Last Updated on 2 September, 2023
South London is a vibrant and diverse part of the city that offers a multitude of exciting experiences and attractions for both locals and visitors. From historical landmarks to cultural hotspots, this area is brimming with things to do and places to explore.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the notable areas of South London, highlight the top attractions, and provide recommendations for the best tours in the area. So, grab your map and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through South London!
Notable Areas of South London
Battersea is a trendy district known for its iconic power station and beautiful riverside views. Take a stroll along the Thames Path and enjoy the picturesque scenery.
If you’re a fan of contemporary art, don’t miss the chance to visit the renowned Battersea Arts Centre, which hosts a variety of performances and exhibitions throughout the year. Be sure to also stroll through Battersea Park.
Brockley is a hidden gem nestled between Peckham and Lewisham. This up-and-coming area is known for its thriving arts scene and independent businesses. Explore the vibrant Brockley Market, held every Saturday, and indulge in delicious street food and local produce.
Camberwell is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood with a thriving arts community. Visit the South London Gallery, a contemporary art space that showcases both local and international artists.
For a taste of Camberwell’s culinary scene, head to Camberwell Green and discover a range of cafes, pubs and restaurants offering flavours from around the world.
Brixton is a lively and culturally diverse neighbourhood that offers a rich mix of music, food, and entertainment. Visit Brixton Market, where you can find an array of international cuisine, fresh produce, and unique shops.
Don’t forget to check out the Brixton Academy, a legendary music venue that has hosted some of the world’s biggest acts. There are plenty of amazing restaurants, cool pubs and even more fun cafes to check out.
Clapham is a popular residential area with a lively atmosphere and plenty of green spaces. Grab some brunch in Clapham and then take a leisurely stroll through Clapham Common, a picturesque park with ponds, sports facilities, and a Victorian bandstand.
In the evening, explore the bustling Clapham High Street, which is lined with bars, restaurants, and live music venues.
Crystal Palace is known for its namesake park, which offers stunning views of London and a range of recreational activities. Explore the Crystal Palace Museum, which tells the fascinating history of the area and the famous Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851.
Don’t forget to visit the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, a collection of life-size statues that represent the first ever reconstructions of prehistoric animals.
London Bridge area with its namesake landmark bridge that offers breathtaking views of the city skyline. Take a walk across the bridge and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Borough Market, where you can sample delicious food from around the world. Visit The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and take in panoramic views of London from its observation deck.
While you are in the area be sure to grab some popcorn and a movie at Borough Yard Everyman Cinema, a luxury movie experience which we mentioned in our list of cinemas in Southwark.
Dulwich is a leafy and affluent part of South London, known for its picturesque streets, prestigious art galleries and cute neighbourhood pubs. Explore the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery, which houses an impressive collection of Old Master paintings. Take a stroll through Dulwich Park, a tranquil green space with a boating lake and a beautiful rose garden.
East Dulwich is a vibrant and trendy neighborhood with a thriving independent business scene. Browse through the boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries on Lordship Lane, and stop by the East Dulwich Tavern for a refreshing drink. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Horniman Museum and Gardens, which offers a fascinating insight into natural history and world cultures.
Greenwich is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Visit the iconic Cutty Sark, a restored 19th-century tea clipper that serves as a fascinating maritime museum.
Take a leisurely stroll through Greenwich Park and make your way to the Royal Observatory, where you can stand on the Prime Meridian line.
Herne Hill is a charming and family-friendly area with a bustling market and beautiful green spaces. Explore Brockwell Park, which features a lido, sports facilities, and a delightful walled garden. Indulge in the delicious food offerings at Herne Hill Market, held every Sunday, showcasing a range of local produce and street food.
Kennington is a historic district located near central London. Visit the Imperial War Museum, which offers a comprehensive insight into the impact of war on people’s lives. Take a walk around Kennington Park and admire its beautiful flowerbeds and ponds.
Nunhead is a charming neighborhood with a village-like feel. Discover Nunhead Cemetery, a hidden gem known for its Gothic architecture and overgrown greenery. Take a walk along Nunhead Green and visit the Old Nun’s Head pub, which offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Peckham is a vibrant and multicultural area with a thriving arts scene. Explore Peckham Levels, a multi-story car park transformed into a creative hub with studios, shops, and food vendors. Visit the Bold Tendencies sculpture park and rooftop bar, which offers stunning views of the London skyline.
