London/Southwark and Lewisham

Southwark and Lewisham are two boroughs of inner south east London.


Deptford Market

Southwark was one of the earliest extensions of settlement in London beyond the walls of the Square Mile and across the river, beginning back in the Roman period and is traditionally referred to as "the Borough" in order to distinguish it from the "Square Mile" of the City. The eastern part of the district, downstream of Tower Bridge, is generally referred to (and marketed heavily) as "the Pool of London", referring to the old docks and wharves of the area that have been reconverted into housing and retail areas. The north-western riverside portions of the borough of Southwark are dealt with in our South Bank district.

The Crystal Palace was a huge steel and glass building designed by Joseph Paxton to house the Great Exhibition, Prince Albert's brainchild for bigging up the British Empire to the rest of the world. It was erected in Hyde Park and closed in 1851. Parliament closely voted not to retain it as a permanent feature in Hyde Park and it was later transported to the top of Sydenham Hill. The surrounding area, still known to many locals as Upper Norwood, is now known as Crystal Palace. The palace itself burned down in 1936 in still unexplained circumstances.

Dulwich has a number of recognised sub-districts, which include North Dulwich, bordering Herne Hill, Dulwich Village, which includes the traditional village centre, and is the home to the Dulwich Picture Gallery as well as James Allen's Girls' School, Dulwich College and Dulwich Park and East Dulwich which bounds Peckham and has a number of independent shops, restaurants and bars along Lordship Lane.

Lewisham is a largely residential borough of south inner London and includes some of the most run-down areas in the whole city. To the east of this borough is the historic, more gentrified Blackheath, burial site of London's plague victims, now ideal for flying a kite. Deptford (home of the Queen Elizabeth I's naval dockyard) and Surrey Quays are on the riverside.

Get in

South East London is generally not served by the Underground so the suburban rail services and the bus network are used to get around.

By train and Tube

By bus

All parts of this area are served by regular bus services. Many bus stops have 'spider maps' - diagrammatic representations of the buses serving that area and where they go to. These can be worth a look as they have a lot of info. Pdf's of these maps can be downloaded here and here.

For those who like to party late into the night in Central London the night buses serve all parts of this area, all night long. Most night buses run at hourly intervals but many places are served by more than one route so service intervals are reduced. Download map for services to Southwark-Lewisham here


Crystal Palace Park

Museums and galleries

The Brunel Museum


Christ's Chapel of God's Gift, in Dulwich



The area is home to two historic desserts, a particular kind of light lemony bread pudding called the Deptford Pudding. Similarly Crystal Palace, another area gives us the spectacular, fruity, layered jelly that is Crystal Palace Pudding. See if you can track them down!


Lewisham area



Go next

Because it doesn't appear on the Tube map this area can get overlooked by tourists but it has good fast links to Charing Cross station (for Leicester Square and Covent Garden), to Cannon Street station (for the City) and to London Bridge station (for the South Bank) so it is a good base for visiting central London.

The Greenwich World Heritage site is a bus ride from most places in Southwark-Lewisham, or take the DLR from Lewisham station.

Routes through Southwark and Lewisham

Leicester Square South Bank  W  E  END
Westminster South Bank  W  E  East End East London
Leicester Square South Bank ← Charing Cross branch  N  S  Charing Cross branch → Lambeth South London
The City South Bank ← Bank branch  N  S  Bank branch → Lambeth South London
The City Greenwich  N  S  END
Wandsworth Lambeth  W  N  East End Islington
END South London  S  N  East End Islington

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, December 14, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.