Situated at the southern end of the Victoria line, bohemian Brixton is a wonderfully vibrant and diverse London neighbourhood with an array of awesome street-art, foodie delights from all over the world and many lively markets. A little more authentic than the usual tourist cliches such as overcrowded Covent Garden, Brixton has bags of flavour and grows on your more with every repeat visit. Here is our top things to do in Brixton guide:
Things to do in Brixton
1. Electric Avenue Brixton Market
One of the first places to visit after leaving the Underground station, this is an ideal place to start your Brixton adventure. Situated in an elegant Victorian crescent, the area is teeming with life and is awash with various market stalls selling the best of Caribbean, African and Asian fare – if you are a cassova connoisseur, you won’t have to ‘root’ around far to find it here.
As featured in the eponymous Eddy Grant song of the same name, it is also worth keeping an eye around Electric Avenue for the wonderful street art around here – on the day we visited, there was also a huge queue lining out onto the street at Healthy Eaters, a Brixton tradition and supposedly the best patties in Brixton.
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2. Brixton Village and Market Row
Every time we visit the area, we always head to Brixton Village as the food and drink choices here are fantastic and bar none. An eclectic epicurean experience, we often nom-nom okonomiyaki at Okan – there are three branches in Brixton with the Brixton Village one specialising in Osaka street food dishes such as Okonomiyaki and Yaki Soba (dishes are around £8 to £12).
There are foods from all over the globe from the sancocho of South America to Ghanian gourmet gems, numerous stalls selling fresh fruit and veg (plus cock soup!) plus clothing and gift shops. There are 100 traders in Brixton Village and given it is all undercover, you could quite happily spend a whole day here, rain or shine, hopping from one place to another, eating all manner of goodness.
3. POP Brixton
A local community space, full of shipping containers and temporary office space, Pop features lots of local businesses, from bars to barbers and radio stations to restoration specialists.
The food options are incredible – Koi Ramen is always popular and Baba G’s Bhangra burger looked gut bustingly beautiful. S11 Bar also has a nice beer garden as you enter the Pop compound, with several large alfresco tables bedecked with hanging baskets. Open all year round, Pop also hosts a regular events schedule offering everything from tai chi and yoga sessions to vintage jumble sales.
4. Brixton Brewery Tap Room
Although it may not win points for the originality of their name, South London’s Brixton Brewery does win awards for its beer has been around for several years, founded in 2013. Their core range are all unfiltered (their Electric IPA is particularly recommended) and they have been such a success story that they moved to bigger premises in 2018 – their taproom is open Wednesday to Sunday and usually has around 10 lines on tap.
5. David Bowie Brixton memorial
RIP, David Bowie – the world still mourns his loss and this mural, created by James Cochran in 2013, became a makeshift shrine immediately after Brixton boy Bowie’s untimely death in 2016, with many candlelit vigils being held here. The drawing depicts Ziggy Stardust from the album Aladdin Sane and is located directly opposite the Brixton Underground station exit. It has proved so popular that the council have had to install plexiglass over it to try and stop the tide of graffiti.
6. Brixton O2 Academy
One of London’s best known concert venues, this historic grade II listed building has been known by many names over the years. Starting at the Astoria in the 1920s, it has been called the Academy since the 1980s and played host to all manner of huge stars, from Coldplay to Madonna – we also saw Future Islands here recently and they were incredible. The 02 Academy Brixton regularly hosts club nights and comedy evenings when there is no touring band on. Another bonus is that the floor is sloped so that short people can easily see the stage (a problem Caroline has regularly!).
7. Ritzy Picturehouse Cinema
An awesome arthouse (ish) cinema that dates back from the 1910s, the Ritzy Picturehouse has five cinema screens, cafe bar (slightly pricey) and one of the most beautiful interiors of any London cinema (check out the ‘gold’ seats and plush red material in the main screen).
