Welcome to the vibrant and diverse world of South London, where history meets culture, and excitement awaits around every corner. Whether you’re a local looking for new adventures or a visitor eager to explore this dynamic part of the city, we’ve got you covered with our list of the top 17 best things to do in South London. From iconic landmarks and world-class museums to trendy neighbourhoods and outdoor spaces teeming with life, there’s something here for everyone. So grab your map (or your phone), put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of South London!
Best Things to Do in South London – Top 17
1. Visit the Cutty Sark
Step aboard the legendary Cutty Sark and immerse yourself in a bygone era of maritime history. This magnificent tea clipper, once known for its lightning-fast journeys across the high seas, has been transformed into a captivating museum that will transport you back to the golden age of sail.
As you climb aboard this majestic vessel, you’ll be greeted with awe-inspiring sights and rich stories waiting to be uncovered. Learn about the ship’s fascinating past as it carried precious cargo from China to London during the 19th century. Discover how it played a vital role in global trade and explore its beautifully restored interior, where every detail tells a tale of adventure and endurance.
From the sleek lines of its hull to the intricate craftsmanship found within its walls, there is no shortage of wonders to behold on board the Cutty Sark. Marvel at the impressive collection of artefacts that offer insight into life onboard this floating marvel – from personal mementoes belonging to crew members to historical documents that shed light on her voyages.
For those seeking an interactive experience, don’t miss out on participating in various hands-on activities that bring history alive. From learning how sailors navigated using ancient methods to trying your hand at tying knots like a seasoned seafarer, there’s plenty here for both young and old alike.
So set sail on an unforgettable journey through time as you visit South London’s iconic Cutty Sark – where history whispers through every creaking timber and echoes off each polished brass surface. Don’t just read about maritime legends; step right into their world and become part of their incredible story!
2. Explore Greenwich
Explore Greenwich, a historic area that offers a wealth of attractions and activities to discover. Start your journey by immersing yourself in the rich maritime history at the Royal Observatory. Marvel at the stunning architecture and learn about Greenwich’s significant role in navigation and timekeeping.
Next, make your way to the Cutty Sark, an iconic tea-clipper-turned museum. Step aboard this beautifully restored ship and delve into its fascinating past as you explore its interior. Discover how it played a vital part in Britain’s trade routes during the 19th century.
Afterwards, take some time to unwind in Greenwich Park, one of London’s oldest royal parks. Stroll through its lush green spaces and enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline from atop Greenwich Hill.
For a unique perspective of London, embark on a boat trip along the River Thames from Greenwich to central London. Cruise along this iconic waterway, passing famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge and The Shard.
Greenwich truly has something for everyone – from history buffs to nature lovers – making it an ideal destination for exploration and discovery. So grab your camera, put on some comfortable shoes, and prepare to be captivated by all that this remarkable area has to offer!
3. Go Shopping in Brixton
Brixton, the vibrant and trendy neighbourhood in South London, is a shopaholic’s paradise. With its diverse range of shops, from independent boutiques to large department stores, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re looking for unique fashion pieces or quirky home decor items, Brixton has it all.
Wandering through the bustling streets of Brixton, you’ll be captivated by the colourful storefronts and creative displays that line the sidewalks. From vintage clothing boutiques to contemporary art galleries, every corner holds a new treasure waiting to be discovered.
And it’s not just about shopping in Brixton – there’s also an incredible selection of restaurants and the best bars to satisfy your taste buds. Craving some Caribbean cuisine? Head over to one of Brixton’s many jerk chicken joints or sample some mouthwatering street food at Pop Brixton.
After indulging in a delicious meal, why not grab a drink at one of Brixton’s hip bars? From cosy cocktail lounges to lively pubs with live music performances, the nightlife scene here is buzzing with energy.
So whether you’re on the hunt for unique finds or simply want to soak up the vibrant atmosphere, make sure you add shopping in Brixton to your list of things to do in South London. It’s an experience like no other!
4. Visit the Horniman Museum
When it comes to exploring the vibrant and diverse attractions of South London, a visit to the Horniman Museum is an absolute must. This unique museum offers visitors a fascinating journey through various disciplines, from natural history specimens to musical instruments and art.
Step into the museum’s halls, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by an eclectic array of exhibits that showcase the wonders of our planet. Marvel at the intricate details of preserved animals in their natural habitats or dive deep into the history of ancient civilizations through their artefacts. The Horniman Museum truly brings these subjects to life with its vast collection.
