Lambeth in London

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Brixton Town Hall

Lambeth is a district of inner southwest London.


Lambeth was traditionally a largely deprived area of Inner London with very dense housing. However, than began to change in the 1990s as the inevitable gentrification that was so apparent in just about all of inner London also manifested itself here.

Brixton is a colourful, unique urban area that is like nowhere else in London. Brixton has a mix of residents, ranging from people that have lived in the district for generations to new residents that have moved prompted by a new trendy image that it has gained. It is a multi-ethnic community, with around 24 percent of the population being of African and/or Caribbean descent, giving rise to Brixton being called the unofficial capital of the British African-Caribbean community in London.

The diverse population originates from the 1940s and 50s, when Britain invited large numbers from the West Indies to fill the job gaps. It still has an edgy reputation left over from the race riots in the 80 and 90s and the easy availability of drugs.

There is a thriving scene for clubbing and live music. There are also several markets stretching across the town where you can pick up all manner of exotic foods, textiles and jewellery. It also well known for its nightlife, particularly Brixton Academy and the Fridge along with many other interesting bars, pubs and clubs to explore which easily takes you through to dawn.

Herne Hill is a tiny village-type area on the corner of Brockwell Park.

Kennington is a mixed class residential area, and is the location of the The Oval, the well-known cricket stadium. Kennington appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Chenintune. It was held by Teodric (Theodoric) the Goldsmith. It rendered: 1 hide and 3 virgates; 3 ploughs, 4 acres (16,000 m2) of meadow. It rendered £3. Edward III gave the manor of Kennington to his oldest son Edward "the Black Prince" in 1337, and the prince then built a large royal palace between what is now Black Prince Road and Sancroft Street. Geoffrey Chaucer was employed at Kennington as Clerk of Works in 1389. He was paid 2 shillings. Much of this area of Kennington continues to be owned by the current monarch's elder son to the present day.

Kennington Park (laid out by Victorian architect James Pennethorne) and St Mark's Churchyard now cover the site of Kennington Common. In 1746 the Surrey County Gallows at the southern end of the common was used for the execution of nine leaders of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The Common was also where the Chartists gathered for their biggest demonstration in 1848. "The Gymnastic Society" met regularly at Kennington Common during the second half of the eighteenth century to play football. The Society - arguably the world's first Football club - consisted of London-based natives of Cumberland and Westmoreland.

Kennington Park Road and Clapham Road is a long and straight stretch of road because it follows the old Roman Stane Street. This ran down from the Roman London Bridge to Chichester via the gap in the North Downs at Box Hill near Dorking. Another Roman road branched off opposite Kennington Road and went down through what is now Kennington Park and down the Brixton Road. It carried on through the North Downs near Caterham to Hassocks, just north of the South Downs.

Get in

By tube

The district is serviced by the following tube stations:

  • Brixton (Victoria line)
  • Stockwell (Victoria line)
  • Lambeth North (Bakerloo line)
  • Vauxhall (Victoria line)
  • Elephant and Castle (Bakerloo and Northern lines)
  • Kennington (Northern line)
  • Oval (Northern line)
  • Clapham North (Northern line)

By train

Brixton station (a three minute walk from the Tube station) Herne Hill station Vauxhall station

By bus

  • 2 (Marble Arch - Brixton - West Norwood)
  • 3 (Oxford Circus - Brixton - Crystal Palace)
  • 196 (Vauxhall - Brixton - South Norwood)
  • 109 (Croydon - Streatham - Brixton)
  • 159 (Marble Arch - Brixton - Streatham)

There are also several Night Buses serving Lambeth including:

  • N3 (Oxford Circus - Brixton - Crystal Palace - Bromley North)
  • N159 (Oxford Circus - Streatham - New Addington)


