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CocoonSync London Renters Guide: An intro to Brixton

Brixton is one of London’s most fascinating neighbourhoods

The epicentre of London’s Afro-Caribbean culture, Brixton is a neighbourhood that dances to the beat of its own drum. Quirky nightlife spots, one of the best street food scenes in town and a beguiling mix of local charm and gritty south-of-the-river edge make this district one of the coolest places to live in London. Its thriving art scene and multicultural heritage have caused it to be the subject of many songs - but this neighbourhood has come along way from The Clash’s Guns of Brixton.

Where is Brixton?

Located within the London Borough of Lambeth, Brixton is a district in South London, about 3 miles away from Central London. Brixton is bordered by Stockwell and Camberwell to the north, Denmark Hill and Herne Hill to the east, Streatham Hill to the South and Clapham to the west.

Brixton transport

One of the aspects that makes Brixton one of the best places to live in London is the ease by which you can access Central London. Located in Zone 2, Brixton Underground station is at the end of the Victoria line, meaning commuters never have a problem finding a seat on the morning tube. There’s also a railway station with trains to Victoria, although on a sunny day you can comfortably walk the three miles to this main transport hub. Buses abound, too, with several commuter routes running through the neighbourhood, making access to King’s Cross, Waterloo and even Liverpool Street and London Bridge an absolute breeze.

A little bit of Brixton history

Brixton’s history has had more twists and turns than an episode of Emmerdale. Originally a working class neighbourhood, the mid-19th century saw the construction of a railway line into central London: the spark that first brought the middle classes to the neighbourhood. By the early 1900s, it was thriving, with shops, pubs and theatres popping up all over the place and a buzzing cultural scene. After the war, however, it fell into serious decline and was only brought back to life by the arrival of the Windrush generation in 1948, who transformed it into the epicentre of Caribbean culture in London. Still today, the area is largely dominated by the Afro-Caribbean community and nowhere is this cultural heritage more prevalent than in Brixton’s gastronomic scene, famous for dishes such as Jerk Chicken.

Living in Brixton

Today, the Afro-Caribbean vibe mingles with a distinctly gentrified atmosphere; artisan coffee shops and natural wine bars sit side by side with colourful spice markets and even some established local businesses still going from the 19th century. Since the 1990s, Brixton has been the subject of enormous regeneration thanks to the arrival of businesses, families and commuters looking for a cosy, fun alternative to the busy streets of Central London. Venues such as Pop Brixton - half community centre, half cutting-edge food and retail hangout - are examples of the new Brixton generation.

Renting in Brixton

Most of Brixton’s houses are late Victorian-era terraced houses, many of which have been converted into flats. Due to its favourable transport links and rising popularity among the young and the hip, it is one of the more expensive South London boroughs. Popular with everyone from commuters and families to artists and students, accommodation options also include new developments in Lambeth and Brixton as well as several housing estates.

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What to do in Brixton

When it comes to eating, drinking and general merriment, Brixton offers up a feast of exciting opportunities. By far one of the best things to do in Brixton is to check out Brixton Village: a renovated covered market home to shopping arcades, lots of amazing street food including the legendary Fish, Wings and Tings (the place to go for amazing Jerk chicken), vintage clothes and fresh produce. When it comes to dining out, you’ll be spoiled for choice with London pizza legends Franco Manca and burger giants Honest Burger originating in the neighbourhood.

Also known for its thriving arts and music scenes, Brixton is home to the iconic Ritzy theatre, which is over a century old and is just one of many venues to catch a play or a concert, as well as the Brixton Academy, famous for attracting amazing artists. All over the neighbourhood, you’ll be able to spot spectacular murals from both local and international artists, including the now legendary tribute to David Bowie - a former Brixton resident.

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Stay tuned for more neighbourhood guides and amazing tips for things to do in London’s best neighbourhoods!

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