Neighborhood Digging: What to do in Battersea
The bustling SW11 district has become one of London’s liveliest corners, with plenty of places for those looking to escape the frenetic heart of the capital, from leafy parks to eclectic art centres.
With a boating lake, petting zoo, Go Ape, art gallery and various manicured gardens, Battersea Park is a full day. Even if you’re passing through for a walk, it’s worth the detour from bustling Battersea town center and the stretch along the River Thames – where you’ll find London’s Buddhist Peace Pagoda – is particularly enjoyable , with views across the river to Chelsea, and the ornate Albert Bridge in between. Stick around for the evening, when sourdough pizza and live music at the park’s Pear Tree Cafe are the order of the day.
Check the announcements on Battersea Arts Center, housed in the grand old Victorian Town Hall. Its busy schedule spans the gamut of performing arts, from spoken word and contemporary dance events to independent gigs and gig proms. You might also find well-known comedians and playwrights trying new tunes here. It’s great value, with many events priced at “pay what you can” – try to catch a performance in the Great Hall, a vast atmospheric space with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, restored in 2018.
Located in the middle of the new glass-encased Nine Elms skyscraper, Bull’s-eye is the delicious idea of Masterchef: the professionals finalist Sven-Hanson Britt. The ever-changing tasting menu takes inspiration from the restaurant’s partner farm in Derbyshire and showcases the best of pickled, foraged and farmed produce, with dishes that can include grilled rutabaga consommé or Portland mutton with seaweed and turnip. You can also call on Bar Rex, the adjacent wine bar, for British wines and small plates.
If you fancy a trip to the arcade with your pint, head to The four thieves – a rambling pub and games room a short walk from Clapham Junction station. Take your pick from cocktails or craft beers, before trying your hand at some of the retro-themed games on offer, from dance mats and gopher racing golf to table hockey and even virtual reality games. Karaoke, pub quizzes and bottomless brunches are also staples on the calendar.
Notice to design gurus, the first British branch of art hotel opens this autumn on Battersea Power Station’s Electric Boulevard, bringing its bold color palettes and quirky design to the capital. Spanish designer Jaime Hayon is behind the design of the 164-room hotel, which will also house an art gallery, four restaurants and bars and a rooftop pool, all within minutes of shops, bars and on-site restaurants.
Tired of the tube? Board a river bus from Battersea Power Station to travel in and out of central London, admiring the sights along the way. Downstream services go as far as Greenwich, stopping at the London Eye, Westminster and the Tower of London en route. tfl.gov.uk
Published in the April 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveler (UK)
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