Lambeth Bridge with Lambeth Palace in the background
  • Brockwell Park (address: Herne Hill) (directions: From town walk up Effra Rd, take a left into Brixton Water Ln, and look out for entrance on the right)
    price: Free
    open: Daily
    A large hilly green park, 10-minute walk from the centre of Brixton. Has the following facilities: Brockwell Lido, children's play area, paddling pool, café, flower gardens, sports facilities, toilets and several ponds. Brockwell Park also has a BMX track, but it will not be used for the Olympics 2012 BMX Racing as a dedicated track is being built in the Olympic Village.
  • Charles Chaplin plaque (address: 287 Kennington Rd)
    Charles Chaplin lived with his mother in various addresses in and around Kennington Rd in Lambeth, including 3 Pownall Terrace, Chester St and 39 Methley St and briefly lived with his father and his mistress, Louise, at 287 Kennington Rd where a plaque now commemorates the fact. After Chaplin's mother was admitted to the Cane Hill Asylum, her son was left in the workhouse at Renfrew Rd in Kennington.
  • Lambeth Palace (address: Lambeth Palace SE1 7JU) (directions: tube: Lambeth North)
    price: £8 for the Library Exhibition
    open: Library Exhibition only: May-July, M-S 10AM-5PM.
    The palace hs been the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury since the 13th century. Guided tours of Lambeth Palace are incredibly popular and there has been a substantial waiting list for some years . However, the Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library exhibition will be open to the general public in 2010 and will show some remarkable treasures including an original Gutenburg Bible and the 9th century MacDurnan Gospels.
  • Leake Street (address: Leake Street, Lambeth) (directions: Near Waterloo under the train arches)
  • Kennington Park (address: Kennington Park Rd, SE11 4BE) (directions: tube: Oval)
    Small London park with some lovely tended gardens.
  • Museum of Garden History (address: Lambeth Palace Rd SE1 7LB) (directions: tube:Lambeth North) +44 20 7401 8865
    price: £6, under 16s free.
    open: Daily 10.30AM-5PM
    In an old church which is also hosted the tomb of Captain Bligh of The Bounty mutiny fame. The museum charts the history of garden design and gardening.
  • SIS/MI6 Building (address: Vauxhall Bridge) (directions: tube: Vauxhall)
    Imposing building on the waterfront with a huge number of CCTV cameras and looks more fortified than a prison. Quite a sight to behold and you're able to walk around the outskirts of the building but can guarantee that you're being watched when you do.


  • Brixton Academy (address: 211 Stockwell Rd)
    Live music venue for audiences as large as 4,000 in a beautiful Art Deco building.
  • Brixton Tours
    price: £20 for one to one tours
    Specialises in one hour tours of Brixton, taking in the history, culture and local attractions of this part of London. £10 for group tours.
  • Brixton Audio Tour
    Alex Wheatle, the Brixton Bard, takes you on a personal journey through the vibrant streets of Brixton that have been his inspiration.
  • Brockwell Lido
    Outdoor swimming pool that's empty during cold days and has queues around the block whenever the sun is out.
  • Imperial War Museum (address: Lambeth Road SE1 6HZ) +44 20 7416 5320
    price: Free except some temporary exhibitions
    An afternoon's worth of British military history. The same institution owns the Central London HMS Belfast (South Bank, a WWII cruiser, now a floating museum extensive enough to satisfy the most warlike husband or son), Cabinet War Rooms and Duxford Air Museum (Cambridgeshire) (an airbase a day trip from London with five hangars of historic aircraft).
  • The London Eye (address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB) 0870 990 8883
    Giant ferris wheel on the south bank of the river Thames built to celebrate the new millenium. Incredibly busy, gives great views over London but best on a clear day. Best to book in advance and seek special offers.
  • The Old Vic (address: 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB) +4420 7928 2651
    Kevin Spacey has been the artistic director here since 2003 receiving considerable media attention and starring in a number of the shows himself. Great for something a bit different, and further up the cut you can check The Young Vic which focuses on productions of a younger generation.
  • The Oval (address: Kennington SE11 5SS) (directions: tube: Oval) 08712 461100
    The second home of English cricket in London after Lords. You will find getting a ticket to a match involving England very difficult but Surrey play their home games here and tickets are nearly always available for those.
  • The Southbank Centre (address: South Bank, London, SE1 9PX) +44844 875 0073
    Southbank Centre is the largest single-run arts centre in the world and includes The Royal Festival Hall and The Queen Elizabeth Hall. It's one of the largest arts centres in the world, occupying a 21-acre site in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. It offers a wide-ranging artistic programme including classical & world music, rock & pop, jazz, dance, literature and the visual arts.
  • Stockwell Skate Park (address: Stockwell Park Walk)
    Also ironically named Brixton Beach, this free skate park was originally built in 1970s. Both skateboarders and BMXers can regularly be seen riding or simply hanging out on the edges.


