10 Cool Things to Do in Elephant & Castle
Much maligned, it is hard to imagine Elephant & Castle as an eclectic cultural hub but surrounding Walworth Road there are many hidden gems tucked throughout from delicious cafés and curio shops to established museums. Investment is also coming into the area from the newly-opened Safestay London Elephant & Castle (www.safestay.com) - a contemporary hostel pioneering stylish, safe and affordable accommodation in London - to a £1.5 billion public regeneration programme.
Travel PR agency Pilot PR goes in search of the 10 cool things to do in Elephant & Castle:
The Cuming Museum, located just opposite Safestay on Walworth Road, is affectionately known as the “British Museum in miniature” and is home to the large and unique collection of the Cuming family. The current exhibition “Fact into Fiction – Charles Dickens – A Southwark Childhood” uses objects and art to illustrate how Dickens’s experiences in the area influenced his writing.
Founded in 1844, G. Baldwin & Co prides itself as London’s oldest and most established Apothecary. Baldwin’s original base on Walworth Road specialises in natural beauty products and heath remedies and sells a wide array of products ranging from health foods, tinctures to the ingredients to make your own soap.
One of our favourite quirky cafés is the Electric Elephant on Crampton Street. It serves fresh soup, salads, pastries, homemade cakes, sandwiches and fair-trade coffee and also doubles as a gallery, displaying work from the artists of Pullens Yard.
Hidden in the crypt of St Peter’s Church off Walworth Road, Inspire Cafe serves hot food and its menu includes vegetarian/vegan options. Additionally, the café also has digital arts and media facilities.
La Bodeguita is a culinary landmark in Elephant & Castle as a Latin American grocery store, restaurant and deli. Its products are imported directly from Latin America and its restaurant serves homemade Colombian food. In the evenings, visitors can enjoy a fusion of live acts and DJ sets with a splash of Latin American flavour.
On Friday and Sunday nights Distri Rumba lights up with music. Offering free admission, it defines itself as “tonight’s Colombian getaway” and welcomes Latinos and Londoners alike (for those over 18!).
Through its unique collection of posters, films, projections and usher uniforms, the Cinema Museum strives to preserve the history and splendour of cinema from 1890s to today. The Cinema Museum can also be hired as a private venue and visits by a guided tour need to be booked in advance (£10 per adult, £7 for children and concessions).
The East Street Market started in 1880 and today comes to life on Sundays with over 250 stalls filled with a wide range of goods especially African and Caribbean fruit and vegetables. The Market has been running for over 150 years and used to attract the likes of Charlie Chaplin in his youth.
An institution in the global clubbing scene, The Ministry of Sound has been going strong for over 20 years. DJ’s pay mix sets every weekend and MoS offers students a £12 discount on most nights and allows visitors to book tickets online for special events.
The Imperial War Museum is an imposing landmark in South London. Its huge building houses exhibitions and machinery from the conflicts of the First & Second World Wars to today. Set to close in 2013 for a massive refurbishment, the Imperial War Museum offers free admission, although special exhibitions may charge a fee.
Unfortunately, The Cuming Museum is currently closed following a fire in March 2013, which caused considerable damage to the building. Southwark Council hopes to reopen the museum in 2019. (Updated in Feb 2016)