Kingston upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames is a picturesque riverside town with a rich history and vibrant shopping scene. Take a boat trip along the River Thames or explore the historic market town center, where you can find a mix of high-street and independent shops.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the impressive Kingston Museum, which showcases the town’s fascinating heritage.
Putney and Barnes
Putney and Barnes are charming riverside neighborhoods located along the banks of the River Thames. Enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the Thames Path and soak in the tranquil ambiance.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the beautiful Putney Heath, a vast green space perfect for picnics and outdoor activities.
Richmond is a picturesque town known for its stunning parks, riverside pubs and historic landmarks. Take a stroll through Richmond Park, one of the largest royal parks in London, and spot the resident deer roaming freely.
Visit the magnificent Hampton Court Palace, a former royal residence with stunning gardens and a fascinating history.
Wandsworth is a vibrant district with a mix of residential and commercial areas. Explore Wandsworth Common, a beautiful green space with ponds, tennis courts, and a nature trail. Visit the iconic Young’s Brewery, a local institution known for its traditional ales and cozy pub atmosphere.
Rotherhithe is a historic area with a rich maritime heritage. Explore the Brunel Museum and take a tour of the Brunel Tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat of the 19th century.
Visit the Mayflower Pub, which is said to be the departure point of the Mayflower ship that carried the Pilgrims to America.
Waterloo and Lambeth
Waterloo and Lambeth are vibrant areas located near the South Bank of the River Thames. Take a walk along the South Bank and enjoy stunning views of the river and iconic landmarks such as the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.
Visit the renowned Southbank Centre, a cultural hub that hosts a variety of art exhibitions, concerts, and performances. Grab some food from the Southbank food market or visit the many cool bars and restaurants on Southbank.
Tooting and Balham
Tooting and Balham are vibrant neighbourhoods known for their bustling markets and diverse food scene. Visit Tooting Market, where you can find an array of international cuisine, vintage shops, and artisanal products.
Explore the tranquil Tooting Bec Common, home to the iconic Tooting Bec Lido, one of the largest freshwater swimming pools in the UK.
Vauxhall is an up-and-coming area that offers a blend of modern development and historic landmarks. Visit the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which date back to the 17th century and host various events throughout the year.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Oval Cricket Ground, known for its historic matches and lively atmosphere.
Deptford is an eclectic neighbourhood with a rich maritime history. Visit the Deptford Market Yard, a creative hub that houses a range of independent shops, restaurants, and bars. Take a walk along Deptford Creek and discover its hidden gems, including art studios, boatyards, and charming riverside pubs.
Wimbledon is internationally known for its prestigious tennis tournament, but there’s much more to explore in this leafy suburb. Take a walk around Wimbledon Common, a vast green space with woodland, ponds, and even a windmill. Explore the Wimbledon Village, which offers a mix of boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Elephant And Castle
Elephant and Castle is a bustling hub of activity with a multicultural atmosphere. Explore the newly regenerated Elephant Park and enjoy its green spaces, cafes, and community events. For a taste of Latin American culture, visit the nearby Latin American Mercado, where you can find authentic food, crafts, and live music.
Forest Hill is a charming neighborhood with a relaxed and friendly vibe. Discover the Horniman Museum and Gardens, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts, natural history exhibits, and beautiful gardens. Take a walk up to One Tree Hill and enjoy panoramic views of the London skyline.
Things To Do in South London
1. Climb The O2 Arena
Have you ever wanted to conquer an iconic landmark? Climb The O2 Arena and enjoy stunning panoramic views of London from its summit. This exhilarating experience will give you a unique perspective of the city while challenging your physical abilities. Suitable for all fitness levels, this guided climb is an adventure you won’t forget.
2. Bermondsey Beer Mile
Beer lovers, rejoice! The Bermondsey Beer Mile is a must-visit destination for craft beer enthusiasts or for those looking for fun things to do in Bermondsey. This stretch of breweries and taprooms offers a variety of unique brews to suit every taste. Embark on a beer-tasting adventure and discover the rich flavours and innovative creations of London’s vibrant craft beer scene.
3. Dance the Night Away at Phonox
For those who love to dance, Phonox in Brixton is the place to be. This renowned nightclub hosts some of the best DJs and electronic music acts in the city. Put on your dancing shoes and groove to the pulsating beats in this vibrant and energetic venue.
4. Visit Cutty Sark
Step aboard the historic Cutty Sark, a 19th-century clipper ship that once sailed the world’s oceans. Explore its well-preserved decks and discover the fascinating stories of its voyages. From the cargo hold to the captain’s cabin, this maritime gem offers a glimpse into the golden age of sail.