  • Brixton Markets
    open: M Tu, Th-Sa 8AM-6PM, W 8AM-5PM
    Brixton Market consists of several different parts. The main section is Electric Avenue, selling mainly fruit, vegetables and meat, which also has a very good Chinese supermarket. On Pope's Road you will find clothes and bric-a-brac. You will find more indoor markets around the area such as: Brixton Village (between Pope's Road and Coldharbour Lane), Reliance Arcade (between Brixton Road and Electric Lane) and Granville Arcade (running between Electric Lane and Atlantic Road). These sell everything from wigs, clothes, pets, exotic foods and coffee.
  • Nubian Natural Retail Store & Therapy Centre (address: 1&3 Vining St) +44 20 7733 8277
    open: M-Sa 11AM-6:30PM
    A stylish boutique store selling natural body care, unusual jewellery, books and natural supplements. Offers a great service in a classy environment. Body care range has reputation for being effective and good value for money. Recently opened a therapy centre offering beauty treatments and massage therapies.
  • The Kennington Bookshop (address: 306-308 Kennington Road, SE11 4LD) +4420 7735 5505
    open: 9:30am-6:30pm Mon-Sat; noon-5pm Sun


There are many different types of food available in Lambeth, from Caribbean to Eritrean and fish and chips to noodles. You will find most of the restaurants on Coldharbour Ln and Atlantic Rd. Here are few noted establishments. Clapham High St has a good selection of restaurants.

