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CocoonSync London Renters’ Guide: An intro to Peckham

South London’s Peckham is the ideal mix of city buzz and village-like quiet. Known for its strong creative and community spirit, it’s no wonder it was voted one of the best places to live in London in 2020 by the Sunday Times.

Where is Peckham?

Peckham is located in South London in the borough of Southwark and is about 4 miles from central London. It borders Elephant & Castle and Walworth to the north, New Cross to the east, East Dulwich to the south and Camberwell to the west.

A little about the history of Peckham

Peckham Rye, the neighbourhood’s much-loved sprawling green space, was the site of an eight-year-old William Blake’s vision of angels in one of the oak trees in 1765, perhaps foreshadowing the neighbourhood’s distinctive creative spirit. Indeed, in 2011, local artist John Hartley planted a young oak tree in the same spot to replace the one from Blake’s vision, which had been torn down.

In the 18th century, Peckham was home to extensive orchards in which produce was grown for the markets of central London, including melons, figs and grapes. In the mid 20th century, North Peckham was developed into an area of high-rise flats, which fell into significant disrepair by the late 1970s due to a period of unemployment and economic decline. It became one of the most notorious estates in the country and vandalism, arson, theft and violence were rife. However, by the late 20th century, an enormous regeneration project was taking place in the area while simultaneously an underground music scene was thriving, the hub of which was an infamous squat known as The Dolehouse near Peckham High street. Since the 80s and 90s, Peckham has been inextricably associated with the lovable Del Boy from the TV show Only Fools and Horses

Peckham Transport

Although Peckham has no underground stations, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham stations both link to the London Overground and it’s fast and easy to get to Canada Water, which links to the Jubilee line as well as London Bridge and Victoria, both around 10 minutes from Peckham Rye.

What Peckham lacks in Tube services, it makes up for with a strong network of bus routes, such as the 436 to Paddington, the 78 to Shoreditch and the 12 to Oxford Circus as well as six night bus routes from central London.

What’s living in Peckham like?

Living in Peckham means living in a vibrant neighbourhood with its own thriving cultural scene but also plenty of quiet side streets as well as the immense Peckham Rye to escape to when you need a bit of peace.

Rye Lane is without a doubt the beating heart of Peckham, home to bustling market stalls, colourful shopfronts and famed stomping ground of Del Boy. Peckham’s creative scene is well known in London and the neighbourhood boasts a number of independent art spaces as well as some award-winning architecture such as the Peckham Library. It’s equally known for its strong community feel, embodied by efforts such as the successful campaign to save both the old Peckhamplex cinema and Levels, a multi-storey car park that plays host to Frank’s beloved rooftop bar and café as well as Bold Tendencies, a summer arts programme.

Renting in Peckham

In Peckham, you’ll find both early and late Victorian era terraces as well as a number of new builds and a decent amount of social housing. It’s a vibrant district that’s home to a melting pot of different people from families and bankers to those working in media and the arts as well as students attending nearby Goldsmiths University or Camberwell College of Art.

Looking for a flat to rent in Peckham? Check out CocoonSync’s exclusive database of property to rent in Peckham that’s not onto her rental sites.

What’s there to do in Peckham?

Although Rye Lane is the main shopping area with its vintage shops and food stalls, you’ll also find high street brands at the Aylesham Centre and delis and quaint bookshops along Bellenden Road, as well as a Sunday farmer’s market.

Restaurants of every sort fill Peckham’s streets, including the iconic M. Manze Pie shop near the library. The great selection of rooftop bars is also a particular draw, with favourites including Frank’s in the Levels car park as well as the Bussey Rooftop Bar. For pub-goers, check out the Prince of Peckham, which serves amazing Caribbean-inspired street food and hosts awesome events from disco yoga to open mics. Keeping the underground music scene from the 90s still going strong in the 21st century is Tola nightclub and the Tasty Bakery, a Caribbean café by day and club by night.

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