Dulwich Village, in South East London, really is a bubble of heritage, wealth and cafe culture all rolled into one – no wonder it attracts so many families. With it’s village vibe, numerous cricket pitches and diverse, character houses, it feels as though you’re miles from London. Yet you’re not, being a 10 minute drive from Brixton and 20 minutes from Westminster. Drive round the corner and there are red buses, snaking traffic jams and a multitude of kebab and chicken shops, all of which seem miles away as you float past the yummy mummies sipping flat whites at Gails and stopping off at Bartley’s on their way home for a bunch of daffs.
It’s worth saying here that before visiting Dulwich I did research things to do and took inspiration from the A Lady in London Blog, on our stop at the picture gallery and Miranda’s Notebook, for our trip to Roseway for some snaps of the cottages. Both blogs are 100 percent worth a visit.
But how do you get the most from your day out in Dulwich?
After spending a day in Dulwich Village, seeing the many sights there are in such a small area, I decided the best way to absorb the place and feel accomplished from your travels was to walk it. Whilst there are the standard pit stops like Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich College (home to Earnest Shackleton’s boat) and the only operating tollgate left in London, there is also a beautiful park, numerous woods and some gorgeous residential streets to mosey around and gawk at the houses. Don’t forget to have a pit stop at the various eateries along the way as well. Gails for gorgeous baked goods and coffee, The Crown and Greyhound for a superb pub lunch and a wine, or stop off at Romeo Jones for a quick cake and a cuppa.
Now you know whether Dulwich is for you or not, I’ll talk you through our day. Starting in the Dulwich Village High Street, where there is free parking, if you’re lucky enough to find a space, we grabbed a coffee and a delicious croissant at Gail’s Bakery. We then headed towards Dulwich Park, taking inspiration from the walk I’d found on my View Ranger app (altogether we covered just under 4.5 miles and the walk is also on the AA website). We meandered through the park, taking in the wildlife as it seems to be a hub for parakeets and the like, leaving at the other end where we headed up to Sydenham Hill Woods. It’s a really beautiful park and well worth the visit – perfect for dogs – Trixie did accompany me on my travels – and anyone craving greenery whilst in London.
The walk takes you out by the top of College Road, with the only remaining tollgate in London and yes if you want to drive through, it still costs you £1.20. You then pass Dulwich College, a presitigious and historic private school. If you want to visit Shakleton’s boat you have to book in advance and it’s only open to the public on Tuesdays. College road is also home to Dulwich Picture Gallery which is well worth a stop for any art muses out there. Great grounds and cafeteria as well. We finished off by turning up Turney Road and round Roseway for some Instagram worthy shots of the beautiful houses, before circling round back to the pub – The Crown and Greyhound. After our long walk, we took great pleasure in sipping on wine and chowing down on calamari and chips.
Before leaving Dulwich Village, we had a quick look round the shops but other than a good lifestyle boutique and a Jigsaw, there’s not too much on offer in terms of retail therapy. To me, Dulwich is all about the history and heritage, the unexpected-village feel and soaking up the ambience of middle class life. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts on Dulwich.