  • Asmara (address: 386 Coldharbour Lane) (directions: Facing the Dogstar) +44 20 7737 4144
    open: 5:30PM-12:30AM
    Small friendly restaurant serving interesting Eritrean food.
  • Bruno's (address: 424 Coldharbour Ln) +44 20 7738 6161
    A vegetarian and organic licenced cafe right in the centre of Brixton.
  • Duck Egg Cafe (address: 424 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LF) +4420 7733 0363
    Cute little cafe which has changed names a few times over the last few years, but consistently serves fantastic fried breakfasts with excellent quality raw ingredients sourced from the market. Not much seating space though, especially busy on Sundays.
  • Eco Pizza (address: 4 Market Row Electric Ln) +44 20 7738 3021
    open: Until 5PM
    Tasty reasonable priced pizzas, calzones and sandwiches using fresh ingredients.
  • Franco Manca (address: Unit 4, Market Row, London, SW9 8LD) +442077383021
    open: Lunchtimes
    Once named Timeout's #1 cheap eat in all of London and is always ludicrously busy. Authentic Italian sour dough pizza for very cheap prices. Top tip for Saturday dining: Turn up at 11:45, 15 minutes before it opens. You queue 15 minutes guaranteed, but can over an hours wait if you turn up at 12:15.
  • Fujiyama (address: 7 Vining St) +44 20 7737 2369
    open: M-Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-midnight
    As a Japanese noodle bar, the food is similar to Wagamama's but this is a much smaller and friendlier place. It is very good value for money, for about £6 you get a plate of noodles that will fill up any big appetite. They have ramen, bento boxes, don buri, miso soups, pan fried noodles and various curry and rice dishes. They also do some freshly squeezed juices along with the usual beers, wines and sake.
  • Gandhi's Restaurant (address: 347A Kennington Road, SE11 4QE) (directions: tube: Kennington) +44 20 7735 9015
    price: Mains £6-13
    open: noon-2:30PM, 6PM-11:30PM
    Traditional Indian restaurant
  • Ichiban Sushi (address: 58a Atlantic Rd)
    open: M-Sa noon-10:30PM
    Great freshly prepared sushi and tofu dishes.
  • Negril (address: 132 Brixton Hill)
    open: M-W 10AM-6PM, Th-Sa 10AM-10PM,Su 10AM-6PM
    Jamaican restaurant that serves traditional Jerk chicken and Caribbean curries. Most of the food is organic and they make their own fresh fruit juice. Reasonable priced and has lovely patio area.
  • Number 22 (address: 22 Half Moon Lane) (directions: tube: Herne Hill, next to Brockwell Park)
    open: M-F 5PM-11PM, Sa-Su noon-11PM
    Spanish cuisine and cocktails in a small and comfortable setting and even has a courtyard in the back. Great paella!
  • El Panzon (address: 95 Effra Road, Brixton, London, SW2 1DF) +4420 773 772 73
    For some of the tastiest Mexican food in London. Specialising in tacos and burritos, they also offer a selection of authentic Mexican dishes. Very cheap and delicious eating! Used to be part of Dogstar, now part of Hootananny.
  • [ The Pepper Tree] (address: 19 Clapham Common Southside London SW4 7AB) (directions: 1 minute from Clapham Common tube) +44 20 7622 1758
    price: Mains £5-7
    A long-established and very popular Thai restaurant serving good food in rather spartan surroundings, alongside Clapham Common. Good value. Expect to queue in peak period.
  • Pizza Express (address: 316 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4LD) +4420 7820 3877
  • Satay Bar (address: 447 Coldharbour Ln) (directions: tube: Brixton) +44 20 7326 5001
    open: M-Th noon-11PM, F noon-1AM, Sa 1PM-1AM, Su 5PM-1AM
    Brixton's longest running restaurant, specialising in Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai cuisine. Also has a cocktail bar and lounge with extensive cocktail list and premium drinks menu. Located next to the Ritzy Cinema. Probably Brixton's busiest restaurant. Run's many specials including lunch special at £4.95.
  • Upstairs (address: 89B Acre Lane, London, SW2 5TN) (directions: Side street off Acre Lane above Opus) +4420 7733 8855
    price: Expensive
    Michelin Bib Gourmand winning restaurant in the unlikeliest of locations. A non-descript door buzzer in what looks like a flat leads you up to a cosy bar serving delicious cocktails before you ascend again to the tiny restaurant. The food is delicious and though expensive, very reasonably priced for such upmarket cuisine with very attentive staff. Not a place for every day, but a great choice for a treat.
  • Wang Fa (address: 208 Coldharbour Ln) (directions: Next to Loughborough Junction Railway Station)
    open: M-Sa noon-10:30PM
    Authentic Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Bento boxes, pad Thai, mizo, spare ribs.


Brixton has the advantage that every night you can stay out drinking later than almost anywhere else in London. Even on a Sunday, there are plenty of bars open until 2AM if you really do not want the weekend to end. The more interesting and local bars are dotted down backstreets.


