What's your favourite thing in... Penge?

Tell us what you love most in the area - and why!

Ingy The Wingy

Next up in our weekly series of area guides: Penge! We'd love to hear your recommendations, so let us know your favourite things in the area (and what makes them so good!) in the comments below.


Thomas P

Murray Brothers Butchers - a traditional butchers run by Scott, Dean and Alan for whom nothing is too much trouble - their Perfection sausages are legendary and their commitment to quality and value second to none.  As good at meeting the local West Indian communities demand for oxtail and chicken pieces as basics like chicken breasts and chuck steak mince as foodie demands for racks of lamb, blades of pork and guinea fowl (with a days notice).  Quite simply the best butchers for miles around - to get similar quality in Crystal Palace or Bromley you will pay half as much again.  And they don't charge for the singing along with the radio.

Paul M

Great transport links (train to Victoria in 17 mins and Brixton in 8 mins, Overground to Shoreditch in 28 mins or 176 bus to Tottenham Court Road).

West End quality productions at the Bridge House Theatre

Splendid pubs in Goldsmiths and Bridge House Tavern - with two more due later this year, including one run by the award winning local brewery, Late Knights.

Plenty of fab parks including the Crystal Palace Park and its famous dinosaurs, which are in SE20.  

Lots of amazing old Victorian houses, including the Alexandra Cottages conservation area and the Almshouses, the highlight of which is the Waterman's, right on the High Street.  

Nice cafes, including the Alexandra Nurseries, which drags people in from all over South London, for its plants, vintage items, coffee and cake

And last but not least, the people, with the Penge Tourist Board and its facebook group, providing a hub that's spawned lots of pastime clubs and social gatherings.  

Love it!

Jo J

I agree with everyone else that community spirit, fostered by the Penge Tourist Board (with its brilliantly ironic name) is a major part of why I love Penge. Then there's Crystal palace park – the best part of the park is in Penge (via entrances on Thicket Road, SE20) with the beautiful lakes, pedalos, great crested grebes (with chicks currently), egyptian geese, herons, ducks, dinosaurs, spectacular plane tree-lined walk. Alexandra Nurseries – a real community hub, excellent plants, great coffee (and bread from Blackbird bakeries at the weekend), regular pop up beer shop, bacon butties from the local butcher. Late Knights brewery bottle shop. Fantastic transport links – by train, Brixton in 7 mins, Victoria in quarter of an hour, the overground via Penge West.

Imogen M

Friends of Flavours and the new Sicilian Art pizza place. Plus of course Alexandra Nurseries. And the Penge Tourist Board Facebook Forum! It is such a sense of community. So glad I live on the Penge side of Beckenham! If you are proud to live in London then Penge feels like London. Once you get to Beckenham and beyond it doesn't have the same celebration of diversity as Penge!

Emma A

Sorry to keep adding but I keep remembering things. A welcome addition is the monthly vintage fair at Royston Halls which I think has been going for nearly a year now. Also, in case you are thinking that Crystal Palace Park is not Penge, it was actually Penge Common before they renamed it. So the dinosaurs are all ours.

Janet H

The best thing about Penge is the people and the growing community spirit amongst them.

Penge Festival was a great 3 weeks of events. Shows, organ recitals, cream teas, bat walks, Tour de Penge, heritage walks, Penge has got Talent (Oh boy does it!), a Fête, the list goes on. All of which were well attended and supported.

We have 3 great pubs in my opinion, 2 of which run community events. All serve great food.

We have a theatre which puts on some great shows and more community events and hosts a film club.

We have lots of cafés all great in their own way. My favourite being at the Alexandra nurseries. Which also sells lovely plants and vintage stuff. It also hosts community events like craft fairs and music nights.

Penge has a long history which we Pengites are very proud of. We have some beautiful historic buildings and of course Dinosaurs.

There is also the Penge Tourist Board which is a Facebook community of over 2k people and rising every day.

Matthew T

Friendliest community, Open spaces, Royston Halls, Henry VIIth Alms houses / stables. Goldsmith Tavern, The Turkish / Greek food hall, Ald charity shop, Alexandra Nurseries, The Tapas restaurant, the New Pizza place with sourdough that is better than Franco Manca, Train Links. I've only lived here for 4 months and I'm proud to be part of Penge.

