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Peckham stands proud in South London, a marvellous melting pot of authentic and inexpensive international cuisine, arty alley-ways and the repurposing of industrial enclaves into some seriously cool bars, rooftop restaurants and creative, community spaces.
From Europe’s first sake brewery to retro arcades and colourful parades, here are the top things to do in Peckham, South London.
Things to do in Peckham
1. Peckham’s Rooftops
Right now, Peckham’s rooftop scene is off the charts, renowned for its range of roof raves (try saying that after several cocktails), all with stunning views of the London city skyline. The best Peckham rooftops include:
Frank’s Cafe – Bold Tendencies
The original and most popular rooftop bar and social space in Peckham, Frank’s is situated on the top floor (outdoors) of a car-park building. Not a lot has changed since it began back in 2009 staying true to their roots; visit on any sunny summer afternoon and you’ll be hard pushed to find a spot to sit, such is its popularity. With a main island bar and plenty of seats (plus ample tarmac) to enjoy, enjoy a cold beer or nifty negroni for one of London’s best and most authentic sunset sessions.
Bussey Rooftop Bar
We quite like the Bussey Rooftop building set-up with its 360 degree views and highest viewpoint – whilst often seen as a plan B destination if nearby Frank’s Cafe is too full or crowded. Bussey Rooftop Bar has a character all of its own and if anything, the vista here is better as you can also see everyone enjoying the sunset at nearby Franks. Note the Bussey Rooftop Building bar isn’t open all year round so do check their website before venturing out, if you are visiting especially.
Hoping to rival Franks and the Bussey building as the most radical rooftop and hip hang out, Skylight is open all year round, with igloos at Christmas and alfresco floral decks in the summer months.
From bottomless brunch weekends to live music and performances plus hot desking and co-shared workspaces in the week, Skylight Peckham has it all (plus they have a sister site at Tobacco Dock in Wapping).
2. Brick Brewery
One of South London’s most popular and well-known tap-rooms, Brick Brewery (near Peckham Rye station) has a wide range of craft beers with an outdoor seating area out front and a smaller indoor area. Founded in 2013 and often with over 20 of their own (and guest) lines on tap, this taproom used to be their brewing operation but has since moved down the road.
We’ve been to the Brick Brewery a couple of times and it has always been heaving, particularly in the summer when the beer garden at the front has been full of friends and families so booking in advance is recommended. They also have a Greek street food stall in the garden – Mikos Gyros.
3. Kanpai London Sake Brewery & Taproom
A little taste of Japan in the heart of Peckham, we first discovered Kanpai (meaning ‘cheers in Japanese) London Sake Brewery taproom one Saturday afternoon in the summer, and managed to grab the last remaining tables outside. We weren’t sure what to expect as we don’t really drink sake, but they also have Japanese beers on tap like Asahi.
Founded in 2016 by a husband and wife team after a trip to Kyoto and billed as the UK’s first sake brewery, Kanpai taproom is located on an industrial estate (so it must be cool) near the Bussey building. You can’t miss it – just look for the awesome street art outside the main doors. Brewery tours at Kanpai are also available on Saturdays.
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4. Peckham Riviera
2022 UPDATE: Peckham Riviera is now permanently closed
Based between the bridges of Peckham Rye station, Peckham Riviera brings a spot of sunshine to South London. With a green as oasis of a courtyard and an awning to ensure all weather drinking is on point, Peckham Riviera has the feel of a work-in-progress garden centre that does a sideline in serving craft beers and cocktails.
Fancy the flicks or catching up on your cinema releases? Peckhamplex in Rye Lane is one of the cheapest cinemas in London (independent as well), with tickets starting as low as £4.99 for the earlier sessions. Opened in the early 90s and with 6 screens and up to 15 different movies a week, you can clearly see why the locals love Peckhamplex so much.
6. Peckham Levels
A space for the local community, artists and independent sellers, Peckham Levels is a bustling, seven storey building (part of a car park believe it or not), home to numerous stalls, pop-ups, bars and restaurants. Half the fun here is exploring as you never know what to expect around each corner (just pick a floor at random when you jump in the lift – although levels 5 and 6 are where most of the fun happens).
Home to over 100 small businesses and eateries, Peckham Levels street food highlights include Indian street food from Boxwallah, middle eastern fare from Nadine and juicy as joy from Plantain Kitchen. Every time we go, we discover something new from Plonk Crazy Golf (now sadly closed down) to new tattoo or yoga studios.