  • Duke Of Edinburgh (address: Ferndale Rd)
    Only really worth going if the weather is sunny, as the pub itself is nothing to write home about. Step out through the back and you will find a massive beer garden, and the only thing waking you to the reality that you are still in Brixton is the trains that clatter by every 15 minutes or so.
  • The Effra (address: 38a Kellett Rd) +44 20 7274 4180
    A winning combination of great Guinness, a friendly mixed crowd and superb live jazz on weekdays and Sundays.
  • The Grand Union (address: 123 Acre Lane, Brixton, London, SW2 5UA) +4420 7274 8794
    Chain pub with a difference. Standard pub / bar affair in front and inside, but in the back is a huge beer garden with raised huts you can hire out and a plethora of tables, sofas and other quirky features. Worth a visit in the summer, a wide selection of gourmet burgers on the menu.
  • The Grovenor (address: 17 Sidney St)
    Fabulous old school boozer with two bars and a pool table. There is large function room at the back with a growing reputation for putting on interesting rock, reggae and punk acts.
  • Hootananny (address: 95 Effra Road, Brixton, SW2 1DF) +4420 7737 7273
    Popular late licence pub with a penchant for live ska music. Incredibly popular on weekends with upbeat fun atmosphere and large outdoor area. Also hosts El Panzon Mexican kitchen for delicious cheap food.
  • Mango Landin (address: 40 St Matthews Rd) +44 20 7737 3044
    This place is far more successful than its former Russian incarnation, Babushka's. It manages to balance nightlife and families quite well. It is packed out on the weekends, with varied DJs and occasional Tango lessons on a weekdays. There is a organic veg stall on the weekend, and seems to be very family friendly (there is always kids tearing around on the weekend). Overall a nice little pub, no attitude, no bouncers, no charge to get in, and little eccentricity.
  • Marquis of Lorne (address: 36 49a Dalyell Rd) +44 20 7274 1638
    Sporting an immaculate and beautifully preserved exterior, this quiet pub deserves to be much better known.
  • Prince Albert (address: 416 Coldharbour Ln)
    A local favourite that still stubbornly remains a simple pub, without succumbing to standard London bar makeover. Good atmosphere with plenty of places to sit down inside plus a tiny outside beer garden, which is nice in the summer. Opens for normal pub hours.
  • Prince of Wales/Dex (address: 469 Coldharbour Ln) +44 20 7501 9061
    The downstairs pub has a late licence while the exquisitely restored upstairs Dex Club is a members only affair and well worth a visit. There is also a boutique hotel on the top floor. In the boozer, there's free wi-fi with any bar purchase, making it a good place for daytime meetings.
  • The Trinity Arms (address: 45 Trinity Gardens, Brixton, London, SW9 8DR) (directions: Up Brighton Terrace on the right.) +44 20 7274 4544
    An award winning proper old man's pub with a picture of the Queen pulling a pint on the wall. Right in the middle of the bustle of Brixton near the tube station, but tucked around a corner on Trinity Gardens that feels like it's in a different part of London altogether. Beer garden in front and back.
  • Windmill (address: 22 Blenheim Gardens) (directions: Off Brixton Hill) +44 20 8671 0700
    price: Usually only about £3 to get in
    A bit of a trek from the Brixton tube (about 15 minutes walk), but it's a gem worth discovering. This small pub regularly hosts live music from up and coming bands, in the past seeing Bloc Party before they hit big time thanks to promoter Tim Perry's meticulous quality filter. Sunday nights they have DJs and BBQs during the summer.

Bars and clubs

  • Babalou (directions: Under St. Matthew's Church, Brixton Hill) +44 20 7738 3184
    open: Until 2AM (3AM on Sa)
    Plays a mixture of jazz/hip-hop/funk and house in this cosy underground venue. Has regular guest DJs and special nights. Admission is charged on the weekends, and expect big queues after 9pm. In the summer there is outside seating, but make sure you get a stamp on weekends, so you get back in free.
  • Brixtonian Havana (address: Beehive Pl) (directions: By the Brixton Recreation Centre)
    One of the few late, free bars on the weekend. It is famous for its bewildering selection of rums, and you will probably exit with a lighter wallet and head than when you walked in. It can get very busy on the weekends.
  • Dogstar (address: 389 Coldharbour Ln) +44 20 7733 7515
    price: Admission free weekdays, charges on weekends
    open: Su-Th till 2AM, F Sa till 4AM
    One of Brixton's long time favourites and worth a visit for a night out. It still runs an eclectic mix of dance music, covering hip-hop, reggae, r&b, ska and house. Has dance floor, big old sofas and screen for sports matches. Upstairs there is Moca (Caribbean restaurant) and a third floor to hire out for private parties.
  • Fridge Bar (address: 1 Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill) (directions: Next to the Fridge nightclub) +44 20 7326 5100
    open: Until 2AM weekdays and until 11AM on weekends
    This has a very stylish bar upstairs, with a chilled out atmosphere, downstairs however is the gloomy, sleazy dance floor which depending on your mood you may love or hate. Music selection is a mix of R&B, soul and hip-hop. Admission is charged on the weekends. Credit cards are not accepted. Security, while friendly, is tight. You will be searched upon entering the bar.
  • Hive (address: 11-13 Brixton Station Road,

