Few places bustle like Battersea these days, with top-notch food, bars and boozers bringing 'em down south from far and wide. The Battersea Arts Centre continues to showcase some of the best in the business, and the zoo and the park are great for kids (and those cheeky kids who refuse to grow up). The Pump House Gallery is as good as ever, plus it's excellent boot sale and then there's the heliport, with choppers whisking you up to the skies for some awe-inspiring views across our fair city. While, by night, there's a plethora of respected restaurants to pay a visit to, as well as some ace hotels if you're staying overnight.
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The best bits of Battersea
Things to do in Battersea
The capital's first helicopter sightseeing tour that doesn't involve schlepping out of London – because you can choose to board, much more conveniently, at Battersea Heliport. The 20-minute trip mostly follows the route of the Thames, between the Isle of Dogs in the east and Barnes in the west, taking in landmarks including Buckingham Palace and The Shard along the way.
Pump House Gallery
One of London's more idyllic art spaces, Pump House Gallery is set in the lush Battersea Park in a converted 1861 building that originally supplied water to the park's lakes. Up to six exhibitions a year range from photography to performance, and shows regularly spill out beyond the confines of the gallery walls. Though originally known for showcasing local art talent, Pump House was taken over by new management in 1999.
Restaurants in Battersea
A high-rolling kebab joint in Battersea? You better believe it! BabaBoom is like a pomegranate-coloured jewel glittering among the neighbourhood chains, a class act serving the real thing from a bespoke charcoal grill that comes complete with sections for ‘slow burning’ and ‘intense heat’. Ingredients are lovingly prepped, there are just four different fillings, portions are generous, and staff are a fun-loving bunch.
Dip & Flip
‘French dips’ are the thing here, although there’s nothing Gallic about this US diner concept – hot meat sandwiches doused in gravy with more of the juicy stuff in a jug for dipping. They’re fine enough, although we prefer the ‘flip’ side of things – especially their charred-on-the-outside bacon cheeseburger snuggled into a rich brioche bun. We also like D&F’s upbeat soundtrack and its fun-loving vibe.
On the traffic-clogged road between Wandsworth Town and Clapham Junction, the stripped-back Hatched is for people who are ‘serious about food’. Service is genial, the pace is leisurely, and the cooking is bang-on confident – try their beef-cheek arancini, lamb chops with a pimped-up pot of moussaka or their brilliant pain perdu. Cheerful, yes; cheap, no – but this is W1 quality in SW11.
The younger sibling of Mien Tay on Kingsland Road, this family-run Vietnamese outfit brightens up Lavender Hill with its clear-flavoured regional cooking. Seafood is the top shout (anything from prawns wrapped around sugar cane to stewed Mekong-style catfish), but don’t miss the spicy, garlicky chargrilled quail or the stir-fried goat suffused with galangal. They also do a ‘mien’ pho topped with rare beef.
Hotels in Battersea
Rafayel Hotel & Spa
On the riverfront, this eco-friendly 5-star boutique hotel has a spa, 2 restaurants and a bar with river views. Hotel Rafayel’s luxurious designer rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious private bathrooms and state-of-the-art entertainment systems.
Crowne Plaza London Battersea
The Crowne Plaza London Battersea is a 4-star hotel on the South Bank of the River Thames with panoramic river views and a vitality spa and hydro pool. The adults only Spa provides a range of indulgent massages, body wraps and beauty treatments in its thermal rooms.
Bars and pubs near Battersea
This Northcote Road branch is one of eight Draft Houses in London now - a sign, perhaps, that they must be doing something right. The focus is on carefully sourced and served beer but food plays an important role too, with a US influence coming through on the burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork buns and Americanised salads. It's the beer, though, that pulls in most punters - and the fact that they are available by the one-third pint does wonders for a little exploration. They obviously take their brews pretty seriously, with a regularly changing selection ranging from local brews like Camden Hells and Redchurch IPA to Stiegl Goldbräu, Pilsner Urquell and St. Stefanus Belgian Ale - all on tap. They brew their own beer too, naturally.