The Ritzy is renowned for its special events like Director Q&As, themed late screenings and kids’ cinema clubs. Spend a silver screen afternoon here enjoying the latest blockbuster or international documentary – the line-up can be quite eclectic.
8. Canova Hall
Once a sumptuous department store, Canova Hall was transformed and reopened in 2017 as an all day restaurant and cafe complex, with lush white-tiled interiors and a centre-piece island bar. We visited during February half-term and it was heaving – very popular with families in the daytime. Canova Hall also hosts weekend bottomless brunches and cocktail making classes, plus an impressive array of beers on tap, alongside their very own gin distillery – nice!
9. London Beer Lab
Ever fancied making your own beer? If not, seriously why not? This Brixton microbrewery makes your hop-infused dreams come true, allowing you to concoct your very own craft beer, following 5 different beer recipes in a 5 hour brewing session.
Afterwards, ale’s well that ends well as there is also a taproom onsite, with 14 lines available (which to be honest, will most likely taste better than your own beer-making efforts!).
10. The Brixton Courtyard
Big beats and outdoor eats come to Brixton with this new alfresco bar set-up from the brains behind Brixton Jamm. A beer garden and dining terrace by day and dance venue by night, some of London’s top DJs spin the decks on the terrace at the weekends.
The Brixton Courtyard comprises three bar areas (including ‘The Beach’ – but no sign of Leo Di Caprio) with new street vendors each week.
11. Brixton Black Cultural Archives
The UK’s national heritage centre for Caribbean and African people’s histories (including detailed information about the Windrush scandal), the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) is open Thursdays to Saturdays with free entry for the permanent exhibitions (charges may apply for the temporary exhibitions).
With a huge archive and collection plus regular events and educational activities, the Black Cultural Archives are very much invested in the local community and preserving the history of African and Carribean immigrants.
12. Brockwell Park and Lido
A lush, large Lambeth park, Brockwell not only boasts one of London’s greenest spaces but an incredibly popular outdoor swimming pool, Brockwell Lido.
Apart from an ideal place for picnics or outdoor events, Brockwell Park’s views of the city and downtown London take some beating and lunch on the terrace outside Brockwell Hall is one of the capital’s hidden gems. Try and coincide your visit with the Herne Hill Sunday farmers market – plan a picnic and grab the freshest produce from artisan stalls like Bread Ahead.
13. The Blues Kitchen
Brixton’s beloved BBQ hang-out and late night bar with a Cajun class all of its own, The Blues Kitchen has been around for years serving sublime soul food and hearty meals to the tune of rock and roll. What is not to like?
From ribs to wings and manner of things, arrive at the Blues Kitchen hungry and you won’t go home disappointed.
14. Brixton Windmill
Alas, this is London’s sole surviving operating windmill (there are others such as Putney Heath but they aren’t operational still) and you can visit the inside of Brixton Windmill by booking a tour. Over 200 years old (but not looking a day over 100), the windmill also has a pop-up cafe and volunteer millers are often on hand to show you how bread is made – use your loaf and start planning a visit soon.
Just so you don’t get confused, there is also a famous live music venue call the Windmill in Brixton so if you are meeting someone at either venue, make sure you clarify which first (although both have been known to involve some form of grinding so all good).
15. Dogstar / The Atlantic
Named after Keanu Reeve’s infamous band (not true but we like to think it is), Brixton’s Dogstar bar is a hoppy hangout that has recently undergone a massive refurbishment (and possibly is due to be renamed to the Atlantic in the near future) – gentrification eh?
Whilst there is less character and the DJ booth seems to have been eradicated, this is a nice Brixton boozer to hang out working your way through the many draft and craft beers on tap, in close proximity to Brixton Village.
Check out our other UK blog posts
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- The 10 best markets in London to visit
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- Ultimate guide to Walthamstow, London
- Top things to do in King’s Cross, London
- Ultimate guide to Tottenham, London
- Columbia Road Flower Market, London – a complete guide
- Maltby Street Market in London
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