Top 10 Things To Do In The Borough Of Wandsworth

Wandsworth is a quiet borough. It often requires no small amount of inside knowledge to uncover the gems. We all know the Power Station, Albert Bridge and Battersea Park, which stand like monuments along the river. What happens when you delve further in and explore? With an Arts Festival in May now is the perfect time to get to know the Borough of Wandsworth.

Best theatre:
Housed in Battersea’s original town hall, a Grade II listed building, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) is a place of exceptional artistic output. Punchdrunk’s unsettling interactive play The Masque of the Red Death opened here before the company moved onto international fame with Sleep No More tearing the New York theatre scene apart throughout 2011. Richard Thomas’ Jerry Springer- The Opera also premiered here before moving to the Royal National Theatre to rave reviews.

Best restaurant:
Wandsworth’s one and only Michelin stared restaurant, Chez Bruce, made this category fairly easy to decide. Placed overlooking Wandsworth Common Brian Poole’s stylish outpost is among the best restaurants in London.

Best space:
Split almost exactly in half between Wandsworth and Lambeth, Clapham Common could be seen as a contentious winner. Cedars Road marks the dividing line and if we’re being honest Lambeth nabbed a lot of the spoils — the skatepark, the pond, the basketball courts and the plot for the phenomenal SW4 festival. With this in mind we’re going to ignore the borough line — it’s not like there’s a toll booth. In reality this is just a wide open expanse of green which is an example to the rest of London in the way it is utilised by the entire community.

Best landmark:
Young’s brewery in Wandsworth Town is, as of 2006, no longer functional. That does not stop this being an incredible landmark. This is the oldest brewery site in Britain and has given birth to the largest and most successful pub franchise in the country. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a Young’s pub and this is where it all began.

Best secret:
As with most secrets in London this is no kind of secret at all. Getting a table at Meze in Tooting is a thing of great skill. From the outside it looks like any other small restaurant/take away shop of Mediterranean origin, and the inside is only notable for the lack of free tables. The food, however, is exceptional value for money and of the very highest order. Make sure you book and don’t tell anyone we sent you, it’s supposed to be a secret after all.

Best bar:
This is not the best borough for bars but Wandsworth has one or two saving graces. Lost Angel is the pick of the bunch with fantastic cocktails, a late night licence and a sizeable garden. Do remember, however, it is lost. Don’t be disheartened by the desolate road, you’ll find it eventually.

Best atmosphere:
Sitting in Battersea Square is our pick of things to do in Wandsworth. It is a little slice of the continent. Tucked behind two domineering council estates this is a place for people in the know. Pick a sunny day and you may not want to leave.

Best music:
The Bedford in Balham has, over the years, garnered a reputation as one London’s best music venues. Turn up any night and expect to see something special. Paolo Nutini, KT Tunstall and James Morrison are among a vast list of successful artists who cite the Bedford as a launching point for their careers.

Best food shop:
Bit of an odd one this. Snoggy’s is a South African food store on Upper Richmond Road in the far Western corner of the borough. Quite a pilgrimage for many but they boast the best biltong in London. Other South African treats adorn the shelves but the ceiling is filled with dried strips of the best meat you could ask for.

Best pub:
The Antelope on Mitcham Road is a fantastic pub. A mish-mash of furniture and a vast expanse of space greets you as you walk in. The food is the real selling point with a fantastic ever-changing menu.

Agree, disagree? Let us know your top recommendations for Wandsworth in the comments.

Many thanks to Buckaroo Kid, Anatoleya, curry15, mrdamcgowan, Matt from London and tezzer57 for sharing their photos in the Londonist Flickrpool.

Other instalments in this series: Barnet, Brent, Bromley, the City of London, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Hounslow, Lambeth, Lewisham, Redbridge, Southwark.

Know your borough inside-out? Interested in contributing one of these articles? Email us at hello@londonist.com

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  • http://twitter.com/CoachinCougars JMH

    How on earth have you managed to miss the sporting events? The Boat Race starts in Putney, but that’s pretty small with only 4 crews racing compared to the Head of the River Race, the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race and the Veterans Head of the River Race  which have taken place over the past three weekends in which something approaching 1000 crews (ie over 9000 competitors) have visited the Borough, together with their associated spending powers!

    • Anonymous

      Good to note, but they’re discrete and occasional events, whereas this is a list of stuff to do at any time of year in the borough.

  • Nicholas

    Cool article, I sometimes use http://www.streetlife.com to find local events and recommendations for Wandsworth as well…

  • Apples

    The Cats Back has my vote as best pub in Wandsworth – its eclectic laid back atmosphere is everything a local pub should be (and then some)…

  • Conrad Roth

    Best thing to do in Wandsworth? Bingo at the Tooting Granada.

  • Alan McDev

    Your list is pretty much spot on, but as for the best bar I have to strongly disagree. For me, there’s no beating a little-known gem on Lavender Hill called Bar Social. The great music and atmosphere is only matched by the exceptional staff who make every night there a treat. You should check it out, if you’re not aware of it.

    • Candance Yu

      Running is the most popular sport, running both weight loss and can exercise, but how to get running good for us it has two aspects, that is, the running of sports equipment and running exercise, so we should choose athe right running shoes, and plan an appropriate amount of exercise, the Nike Free and Nike Air Max running shoes for running, and hope that we have time to exercise more, as our lives will become more healthy and beautiful.

  • Chris

    And don’t forget the Half Moon in Putney as one another of the historic music venues, with groups from the Rolling Stones down having played there.

  • Sam Frankl

    Thanks for all the suggestions guys, best thing about these lists is that the top ten turns in to the top 100 soon enough and then there’s a truly comprehensive list for the borough. 

    As for Bar Social, it’s funny you mention it Alan, I know it well…far too well really. That’s all I’ll say on the matter :) but give Lost Angel a try and see if I can change your mind, the cocktails are a cut above.

    • Candance Yu

       Running is the most popular sport, running both weight loss and can exercise, but how to get running good for us it has two aspects, that is, the running of sports equipment and running exercise, so we should choose athe right running shoes, and plan an appropriate amount of exercise, the Nike Free and Nike Air Max running shoes for running, and hope that we have time to exercise more, as our lives will become more healthy and beautiful.

  • Sarah

    The Ship is definitely the best pub in Wandsworth! It’s certainly the busiest, it goes nuts on Sundays and those nights are basically iconic. Great BBQ ribs too….

    • Candance Yu

      Running is the most popular sport, running both weight loss and can exercise, but how to get running good for us it has two aspects, that is, the running of sports equipment and running exercise, so we should choose athe right running shoes, and plan an appropriate amount of exercise, the Nike Free and Nike Air Max running shoes for running, and hope that we have time to exercise more, as our lives will become more healthy and beautiful.

  • Melissa

    I really liked this.  I will second the choice for best pub.

  • Farida

    You’ve missed the The Hive Honey shop under best food. It’s on Northcote Road – a family run business – which won the London magazine’s “shop of shops” award for 2011

  • Anonymous
  • Tea Mingles

    Powder Keg Diplomacy is one of the best bars in the borough, if not the whole of London – Homemade soft drinks, amazingly inventive cocktails, good local beers and great food – Plus it’s a little step back in time with all its Victoriana and Speakeasy vibeage! Well worth the short walk to St John’s Hill from Clapham Junction.