you check out the incredible architecture of the Frank Gehry designed apartments at Prospect Place (if only we had a spare million or two).
Situated in the shadow of the Grade II listed power station, this is the very first UK housing project to be created by Gehry and consists of two crooked buildings with 300 apartments inside – certainly a destination place to live!
17. Albert Bridge
A beautiful 1930s bridge spanning the River Thames between Battersea and Chelsea, this is an incredibly ornate suspension bridge that is used as a backdrop in many films and TV series, and recently grade II listed. Keep any eye for the various decorations and adornments along the bridge span if you walk across, from golden galleons to coats of arms.
18. The Sky Pool at Embassy Garden
Whilst not strictly open to the public unless you are an acquaintance of an Embassy Garden resident, the Sky Pool is definitely worth a visit if only to gawp up at people swimming around from the ground, to see what all the fuss is about.
Loved and loathed in equal measures by local residents, the Sky Pool is a 25 metre transparent swimming ledge whereby you can look up and see people mid swim.
Controversially, the Sky Pool is only open to those residents who fully own or fully rent their flats meaning many neighbouring apartments are effectively priced out of using them (and apparently it costs a sh*t tonne in heating costs). Come and see what all the Sky Pool controversy is about – you can even grab an outside table in a nearby cafe to witness the spectacle.
19. District Speciality Coffee Shop
An Aussie inspired coffee shop located a Union Square with views of the USA Embassy (if spying is your thing), this cool looking caffeine pit-stop is a popular brunch spot frequented regularly by Battersea and Nine Elms residents.
With a huge outdoor sitting area and cool as interiors, this is the biggest of District’s three London coffee shops which also doubles as a neighbourhood bar in the evenings with occasional BBQ pop-ups.
20. Bunga Bunga
Chances are if you’ve been on a few hen-dos in London, it is likely you’ve visited Bunga Bunga, a quirky Italian diner with a legendary bottomless brunch offering (all the pizza and prosecco you can eat) plus crazy karaoke and a Sistine Chapel themed stairwell). Bunga Bunga Battersea is easy to find with its bright green exterior and vibrant fascia . There are several Bunga Bunga branches but Battersea is the original one and the best.
21. Visit London’s Newest Underground Tube station
As of December 2021, the recent expansion of the Northern Line has now reached and opened in both Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms (opened in September 2021) so if you want to visit a brand spanking new Tube station that is eerily quiet or are a fan of all things London Underground, this might be an interesting way to arrive at Battersea.
Note the Tube carriages themselves are still the old Northern line ones so the vehicle interiors are pretty grim.
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