One highlight that sets this museum apart is its beautiful garden, complete with a petting zoo. Take a leisurely stroll among the fragrant flowers and lush greenery while encountering friendly farm animals along the way. It’s an enchanting experience for children and adults alike, allowing them to connect with nature in a serene setting.
As you immerse yourself in all that this remarkable institution has to offer, prepare to be captivated by its commitment to education and exploration. From interactive displays that engage your senses to thought-provoking exhibitions on cultural diversity, there’s always something new awaiting discovery at the Horniman Museum.
So whether you’re passionate about nature, fascinated by musical instruments from around the world or simply seeking inspiration through art, make sure you include a visit to this South London gem on your itinerary.
5. See a Show at the Globe Theatre
Located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Southwark, the Globe Theatre stands as a remarkable reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original theatre. Stepping into this historic venue is like stepping back in time, immersing yourself in the rich world of Elizabethan theatre.
Whether you’re a die-hard Shakespeare fan or simply appreciate classic works, catching a show at the Globe Theatre is an experience not to be missed. The talented actors bring these timeless plays to life with their passion and skill, transporting you to another era.
From tragic tales like Romeo and Juliet to comedic masterpieces like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is something for everyone at the Globe Theatre. The intimate setting allows for an up-close and personal experience with the performers, enhancing your connection to the story unfolding before your eyes.
But it’s not just about watching a performance; it’s about being part of living history. As you sit beneath its iconic thatched roof, surrounded by fellow theatre enthusiasts from around the globe, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and reverence for this cultural treasure.
So next time you find yourself in South London, make sure to add seeing a show at the Globe Theatre to your itinerary. It will be an unforgettable journey into the world of Shakespeare and his enduring legacy.
6. Take a Walk Along the South Bank
Taking a leisurely stroll along the South Bank is a must-do activity when exploring South London. This riverside walkway offers not only stunning views of the city’s iconic landmarks but also a plethora of attractions to explore. One such attraction is the Tate Modern, an internationally renowned art museum housed in a former power station. With its impressive collection of contemporary and modern artworks, it is sure to captivate art enthusiasts.
Just a short distance away lies the London Eye, another prominent feature on the South Bank skyline. A ride on this giant Ferris wheel offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city from high above. It’s truly an experience not to be missed.
If you’re in search of entertainment, head over to Shakespeare’s Globe where you can catch live performances of classic plays by one of history’s greatest playwrights. The open-air theatre provides an immersive experience that takes audiences back in time.
As you continue your walk, you’ll come across an array of restaurants and bars offering diverse culinary delights. Whether it’s fine dining or street food stalls that tickle your taste buds, there’s something for everyone along this vibrant stretch.
To add to its charm, the South Bank is often teeming with talented street performers showcasing their skills and entertaining passersby with music, dance, and magic tricks. It creates an atmosphere full of energy and liveliness that adds to the overall appeal of this popular destination.
So put on your most comfortable shoes and get ready for a delightful journey as you take a walk along South Bank – soak up amazing views, appreciate world-class art at Tate Modern, enjoy exhilarating rides on London Eye or immerse yourself in Shakespearean drama at Globe Theatre while indulging in delicious food options and being entertained by talented street performers – all waiting for you along this picturesque riverside promenade!
7. Visit the Imperial War Museum
At the Imperial War Museum, history comes alive as you delve into the fascinating story of the British military. From the trenches of World War I to the modern conflicts of today, this museum houses an incredible collection of over 7 million objects that bring these stories to life.
Step through its doors and be transported back in time as you explore exhibits filled with aircraft, tanks, and weapons that played a crucial role in shaping history. Marvel at the sheer size and power of these war machines, getting up close to iconic vehicles like Spitfires and Sherman tanks.
But it’s not just about hardware; the museum also offers a glimpse into the human side of war. Personal stories unfold through diaries, letters, and photographs from soldiers who experienced firsthand what it was like on the front lines.
As you wander through its halls, take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come since those tumultuous times. The Imperial War Museum is not just a place to learn about history; it is a tribute to those who served their country with bravery and sacrifice.
So whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about our past, don’t miss out on visiting this extraordinary museum. It’s an experience that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for those who fought for freedom.
