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Microbrewed beers, a phonebox library and a giant disco-ball Buddha: it's the best bits of Lewisham

By Time Out London contributor

Affordable, unpolished fun with a genuine laidback community vibe.

Isn't Lewisham all riots and Poundlands?

It's a little rough, but it's 'on the up'. Gentrification isn't too severe and there are plenty of good places to discover. And it's immortalised in song (check out 'Lewisham Now' by 'Britain's Got Talent' anti-hero Cesar Laser). 

Julie Kertesz

Let's start with some shopping.

This is not the place to go for haute couture. But it is the place to stock up on ludicrously cheap veg (Lewisham Market), second-hand furniture (the British Heart Foundation store) and adventurous fabrics (Rolls and Rems). All of that is on Lewisham High Street, which is filled with more weird and wonderful treasures than we could possibly mention.

How about some culture?

Head over to Dig (Old Road), a disused multi-storey building that puts on exhibitions, performances, lectures and screenings. Whatever's on here, it will be new, experimental and totally artsy. Then go and squeeze into London's most bijou book-borrowing spot, Lewisham Micro Library, which is entirely housed in a red phone box on Loampit Hill.

All that shopping and thinking has made me hungry...

Refuel at Rhubarb & Custard Café (Loampit Vale) where they serve healthy salads and homemade cakes.

I'll need more than a salad, mate.

In that case, stay on Lewisham Way for top-notch Turkish food at always-busy-for-a-reason Meze Mangal. Or try Rox Burger (Lee High Road) to satisfy meat cravings.

Okay, I'm on a roll. Lets have a drink!

Head to The Ravensbourne Arms (Lewisham High Street) if you're into microbrewed beers, vintage furniture, lopsided lamps and bunting. Also worth a go is The Ladywell Tavern (Ladywell Road), which lays on loads of live music.

Let's make it late!

Try Street Feast's Model Market (Lewisham High Street): a rooftop tequila bar, DJ and 2am licence mean it's fiesta time! If that sounds a bit too Shoreditch-down-sarf, head to The Fox and Firkin (Lewisham High Street) for live music. Even more alternatively, try a wild cabaret night at The George & Dragon (Blackheath Hill).

And if I only do one thing?

Go and browse Aladdin's Cave (Loampit Hill), a weird, wonderful, messy emporium of industrial salvage and retro tat. Fun just to visit; ideal if you're after a giant disco-ball Buddha or life-size statue of Elvis.

By Nadia Gonzalez, who is still saving up for that discoball Buddha. Lewisham now!

Fancy a change of scene? Take a look at the best bits of Hammersmith.


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