You’d be forgiven for thinking that Herne Hill – a tiny neighbourhood between Brixton, Dulwich and Camberwell – is nothing more than a through road. But for those in the know, this south London pocket is a veritable haven filled with independent businesses, restaurants, craft beer on tap and a huge park. Want to know what it’s like to live there? Here are some common traits of real life Herne-Hillers.
You boycott chains
Whether it’s Café Provencal’s smoked salmon omelette, Sesame Deli's Greek mezze platter or Pullens' Mexican eggs for brekkie, Herne Hill has no shortage of tantalising independent restaurants for you to fill your stomachs. In fact, with so much brilliant dishes on offer and the buzzing markets and pop-ups of Brixton and Peckham only up the road, it’s surprising the Pizza Express on the corner of Half Moon Lane gets any business at all.
Brockwell Park is your back garden (even if you have a garden)
Offering views of the London skyline, community greenhouses, a BMX track and perhaps most importantly of all, plenty of space, Brockwell Park is a true home from home – a pack of green parakeets has even taken up permanent residence there. Buzzing all year round, Brockwell Park is the meeting point and celebrating your birthday there is customary (you’re guaranteed to see at least one person with balloons when you visit). Fancy a sneak peek? Check out Basement Jaxx’s video for 'Do Your Thing', which was filmed there. Did we mention the park also has a miniature railway? Sold.
You wake up before nine at weekends (yes, really)
Wake up before nine? On the weekend? Are you mad? Nope, just taking part in Brockwell Park’s weekly Saturday 5K Park Run. You’ll find yourself up equally as early on the Sunday – Herne Hill’s Farmer’s market opens at 10am and you DO NOT want to miss Brick House’s sourdough which sells faster than hot cakes (you don’t want to miss the cakes, either).
You spend more time by a swimming pool than you ever have done before
Even if you don’t actually make it for a splash in Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill’s very own open air swimming pool, chances are you’ll while away plenty of hours at the adjacent Lido café. With a brunch menu brimming with waffles and prosecco, don’t be surprised if the only dip you experience is of the sugar variety.
You commonly declare your love for the No 68 bus (and other forms of transport)
Whether it’s Waterloo in 20 minutes, St Pancras in 30 minutes or Victoria in 19 minutes, there’s no shortage of ways to get to central London quickly, by bus or by train. What’s more, the trusty N68 night bus can always be relied upon to get you home to your Herne Hill hideaway after midnight. All together now – 'We love you N68, we do…'