Winding through East Dulwich, Lordship Lane is a picture-perfect slice of south London life. In the ranking of London lanes, it might not be up there with Park, Marylebone or Drury, but what it lacks in landmarks it makes up for with a fine abundance of indie shops and an easy-going vibe. A wander here is what Sundays are made for.
A century ago this road was a rural thoroughfare, and today it still has a village atmosphere about it, with some serious community spirit on display. Unsurprisingly, this is prime yummy-mummy territory, but there’s also a healthy dose of young Londoners who like to hang out here.
The top of the street is where the action is. There are your high-street regulars (Co-op, Caffè Nero, Foxtons) as well as an impressive number of boozers (read on for those). Further south, the shops give way to Victorian housing until you eventually get to the brilliantly eclectic Horniman Museum, with its strange taxidermy and cabinets of weird and wonderful musical instruments. Halfway down the lane you’ll discover another claim to fame: children’s writer Enid Blyton was born at number 354. A blue plaque marks the spot. Today it’s just a hardware store, but Lordship Lane might still be the perfect place to head with a bunch of adventurous friends for lashings of ginger ale (okay, booze), food and culture.
Pop into East Dulwich Picturehouse, which opened just last year. Housed in a converted Victorian building that used to be a community centre, it has a light, breezy bar at the front and seating outside. As you’d expect from this cinema chain, it shows a mix of Hollywood hits and indie fare.
Delicate sandwiches and indulgent home bakes at Le Chandelier. This café-cum-restaurant filled with vintage furniture does a brilliant champagne afternoon tea.
Sourdough pizza at Franco Manca. Yep, the always-excellent mini-chain has a joint in Easy D. Choose from toppings like broccoli, organic chorizo and wild mushrooms.
Oysters at Franklins. These guys are East Dulwich culinary stalwarts, known for their seasonal ingredients and unfussy menu. They also have a farm shop next door with crates of fresh produce displayed out front that will inspire even the laziest of cooks.
Local beers at East Dulwich Tavern. You can’t miss this spacious watering hole: it’s painted bright purple and occupies a corner spot at the top of Lordship Lane. It has ten hand pumps as well as various guest beers from south London breweries.
A fine peaty scotch at The Bishop. This recently refurbished boozer has a rear bar dedicated to whisky.
Square Mile coffee at Brick House, a compact bakery and café (round the corner from Caffè Nero), which serves up award-wining loaves and top-notch cinnamon buns.
Gooey brie from Cheese Block. A dairy-lover’s delight, the fromage range here is truly remarkable. Check out the chutneys too.
Sausages from William Rose Butchers. Prepare to queue: this place is loved by locals and non-locals alike. They specialise in organic and free-range meat. Of course they do.
Spring bouquets from the ever-inspiring Fresh Flower Company (North Cross Road) just off the Lane.
If you only do one thing…
East Dulwich is a hotspot for great food and drink. Arguably the finest place to feast is Toasted, a buzzy bistro with inventive modern cooking and a great natural wine list. Perfect.