The Beating Heart of South London: Lyvly's Guide to Brixton
Brixton: The Beating Heart of South London
Brixton is one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in the capital. Synonymous with culture, music and food, it’s no surprise that businesses, families and hipsters alike are all setting their sights on South London’s beating heart. And what a beat.
This is an area that has seen drastic changes over the last century and is still evolving. But for all that, Brixton has a confidence and sense of identity that you will find almost nowhere else.
While the name still brings to mind the Carribbean community that has called Brixton home since the 1940s, demographics have shifted in recent years. The abundance of green space, transport links and local culture has brought in everyone from new parents to youth-cred-courting companies.
When it comes to property, you’ll mainly find Victorian terraced houses and mansion flats, with a few Georgian terraces along Brixton Road. But as more people head south, new developments such as The Electric Quarter and Brixton Centric have sprung up.
There’s nowhere like Brixton and it welcomes everyone. So here’s how you can find your own piece of the story.
What’s the story
Brixton has been defined by change. But while it hasn’t always been easy for the former suburb, it’s forged a strong sense of community, resilience and an appreciation for what matters in life.
Once a loose collection of villages, the area kicked into high gear when it was connected by a new railway line to central London in the 19th Century. As you’d expect, families flocked in and it became a flourishing suburb. Fun fact: Electric Avenue (the one from the song) was so named because it was the first street in London to be lit by electricity.
Bombing in World War II brought huge changes, with many residents leaving and new estates replacing the lost buildings. The roots of today’s community were planted in the 1940s with immigration from the West Indies, Ireland and the arrival of the Windrush Generation.
The 20th Century was a turbulent time, with community tensions, unemployment and unrest as the country worked out what it actually meant to have a multicultural society. Throughout all of it, residents continued to stand up for their rights, their culture and their chance to make it in London.
And through their efforts, Brixton flourished over time, attracting new arrivals and development as more and more people looked to become part of this vibrant neighbourhood.
When it comes to travel, Brixton has it better than most. Not only is it on the holy grail of Underground lines (Victoria) but it’s the last stop (or first stop maybe?). So you always get a seat.
That means you’re 10 minutes from Oxford Circus, 15 minutes from London Bridge and Bank, 20 minutes from Southwark and Shoreditch and just 30 minutes from Canary Wharf. It’s really unfair and all your friends will be jealous. Enjoy it.
There are also more local options, including the great workers’ co-operative Brixton Cycles which can get you going on two wheels while helping the community.
What’s it going to cost me?
Brixton is very in demand right now, with a typical one bed flat setting you back between £1300 and £1400 a month. This is also reflected in Council Tax which has gone up 5% in the last year alone. So how do you make your money go further when all the prices are going up?
One of the easiest ways is to let Lyvly take care of the bills for you. Just choose your ideal home from a list of beautiful properties. We sort out the rest. Your rent, tax and utility bills are all combined into one simple monthly payment which will stay the same for the length of your tenancy.
With Lyvly’s inbuilt community, you have everything and everyone you need to make the most of your new patch.
What is there to do in Brixton?
Brixton Village crams a huge variety of restaurants and shops into one neat covered market. It’s constantly evolving – you’ll find a new favourite on every visit. As for Brixton Market, it’s like having the world’s biggest supermarket on your doorstep, except the food is better, the prices are lower and everyone who works there is happier.
And as is now de rigueur for every cool part of London, Brixton has its own container park - Pop Brixton. Catering to local businesses you’ll find loads of start-ups working in food, retail, design and social enterprise.
You can grab a bite to eat, pick up some unique gifts or check out some live music. All while supporting Brixton. See? We weren’t kidding about the community vibe.
When it comes to music and going out, you’re spoilt for choice. Want to see some of the world’s top bands live? Brixton Academy is the best venue of its kind in London.
If you're after something a little more more low key, visit Effra Social – a vintage themed bar that also happens to hosts movies and pinball tournaments. Newcomer Canova Hall brings some of the new Brixton style, with rustic-chic decor, cocktails and live music.
The pub game is strong too, with favourites like The Prince Albert, Trinity Arms and the Crown & Anchor busy day and night. The Prince of Wales even adds on a swanky roof terrace for when you’re ready to take your evening up a notch.
For some green space, head to Brockwell Park, a local award winner (yes, there are awards for parks) that runs to over 125 acres. If you’re feeling brave, take a swim at the Brockwell Lido, or stay dry and grab brunch at their poolside cafe.
LYVLY'S INSIDER GUIDE
Our Brixton community is one of our closest knit and vibrant. Becky Sparks Wright, knows SW8 like the back of her hand. She can give you razor sharp recommendations that cut through the myriad of options you can find in Brixton.
Where insiders eat
Eating is a big deal around here so let’s go for it.
Start with brunch at Burnt Toast, but watch out for the queues.
The Beast of Brixton serves the best roast we’ve ever had in London. It’s genuinely better than any of our family roast dinners. You can follow it with a pub quiz at the Coach and Horses, which is also the best pub quiz we’ve ever been to. The bar is high here.
If you want something unhealthy, Other Side Fried in Pop Brixton has you covered. They even deliver, in case you’re feeling delicate.
Brixton was also the birthplace of two of the cities now ubiquitous chains - Honest Burger and Franco Manca both got started Brixton Village. While the original venues are smaller than their newer openings, it’s pretty fun to cram inside and scope out the birthplace of one of the greats.
Where insiders go to unwind on the weekend
Unwinding takes many forms.
For something a little different check out some of the nail salons on Acre Lane. Boys or girls, it doesn’t matter - when manicures are this cheap everyone should get one. Chill out on the weekend while feeling super fancy. Start with Vi’s Nails or Immaculate Salon.
Follow it up with a pint at the Duke of Edinburgh pub and watch the sun go down from their humongous outdoor chill area.
Where insiders cut loose
One of the most legendary spots is Hootenanny. It’s a bar and club that features pretty much every kind of music or entertainment you can want. You might catch anything from roots to reggae, hip hop to ska, latin to comedy. And it’s all amazing.
You can also snag some tasty £5 cocktails at Blues Kitchen on Wednesdays, but avoid on Friday and Saturdays as it gets absolutely packed.
Make Brixton Your Own
Brixton offers an intoxicating cocktail of culture, company and comforts that you’ll not find anywhere else. While finding the right place to live is getting trickier, Lyvly have all the hot tips. You can check out our Brixton listings right here and start building your own community.