The birthplace of David Bowie, a creative hub, a place to party and an emerging foodie hotspot, Brixton has become one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in London by shaking off most of its rough past without sacrificing its sense of identity and community. Check out our video above for some of our top picks of the best things to do in Brixton!
Brixton has been home to strong African and Caribbean communities ever since immigrants settled in the area following the Second World War. The history of these communities is celebrated at the Black Cultural Archives – the only centre of its kind in the country – with a collection including personal mementos, photographs and rare books. The BCA also puts on tours, history walks and special exhibitions, many of which cost just a few pounds.
If you’re after somewhere to party in Brixton, Effra Road should be your first stop as two great venues are just a few doors down from one another. Hootananny often hosts roots and reggae nights and live music, and it gets very lively indeed. You can enjoy pub quizzes and comedy improv at former Conservative club Effra Social or you can hit the dance floor at one of their funk, disco and soul nights.
This old arcade close to Brixton station features approximately 100 local traders selling everything from art to music to clothes. However it’s best known for the vast range of food on offer. You can pick up fresh produce at the outdoor markets on Electric Avenue and eat food from around the world, including dumplings at Mama Lan, sourdough pizzas at Franco Manca and wings at Chicken Liqour, at the many cafés and restaurants in the covered Market Row arcade.
This second-hand bookshop is a real treasure trove, stocking everything from poetry and plays to cookery and craft books. The apparent lack of organisational system at Bookmongers just adds to its charm, and increases your chances of stumbling across a gem, but the owner Patrick is on hand to offer guidance. There’s even a shop dog to keep you company whilst you browse.
Brixton is always bustling so when it all gets a bit too busy in town, Brockwell Park provides some much-needed open space. Sun worshippers are drawn to the park when the weather is good, but with flower gardens, ponds, a playground and great views of the city there’s plenty to keep you entertained all year round.
Located on the Dulwich Road side of Brockwell Park, Brockwell Lido is a Grade-II listed building that has been restored and expanded to include a leisure centre as well as the outdoor pool. Not only is it one of the best outdoor swimming pools in South London, the Lido Café serves up a fantastic brunch.
Try nouvelle Caribbean cuisine at Fish, Wings & Tings
Great Caribbean food isn’t hard to find in Brixton but Fish, Wings & Tings serves up more than jerk chicken and curry goat. Trinidadian chef Brian Danclair has combined his French training with flavours from his home to create nouvelle Caribbean cuisine. The result is dishes like prawn roti with curried chickpea and potatoes and codfish fritters with ginger and lime aioli, and a range of homemade sauces.
Federation Coffee is very popular with locals, and rightly so. The house roast is a bespoke blend from Campbell & Syme plus they seek out new coffees from overseas for their guest brew and rotate their single origin espresso monthly too. With a range of locally-made savoury snacks and pastries, Federation is everything a neighbourhood coffee shop should be.
The Ritzy is a true Brixton institution. It’s one of the oldest cinemas in South London and it still retains that old-school feel with its varied programme of new releases, indie screenings and late-night showings. And it’s not just about movies and popcorn; the bar overlooking Windrush Square is a great place to grab a drink and the upstairs café plays host to a range of club nights.
Founded by two local couples, Brixton Brewery is very a much a neighbourhood operation. It’s an independent brewery that turns out small batch, unfiltered and unpasteurised craft beers, with many of their limited edition varieties making use of local ingredients. If you want to learn more about the process you can take tours of the brewery, complete with tastings of course.
Brixton Beach is the ultimate blend of rooftop bar and urban beach. As well as giving you the chance to feel the sand between your toes and the sun on your face, this Cuban-inspired spot is serving up street food from the likes of Mac To The Future and Nanban and cocktails as well as hosting a packed programme of bottomless brunches, beach parties and fitness classes.