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10 Cool Things to Do in Elephant & Castle in 2016

It has been a while since we shared our ‘10 cool things to do in Elephant & Castle’ to mark the opening of Safestay London Elephant & Castle, and it continues to be one of our most popular articles. We thought it was high time we posted an update since there have been a number of exciting new developments in the ‘Elephant’ as it is affectionately known, all part of the £1.5 billion regeneration project which is transforming the neighbourhood into the ‘green heart’ of Central London.

Safestay Elephant & Castle Exterior

We are proud that during this time, Safestay London Elephant & Castle has gone on to win many an accolade as a trailblazer for offering stylish and affordable accommodation, and that its success has led to the opening of three sister properties – in York, Holland Park and Edinburgh.

Earlier this month, we sent our new co-Pilot, Cyndi Cheng (who also blogs as Cynario) to check into Safestay London Elephant & Castle for a couple of nights. Here’s an update on our 10 Cool Things to do in Elephant & Castle in 2016:

Entering into the second year of business, The Artworks Elephant is an emerging creative hub for youngsters in the heart of Elephant and Castle on Walworth Road. Around the shipping container courtyard, you’ll find a diverse combination of street food and drink, creative and media businesses, a library, and a rolling calendar of fun activities, live music performances, an art gallery and market. The list is growing…

Our favourite quirky café is still the Electric Elephant on Crampton Street! Open daily it serves fresh soup, salads, pastries, homemade cakes, sandwiches, puddings, organic tea, fair-trade coffee as well as fancy blood orange cocktails (seasonal). The BYO wine/beer cafe is now open late Thursday, Friday and Saturday serving a 3-course meal from 6 to 10 pm. The café is also an integral part of the biannual Pullens Yards Open Studios event, where all the creative workshops in the three Pullens Yards (right next to the café) are open to the public. This takes place on the first weekend of December & the second weekend of June.

The Cinema Museum is a charity striving to preserve the history and splendour of cinema from the 1890s to today by hosting regular talks, film screenings, bazaars, exhibitions and live events, with presentations from key film industry experts, directors and film historians. To view the unique collections of posters, signs, costumes, antique film projections and other machinery, make sure you call/email in advance so they can arrange a volunteer guide – who may just happen to be a university professor of film studies. £10 per adult; £7 for children and concessions.

Family-owned 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.

The Imperial War Museum is an imposing landmark in South London. Its huge building houses interactive multimedia exhibitions and machinery from the conflicts of the First & Second World Wars as well as reminders of today’s acts of terrorism. You can easily spend an afternoon or even a day there. The Imperial War Museum offers free admission from 10.00am – 6.00pm daily, although special exhibitions may charge a fee.

An institution in the global clubbing scene, The Ministry of Sound has been going strong for over 20 years. DJ’s play mixed sets every weekend and MoS offers students a £5 discount at the door on most nights, as well as allows visitors to book tickets online for special events.

7. Orient Supermarket – Longdan Elephant & Castle

Longdan is the largest Vietnamese Cash & Carry in the UK. With a range of over 6,000 authentic products and growing, you may feel as if you are in Ho Chi Minh City! The Longdan Elephant & Castle branch is huge, bright and clean with a connecting restaurant that serves hot meals such as pho. It is just a few doors down from Safestay London Elephant & Castle, you are sure to pass it if walking from the Tube Station.

The best traditional Cantonese dining experience is not necessarily associated with China Town, which can be a bit crowded and touristy. Dragon Castle at Elephant & Castle serves authentic dim sum, Cantonese dishes as well as other Asian cuisines. We celebrated The Year of The Monkey here and couldn’t be happier to enjoy a yummy dinner with Chinese festive décor. The very friendly Cantonese staff secretly shared with us that the upper floor of the restaurant has Karaoke facilities!

Featured as one of TimeOut London’s “100 Best Shops in London” in 2015, G Baldwin & Co (established in 1844) is one of the oldest herbalists in town. This classic has two adjoining shops and is located opposite Safestay on Walworth Road. It sells an extensive range of traditional apothecary products such as essential oils and dried herbs, tinctures, and healthy lifestyle items such as herbal tea, natural skincare, vitamins and minerals. We were really hoping to meet their celebrity customer Michael Caine after watching ‘Youth’ (2015). Good luck everyone!

Officially running since 1880, the historical East Street Market, also known locally as ‘The Lane’ (or ‘East Lane’), is not just another market in London. It’s more local, authentic and has a down-to-earth feeling with traders that have been living and working there for generations. Make sure you check it out on Sunday when it’s the busiest, you will be able to find fresh vegetables, good fruits (especially African and Caribbean), toys, clothes, confectionery and even greeting cards at a really good price. Fun fact to share that the classic Easy Street (1917) Charlie Chaplin film is actually based upon this market.

For other great ideas, please visit our previous piece on Top 10 Things to Do in Elephant & Castle (


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