Sky Moon

I love the wonderful victoriana which is in absolute abundance, lovely interesting and useful little shops, fantastic parks, the transport links are brilliant, some excellent pubs, the people are great, and it just has a nice vibe. 

Rob H

Penge is great. We (myself & my wife) moved there in December 2014, and having lived in Brixton for 10 years we were a little unsure as to what to expect. But since we've moved there we've fallen for it more than we ever thought possible. 

There are a couple of great pubs (The Bridge / The Goldsmiths). 

The 'Friends of Flavour' is an amazing little Italian restaurant.

Transport is great & your virtually guaranteed a seat on the train in the morning.

The High Street has absolutely everything you need (but still shitty enough to give it a bit of an edge). 

We've got a lovely park just round the corner from our house & Crystal Palace park less than 10 mins walk.

& The best bit is we were able to buy a 4 bedroom house, with a Garden, for less then the cost of our 2 bedroom flat in Brixton.

Penge you little beauty, don't ever change!

Mary S

Everybody has said a lot of the things I love about Penge - 3 sets of almshouses, great pubs and restaurants, quirky and useful shops, a newly thriving arts and culture vibe, excellent transport links, open spaces, a good community and down to earth people!  No longer the poor relation of Beckenham!  Lots of blue plaques - including 3 of them in Thornsett Road alone!  Go, Penge!  I speak as the 2nd prize winner of the recent Penge Poetry Competition - who'd have thought it, eh!

Wendy N

Loads of really lovely houses - almshouses and Victorian workers cottages as well as grand old properties. Brilliant community spirit - the friendliest place in London by a mile. Bridge House Theatre and pub, Goldsmith's Arms, Alexandra Nurseries, Nemo's fish and chips. Great arty vibe.. Great transport links - I can get to Oxford Circus in half an hour door to door. Lots of green spaces. A High Street where you can still buy useful things not just cards, candles and cushions. Still gritty - not gentrified to within an inch of its life.


Lots of open space from the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park, to Alexandra Rec and Mayow Park. Murray Bros is a great butchers, good value and excellently prepared free range meat. Alexandra Nurseries are a joy, Goldsmiths a lovely pub and the Alex will be soon. More and more restaurants opening up and lots to do with young children. The community spirit is excellent and the pengetouristboard.co.uk gives it great focus. 

Also, great links up to London. Can be at Tate Modern or St Pancras in half-an-hour and Victoria in under ten minutes, Also on the Overground with speedy access to east London

Vix A

The Goldsmith Arms on Croydon Road is a very welcome addition to the area – great food, lovely choice of wine, fab ales, nice garden and occasional live music. We needed another good pub in the area (special mention to The Bridge House Tavern by Penge West Station, excellent pub with a theatre upstairs). I also love another recent addition - Pizzeria Sicilian Art who make wonderful pizza and it’s BYO. They opened a few weeks ago and it's nigh on impossible to get a table! We also have Penge Food Centre a great deli / bakery / fruit and veg shop. Wonderful olives, bread and baklava, a great range of chillis (from my fave conga pepper / scotch bonnets to pickled Mediterranean green ones), great range of herbs and fantastic range of fruit. It’s one of my favourite places to shop. I have concerns about the high street, one of the better hairdressers has shut down, banks are becoming betting offices, we have too many fish and chip shops and a Morley’s is about to open (my other half is secretly quite happy about that). But on the flip-side we have lots of good independent shops (the guitar shop, some nice clothes shops) and also high street faves like Wilkos, Peacocks, Boots and a brilliant £1 shop. But extra special mention goes to Murray Bros butchers – they’re absolutely brilliant and a credit to our area.

So while we may be a little rough around the edges, Penge has heart, community-spirit (I always seem to have a chat with someone in sainos, this never happened when I lived briefly ventured north to Angel) and… Pizza! J

Miss S

The Alexandra Nurseries are a must! An oasis of plants and flowers, vintage finds and great cake! The proprietors are friendly and support local in a big way. It is a magical place. There is a real creative vibe in Penge too, a creative studios project: CreateSE20 and lots of designers and artists abound. Who knew! 

Nigel C

Penge is great for green spaces with local parks spread throughout the area. There's also a growing sense of community which is taking the area from one of London's less loved areas to one which is giving off a sense of excitement at what potential can be unlocked through community groups and the ever increasing investment being ploughed into it. Both recent and immanent openings of pubs and restaurants is testament to how people are starting to be able to enjoy the area and not have to make the short trip through the park to Crystal Palace. Penge is now starting to offer places with good atmosphere as well as good local fayre.

