Brixton London joins the likes of Notting Hill and Peckham as being an area of London (to the alarm of previous and current residents and me for that matter, thanks to the rising rents!) that that has now gone through the gentrification process (resulting in rising rental prices to the alarm of previous and current residents and me for that matter!). Start-ups are all the rage as they take over Brixton with shared creative office spaces, independent cafés and bars and more beards than a pirate ship. This gentrification is an area of hot debate as some people feel the "soul" is being taken out of the place.
Others think it's a good thing as they argue it brings in businesses and lowers crime rates... but there are always two sides to the story.
The African-Caribbean residents who arrived in the area during the 1940s mean there are some fantastic restaurants and supermarkets scattered throughout the district. Fantastic food, great bars, pop up stores and some jazzy nightlife, all in the surroundings of a comfortable residential zone. What more could you want?
A bit of history
Brixton is thought to get its name from Lord Brixi, a Saxon lord who erected a boundary stone to mark an ancient boundary of Surrey. Lord Brixi clearly didn’t stay around for long and it wasn’t until the 18th century that any development happened in the area.
During the 1860s, Brixton was transformed into a middle-class area with the introduction of railway and some large and very expensive houses. By the mid-1900s, the area had become one of London’s biggest shopping centres and experienced a significant influx of residents.
Sadly, Brixton was bombed during World War II. The 1980s brought a series of riots throughout Brixton due to high unemployment and crime.
Since the 1990s, life in Brixton has changed along with gentrification. Reactions to the gentrification of the district have been mixed as it has resulted in a rise in house prices and the ousting of the original residents. Luckily the area still has a multi-cultural, diverse atmosphere that comes together to creates one of the most unique areas of london.
How to get there
Brixton is located in the southern borough of Lambeth and is surrounded by Stockwell, Herne Hill, Camberwell, Clapham, Tulse Hill and Streatham. Brixton Tube station is the final stop on the Victoria Line or you can catch the Overground. For those with keen walking legs, a reasonable stroll will get you to Battersea Park and the river. Better still, jump on your fixie and ride with the hipsters.
Living in Brixton
Housing prices in Brixton are on the increase as more people get excited about the potential of the area, so get in quick. There are beautiful Georgian and Victorian terraces available, as well as some lower-cost housing estates. Brixton is becoming popular with families due to its location and plentiful green spaces.
Rental prices for a decent two bedroom flat cost around £375 per week.
Where to Eat
The recent popularity of prison television shows such as Orange is the New Black has increased the interest in the dining adventure offered at The Clink. Located at Brixton Prison, the food is prepared and cooked by the prison’s inmates as part of their rehabilitation process helping them gain hospitality qualifications that they can use when they have finished their sentences. No sloppy canteen food here – it’s top quality fare served with non-alcoholic beverages. You need to pass a security check before dining at the restaurant.Address: Brixton Prison, Jebb Ave, London SW2 5XF
The Duck Egg Café
The Duck Egg Café is the place to come for brunch in Brixton. Whether you like your eggs scrambled, poached, fried or whatever, you will be asked the question, “Chicken or duck?” Anyone who doesn’t go for the duck eggs doesn’t deserve to eat here. The café is a little run down, the seats aren’t the most comfortable and you will probably need to a queue on a sunny Sunday morning but the breakfast is well worth the wait.Address: 424 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LF
Happy chefs make happy food and the two lovely ladies behind French & Grace are definitely chipper. Having quit their desk jobs to follow their foodie-dreams they are now taking over London with pop-up food stalls and their permanent restaurant in Brixton. Serving a mix of British and middle eastern cuisine, their food is hearty and down-right tasty. They are best known for selling some of the best tasting ‘uber’ wraps in the city.Address: Unit 19 First Avenue, Brixton Village, London, SW9 8PR
Fish, Wings & Tings
Get in touch with the Caribbean history of Brixton with some seriously tasty good, reggae beats and chilled out vibes at this small and colourful restaurant. Satisfy your belly with jerk chicken, pepper prawns, vegetable roti or goat curry. Washed down with a Red Stripe beer, you will roll out of this place with a stomach full of food for around £10.Address: 2 Atlantic Road, Brixton Village, Brixton, London, SW9 8PU
Coffee lovers rejoice – Federation Coffee roasts their beans in Brixton so you’re guaranteed a fresh brew. Have your espresso with one of their sweet or savoury baked goods made in house by their pastry chefs. Yum.Address: Unit 77-78, Brixton Village Market, London SW9 8PS
Where to Drink
Grab your glow sticks and prepare to dance – Electric Brixton is one of London’s best night clubs and bars and promises a seriously good night. The building was home to The Fridge, a club at the heart of the 80 New Romantic period and featured bands such as the Eurythmics and Pet Shop Boys. While Electric Brixton has no direct connection with The Fridge, the music and good times continue.Address: Town Hall Parade, Brixton, London, SW2 1RJ
No matter what gets your feet tapping there will probably be a “Insert music taste” Night at Hootananny just for you. This is one of Brixton’s most popular bars and clubs thanks to great drinks, amazing food stalls and a very reasonable £3 entry fee on Friday and Saturday nights. Come before 9pm and play a game of pool and get in for free!Address: 95 Effra Road, Brixton, London SW2 1DF
You will find lots of beards hanging out at this joint at all hours of the day. Seven At Brixton is open for brunch, lunch and coffee and whips out cocktails in the evening. Their tapas and tasting boards couple very well with their experimental cocktails and delicious wine selection. At £5 a pop, their cocktails are excellent value and beautifully made.Address: Unit 7 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LB
Like chicken? Like liquor? Well have we found the place for you! Oozing cool in everything it does, come here for its simple yet brilliant drinks menu and finger-licking good chicken bits. Just to mix it up a little, add some halloumi to your evening and your world will explode with happiness. Their cocktails are great and reasonably priced – anywhere that sells a drink called a Donkey Punch is a winner in our books.Address: Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton Market, London SW9 8PR
Things to do
Experience a piece of engineering history by visiting Brixton’s Ashby windmill. Originally built in 1816, the windmill was used to produce stoneground wholemeal flour. The mill is open to the public and you can take tours of the building from April to October. They are currently raising money to get the mill grinding flour again.Address: Windmill Gardens, West end of Blenheim Gardens, London SW2 5EU
Built in 1880s, Electric Avenue was one of the first streets in Britain to be lit by electricity and grew a reputation for being a shopaholic’s mecca in London. During the early 1900s it was home to some of London’s best stores including Bon Marché. It is now a well known market street with some independent food stores and Brixton Market. This is a great street to stroll along sampling some local food and experiencing the Brixton vibe.
Market lovers delight – Brixton is home to one of the best vintage, food and flea markets in London. Located on a pedestrianised street, the permanent shops are open seven days a week while additional stalls are set up on Fridays and Saturdays. Head here on a Sunday morning to pick up some fresh produce at the Farmers’ market.Address: Brixton Station Road
The Ritzy Picturehouse was originally built in 1911 and despite various additions and architectural changes, it has now been converted back to its original style and decor. It shows a mix of art house and commercial films and you can feel like you’ve stepped back in time while watching them. They also have music nights and various film festivals.Address: The Ritzy, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Ln, London SW2 1JG
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