8. Explore Peckham
Peckham is a vibrant and up-and-coming neighbourhood in South London that offers a unique blend of trendy bars, best restaurants, independent shops, and art galleries. This eclectic mix makes it the perfect destination for those seeking something different.
When it comes to bars and restaurants, Peckham has no shortage of options. From hip cocktail lounges to cosy cafes serving up delicious brunch fare, there’s something for every taste bud. Whether you’re after a refreshing craft beer or a mouth-watering meal made with locally sourced ingredients, Peckham has got you covered.
But it’s not just about the food and drink scene in Peckham. This neighbourhood is also home to a number of independent shops and boutiques where you can find unique fashion pieces, handmade crafts, and one-of-a-kind gifts. It’s the ideal place to discover hidden gems while supporting local businesses.
Art enthusiasts will also be spoiled for choice in Peckham. The neighbourhood boasts an array of art galleries showcasing works from both established and emerging artists. From contemporary installations to thought-provoking exhibitions, there’s always something new and exciting happening on the art scene in Peckham.
All in all, exploring Peckham is like stepping into a world filled with creativity and innovation. With its trendy bars, diverse dining options, independent shops, and thriving art scene, this up-and-coming neighbourhood is definitely worth adding to your South London itinerary
9. Go to a Music Festival in Brockwell Park
Brockwell Park, located in the heart of South London, is not only a picturesque green space but also a vibrant hub for music lovers. Throughout the year, this park plays host to numerous music festivals that attract people from all walks of life.
One such festival is the Green Man Festival, which brings together an eclectic mix of artists and bands across various genres. From folk and indie rock to electronic and experimental sounds, there’s something for everyone at this event. The lush surroundings of Brockwell Park provide the perfect backdrop for enjoying live music under sunny skies or starry nights.
Another must-attend festival held in Brockwell Park is the Lovebox Festival. Known for its lively atmosphere and diverse lineup, Lovebox promises unforgettable performances by some of the biggest names in the music industry. Whether you’re into hip-hop, R&B, dancehall or house music, you can groove to your heart’s content at this exciting event.
What sets these festivals apart is not just their excellent musical program but also their inclusive and welcoming vibe. With food stalls offering delicious cuisines from around the world and art installations adding visual flair to the experience, attending a music festival in Brockwell Park is more than just listening to great tunes – it’s immersing yourself in a celebration of creativity and community.
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable musical experience in South London, make sure to check out one (or more!) of the fantastic festivals hosted in Brockwell Park throughout the year. Get ready to dance like nobody’s watching and create memories that will last a lifetime!
10. Visit the Surrey Docks
Surrey Docks, once a bustling industrial area in South London, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Today, it stands as a vibrant waterfront destination that offers visitors an array of exciting experiences.
As you stroll along the docks, you’ll be greeted by the sight of trendy restaurants and bars lining the waterfront. Whether you’re craving international cuisine or looking for a cosy spot to enjoy a craft cocktail, Surrey Docks has something to satisfy every palate.
For those seeking retail therapy, there are plenty of shops to explore in this revamped neighbourhood. From independent boutiques showcasing unique fashion finds to speciality stores offering artisanal products, you’ll find it all here.
The charm of Surrey Docks extends beyond its dining and shopping options. This waterfront oasis also provides picturesque views and opportunities for leisurely walks along its promenade. Take in the serene atmosphere as boats sail by on the water or simply relax on one of the many benches dotted throughout the area.
In addition to its revitalized amenities, Surrey Docks is also home to various cultural events and festivals throughout the year. From food fairs celebrating local flavours to live music performances that get your feet tapping, there’s always something happening here that will capture your interest.
With its successful reinvention from an industrial hub into a lively destination full of life and character, Surrey Docks is undoubtedly worth exploring when visiting South London. So why not plan a visit? Experience firsthand how this former industrial district has flourished into an exciting waterfront hotspot teeming with attractions waiting to be discovered!
11. Visit the Battersea Power Station
The Battersea Power Station is a true icon of South London. This historic building has undergone a transformation and is now a luxury residential development, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still experience its rich history. One of the highlights of visiting the power station is taking a tour of its iconic chimneys. These towering structures have become synonymous with the building itself, and getting up close to them is truly awe-inspiring.
During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the fascinating history of the power station. From its construction in the 1930s to its role as an important source of electricity for London, there are countless stories waiting to be discovered. The tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate about sharing this history with visitors.
