Billed as one of London’s trendiest and most creative neighbourhoods, you’ll be hard pressed to ever find yourself bored when in Peckham. The home of Del Boy, John Boyega, Giggs and Florence and the Machine, this cherished pocket of South-East London is certainly popular, and for good reason.
Here you can find great pubs, world-class eateries, eclectic street art, record stores galore and one of the most aesthetically-varied streets in the whole of London. Below follows a rundown of eleven of the best things to do in Peckham. Welcome to SE15!
1. Browse the various different shops of Rye Lane
Arguably the beating heart of Peckham, Rye Lane offers you a complete sensory overload. There’s the smell of raw meat and fish from the market stalls that line the street, and pumping music from the hair and nail salons that never seem to close. Shops here sell everything under the sun – from second hand bric-a-brac to vintage clothing – and there are craft beer spots and places to brunch at further down towards the Rye end. The result is one of the most unique and culturally-diverse spots in the whole of London.
2. Enjoy a wander around the Rye
Speaking of the Rye, the park and the common towards the southern end of the neighbourhood offer 113 acres of open grassland, woods, a lake and gardens for you to enjoy. Stretching all the way to leafy East Dulwich, this is a great spot in which to go for an amble and grab some peace and quiet. There are also some great pubs this end – The Herne Tavern, The Angel Oak and The Ivy House are all well worth a visit for a pint or two.
3. Catch a film at Peckhamplex
This is definitely up there when it comes to the best things to do in Peckham. A beloved Peckham institution, this community-run cinema offers some of the cheapest seats you can find to watch a film in the whole of London. For just under a fiver you can kick back and relax with your popcorn by watching the latest Hollywood blockbusters or some more independent-style fare.
4. Eat to your heart’s content in Ganapati
This laid-back, colourful gem has been heralded as one of the best Indian restaurants in South London, and it’s easy to see why. Drawing on inspiration from the Southern Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the food here is lip-smackingly good, with vegetarian thalis, tiger prawns, lentil pancakes and sea bream all on offer doused with an array of different spices. If the restaurant is full, head to the takeaway version just further down Bellenden Road.
5. Plan a date night in Hanar
Everyone loves a BYOB restaurant, and the family-run Hanar is a firm favourite among Londoners. Tucked down a small alleyway away from the hustle and bustle of Rye Lane, this rustic, sheltered spot with terraced seating gives you the chance to indulge in tasty and authentic Kurdish classics while drinking your own booze. What better place for a date spot, ey?
6. Grab a pint or two in the Prince of Peckham
This local boozer opened its doors in 2017 and it has since become one of Peckham’s and South East London’s most popular watering holes. Street Feast regulars ‘White Men Can’t Jerk’ man the kitchen and whip up some of the tastiest jerk chicken this side of Jamaica, and DJs spin 90’s hip hop and R&B classics until the wee hours on the weekends. Helpfully during the pandemic, it also become a neat co-working space and is stilling running as one. After work pint anyone?
7. Discover some of the area’s colourful street art
SE15 is famous for its street art, with numerous mural decking the walls in the side streets off Rye Lane. You’ll be able to view an extensive array of street art from acclaimed artists such as Conor Harrington, Stik, Remi Rough and System, and there are pieces which stretch all the way to neighbouring East Dulwich.
However, we’d recommend making your way to the aformentioned Prince of Peckham pub, whose wall is currently adorned in a vivid installation by acclaimed grafitti artist Mr Cenz. The artist describes his work as ‘futuristic space funk’ on his Instagram page, a fitting description of the bold colours and futuristic, trippy imagery. He’s currently in the running to be crowned the winner of the best street art in the world for 2022, so it’s well worth a trip down to see it for yourself!
8. Soak up the views from Frank’s Cafe
Often featured heavily on Londoners’ Instagram accounts and for good reason – the views from the top of this multi-story carpark and bar are some of the best in London. It’s a great spot to grab a pint or a negroni and watch the sun setting over that iconic skyline. They also do food too – don’t miss trying the scotch bonnet lamb ribs with tzatziki. Note that Frank’s is only open during the Summer months – nearby Forza Wine also offers fantastic cityscape views and it’s open all year long. Win win.
9. Check out what’s on at the Copeland Gallery
Copeland Park and the adjoining Bussey Building are the cultural epicentre of Peckham, home to a diverse community of artists, small businesses, bars, restaurants and event spaces. At its heart lies the Copeland Gallery – a large, white-walled space which often has a range of different exhibitions on, from photography to modern art and everything in between. Check out their website to see what’s on and when.
10. Tuck in to pie and mash at M. Manze
This legendary spot opened all the way back in 1927 and has been selling pie, mash and liquor ever since. It’s one of Peckham’s oldest establishments and the second oldest pie and mash shop in London and has been run by the same family for almost a century. Don’t miss a chance to get your tooth into some jellied eels – a traditional Cockney classic.
11. Watch the sunset with an ice-cold cocktail at Skylight Peckham
Who doesn’t love a rooftop bar in London hey? Well now Peckham – arguably the capital of said bars – has added another one to its roster in the form of the atmospheric Skylight. Perched atop the esteemed Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, this neat little spot affords views of The Shard, the 02 Arena and 20 Fenchurch Street – or the Walkie Talkie as it is more commonly known by us Londoners.
Whipping up a range of signature cocktails, as well as a varied selection of craft beers and wines, it’s the perfect spot in which to watch the sun go down over that iconic cityscape skyline. If you’re looking to let the good times roll, then why not join a bottomless brunch which is soundtracked by hip-hop legends like Busta Rhymes and Lil’ Kim as well as Destiny’s Child, Rih Rih and more. Cop your tickets for it here. Note to self, Peckham Rye station is just a short stumble away!