A good friend of mine from Holland has been living together with her husband in England for a couple of years now. Recently they have moved to one of London’s trendiest neighborhoods: Brixton. For us now even more reason to visit this cool neighborhood plenty often. Last weekend we went out to find the coolest places to experience the best feeling of Brixton.
Brixton is the neighborhood where David Bowie was born, when you walk out of the subway station his portrait on the wall is the first thing you see. But this London district is also the place with a strong Afro-Caribbean heritage that dates from the 1940s ‘Windrush era‘ and where six or seven decades later the strong West Indian culture still lives in many of its buildings, business, eating culture and entertainment. There is an energy and a sense of community feeling that is quite unique compared to other London neighborhoods.
Brixton is located in the center of South London and has become a meeting point for foodies, clubbers, artists and musicians. Just seven minutes by tube from Victoria station in central London and 30 minutes by bus from Westminster. Brixton has a culturally rich mix of communities with different backgrounds that have shaped many aspects of local life. In the early 1980s, Brixton was considered by some to be a dilapidated no-go zone. Today it is one of the most popular areas in London.
We started our walk from Brixton Station, where you’ll find a lot of shops, eateries and different markets such as Brixton Village and Market Row. Two covered markets that are housed in separate arcades and form an integral part of the rich history of Brixton. Over the last decade they have been transformed into an epicenter for the culinary diversity of London, with nearly 130 independent traders.
In the market halls you come across small eateries and food chains such as Franco Manca and Honest Burgers, both started in Brixton Village and have been multiplied in London nowadays. However, a visit to Brixton Village and Market Row is about more than just eating. A walk through the arcades offers a also a lot of shops with clothing, jewelery, household items, art, music and more.
Lunch at Japanese eatery OKAN.
The nightlife in Brixton is also strongly recommended. Brixton Acadamy is a concert hall where major artists perform, but in Brixton there are more clubs and pop venues, such as, Electric, Hootananny and The Windmill.
Another popular place to hang out is Ritzy, loved for its friendly staff and low-threshold atmosphere. Ritzy is one of the oldest cinemas in South London (originally opened in 1911). The five screens are all comfortable and quite large, the program offers the perfect balance between large blockbusters and independent films, plus late-night shows and classics. There are also two bars, one with views of Windrush Square and where you can have lunch or diner, the other is at the top of the cinema and hosts a series of club evenings and stand-up shows.
When you’re in Brixton, you definitely have to pay a visit to POP Brixton. A community initiative in the heart of Brixton where a selection of young companies (with many restaurants) are located.
This little village, built of sea containers, has an area of more than 1,400 m² and has a selection of independent and mostly local entrepreneurs. There are several bars and street food places, as well as a number of permanent restaurants. There is also a large venue where regularly events are organised, like live performances and Vintage Kilo Sales.
Just around the corner of POP Brixton you’ll find the Brixton Brewery, housed in one of the arcades under the railway. An established artisan brewery, founded in 2013 by two local couples. They met each other years ago and found out that they shared a passion for beer. They thought that every big neighborhood deserved a big brewery and so Brixton got one too.
We ended our tour with a nice local beer in the sun and we could conclude that Brixton is a lively neighborhood, where a lot is happening. A cultural, community focussed district, which becomes clear when you shop in one of the many markets or have a snack and drink in one of the restaurants.
Time to continue our way through the park towards the beautiful apartment of our friends. Because even though you can eat and drink anywhere in Brixton, a bbq at your friends place is also very nice of course.