Written off south-east London as nothing but art students uploading pictures of crumpled Quavers packets to Instagram? It’s high time you spent a Saturday in Sydenham. Start with a lounge (or game of tennis) in Mayow Park, before heading to Brown & Green, a small café tucked away in the greenery with a next-level breakfast menu. Pick up a couple of page-turners from the Kirkdale Bookshop and hit up the surprisingly idyllic Sydenham Wells Park. Fuel up at one of the best Japanese joints south of the river, Hibagon, before hopping over the road to 161 Food+Drink for a glass of their dry white from Gascony.
Find out exactly why everyone who moves here is instantly struck by an inability to talk about anywhere else. For starters, try lunch at Bühler & Co – we’d suggest the Indonesian gado gado mega salad – before strolling over to the William Morris Gallery to learn about the life and times of Britain’s most celebrated wallpaper designer (more interesting than it sounds). From there take in Walthamstow Village, a quaint, boutique-shopped quarter, before a dinner of primo British fare like roast pigeon at The Bell gastropub. Still thirsty? Quench it at Wild Card, a microbrewery with ingeniously flavoured beers (lychee, papaya… Digestives!).
For those bored with north, pack a picnic (you know the score: scotch eggs, Ribena, more scotch eggs) and head to Twickenham. Grab a spot at Marble Hill Park, 66 acres of riverside parkland surrounding a picturesque white villa. If your trip coincides with an artists’ open day, check out Eel Pie Island – a mysterious eyot on the Thames drenched in rock’n’roll history and easily accessible by a footbridge. You can also book in a visit to Turner’s House, the home of “The Turner Prize Bloke” J.M.W. Turner. Get yourself a place on a tasting session at Ralph’s Wine Cellar to cap the day off with class.
Finally, for those who rarely venture north of the Thames, try Muswell Hill – it’s as quaint and sophisticated a place as its name suggests: you’ll want to wear your best gilet (think early Sherwood at Spurs) for this one. Start at Alexandra Park for the titular palace and mind-blowing views of London – on a clear day you can see as far as Swindon, we swear – before strolling to the Crocodile Antiques Café for coffee. If your legs are still feeling restless, why not take on the Parkland Walk, a tranquil disused railway line that’s home to over 200 species of wild flower. Head back to civilisation to take in a film at the charming Everyman (Lean On Pete and Tully are being screened this weekend) before wrapping things up by grabbing a souvlaki at the Real Greek.