Famed for its lively nightlife and mix of cultures, Brixton is fast becoming the must-buy creative corner of the capital
Whatever time of day you emerge from Brixton underground station, the streets are bustling with life. Be it steel bands on the street, lively market traders, rushing commuters or busy bars, this is a town that rarely sleeps.
Its vibrancy has meant that Brixton is rarely away from references in popular culture (singer Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue arguably the most famous), and today it’s evolved into one of the capital’s most important cultural quarters.
Brixton lies at the heart of the borough of Lambeth, close to the neighbouring locales of Herne Hill, Stockwell, Clapham and Streatham – all of which enjoy a growing popularity with homebuyers and renters alike. Brixton is superb for commuting, close to wonderful parks and is currently enjoying a great deal of success. Above all, there is a great focus on community and, although popularity is growing, locals continue to promote community-focused trading, arts and events to ensure the town’s heart and soul are never lost.
Homes and residents
There’s an eclectic mix of both homes and people in Brixton. The population is made up of a great number of cultures, ages and professions. Perhaps the most important to Brixton’s make-up is its Caribbean and African heritage, which gives rise to the amazing foods, flavours and sounds in the area. There’s also a large Portuguese population – with Stockwell being home to one of the largest Portuguese communities in London. Brixton has a great number of settled residents, which helps form the strong community feel in much of the area, and it’s increasingly popular with young professionals too.
Housing is varied and is made up of several large estates, a vast number of Victorian houses and converted buildings, as well as an increasing number of newbuild developments. There is a great need for affordable housing in the area, which has been met with a growing number of properties becoming available through shared ownership.
Out and about
With every week that passes, it seems like there’s always something new to do in Brixton. If you’d simply like to soak up a buzzing atmosphere and sample some local beer and food, wander down to Brixton Pop. Housed in a series of empty cargo containers, the project was set up to provide an affordable home for local start-ups and businesses. It’s proved hugely popular for its great food and live entertainment. Try Indian nachos, great jerk dishes and locally brewed beers alongside a happy crowd and live entertainment. Almost next door, you’ll find Brixton Village, a ‘pop-up’ restaurant quarter housed in the former disused market, that’s been drawing crowds to the area for several years. There’s plenty of choice here. You can join the queue for amazing pizza at famous Franco Manca, sample excellent dim sum at Happy Dumplings, or drop in to Rosie’s for some great comfort cooking and excellent wine.
Aside from these newer attractions, there are plenty of good pubs and restaurants in the area. A fun night is always guaranteed at the Dog Star, while the Effra Hall and Hootenanny are also lively locals.
Residents also love Brixton’s independent cinema, the Ritzy. Sitting opposite the grand Town Hall, this small screen cinema shows great films as well as hosting talks, events, live music and open-mic nights. Just minutes down the road is the famed Brixton Academy, which runs a brilliant schedule of high-profile acts throughout the year.
There’s plenty to do outdoors in Brixton and the surrounding areas. A 10-minute walk from the bustling high street will land you in sprawling Brockwell Park. Home to parakeets, a lido, gym and café, this huge green space also hosts the annual Lambeth Country Fair, which is a huge hit with locals and visitors alike.
There are more great parks within easy reach, including Loughborough Park, Clapham Common, while huge Battersea Park is just a few miles away. For something a little unexpected, travel up Brixton Hill to set your sights on a much-loved (and surprisingly little-known) windmill, which was built in 1816 and restored in the 1960s. One of the few surviving windmills in London, today it is open for tours, guided walks and school visits.
There’s not much you can’t get your hands on in Brixton. Head first to Station Road market, just off the main road. The stalls are run by local traders, selling everything from fresh street food, beautiful cakes and treats during the week, to clothes, retro collectables and specialist items at the weekend. The adjacent streets are home to many more traders, selling meat, fish and veg from the many stalls and open-fronted shops.
If you’re after a bit of high street shopping, Brixton Road will serve you well. Within close proximity you’ll find many of the big-name shops as well as several independent stores, where you can get your hands on something a bit different. On Coldharbour Lane, Joy is great for niche gifts and pretty clothes, while at Traid you’ll get the chance to give some unwanted pieces a new lease of life. Of course, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can be on Oxford Street in a little over 10 minutes.
Brixton is in Zone 2, so getting around London is very easy indeed. It sits at the bottom of the Victoria line, so not only will you always get a seat travelling into central London, but you’ll arrive at Oxford Circus in just 11 minutes. The area is served by an extensive bus network that connects the town to nearby locales, such as Peckham and Clapham, as well as to some of the capital’s major transport links, including King’s Cross and Liverpool Street. Trains from the Overground station also connect Brixton to Kent and beyond. The proximity of Brixton to its neighbouring towns makes for easy cycle rides and by bike you can reach Camberwell in 10 minutes and Victoria in 20. Of course, you can always visit the velodrome in Herne Hill if you’d prefer some traffic-free pursuits.
Average property price (September 2015) – £563,413
Property breakdown:* Lambeth
Detached – £1026,727
Semi-detached – £806,646
Terraced – £705,952
Flat – £517,068
*According to the Land Registry House Price Index, September 2015