The transport links are also superb with easy commutes into Victoria, London bridge and Charing cross as well as the London Overground offering easy access to Canary Wharf and the DLR. There's also the tram running through the back of the area allowing a smooth journey into Croydon (and the soon to be built Westfield) then through to the leafy wilds of Wimbledon.

Julie W

Physical things I love about Penge are our green areas. We have tons of open park and field space. sure, they could do with a spruce up but in every single one of these places you'll find people having fun and taking a moments peace away from the high street. Betts Park's little hidden stream and family of ducks alongside it's outdoor gym is excellent. So is the pre-school nestled by the play park (which has an ace roundabout with wheelchair access for those of us with disabilities, I mean *aherm* our kids). Windsford Gardens is a beautiful little hideaway to explore, Penge Rec and Royston Fields hold regular awesome events like park days and mini music festivals, then you have the really great play parks like Alexandra Recreation Ground and it's paddling pool, great for the hot summer months.

I love the support we have for families in Penge, too. There is the SE20 Parents group on Facebook for locals and business to get together and chat about everything, most churches in the area offer free or cheap lovely babies/toddlers/preschool and beyond activities or hold classes run by local business folk.

We have the fantastic SE20 Craft Fair, showcasing local talent and biz, which gets more awesome with every passing year and of course Penge Festival week, with so many activities and fun things to chose to enjoy. We have a few lovely pubs, my favourites being The Bridge House, The Goldsmiths (newly revamped with a great garden space and ton of support for local crafters) but my heart will always be with the good old Moon & Stars.

Christina O

The diverse sense of community that's inclusive of everyone is my favourite thing about Penge! It's a little rough around the edges but it has a heart of gold. It's not East Dulwich or Clapham & shouldn't try to be. The people at its centre who recognise this & go out of their way to help others & put on community events that everyone can feel part of are the best thing about Penge. Love 2 Dance, the Moon & Stars pub which holds CAMRA meetings & used to be an old cinema in the 30s, Penge Congregational Church which lets it's halls out to groups like the Scouts, ballet school & charity and support groups too. SE20 Craft Fair which gives new crafters a platform to sell their work for the first time as well as gives the chance for buyers to get quality handmade local things at affordable prices. I could go on but I'll leave it there. I Love Penge!

Susan L

Alexandra Nurseries is a place you want to go hangout and browse. Friends of Flavours is an understated hidden gem serving the most delicious Italian fayre. Blue Mountain cafe is chilled out and serves wonderful coffee. Goldsmith Arms is charming and has a lovely beer garden. Murray Bros for our weekly meat shop, the Murray Bros perfection sausages are just yum. And we are very much looking forward to the opening of the Alexandra public house with Late Knights Brewery in the near future!

Glenn L

Penge has its own day too. It's called Penge Day and falls on August 29th this year!

Glenn L

The incredible community and local businesses. They have been so supportive to me and my little webstore (madeinpenge.com).

Christopher O

The annual Penge Festival celebrates the rich heritage Penge has to offer: all manner of community activities: an Art Trail (Penge is full of artists); theatre events at the excellent Bridge House Theatre; Penge's Got Talent; Walter de la Mare for those interested in poetry; a Poetry Competition; Penge Fête; Tour de Penge; parks and gardens; walks and talks; various music events; the Jumble Trail.

Penge also has wonderful varied architecture featuring many mid and late Victorian styles; splendid churches;  the quirky gothic of the Royal Watermen's Almshouses; the tudor-inspired King William IV cottages; the Alexandra Estate; Anerley Town Hall; Queen Adelaide Court (award of merit,1951); and St John's Cottages.

The dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park; the bridges of Penge (the one over Penge East station is a listed building); some very good independent cafés and restaurants; two charming railway stations: Penge West and Penge East. Excellent transport links. And much more... Penge rocks!

Rich P

Love the community vibe. Penge is getting better and better but not rushing, lots of things changing over time. It was always good but now it's even better! Penge Jumble trail showed the amount of creative people we have here. Yes we don't have a tube but public transport is fine. Loads of green space. Great for families.

Yolanta G

I like that lots of artists and creative people live in Penge (SE20 Art Group is based here) and there is a strong and wonderful community spirit!

