Neighbourhood guides: Live like a local in Deptford, London
30 Mar 2022
Although it’s been forever labelled one of London’s most up-and-coming neighbourhoods, Deptford has seen a transformation in the last few years. The wave of gentrification taking over the Southside of the river has certainly touched the area, but it's the juxtaposition of old and new that makes Deptford such a magnetic destination.
Sandwiched between leafy Greenwich and artistic New Cross, this pocket of South London has plenty to offer its creative residents, some of which have a very long-standing history and magical charm. We’re talking about the infamous Deptford Market on the high street here – which is loved by every Londoner who calls South their home. Every weekend you’ll find a mismatch of people shopping through the car-boot-style offerings that strongly reflect the international influences of the neighbourhood’s Vietnamese, South American, African, Indian, Jamaican and Chinese residents that made Deptford their home. And let’s not forget the ample caffeine choices… Come for brunch on a Saturday morning, and it’s very likely you won’t return home until sundown.
Here are our favourite spots.
I you All
iyouall is a creative studio and design store, specialising in chic lifestyle products. They curate their store with brands ranging from Scandinavia to Japan, as well as prominent London designers – including designs by the studio’s own creative team. Expect to find cards, prints, housewares, stationery and more.
This café and late night cocktail bar is run by the team behind Buster Mantis. From breakfast to cocktails and small plates, this spot provides ample choices with high quality produce – that taste amazing too. Insider information: all plates and cocktails are a fiver on Thursdays, so it tends to get too busy to find a seat unless you arrive early.
The Yoga Room
The Yoga Room wanted to create a community space that is for everyone, “no matter if you’re big, small, young, old, round, oval, square-shaped, pear-shaped, bumpy, lumpy, grumpy, or smooth.” The founder Angie understands the importance of giving yourself a time out, amongst the hustle and bustle of modern life, and has perfected the ideal spot to do so.
Part-cafe, part-bike workshop, London Velo is where you go for a tune-up with your latte. The cafe works with Union Coffee and serves Brick Lane bagels – what’s not to like? On the workshop side, there are two full-time mechanics on-site, so you can be sure your bike is in good hands.
Deptford does Art
Former pub manager Zuzana Greenham collaborated with her artist husband Dan to create this triple threat – the space acts as an art gallery, vegan café, and bar. Make sure to venture upstairs for the plant-filled space that serves up sandwiches and sweet treats. In the basement gallery you can find a changing rota of local emerging artists and activists exhibit everything from abstract paintings to cinematography.
The sister restaurant to nearby Peckham’s Artusi, we had high hopes for Marcella – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This high street-located restaurant uses a combination of Italian and British produce to create delectable pastas, meatballs and ricciarelli. Staying on theme, their wine list is strictly Italian, and the laid-back yet elevated vibe of the interiors make this spot a welcomed destination to tourists and locals alike.
This all-female specialty roastery is not only passionate about the quality of the coffee they serve, but also where their beans come from. Hence why they only work with exceptional suppliers who are socially responsible. Oh and it tastes yummy, too.
A huge creative community lives in Harold Wharf due to the Art in Perpetuity Trust (APT). With 42 fully-equipped studios, a working sculpture yard and a contemporary gallery – nurturing both established and emerging artists and students from leading institutions such as the University of the Arts London and the Royal Academy – you can get a glimpse into some of the neighbourhood’s most creative residents through its Open Studio events.
Plants and products for the home. That’s the name of the game at Forest. They believe that our plant babies – along with flowers – are natural mood enhancers and improve indoor air quality by naturally filtering polluted air, which is why they hand-pick easy-to-care-for foliage, and are more than happy to teach you how if you don’t know. Make sure to check out the workshops on offer too.
Sharkbait & Swim
When Appear Here caught up with founder Steve McClarty in the early days of Sharkbait & Swim, his seafood joint in a railway arch just outside Deptford train station, he had this to say: “I love it here. It’s so sick. South London has got a vibe to it I haven’t experienced anywhere else.” South London locals as well as those from further afield keep coming back for Steve’s seafood creations. Once you’ve had a taste, you’ll understand why.