5. Dulwich Picture Gallery
Art aficionados will appreciate a visit to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, England’s oldest public art gallery. This neoclassical masterpiece houses an impressive collection of European Old Master paintings, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck. Explore the gallery’s beautiful gardens and attend one of the many art events and exhibitions held throughout the year.
6. Maltby Street Market
Food lovers, rejoice! Maltby Street Market is a hidden culinary gem tucked away in Bermondsey. This vibrant market offers a mouthwatering array of street food, artisanal products, and local produce. From gourmet burgers to delectable pastries, this is the perfect place to satisfy your taste buds. This is indeed one of the best Saturday markets in London that you should check out.
7. Nunhead Cemetery
Take a peaceful stroll through Nunhead Cemetery, one of London’s magnificent Victorian cemeteries. This tranquil oasis is a haven for wildlife and offers a serene setting for reflection and contemplation. Explore the picturesque pathways, admire the beautiful gravestones, and learn about the fascinating history buried within its grounds.
8. Borough Market
Satisfy your culinary cravings at Borough Market, one of London’s oldest and most renowned food markets in addition to being the most popular of South London Markets. From fresh produce to gourmet street food, this bustling market is a feast for the senses. Indulge in artisanal cheeses, delectable pastries, and international flavours that reflect the vibrant multiculturalism of the city.
9. Eltham Palace
We have covered a lot on must-see palaces in London and this is one not to miss. Experience the perfect blend of medieval grandeur and Art Deco elegance at Eltham Palace. This stunning historic site boasts magnificent gardens, an impressive Great Hall, and luxurious Art Deco interiors. Immerse yourself in the opulence of the 1930s and marvel at the unique fusion of architectural styles.
10. Pop Brixton
Pop Brixton is a vibrant community project that brings together local entrepreneurs, artists, and food vendors. This creative space features an eclectic mix of independent shops, bars, and street food stalls. From fashion to art, there’s something for everyone at this dynamic pop-up destination.
11. Forza Wine in Peckham
Wine enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Forza Wine in Peckham. This trendy wine bar offers a carefully curated selection of natural wines from around the world. Sip on a glass of your favorite vintage and savor the unique flavours while soaking in the cozy atmosphere.
12. Horniman Museum
The Horniman Museum is a treasure trove of natural history, anthropology, and musical instruments. Explore the museum’s vast collection, which includes artifacts from around the world, interactive exhibits, and an aquarium. Don’t miss the chance to admire the stunning views of London from the museum’s beautiful gardens.
13. Swim at Brockwell Lido
Looking for a refreshing dip? Head to Brockwell Lido, a charming outdoor swimming pool located in Brockwell Park. Take a leisurely swim or simply relax by the poolside and soak up the sun. With its art deco features and stunning surroundings, this lido offers a unique swimming experience.
14. Explore Peckham Levels
Peckham Levels is a multi-story car park transformed into a vibrant creative space. This cultural hub features artist studios, independent shops, food vendors, and even a rooftop bar. Immerse yourself in the artistic atmosphere and discover the hidden gems that make Peckham such a dynamic and diverse neighborhood.
15. Explore Kew Gardens
Nature lovers will delight in a visit to Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the world’s most famous botanic gardens. Explore the vast collection of plants, stroll through the stunning landscapes, and marvel at the iconic glasshouses. From the Temperate House to the Palm House, Kew Gardens is a paradise for plant enthusiasts.
16. Brixton Village
Indulge in a culinary adventure at Brixton Village, a bustling indoor market with a diverse range of food stalls and restaurants. From Caribbean cuisine to Vietnamese street food, this vibrant market offers a mouthwatering selection of flavours that will satisfy any palate. Explore the narrow passageways and discover hidden gems serving up delicious dishes made with passion and creativity.
17. Enjoy African Food at Kudu
Experience the vibrant flavours of African cuisine at Kudu, a popular restaurant in Peckham. Indulge in dishes inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of South Africa, from grilled meats to flavourful stews. With its cozy atmosphere and exquisite food, Kudu offers a unique dining experience that will tantalize your taste buds.
18. Ride on the London Eye
Take a ride on the iconic London Eye and enjoy breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. This giant Ferris wheel offers panoramic vistas that stretch for miles, allowing you to marvel at famous landmarks such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Capture unforgettable memories from the top and see London from a whole new perspective.
