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Off-The-Beaten Track in South London | 5 Quirky Things to See
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Off-The-Beaten Track in South London | 5 Quirky Things to See

Picture of Shay Waterworth
Updated: 9 February 2017
Tourists travelling around London swarm the popular attractions. To avoid the city maps and bumbags it’s important to find the hidden gems off the beaten track around the city, so here are some great spots to investigate in south London- including trendy bars, unique vintage shops and even wild dinosaurs.
Iguanodon's in the park
Some Iguanodons at Crystal Palace Park | © FunkMonk/Wikimedia Commons

One of the more unusual places to visit in south London is the dinosaur trail in Crystal Palace Park. Similar to most other parks, Crystal Palace has magnificently tranquil scenery and an array of lovely green spaces to relax in. The dinosaur trail is bizarre but brilliant- and it’s free to see the life-size model dinosaurs that bring Jurassic Park to life. Even if they scare you too much, the rest of the park has welcoming cafés and other attractions to keep you amused.

Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Road, London, UK, 0300 303 8658

Tucked away down a narrow side street near West Norwood station is Cenci, a vintage shop specialising in 1950s-60s clothing. From the outside it looks like a large disused warehouse, but on the inside is a maze of old school items ranging from sweater guards to suitcases to original pennants. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon travelling back in time rummaging through the expansive vintage stock. The people who run the shop are very helpful and friendly, which makes it even harder to leave the staggering abundance of vintage items.

Cenci, Nettlefold Place, West Norwood, London, UK

Inside Maggie Jones's restaurant
The cosy interior of Maggie Jones’s | Courtesy of Maggie Jones’s

The Lido Café in Brockwell Park has everything you could want on a sunny afternoon: food, beer, cocktails and a swimming pool. The park is home to beautiful scenery with emerald fields and a glorious cityscape. It holds a prestigious history originating from an 18th-century estate and their outdoor bar is the perfect cocktail location with palm trees and an art-deco pool to enjoy. The café transforms into an intimate restaurant in the evenings with excellent food and service earning it the award for Best Park Café.

Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA, 020 7274 3088

Outside Balham Bowls Club
Outside Balham Bowls Club | © Ewan Munro/Flickr

It’s not as dull as it sounds! The bowls club in Balham is a unique, old-school resting place to indulge in a warming drink. From the outside it looks like a modest community pub, but on the inside it has an array of original furniture giving it an honest, edgy feel. It’s one of the most comforting places to have a drink in south London and it’s only known to the locals as the BBC, so it’s fairly inconspicuous.

Balham Bowls Club, 7-9 Ramsden Road, London, UK, 020 8673 4700

Kingston in Greater London is a picturesque commuter’s town which has a variety of bars and pubs to escape from city life. However, if you’re after a good party atmosphere then it has to be The Fighting Cocks, a bar filled with character and friendly vibes. The interior leans towards rock-themed with a touch of the gothic, but that’s what sets it apart. This alternative venue is welcoming to all, and hosts a variety of impressive acts from rock bands to comics.

Fighting Cocks Kingston, 56 Old London Road, Kingston upon Thames, UK, 020 8974 6469