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
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. Today it retains the community feel, with a collective of cooks keeping the pans hot. The clientele tends to comprise locals and regulars, too. Menus are dictated by the chef, and usually by that chef's homeland. Expect, then, dishes influenced by Japan, Italy, France, America and Portugal, all with a vegetarian or vegan bent. And if you really like what you were served on a given day? You can check online who did the cooking and make a beeline for their next shift. It's also worth noting that Bonnington Café is BYO, and cash-only. Visit more community cafes in London