19. Imperial War Museum
Step into history at the Imperial War Museum and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of war on society. Explore the extensive collections that document the stories of those who lived through conflicts, from World War I to the present day. From tanks and aircraft to personal testimonies, this museum offers a poignant and educational experience.
20. See a Show at the Old Vic Theatre
Immerse yourself in the world of theater at the historic Old Vic Theatre. This renowned venue has been showcasing world-class performances for over two centuries. From classic plays to innovative productions, the Old Vic offers a diverse program that caters to all tastes. Grab a ticket, sit back, and let the magic of live theater unfold before your eyes.
21. Walk the Glass Floor at Tower Bridge
Feel the thrill of walking on air as you step onto the glass floor of Tower Bridge. This iconic landmark offers a unique opportunity to admire the bustling river traffic beneath your feet. Explore the bridge’s exhibition and learn about its fascinating history and engineering marvels. Don’t forget to capture the perfect photo from the panoramic walkways, where you can enjoy stunning views of the River Thames.
22. Shakespeare’s Globe
Transport yourself back in time to the world of William Shakespeare at the reconstructed Globe Theatre. Experience the magic of his plays in the very place they were originally performed. From tragic dramas to uproarious comedies, the Globe offers a theatrical experience like no other. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Elizabethan London and be captivated by the power of Shakespeare’s words.
23. Royal Observatory
This is not to be missed for those exploring Greenwich. Embark on a celestial journey at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Stand on the Prime Meridian line, which marks the division between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Explore the fascinating history of navigation and astronomy, and gaze at the stars in the state-of-the-art Peter Harrison Planetarium. The Royal Observatory offers a unique blend of science, history, and breathtaking views of the city.
24. Richmond Park
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Richmond Park. This vast green space is home to herds of deer, picturesque landscapes, and a peaceful oasis away from the urban jungle. Take a leisurely walk, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature in one of London’s most beloved parks.
25. Bermondsey Street
Wander along Bermondsey Street and discover a hidden treasure trove of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and trendy cafes. This vibrant street is a hub of creativity and offers a unique blend of old and new. From contemporary art to vintage fashion, there’s something to pique everyone’s interest along this eclectic and lively stretch.
26. Wimbledon Open
Experience the excitement and grandeur of professional tennis at the Wimbledon Open. This prestigious tournament draws the world’s top players to compete on the iconic grass courts of the All England Club. Join the passionate crowd, indulge in strawberries and cream, and witness the thrill of the game as tennis history is made before your eyes.
27. Tate Modern
Immerse yourself in the world of modern and contemporary art at the Tate Modern. Housed in a former power station, this iconic gallery showcases an impressive collection of works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Hockney. Explore the vast exhibition spaces, attend thought-provoking installations, and discover the ever-evolving landscape of modern art.
28. Take in Views from the Shard
Elevate your London experience by ascending to the dizzying heights of the Shard. This architectural marvel is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and offers unparalleled views of the city. Enjoy a drink at one of the sky-high bars or restaurants and marvel at the sprawling urban landscape beneath you.
29. Learn to Make Sake at Kanpai in Peckham
Embark on a unique cultural experience and learn the art of sake making at Kanpai in Peckham. Join a hands-on workshop and discover the traditional methods and techniques behind this beloved Japanese beverage. From rice fermentation to tasting sessions, this immersive experience will deepen your appreciation for sake and its cultural significance.
30. Greenwich Maritime Museum
Discover the rich maritime history of Greenwich at the Maritime Museum. Explore interactive exhibitions, learn about famous explorers, and delve into the fascinating world of navigation and trade. From historical artifacts to immersive displays, this museum offers a captivating journey through time.
The Best Tours in South London
Historical Walking Tour of Southwark: Explore the rich history of Southwark on a guided walking tour. From the ancient Borough Market to the historic Southwark Cathedral, this tour will take you on a journey through time. Learn about the area’s fascinating past, its connections to famous literary figures, and the tales of hardship and triumph that have shaped its identity.
River Thames Cruise: Embark on a leisurely cruise along the River Thames and discover the iconic landmarks that line its banks. From the Tower of London to the Houses of Parliament, this tour offers a unique perspective of the city’s history and architectural wonders. Sit back, relax, and let the gentle waves carry you through the heart of London.
Secret Gardens of London Tour: Escape the urban jungle and discover the hidden green spaces of London on a secret gardens tour. From private squares to secluded parks, this tour will unveil the serene oases tucked away amidst the city’s bustling streets. Experience the tranquility of these hidden gems and learn about their fascinating histories and botanical wonders.