7. Copeland Park and the Bussey Building
A creative community hub of buildings, studios combined with bars, restaurants and street-food start-ups, Copeland Park and the Bussey Building are home to some of the best things you can do in Peckham. Every day of the week, you’ll discover events, activities or drop-ins aimed at all ages and abilities.
One of the highlights is Holdron’s Arcade, an alleyway of assorted stalls, shops and pop-ups (they bill themselves as Peckham’s ‘corridor of wonders’ – cute!). The Bussey Building Rooftop bar also sometimes has a pop-up cinema.
8. The Four Quarters Peckham
With three London locations (Peckham, Hackney Wick and Elephant and Castle) plus a Bristol off-shoot, the combination of vintage arcade and gaming machines with craft beers is definitely on trend and ‘game on’ – Peckham Four Quarters was the first, and London’s original arcade bar. With over 15 gaming machines dating from the 1970s to the early 2000s, enjoy a pint with Pacman or an ale with Asteroids – just don’t put your glass down or it might get Tekken etc…
9. Peckham Salvage Yard
Housed in the Copeland Park and Bussey Building industrial estate area, the Salvage Yard in Peckham is South London’s largest indoor flea market selling all manner of retro and vintage fare. With between 40 and 50 stalls selling an amazing array of furniture, homeware, collectables and clothing, have a rummage and go home with a bargain.
Note that since COVID-19, days have been irregular but markets at the Salvage Yard generally happen on selected Saturdays and Sundays.
10. Cinema at The Montpelier pub
What is better than a pub? We’d say a classic British boozer that also boasts its very own 30 seat screening room – welcome to the Montpelier in Peckham. As well as fine British fare and craft beers galore, the Montpelier has its own Back Room Cinema – we wonder if they do pub themed showings like Ale’s Well That Ends Well or The Hangover?!
A local pub that prides itself with an organic and locally sourced menu, time to pop in for a pint at the Montpelier pub next time you’re in Peckham.
11. The Begging Bowl (Thai fusion restaurant)
Tucked away on a leafy street just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of central Peckham lies this hidden gem of a restaurant. Named after the alms pots (or begging bowls) that Buddhist monks carry, the Begging Bowl serves creative Thai inspired food with a modern spin.
The menu has around 14 small plates options that are designed for sharing (they recommend ordering 5 dishes between two people), and has an excellent range of vegetarian and vegan options. You can order unlimited steamed and sticky rice for just £3 per person which is a nice touch.
We loved the flavours and textures from the vegan banana blossom dish which is served with white asparagus, enoki, peanuts and chilli jam dressing, and we also enjoyed the fresh and zingy cured cod, green mango, lemongrass and citrus chilli dressing plate. The Pandan Daiquiri cocktail is worth a try and has hints of fresh Thai basil and lemongrass.
Service is super friendly and we highly recommended booking ahead as this place is always packed!
12. South London Gallery
A free to visit, contemporary art museum with displays, exhibitions, performances and screenings, the South London Gallery’s emphasis on new work by emerging international and British artists often by those who have yet to open a solo show in London previously.
Established in 1891 on its current site on Peckham Road, the South London Gallery has expanded in recent years to include Art Block – a space for community art on the Sceaux Gardens estate and the Fire Station gallery (also on Peckham Road).
13. The Kiln Rooms
‘Pot-ty’ about Peckham? Well, we all know ceramics are cool so why not combine your south London adventure with a trip to the Kiln Rooms, primarily located at Copeland Park, with several ceramics studios and classrooms (also at Bellenden Road Arches and Peckham), all aimed at different abilities from newbies to experts.
With a strong community spirit, The Kiln Rooms has a big impact on the local arts scene and several times a year, exhibitions of members’ work are also held across their various sites.
14. Peckham street art
London has some of the best street art in the world and Peckham is no exception. Recently, Japanese art trio Fate, Imaone and Suiko created a huge vivid and vibrant mural on the side of the Copeland Park and Bussey Building, near to the aforementioned Kanpai brewery street art mural.
In October of this year (2021), French born London based street artist Zabou also painted an incredible mural of local legend Leanne Pero, which can be found at Peckham Levels. All around in Peckham, particularly around the High Street, Peckham Levels and Bussey, awesome street art is abound so keep your eyes open when you visit.
15. Peckham Bazaar restaurant
A culinary, cheap as gem located on Consort Road, Peckham Bazaar offers the best Middle Eastle fusion of Turkish, Greek, Iranian and Albanian dishes all home cooked over an open charcoal fire. Marvellous mezze and a menu that changes daily, combine your meal with their legendary Peckham Negroni which includes Greek vermouth.
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