Fifi Khudhairi founder of the SouthEast15 blog, tells us how to do Peckham in style.
These days, Peckham's no secret — not even to the London tourist. You'll find it in any decent city guide, and rightly so. The south east London enclave is a desirable, intoxicating mix of creativity, community spirit and urban realness. You probably already know about Frank's Cafe, Soul Train and Brick Brewery. Here, we delve a little deeper.
1. Take two wheels for a spin
Established in 2013 by a group of residents with a shared passion for two wheels, Peckham Cycle Club is now a popular community hub. Every Saturday morning they host a free social ride which anyone is welcome to join. If you like that, become a member of Peckham Cycle club for £25 a year and get exclusive perks such as access to the club kit, and discounts at various bike shops.
Peckham Cycle Club, Saturday Social Spin every Saturday morning from Peckham Library
2. Get inked
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Recently under threat from greedy landlords, Rye Lanez Tattooing was partially saved by a flash day, when it seemed half of Peckham turned out to get a tat, and raise funds. The railway arch studio was built from the ground up, and is now home to 14 artists as well as welcoming world-famous artists for pop-up events. It's the biggest tattoo studio in south London, holds regular tattoo events, features in music videos and even hosts a mini pop-up food court outside the studio.
Rye Lanez Tattooing, Unit 210, 22a Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QN
3. Help make a delicious meal for dozens of people
There are 13 FoodCycle projects in London and one is right here in Peckham. The charity uses surplus food to create delicious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. Peckham's FoodCycle takes place in a fantastic community kitchen at All Saints Church every Wednesday and Saturday, serving a free vegetarian three-course meal. The project receives regular donations of surplus food from local businesses. It's then down to the creativity of volunteer cooks to whip up a delicious meal for 40-50 people. There are lots of volunteering roles you can help out with, including food collection, cooking, hosting and fundraising.
FoodCycle, All Saints Church Hall, Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QS
4. Go and see sake made (then drink it)
The city's first sake brewery, Kanpai opened in Peckham's Copeland Park, after couple Tom and Lucy fell in love with the drink in Japan, and decided to make their own. Interested in how Sake is made? You can join Kanpai’s weekly sake brewery tour (£25pp), where you see each stage of the (painstaking) process, sampling the range as you go. The tour takes place every Saturday 12pm-1pm, book in advance.
Kanpai, Unit 2A-2, 133 Copeland Park, SE15 3SN
5. Craft your own vase
In need of a last minute present for mum? Check out the Kiln Rooms, an open-access ceramic studios. If you’re completely new to pottery, try the one-off taster session. This five-hour class (£85pp) introduces you to throwing on a wheel, and hand-building through demonstrations and exercises. If you fall in love with it, join the 12-week beginners course (£280pp).
The Kiln Rooms. 9c, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 3SN
6. Take a stroll through Peckham's coolest corridor
Around 20 independent businesses inhabit Holdrons Arcade — a corridor of wonders, housed in an old 1930s shopping mall. Here you will find local Peckham radio station Balamii; cult fashion stores like Wavey Garms and vintage fashion retailer Little Sister; and Deserted Cactus, which serves up a mean jerk tofu-fried dumpling burger. Peckham Vision, meanwhile is a citizens' action group promoting community action and creating opportunities for people locally.
Holdrons Arcade, 133 Copeland Road, Peckham, SE15 3SN
7. Collaborate with like-minded creatives
Are you a graphic designer, illustrator, photographer or filmmaker? Rye Here Rye Now is a must visit. This monthly creative meet-up brings together a local community of creative folk to exchange ideas, socialise and network.
Rye Here Right Now takes place every month in local venues.
8. Support the local footy team
Nope, not those hipsters Dulwich Hamlet. We're talking about Peckham Town Football Club. The team was established in 1982 by 13-year-old Bryan Hall. After relentless calls from Hall, the FA finally allowed him to register a new football team. Over the years Peckham Town FC has played all across south London, but now has a permanent home at Southwark Sports Ground in Dulwich. The club's blue and yellow crest was designed by Hall. It depicts the English flag which represents King Henry I, who once owned Peckham, and blue ripple lines which are the river Peck (which Peckham was named after).
The club has been fondly nicknamed The Trotters, because... yes, that. It's a bargainous £3 match-day entrance for the men's games. All youth and womens team matches for free.
Peckham Town Football Club, Southwark Sports Ground, 37 Dulwich Common, West Dulwich, SE21 7EU
9. Get snappy
Peckham is extremely photogenic, and Bright Rooms is an open-access darkroom and studio, for photographers and printers. If you are proficient in darkroom practice, you can choose from hourly packages to suit your needs from four hours (£30) to unlimited hours (£250). If you’re a complete beginner to analogue photography, develop your knowledge of darkroom printing by joining one of the film and printing workshops. Choose from black & white film developing (£40pp), camera workshops (£85pp) or zine-making (£20pp).
The Bright Rooms, Unit 423, Level 4, Peckham Levels, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
10. Scoff authentic Vietnamese tapas
Bar OM is named after the vibration traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga session, and inspired by the concept of 'Nhậu' — meaning to go for a drink with friends, socialise and eat some food. This place serves incredible small plates like salt & pepper fried squid (£7.80), seafood spring rolls (£6), steamed king prawns (£7.80) and soft shell crab (£9). For vegetarians, the restaurant has avocado summer rolls (£4.50), fried tofu salad (£7) and vegan fried balls (£6.80). The dishes are freshly prepared, authentic and beautifully presented. Wash it down with a lemongrass old fashioned or taichi lychee.
Bar OM, 18-20 Choumert Road, SE15 4SE
11. Stroke your chin while viewing contemporary art
Hannah Barry has done wonders developing the art scene in Peckham. She is the driving force behind Bold Tendencies, the non-profit organisation that's also home to Frank's Cafe. As well as this, Hannah runs a commercial art gallery nestled on the corner of Holly Grove, a stone's throw from Peckham Rye station. The gallery plays hosts to many exhibitions from emerging talent and special projects. Pop in next time you're waiting for a train.
Hannah Barry Gallery, 4 Holly Grove, Peckham, SE15 5DF
12. Aaaannd... relax
Levitate's classes take place in the high-ceiling, natural light studios of the Bussey Building — an ideal spot to relax, unwind and find your zen. If you’re new to meditation, drop into a beginners class that demystifies some of the key elements of mindfulness and meditation. Deepen your ability to achieve focus in the midst of distraction, with a Focus Meditation class. Drop-in classes cost £12.50 or you can buy up to 15 classes for £105. Levitate also offer Community Meditation classes, a weekly group drop-in class every Tuesday lunchtime. These community classes are pay what you want.
Levitate, Yogarise Studio 2, Unit B1.2, C-Stairs First Floor, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
SouthEast15 is inspired by the bohemian, fun and free-spirited character of SE15, with the aim to connect people to independent brands, businesses and experiences.