Food Tour of Brixton: Embark on a culinary journey through the diverse flavours of Brixton on a food tour. Sample delicious Caribbean dishes, authentic African cuisine, and vibrant street food while learning about the cultural heritage of the area. From jerk chicken tocraft cocktails, this tour will tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to the vibrant culinary scene of Brixton.
Thames Path Cycling Tour: Explore the beauty of the River Thames on a cycling tour along the Thames Path. Pedal along the riverbanks, passing iconic landmarks and scenic landscapes. From Tower Bridge to Greenwich, this tour offers a unique way to experience the city’s sights while enjoying the freedom of cycling.
Architectural Tour of Greenwich: Discover the architectural gems of Greenwich on a guided tour that highlights the area’s rich history and stunning buildings. Visit the grandeur of the Old Royal Naval College, marvel at the innovative design of the Cutty Sark, and explore the intricate details of the Queen’s House. This tour offers a captivating journey through the architectural heritage of Greenwich.
Ghost Tour of South London: Embark on a spine-chilling adventure with a ghost tour of South London. Explore the haunted corners and eerie tales of the area, from haunted pubs to ghostly sightings. Listen to chilling stories of paranormal encounters and uncover the dark secrets that linger in the shadows. This tour is not for the faint of heart but promises an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers.
Vintage Shopping Tour in East Dulwich: Step back in time and indulge in a vintage shopping tour in East Dulwich. Discover hidden boutiques, retro clothing stores, and antique markets that offer a treasure trove of unique finds. From vintage fashion to quirky collectibles, this tour will transport you to the bygone eras of style and nostalgia.
Wine Tasting Tour in Wimbledon: Savour the flavours of the vine on a wine-tasting tour in Wimbledon. Visit local wineries and vineyards, sample a variety of wines, and learn about the winemaking process. From crisp whites to robust reds, this tour offers a delightful journey through the world of wine. Cheers to a memorable experience in Wimbledon.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What are the notable areas to visit in South London?
Notable areas to visit in South London include Battersea, Brixton, Brockley, Camberwell, Clapham, Crystal Palace, Deptford, Dulwich, East Dulwich, Elephant And Castle, Forest Hill, Greenwich, Herne Hill, Kennington, Kingston upon Thames, London Bridge, Nunhead, Peckham, Putney And Barnes, Richmond, Rotherhithe, Tooting And Balham, Vauxhall, Wandsworth, Waterloo And Lambeth, and Wimbledon.
2. What are some popular things to do in South London?
Some popular things to do in South London include climbing The O2 Arena, visiting Cutty Sark, exploring Maltby Street Market, experiencing the beauty of Eltham Palace, enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Pop Brixton, tasting exquisite wines at Forza Wine in Peckham, admiring the art at Dulwich Picture Gallery, swimming at Brockwell Lido, discovering the Bermondsey Beer Mile, and exploring the unique Peckham Levels, among many others.
3. Can I visit historical sites in South London?
Yes, South London is rich in historical sites. You can visit landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Imperial War Museum, the Old Vic Theatre, and the Royal Observatory. These sites offer a glimpse into London’s history and provide an immersive experience for history enthusiasts.
4. Are there any green spaces to relax in South London?
Absolutely! South London boasts several beautiful green spaces where you can relax and unwind. Some notable parks include Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common, Southwark Park, Burgess Park, Brockwell Park, and Greenwich Park. These tranquil oases offer a welcome escape from the bustling city and provide opportunities for picnics, walks, and recreational activities.
5. Can I take tours to explore South London?
Yes, there are various tours available to explore South London. You can join a historical walking tour of Southwark, take a river Thames cruise, go on a street art tour in Shoreditch, discover the secret gardens of London, indulge in a food tour of Brixton, or embark on a cycling tour along the Thames Path. These tours provide unique perspectives and insights into the vibrant culture and history of South London.
6. Where can I find more information about South London attractions?
For more information about South London attractions, you can visit official websites, travel guides, and online resources such as Visit London and Time Out London. These sources provide detailed information about attractions, events, and recommendations to make the most of your visit to South London.
South London offers a wealth of attractions, activities, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From the vibrant neighbourhoods to the historic landmarks, there is something for everyone in this diverse and culturally rich part of the city.
Whether you’re exploring the notable areas, indulging in culinary delights, or immersing yourself in the arts and history, South London promises a memorable and rewarding experience. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and embark on an adventure to explore the many things to do in South London.