In addition to learning about its past, exploring this architectural marvel allows you to appreciate its unique design features. The sleek Art Deco style combined with industrial elements creates a striking aesthetic that sets it apart from other buildings in London.
Whether you’re interested in architecture or simply want to immerse yourself in South London’s heritage, a visit to Battersea Power Station should definitely be on your list. Soak up the atmosphere as you walk through this iconic landmark and discover why it continues to captivate locals and tourists alike.
12. Explore Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is a hidden gem in South London, offering visitors a wide range of attractions to explore. One of the main highlights of the park is its enchanting maze, where you can test your navigation skills and try to find your way out. It’s a fun activity for both kids and adults alike.
But that’s not all – the park also boasts a unique dinosaur park, which features life-sized models of various prehistoric creatures. Walking among these towering giants will transport you back in time and give you an up-close look at these ancient creatures.
If you’re looking for some relaxation, head over to the boating lake in Crystal Palace Park. You can rent a paddleboat and glide along the serene waters while enjoying the picturesque surroundings. It’s a perfect activity on a sunny day or simply when you want to unwind amidst nature.
Aside from these attractions, Crystal Palace Park offers beautiful green spaces where you can have picnics or take leisurely walks. The well-maintained paths make it easy to explore every corner of this expansive park.
Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquillity, Crystal Palace Park has something for everyone. So why not plan a visit and discover all that this diverse park has to offer?
13. Go Shopping in Tooting Market
Tooting Market is a hidden gem in South London, offering a vibrant and diverse shopping experience. As you step into this bustling street market, you’ll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of colours, enticing aromas, and the lively chatter of vendors and shoppers.
One of the highlights of Tooting Market is its wide selection of clothes. Whether you’re looking for trendy vintage pieces or unique handmade garments, you’re sure to find something that suits your style. The market is also known for its affordable prices, making it a great place to snag some bargains.
But it’s not just about fashion at Tooting Market – food lovers will be delighted by the array of culinary delights on offer. From freshly baked bread and pastries to international cuisine from all corners of the globe, there’s something here to satisfy every palate.
In addition to clothing and food, Tooting Market also boasts an impressive range of household goods. You’ll find everything from quirky home decor items to practical kitchenware at unbeatable prices. It’s the perfect place to pick up unique gifts or give your home a stylish makeover without breaking the bank.
The atmosphere at Tooting Market is electric – as you weave through the maze-like stalls, you can’t help but get caught up in the energy and excitement around you. It’s not just a shopping trip; it’s an immersive cultural experience that truly captures the spirit of South London.
So if you’re looking for more than just your average shopping excursion, head over to Tooting Market. Discover hidden treasures among its eclectic mix of stalls while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere that makes this street market one-of-a-kind in South London.
14. Visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery
Nestled in the charming neighbourhood of Dulwich, the Dulwich Picture Gallery is a hidden gem for art enthusiasts. Stepping into this historic gallery feels like stepping back in time, as it houses an impressive collection of British and European paintings from the 14th to the 19th centuries.
As you wander through the galleries, you’ll be captivated by the exquisite craftsmanship and artistic mastery displayed on each canvas. From delicate landscapes to striking portraits, every piece tells a unique story that allows you to glimpse into different eras and cultures.
One of the highlights of visiting this gallery is its intimate setting. Unlike larger museums, you can truly immerse yourself in each painting without feeling overwhelmed by crowds or distractions. This creates a serene and contemplative atmosphere that enhances your appreciation for these timeless works of art.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Dulwich Picture Gallery also hosts rotating exhibitions that showcase lesser-known artists and explore various themes throughout history. These temporary exhibits provide fresh perspectives and offer a chance to discover new artistic voices.
Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply looking for a cultural escape, visiting the Dulwich Picture Gallery is an enriching experience that transports you through centuries of creative expression. Take your time exploring each brushstroke and allow yourself to be transported into another world—a world where beauty knows no bounds.
15. See a Show at the Tricycle Theatre
The Tricycle Theatre is a hidden gem in South London, known for its cutting-edge and innovative productions. If you’re a theatre lover looking for something fresh and exciting, this is the place to be.
Step into the intimate and cosy seating of the Tricycle Theatre, and prepare to be transported into a world of thought-provoking performances. This theatre prides itself on showcasing new plays and musicals that challenge conventions and push boundaries.
From gripping dramas to heartwarming comedies, the Tricycle Theatre offers a diverse range of productions that cater to all tastes. You never know what you’ll discover when you attend a show here – it could be the next big hit or an experimental piece that leaves you pondering long after the final curtain call.
