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Dulwich area guide

Keep busy in SE21 and SE22 with our guide to the best restaurants, pubs, bars and things to do in East Dulwich and West Dulwich

Dulwich Village is one of those places that really shouldn’t be in London: white wooden signposts, raked gravel driveways, men in tweed, loads of greenery, multi-million-pound houses and not a cashpoint in sight (so vulgar). The star attraction is Dulwich Picture Gallery, designed by Sir John Soane and opened in 1817 as Britain's first pupose-built art space, but otherwise excitement is fairly low-key. West Dulwich feels like deep, suburban south London, but it’s only 13 minutes from Victoria by train and a short bus ride from Brixton. The area has a good supply of big period houses and some popular local shops and restaurants, mainly clustered around the junction of Croxted Road and Park Hall Road.

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Platform 1
Restaurants

Platform 1

This East Dulwich spot is apparently a 'permanent pop-up', whatever that means. What we can be sure of is its dedication to developing new culinary talent – the kitchen is looked after by talented young chefs who do a four-month stint before passing on the baton. There's even a micro-herb and vegetable garden set up, into which they are free to delve. Wine is another focus here, with the list full of bottles you might not expect to see at many London restaurants. As with the food offer they are on rotation, so it's best to keep an eye on the website to see what's on offer. Cocktails also feature, and are usually designed to match the food.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
La Scala Coffee House
Restaurants

La Scala Coffee House

A little bit of Italy in East Dulwich, with colourful furniture and a variety of charcuterie, sandwiches and, of course, coffee.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Bossman Wines
Shopping

Bossman Wines

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Art

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Lending weight to the idea that the best things come in small packages, this bijou gallery – the first to be purpose-built in the UK – was designed by Sir John Soane in 1811. It's a beautiful space that shows off Soane's ingenuity with and interest in lighting effects. Dulwich displays a small but outstanding collection of work by Old Masters, offering a fine introduction to the baroque era through works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Gainsborough. It also has a fine programme of temporary exhibitions and live events and an appealing café.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
The Great Exhibition
Bars and pubs

The Great Exhibition

Lively Victorian gastropub with a busy events calendar, which includes a quiz and Sunday jazz sessions

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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