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Love London Awards South Lambeth

Vauxhall area guide

Keep busy south of the river with our guide to Vauxhall's restaurants, bars, pubs and things to do

Written by
Holly Williams
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You'll know Vauxhall by its gigantic roundabout and under-threat giant steel bus station that occupies what was once the site of the Georgian Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. All that remains of that is a small park of the same name. Join the Thames Path below the looming MI6 to walk along the river to the South Bank; the other direction is a bit of a building site as the Battersea Power Station development, set to open in 2020, transforms the area. 

Damien Hirst opened a gallery here in 2015, spear-heading a new mini arts scene. But Vauxhall is probably best known as one of London’s gay centres, and still proves a lively clubbing and after-party haunt, despite several bars and clubs closing in recent years. Thankfully, the legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern saw off property developers and remains an LGBT beacon. After something calmer? Seek out the lush, secluded gardens of the bohemian Bonnington Square or check out one of the variety of great restaurants in Vauxhall instead. 

The best bits of Vauxhall

Restaurants in Vauxhall

Brunswick House Café

Brunswick House Café

  • 3 out of 5 stars

This Georgian mansion, a tiny beacon of classic calm amid the high-rise apartments and noisy chaos of Vauxhall Cross, has no trouble packing in a young,...

Counter Vauxhall Arches

Counter Vauxhall Arches

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

Like King’s Cross before it, dingy, dirty Vauxhall has long been a hub you pass through via tube, train or bus en route to somewhere better. But things are...

Bonnington Café

Bonnington Café

  • price 1 of 4

This cooperatively run vegetarian and vegan restaurant was initially set up back in the '80s to serve the local community – many of whom were squatting nearby....

Hot Stuff

Hot Stuff

  • 3 out of 5 stars

Twentysomethings, with digs in the locality, love this no-frills venue on snug little Wilcox Road, bringing a hip vibe that’s accentuated by the deep purple...

Things to do in Vauxhall

Newport Street Gallery

Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst's gallery space features work from his art collection in a renovated Victorian scenery-painting studio

Vauxhall City Farm

Vauxhall City Farm

This compact farm just off the busy main Vauxhall junction packs in a range of animals, a duck pond and ecology garden

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

  • 3 out of 5 stars

Standing firm and proud, the RVT dates from 1863, and remains true to its century-old tradition as a cabaret venue

Whistle Punks

Whistle Punks

Well, this is different: urban axe throwing. That's right, at Whistle Punks you can pay to throw axes at walls

Bars and pubs in Vauxhall

Mother Kelly’s

Mother Kelly’s

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • price 3 of 4

If the recipe works, why change it? So the thinking seems to go at Mother Kelly’s, where the owners have taken the stripped-back, railway-arch aesthetics...

The Black Dog

The Black Dog

A historic Vauxhall pub and dining room offering seasonal food alongside a drinks selection boasting real ales, continental beers and wines cherry-picked from...

Tamesis Dock

Tamesis Dock

A beautiful 1930s green and yellow Dutch barge moored between Lambeth and Vauxhall bridge. 

Vauxhall Griffin

Vauxhall Griffin

Recently refurbished, the Griffin is a ‘straight’ pub that’s very gay-friendly.

Hotels around Vauxhall

Nightlife in Vauxhall

Fire

Fire

A non-stop clash of house and techno

Bloc South

Bloc South

The newest of Bloc's late-night, men-only venues

Lightbox

Lightbox

An LED-lined club in Vauxhall's railway arches

Union

Union

Open six or seven nights a week, for non-stop partying

The perfect weekend in Vauxhall

Relax: Floatworks

Relax: Floatworks

Floating is the hot new wellbeing craze, offering stress relief, reduction in anxiety and pain.