London, SW9 8PD) (directions: Next to the recreation centre) +44 20 7274 8383
Small two floored bar / cafe next to the recreation centre that's great for a bite in the day and a dance upstairs with DJs at night. A little outdoor drinking area outside overlooks the market stalls.

  • Plan B (address: 418 Brixton Road,

London, SW9 7AY) +44 20 7733 0926
open: W-Su 7PM-3AM
Since the closure of Backstage and The Rest Is Noise, they've taken the mantle as the pre-Brixton Academy venue of choice. Refurbished in 2010 after a fire, this trendy bar / club often do drinks deals, play contemporary music & more and more seem to be hosting live music from international touring acts such as Xiu Xiu.

  • Tongue and Groove (address: 50 Atlantic Rd) +44 20 7274 8600
    open: W-Su 7PM-3AM
    A long slender bar flanked with comfy leather seating, for slumping on after a long day. The cocktail bar is good, but very expensive (including bottled beers). It charges on the weekends, it is best to make the most of the quieter times in the week. Has one of the swankiest toilets in this part of town.
  • White Horse (address: 94 Brixton Hill, Brixton)
    price: No entry fee
    open: Until 3AM on weekends
    Typical London pub with outdoor area and pool table. Serves food. DJs usually play Funk music on the dance floor (although you should expect it to be crowded on Fri and Sat after 11).

Gay and Lesbian


Surprisingly, Brixton has very little in the way of accommodation, and you are more likely to be staying in Victoria (10-15 minutes on tube or train).

  • Belgrave Hotel (address: 13 Clapham Rd) +44 20 7793 0142
    Nice little economy hotel with friendly staff. Very simple clean rooms.
  • Chelsea Guest House (address: 13 Clapham Rd) +44 20 7793 0142
    Nice little economy hotel with friendly staff. Very simple clean rooms.
  • Church Street Hotel (address: 29 Camberwell Church St) (directions: Two miles from the Brixton tube station, bus goes from Brixton Academy to right by the hotel) +44 20 7703 5984
    Small beautifully decorated boutique hotel.
  • London Hotel (address: 411 Coldharbour Ln) +44 20 7737 0837
    Small budget hotel.
  • No 7 Guesthouse (address: 7 Josephine Avenue) (directions: A ten minute walk from Brixton tube)
    A bed and breakfast run by a friendly gay couple.


  • Aa's Communication Internet Cafe (address: 248 Kennington Park Road) +44 20 7820 8946
  • Apollo Home Entertainment (address: 400-402 Brixton Road) +44 20 7733 8330
    A video/DVD hire shop which has branched out into providing internet access.
  • Internet Exchange (address: Brixton Library, Brixton Oval) (directions: Next to Ritzy Cinema) +44 20 7926 1056
    open: M 1PM-8PM, Tu Th 10AM-8PM, W F 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM
    Free use of computers for internet and word processing, although you may have to queue. No food or drink.

Stay safe

There are many drug dealers (marijuana, cocaine) who may approach visitors as soon as they get off the tube at Brixton. Buying from them will likely get you arrested, ripped off or scammed. It's highly recommended that you don't deal with these individuals.

At night stick to well-lit, busy areas if possible. Brixton is generally quite safe and there should be no worries about travelling short distances to a venue; however, wandering down any poorly lit back-streets is always a risk, as anywhere in London.

After dark take care when waking through Clapham Common. Night-buses take over for daytime routes after midnight and there are many licenced taxi cab firms that can be used. The use of unlicenced cabs by men who stand near Clapham Junction Station is under no circumstances advised.