Ask anyone about Brixton these days and you’ll inevitably hear the same, tired phrases used to describe practically every district of Zone 2 like ‘ooh, it’s meant to be really up and coming’ or ‘I’ve heard it’s pretty edgy’. However, with its funky market, independent cinema and quirky art gallery, Brixton really does seem to live up to these clichés. So, without further ado, here’s the Handbook’s Guide to 8 of the best things to do in lovely Brixton. 

Salon Brixton

A lush place for brunch

‘Seasonal and inventive’ is how the Salon describes itself. With a strong focus on British ingredients, most of which are sourced from across south London, the Salon offers set and a la carte dining but its strongest point is its brunch menu. Reasonably priced, the menu includes such gems as warm banana bread with hazelnut ganache as well as smoked salmon on a buttermilk scone with beetroot and cabbage slaw (trust us, it’s divine). With rustic furniture and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s a great chill out spot for a lazy Saturday morning.

Where: 18 Market Row, SW9 8LD

Ritzy Picturehouse

A Brixton institution

No visit to Brixton would be complete without a trip to the Ritzy, one of London’s oldest cinemas. Showing both mainstream and independent movies, it’s retained its vintage feel with comfortable, large screens that hark back to the golden age of cinema. The Ritzy is much admired for its anti-multiplex atmosphere and with its bars, top notch café food and regular stand-up shows, you can really see why.

Where: Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, SW2 1JG

Brixton Art Gallery

Cheeky bit of culture

Brixton is well known for its vibrant, multicultural makeup and the works on display at the Brixton Art Gallery very much mirror the neighbourhood’s cosmopolitan character and energy. The gallery’s current exhibit, ‘Paradise’, is a collection of pieces by the Bangladeshi artist, Syed Mohammad Shamim. Exploring man’s constant search for happiness, Shamim’s pieces grapple with the themes of loss and uncertainty in the modern world. The gallery has been around for 21 years now so has built up a fine collection of contemporary artwork, encompassing many different genres and artistic influences. Like the Salon, it’s the perfect place to unwind on the weekend after a heavy week at the office.

Where: 35 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8RB

Effra Hall Tavern

A proper good pub

If, like us, you think there’s nothing better than a night down the pub then make a beeline for the Effra Hall Tavern on Kellett Road. Humble and unpretentious, this lovely boozer is a great place to settle in for the night and, at £3.60 a pint, you certainly won’t have to pay through the nose for the privilege! As well as serving up some of Brixton’s finest Caribbean grub, they also host live jazz on Thursday and Saturday nights and have a big screen for when the football’s on. Bottoms up!

Where: 38 Kellett Road, SW2 1EB

Brixton Market

A mecca for foodies

Lively and exotic, Brixton Market is an absolute delight. A community market run by local traders selling street food from across the globe, it’s located on a pedestrianised road near Brixton tube station and the atmosphere is always buzzing. From sizzling jerk chicken to multi-coloured curries and fried plantains, the multi-coloured array of foods means that there’s something for everyone. A regular food market during the week, Brixton Market plays host to different kinds of markets every Saturday and occasionally hosts one-off community events – keep your eye on their website for what’s coming up! As well as food stalls, there’s your usual flea market vendors and vintage sellers so you can grab yourself a Macklemore, Thrift Shop-style bargain.

Where: Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PD

Brixton Arcade

Brixton Arcade

A stone’s throw from Brixton Market, this once-derelict arcade has recently been renovated by a group of vintage traders and artisan food sellers. During the day, its covered lanes of quaint cafes and pop-up shops offer a relaxing haven from the hustle and bustle of Brixton High Street. Open until late on Thursdays and Fridays, the arcade comes alive at night-time with live music and an array of international cuisine on offer at its various restaurants and takeaways. Fun fact of the day: the very first Honest Burger restaurant is housed inside!

Where: Granville Arcade, SW9 8PS


A naughty night out

Brixton is just as famous for its cosmopolitan character and delicious cuisine as it is nightlife and if you’re planning a night out there then make Dogstar your destination. Like the Ritzy, Dogstar – a three-floor, street corner pub slash club – is a solid Brixton institution. Playing an eclectic mix of music from drum ‘n’ bass to funk to R ‘n’ B, it’s a must if you’re looking for a venue with a fantastic atmosphere which offers more than just dancing like a drone until the small hours. For instance, get there early enough and you can sample the pizza from its restaurant or take in a game of pool with your mates. After a night at Dogstar, you’ll still wake up the following morning feeling fragile but you’ll know that you had a fantastic time for it.

Where: 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LW

Brockwell Park

Brockwell Park

London is well known for its Royal Parks but many of its less well known green spaces are just as gorgeous and Brockwell Park is no exception. Spacious and well-kept, Brockwell Park is located between Brixton, Dulwich and Herne Hell. With ornamental ponds, striking flowerbeds and a gorgeous Victorian clock tower, the park is a little piece of south London heaven. For the swimmers out there, it’s also home to Brockwell Lido, an art deco, Grade II listed building that’s been recently renovated to offer health and fitness facilities all year round. It’s open from 7.30am until ‘15mins before sunset’, a charming closing time that hearkens back to a bygone era when Londoners weren’t time was measured by the sun and not the digital clock on your iPhone Lock Screen.

Where: Norwood Road, SE24 9BJ