When it comes to finding interesting things to do in London…
…turns out it’s all heading south.
And in this context, that’s actually a very good thing – because it means there’s plenty to get up to in South London. And while locals have known this for years, Peckham in particular is becoming a destination for Londoners from all over – unsurprising, seeing as it’s home to some of the best neighbourhood restaurants, great bars, classic local haunts and some of the most thriving artistic communities in the city.
So in honour of SE15, here are the best things to do in Peckham, from intimate orchestral concerts in a multi-storey car park, to hidden cinemas; bustling markets to bars beneath retro games arcades…
BROWSE THE STALLS AT PECKHAM SALVAGE YARD
Whether you’re in the market for 1940s ice skates or upcycled lamps, you’ll probably find it at Peckham Salvage Yard – the biggest covered vintage market in South London. Home to a mere 40 different traders – from ceramics artists to vintage stores and locals having a clearout – there’s a bit of everything here, as well as music and freshly baked goods to keep you going. Stop off at Copeland Social or Oi Spaghetti + Tiramisu across the car park to refuel afterwards. READ MORE
Details: Copeland Park, Copeland Road, SE15 3SN | Check upcoming dates HERE
CATCH A FILM IN A SECRET CINEMA
Open the right door inside The Montpelier pub, and you’ll find Peckham’s dinkiest cinema. Dedicated to showing films that are a little off the beaten track, expect indie flicks, documentaries and international films to grace the screens – then discuss them over a slap-up roast in the pub.
Details: 43 Choumert Road, SE15 4AR | Check out the screening schedule HERE
WATCH THE SUN GO DOWN AT FRANK’S
The bar that sparked a thousand spin-offs: Frank’s was the original bar-on-a-car-park-roof. And while there are now plenty others in London; they say the oldies are the best. Test the theory with a cocktail spritz in hand as you watch the sun go down over Peckham, before diving into BBQ’d pork neck and roasted cauliflower. READ MORE
Details: 10th Floor, Peckham Multi-story Carpark, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | Currently closed for the winter
RECREATE A CLASSIC TEEN DATE AT PECKHAMPLEX
Tickets are a fiver, all day every day, and it’s right opposite McDonald’s. Just saying.
Details: 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | Check screenings HERE
GET COMPETITIVELY NERDY AT FOUR QUARTERS
Street Fighter II was already great when you were 10. The addition of craft beers, 14 other arcade cabs, pinball machines, a room filled with retro games consoles, a secret basement bar and club and a steady stream of hot dogs, loaded fries and grilled cheese sandwiches… is nothing short of genius. READ MORE
Details: 187 Rye Lane, SE15 4TP | Open Mon-Thur from 5.30pm, Fri from 5pm, Sat from 1pm and Sun from 3.30pm
BROWSE THE SHELVES AT HOP BURNS & BLACK
For those days when you have an inexplicable craving for craft beer, hot sauce and some new or vintage vinyl, no other shop will do. They stock over 350 bottled and canned beers from across the globe, as well as mead, natural wine, and small batch spirits. READ MORE
Details: 38 East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AX | Open daily
GET INSPIRED IN PECKHAM RYE
While in Peckham Rye park in the 1760s, artist William Blake claimed to have seen “a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” His sanity has been called into question. But angels or not, there is quite a lot of very pretty stuff to see in Peckham’s largest park. It’s 113 acres of green that split between the Park and the Common, and between them they pack in a Japanese Garden, an entire river, a skate park, a cafe, a pond, an outdoor gym, a bowling green, a wildlife garden, an adventure playground, and – thanks to the arboretum – quite possibly a partridge in a pear tree. Maybe.
Details: Strakers Road, SE15 (Entrances at Peckham Rye, Homestall Road, Colyton Road and Strakers Road) | Open from 7.30am daily, closes at sunset
WATCH A FILM BY SUNSET
You know, if you fancy upgrading from the Peckhamplex a little. READ MORE
Details: Block B Rooftop, Copeland Park and Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 4SL | Open Tues-Sun
FEEL CULTURED AT THE SOUTH LONDON GALLERY
One of the most eclectic, wide-ranging art galleries in London, the SLG houses a collection of contemporary works by artists from around the globe. It’s free all year round, and as well as the permanent collection boasts a series of visiting exhibitions, two garden spaces, a great café, and a recently opened annexe with even more artwork in Peckham’s listed Fire Station, built in 1867.
Details: 65-67 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH | Open Tues-Fri 11am-6pm, weekends 10am-6pm. Tours daily at 1pm and late openings till 9pm on last Friday of the month
STOCK UP AT THE GENERAL STORE
Go shopping 19th century style at Peckham’s most picturesque shop, the General Store. Shelves are stacked with seasonal fruit and veg, freshly-baked bread, beeswax candles and pantry essentials with an achingly cool retro aesthetic. Plus, they’re delicious, which helps.
Details: 174 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW | Open Wed-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-5pm
GET A SLICE OF PIE (AND HISTORY)
M. Manze is a London institution, serving traditional Cockney dinners of pie, mash and eels (jellied or stewed). Their Peckham spot has been going since 1927, and is one of only three shops left – and after over 90 years of service, it’s safe to say they’ve got the recipe down.
Details: 105 High Street, SE15 5RS | Open Mon 11am-2pm, Tues-Thurs 10.30am-2pm, Fri 10am-2.30pm, Sat 10am-2.45pm
CHECK OUT COPELAND PARK
Copeland Park is the beating heart of Peckham. A former industrial site, it’s now home to thriving independent businesses; including a tiramisù restaurant in a shed; the CLF Art Café (a classic Peckham night out); Bussey Rooftop Bar and cinema, the Rooftop Film Club; the UK’s first sake brewery; and a raft of arts spaces, exhibitions and one-off events, all hosted by locals.
Details: 133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN | Various opening times, find out more HERE
GRAB A MOCA
It may not look like much from the outside (apart from the ghost sign on the first floor), but the Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Peckham’s most colourful spots. Expect site-specific modern art, talks, performance pieces and workshops.
Details: 113 Bellenden Road, SE15 4QY | Open Thurs & Fri 2-6pm and Sat 12-4pm
VISIT BOLD TENDENCIES…
Bold Tendencies is an artistic collective that runs the rooftop floors of the Peckham central car park. Besides Frank’s bar, these levels play host to cultural highlights like the Multi-Story Orchestra, who play classical music inside the car park; a roof garden; and yearly commissioned artworks from emerging artists. Since 2016, for example, it’s been home to a bubblegum pink-painted stairwell entitled hi boo i love you, highlighting the “infantilization of culture” by “materialising the logic of social media trends”. Naturally, it immediately became one of the most instagrammed spots in Peckham.
Details: Peckham Town Centre Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
…THEN HEAD DOWN TO PECKHAM LEVELS
Now approaching its first birthday, Peckham Levels is pretty much your typical one year-old. Taking over six floors beneath Bold Tendencies, it’s home to a mere eight restaurants, a music stage, a yoga studio, a hairdressers, minigolf, a drop-in screen printing studio, 19 resident creatives (including zine collective Gal-dem), a local advisory service, a 3D printers, a therapist, a pottery, a drop-in creative ‘gym’, a dark room, and boutique jewellers. And three bars.
Details: Peckham Town Centre Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | Open daily
Planning a day in Peckham? Check out our guides to the Best Restaurants in Peckham and the Best Peckham Bars