Melissa K

Cafe Casbah on the High Street. Good coffee and French pastries, regular Algerian specials such as Chorba and tagine. Amazing value, I regularly visit with my daughter, juice and croissant for her, coffee for me for under a fiver.

New pizza place on the high street towards Beckenham, Sicilian Art Pizzeria is excellent. Family of five fed for £24, high quality, authentic pizza.

Penge Food Centre has pretty much any ingredient you could need but the fresh herbs and bakery are particularly good.

Murray Brothers butchers and Designer Drapes are both great local shops, friendly, reliable and goods of a very high standard without the Lordship Lane prices of similar businesses in neighbouring areas.

Loads of great activities for young children; Boppin Tots at Penge Congregational Church, Little Fish at St John's for example. A lovely little library on Green Lane with lots of different sessions for toddlers and older children.

Plus we have an Aldi AND a Lidl.

Iain D

Many things including Bridge House, Penge Tourist Board, Alexandra cottages, Alexandra Nurseries...

Special mention must go to 'friends of flavours'. One of the best value for money, unfeasibly tasty italian restaurants in London. As much as I would love to keep this gastronomic gem a secret, it has to be seriously worth a mention in any article. 

Jackie A

Blue Belle cafe, for eats: great food and company. Crystal Palace Park, and the beautiful, slightly in ruins, Holy Trinity Church.

Lucya S

Crystal Palace Park, Bridge House Theatre and Pub, friendly people, Penge Tourist Board community group, good transport links, lots of little parks and green spaces.

Shaun H

Community, community, community. Lovely parks, places to eat, pubs, transport galore, artists, comedians, jokers.

Noella M

There is so much great stuff in Penge. Great green spaces and the Iconic National Sports Centre. The fab Goldsmiths Arms, the Bridge House Theatre and film club both of which show case fantastic productions. The cafes are pretty good as well. My favs are Blue Belle, Casbah and the cafe at Alexandra Nurseries. I get my nails done at Bonnys and then there's the great Murray Brothers for meat and a fish mongers and Designer Drapes. There are some great people too. Phew, gotta love Penge.

Ellinor M

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs! 

These were the first ever reconstructions of extinct animals, the first animals with the name ‘dinosaur’ and they launched the ‘Dinomania’ that has enthralled us ever since. Never before had the wonders being discovered in the fossil record been brought to life for the public to marvel at. These were the first ‘edu-tainment’, built to inform and amaze, in Crystal Palace Park in 1854. They conveyed messages of deep time recorded in the geologic record, of other animals besides people dominating past landscapes, of beauty and struggle among unknown gigantic inhabitants of lost worlds.

They are quite rightly listed as a Grade 1 Heritage Asset, the highest rank for UK heritage. They are in Penge/Anerley, at the postcode  SE20 8DP http://cpdinosaurs.org
Emma A

We also love Penge Community Canteen. Check out the fb page.

Jeni H

I love the Penge Community and it's people in general.  The way they make things happen - Penge Festival, Penge Jumble Trail, SE20 Bikes, Blue Belle Café, Goldsmiths, Late Knights Brewery, Alexandra Nurseries, Living Well Bromley (food bank), Men in Sheds project...... many many more examples can be found of good things happening in Penge.

Jeni H

I love the community in general  - the people and how they make things happen. - The Penge Festival, The Penge Jumble Trail,  Late Knights Brewery, Blue Belle Café, and Alexandra Nurseries are all just a few of the good examples of people making good things happen in Penge.

Emma A

Late Knights beer - local brewery based in Penge

Another vote from me for Penge Tourist Board and great community vibe

Dan O

Alexandra nurseries a tranquil vintage cafe and garden centre,

goldsmiths arms: great food and beers

Penge food centre: any ingredients you need

Sicilian Art and freinds of flavours: great italian dining

The many great parks for the kids

And of course the Penge Tourist Board

Alice P

What's not to like :-)

Emma A

Alexandra Nurseries -.hotch potch vintage shop and cafe-.sitting under the 40 year old vine. Nowhere quite like it!

Bridge House Theatre - high standard shows, intimate atmosphere

Penge Cinema Club at same venue

Himalayan Kitchen - fab Nepalese food cafe, friendly staff

Goldsmiths - shabby chic pub, great food

Winsford gardens - secret park maintained by Penge Green Gym

Penge food centre - great unleavened bread, best olives for miles

Beautiful almshouses

Blue Mountain cafe- good coffee