Brickworks Loves Herne Hill

Words by

Caroline Watson

After my partner and I got married we decided the time was right to buy our first home. We made the move to leafy Herne Hill from the vibrant nightlife and streets of Clapham Junction, only a few miles apart yet the switch was still a bit daunting. Luckily, once here, we never looked back. It's safe to say a lot has changed for us in the past decade. Not only have we embarked on renovating two properties in the area, but we went from being child-free to now being very much in the throws of the parenting game.

From my experience, Herne Hill suits a variety of lifestyles, and I'd say it is very community-minded. The streets are always bustling with dog walkers, runners, commuters, and parents or friends seeking refreshment, entertainment, or relaxation. Herne Hill is constantly evolving organically - the Bath Factory estate is a hub for creatives and small businesses and the open spaces make a natural home to a variety of unique exercise options put together by the likes of Fision Fitness (in the arches by the train station). And that's the other thing: getting about is a lot easier than I was expecting it to be. Herne Hill to Victoria takes a lean nine mins or you can jump off at Brixton and get the Victoria line into town. For those in need of accessing the City, Thames Link is for you.

There are so many different venues for people at all stages of life - places like Off The Cuff which has become a destination for music lovers from all over London, whereas the Apple Tree soft play and café is perfect for young families looking to connect and enjoy a healthy meal that has been cooked by someone else - a big win for new parents! One thing is for sure, if like me, you love a good coffee to set up your morning-we are spoilt for choice. When it comes to food and beverages Perks and White, Sesami, and Blackbird Bakery all have their very own delicious flavours and style but it is Christopher's Bakery that has captured my tastebuds.

Oh, and did I mention the schools and nurseries - we are awash with great options. The trailblazing bilingual Judith Kerr School, and Rosendale's outstanding primary which also has a children's Centre for babies and toddlers from six months, then there is the nurturing environment of Half Moon Montessori Nursery and the vibrant Dulwich Village Church of England Infant School (plus many more) all a short ten minutes from the centre of Herne Hill.

If this has piqued your interest then come on a Sunday, enjoy the weekly market; walk around Brockwell park; take a dip in the lido or kick back and have a lovely lunch at the Half Moon pub.

1. Brockwell Lido

Nestled in the corner of Brockwell Park is the much-loved local landmark: the lido, which has been at the heart of the community since 1937. The Art Deco grade II listed building has been extended – now offering a poolside café, sauna, and all the latest gym and fitness facilities, activities, sessions, and courses for people of all ages and abilities.

2. Brockwell Park

Brockwell Park is located just south of Brixton, towards Herne Hill. It has amazing viewings of the city and central London, and is home to the Brockwell lido, a grade II-listed* art deco building.

3. Jo’s House

If you love interior design and products with a distinctive brand message then Jo’s House is the place for you. Nestled between the railway station and courtyard you could easily miss this small but mighty shop. Once inside Jo’s oozes charm, calming scents and authenticity which small business owners know how to do best. This is a shop selling locally-sourced independent products alongside internationally known brands that are new and exclusive to the Herne Hill area. You will always be able to find beautiful and functional gifts for those that are interior-savvy.

4. Christopher's Bakery

Christopher’s bread is made completely onsite, shaped by hand, and baked in handmade ovens imported from a lovely family in Belgium. Each oven uses no more power than a household kettle and yet produces bread of a quality that matches any large conventional deck oven. Delicious.

5. Llewellyns’ Restaurant

As you walk across the square towards the sleek black exterior, you might hear someone playing the street piano inside the station, or notice the flowers at the florist next door, and you might even see an actual bird’s nest in their fairy-light-wrapped tree outside. Basically, if your only reference points for England were Christopher Robin’s childhood and binge-watching Richard Curtis films, this is the kind of restaurant you’d think exists on the corner of every British street. But, as most Londoners know, they don’t. Llewelyn’s is special.