Discover – Brixton
It’s the birthplace of David Bowie, home of one of London’s best-loved music venues and the location of Britain’s first cultural centre dedicated to black heritage. Welcome to Brixton, an eclectic and chaotic south London area. Just a seven-minute Tube ride from Victoria station in central London, or around 30 minutes by bus from Westminster, Brixton has a culturally rich mix of communities whose diverse backgrounds have shaped many aspects of local life. The area has strong ties to the Caribbean, with residents also hailing from as far afield as Africa, South Asia, South America and continental Europe.
In the early 1980s, Brixton was regarded by some as a no-go zone. Fast-forward three decades and it’s a popular go-to area. From its music to its restaurants, here’s why you should visit.
Brixton is a gastro hotspot with pop-ups and restaurants serving cuisine from practically every continent in the world. Brixton Village, also known as Granville Arcade, has a wide choice of eateries. Senzala Creperies is worth trying if you like simple sweet or savoury crêpes with a Brazilian twist. If you enjoy seafood, try spicy offerings at Etta’s Seafood Kitchen or Fish, Wings & Tings.
If you want to explore the history and influence of Britain’s black community, the Black Cultural Archives is a great place to start. The BCA hosts exhibitions, walking tours and talks on the heritage of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain.
A Brixton institution, the Ritzy Picturehouse is one of the UK’s largest independent cinemas. Built in 1911, the picture palace still retains its original proscenium arch. As well as showing a mix of independent films, blockbusters and classic movies, the cinema hosts film festivals, spoken word events and Q&As with filmmakers and actors from around the globe. If you enjoy improvised storytelling, check out Spark London’s open mic night here.
There are boozers galore in Brixton, with bars open until the early hours and playing host to talented local musicians and DJs. The Electric regularly hosts sets and performances featuring top musicians and stand-up comics from around the world.
Clubbers should head to Jamm to dance to garage, ambient house, electronica, dub and drum ‘n’ bass. The building was once a travellers’ inn in the 18th century. Other places include Hootananny for spoken word events and live music; the White Horse on Brixton Hill if you’re into electro, funk and old-school hip hop; and Hopscotch at The Prince of Wales to hear everything from soul and samba to salsa and ska.