In case you haven’t noticed, we love a good secret over here at Secret London HQ. Railway arches are fast becoming a thing and we’re impressed with these hidden gems. Who knew so many wonderful places could spring up from an old disused space underneath a railway arch? If you never knew about this trend, here’s a quick roundup of some of London’s best offerings.
1. Whirled Cinema
This could possibly be South London’s most exciting cinema because well, who could hate an intimate, cosy cinema with affordable membership? Not us! A big bonus is that this cinema is free of advertising and trailers, which means no 20 minute wait for your film to start. Whirled Cinema prides themselves on their diverse range of movies, spanning from modern hits to old classics. Another bonus is that your Oyster also doubles as your membership card, so spontaneous trips to the movies could most definitely be a thing.
259-260 Hardess Street, Loughborough Junction, London, SE24 OHN
2. The Bottle Shop
This disused railway arch in Bermondsey has been converted into a bar with the sole intention of bringing people better beer. We’re definitely not mad at this motto and with 400 different bottles of beer, The Bottle Shop is becoming a regular haunt for the best new pop ups and bar evenings. There’s seating for more than 50 people and on Saturdays, food is even available from Druid Street Market.
128 Druid Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 2HH
3. Hoxton Arches
This great event space is 2,500 square feet of hip East London aesthetic. This two room venue is on the edge of Shoreditch and next door to Hoxton overground station. Go down to check out their permanent art gallery but with their white walls and exposed brick, it’s easy to see why these arches usually house pop-ups, photo shoots and fashion shows.
Arch 402 Cremer Street, London E2 8HD, UK
4. E5 Bakehouse
This East London artisan bakery and coffee shop only use fresh, natural and locally sourced produce and ingredients. Located right under London Fields station, these guys even have their own mill on site! A woodfire oven is also a major point of temptation, as they make and serve up fresh sourdough pizzas on Sundays. Major brownie points. (They serve those up too!)
e5 Bakehouse, Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, London, E8 3PH
5. Hackney Walk
This is London’s first luxury outlet which happens to be housed in twelve formerly unused railway arches. Although home to restaurants and outlets offering up to 70% off, new pop ups are making use of these great spaces so keep your eyes peeled on upcoming events here.
Morning Lane, London E9 6LH
6. Vauxwall Climbing Centre
Who would’ve thought a climbing centre could fit under a railway? But Vauxwall have proven us wrong and have provided Zone 1 with their only dedicated climbing wall! Don’t expect any ropes or harnesses as this indoor bouldering experience is designed to help you focus on your strength, balance, technique and your brain power. They also provide lessons, workouts and even socials!
Arch 46 – 47a, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1SR
This Spanish tapas bar in Bermondsey’s railway arches prides itself on its unique interior and traditional feel. With floating jamon atop the bar *tempting much?* and all food under a tenner, this is the perfect bar to spend any well earned evening out. The menu offers a good selection of wines, cocktails and beer to compliment any little Spanish fiesta.
Lassco Ropewalk, Maltby Street, SE1 3PA
8. The Institute of Light
Hackney’s newest addition to their trendy railway arch scene; this space is described as “multi sensory” with a cinema, vinyl record store, café, Mediterranean canteen and even a film, music and photography bookshop. That’s enough hipster culture to shake your beaten beret at. Perfect for days spent ambling around but also great if you happen to fancy a glass of red and some mushroom arancini. I mean, who doesn’t right?
9. The Fields Beneath
Having recently ditched dairy, this eclectic coffee shop and bakery is housed right underneath the railway tracks of Kentish Town West station. Expect oat milk lattes and pain au chocolat served alongside ever-changing witty signs out front. One of the first fully vegan cafés in the big city, there’s a wide range of sandwiches, burgers, hot meals, breakfasts and of course, tempting pastries to sway even the meatiest of eaters.
52a Prince of Wales Rd, London NW5 3LN
10. Resident of Paradise Row
Only a 2 minute walk away from Bethnal Green station, this independent bar and restaurant is housed in the railway arches of Bethnal Green’s Paradise Row. Serving up all the bottomless brunch you could ever wish for and a mean Sunday roast (that’s even gluten free!), this haunt is perfect for drinks but definitely expect to stay for the food.
Resident of Paradise Row, Arch 252, Paradise Row, London, E2 9LE
Feature Image: Matt Brown via Flickr