What sets this theatre apart is its commitment to social issues and political discourse. Many of their productions tackle pressing topics such as race, identity, and human rights. The Tricycle Theatre isn’t afraid to confront uncomfortable truths or ignite important conversations through art.
Whether you’re an avid theatre-goer or just dipping your toes into the world of performing arts, seeing a show at the Tricycle Theatre promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in top-notch performances by talented actors who bring stories to life with passion and authenticity.
So why not step outside your comfort zone? Take a chance on something different at the Tricycle Theatre – you might just discover your new favourite play or musical that will leave you inspired long after the lights dim down.
16. Go to a Concert at the O2 Academy Brixton
If you’re a music lover visiting South London, one experience you won’t want to miss is attending a concert at the iconic O2 Academy Brixton. This legendary music venue has played host to some of the biggest names in the industry, making it a must-visit destination for any fan.
Stepping into the O2 Academy Brixton is like stepping into music history. The venue’s rich heritage and intimate atmosphere create an unforgettable experience for concert-goers. From its humble beginnings as a cinema in 1929 to its transformation into a world-renowned live music space, this venue has seen it all.
Over the years, artists such as The Rolling Stones and Adele have graced the stage at O2 Academy Brixton, leaving audiences awestruck by their incredible performances. Whether you’re into rock, pop, indie, or electronic music, there’s something for everyone on their impressive lineup.
The energy inside this historic venue is palpable as fans come together to share in their love of live music. The acoustics are top-notch and the layout ensures that no matter where you stand or dance, you’ll have a great view of the stage.
Attending a concert at O2 Academy Brixton isn’t just about seeing your favourite artist perform; it’s about immersing yourself in an electric atmosphere filled with passionate fans who are there for one reason – to enjoy incredible live music.
So if you find yourself in South London and craving an unforgettable night out filled with amazing tunes and unforgettable memories, make sure to check out what’s happening at O2 Academy Brixton. Trust me when I say that experiencing live music at this legendary venue will leave you wanting more!
17. Visit the London Wetland Centre
Nestled in the heart of South London lies a hidden gem for nature lovers – the London Wetland Centre. This expansive nature reserve is a haven for a diverse array of bird species, including graceful flamingos, playful otters, and colourful kingfishers.
As you wander through the wetlands, you’ll be captivated by the serene beauty that surrounds you. The sound of birdsong fills the air as you spot herons gracefully wading through the water and ducks gliding along its surface. The vibrant colours of wildflowers add an extra touch of magic to this natural oasis.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply seeking solace in nature’s embrace, the London Wetland Centre offers something for everyone. Take a leisurely stroll along tranquil pathways or embark on one of their guided tours to discover more about this fascinating ecosystem.
For families, there are interactive exhibits and educational activities designed to engage young minds and foster a deeper appreciation for wildlife conservation. And don’t forget to stop by their cosy café overlooking scenic lakes – it’s the perfect spot to relax and reflect on your nature-filled adventure.
So why not escape from bustling city life and immerse yourself in the wonders of the London Wetland Centre? It’s an experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and connected with both nature and yourself.
After reading through our list of the best things to do in South London, I am confident that you will find something here that interests you. Whether it is exploring one of London’s most popular tourist attractions or spending time in one of the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods, there are plenty of activities and experiences waiting for you. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to South London today!
FAQs on Things to Do in South London
1. What is South London famous for?
South London is famous for its diverse range of cultures, its vibrant nightlife, and its rich history. It is home to some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including the Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and the Shakespeare’s Globe. South London is also home to a number of world-class museums and art galleries, including the Horniman Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
2. Is South London the best part of London?
There is no one “best” part of London, as each area has its own unique charm and attractions. However, South London is often cited as one of the most desirable parts of the city, thanks to its diverse population, its vibrant culture, and its relatively affordable housing.
3. Is North or South London better?
North and South London are both great parts of the city, and it really depends on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a more vibrant and diverse area with a lot to offer in terms of culture and nightlife, then South London is a good choice. If you’re looking for a more traditional and historic area with a more laid-back pace of life, then North London is a good choice.
4. Which part of London is famous?
London is a very famous city, and all of its parts are famous in their own way. However, some of the most famous parts of London include the City of London, Westminster, the South Bank, and Greenwich.