Brockley Area Guide
Anyone looking for an area with thriving art and food scenes and realms of leafy Victorian streets, should check out SE4. You’ll find thumping semis, extraordinary villas, elegant townhouses and plenty of flats. The conservation area is teaming with stucco-fronted Victorian homes with deep front gardens while intermittent post-war landfill and modern builds give first-time buyers a chance to take foot.
Originally, Brockley stood where Crofton Park is now. Victorian railways, the new commuting middle classes and the wealthy Tyrwhitt-Drake family all created Brockley. Landowners who saw the opportunity to create homes for aspiring professionals, the Tyrwhitt-Drakes developed most of SE4. Building started north of the area, finishing south around the turn of the century.
Today, Brockley is one of south east London's most searched for areas on property portals. Cafés and independent shops have blossomed, the station is in Zone 2 (with train and London Overground services), schools are great and there are wonderful green spaces. Hilly Fields park rises about 175-metres above sea level, giving fabulous views from its summit. Neighbouring areas include Nunhead, Ladywell, Lewisham and Telegraph Hill.
The poshest parts are between Wickham Road and Adelaide Avenue, and around the park, Hilly Fields. With views over London, Hilly Fields is fringed on all sides by exemplary villas, that often have huge cellars or basement flats. Other special streets include Upper Brockley Road, Manor Avenue, Harefield Road, Tressillian Road and Ashby Road.
Modern developments, and good ones at that, lend the area diversity. Many large period homes have been split into flats while the least expensive homes can be found around St Norbert’s or Sevenoaks roads. Such a huge range of housing ensures a mixed community.
Where to eat and drink
Upbeat boozers Jam Circus and London Beer Dispensary are great nights out, but the thing is, you’ll still find a traditional pub in these parts. The Wickham Arms is a bit spesh and even the Weatherspoons is a good’un.
Where do locals like to dine? They love The Orchard, they flock to The Gantry and they adore Masala Wala. In fact, you won’t go hungry in SE4. There’s a great pizzeria while you can buy veggies, eggs and bread in Broca’s shop or tuck into a vegan feast. Grab Vietnamese at Bite Mi or authentic Malaysian at the unassuming but well-regarded Malaysian Deli. A firm institution, Meze Mangal is Turkish at its best. Something else to brag about is Brockley’s Rock, sustainable fish-and-chips with gluten-free options and a restaurant area. Grab coffee and cake at super-cool Browns of Brockley or the excellent Fred’s. Beer maniacs at Brockley Brewery not only brew the stuff but will teach you how to.
Gently Elephant stock children’s shoes, womenswear and home accessories. Superior gourmet goods fill shelves at Jones of Brockley and The Brockley Deli while the Co-op and Sainsbury’s Local (two of them) and Costcutter sort daily needs. If you’ve not visited Brockley Market, it’s high time you did. It’s an award-winning gastronomic celebration and it’s on every Saturday. Source a unique gift at Magi Gifts, an occasion cake at Cat Food Cakes or get you bike fixed at Brockley Bikes. There’s also a florist, bakery, couple of chemists and a Post Office.
The arts are glorified here. Brockley Max is a festival of art, live music, poetry, dance, film and street theatre. The more recent Brockley Street Art Festival aims to improve SE4’s identity and unify it with surrounding neighbourhoods. Local artists show work during July and November during Brockley Open Studios.
Award-winning fringe theatre has been running at Brockley Jack Theatre, since 1992. Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre has been going for 44-years and attracts crowds of over 5,000. Community is strong, with volunteer-run community gardens such as Breakspears Mews Community Garden and Frendsbury Gardens and an energy garden at the station. Brockley’s utter jewel is the GII listed Rivoli Ballroom, a Deco-fronted ballroom with a supremely flamboyant interior. It hosts pop-up cinema and disco nights and is often hired for film and TV shoots.