Camberwell is a lively and colourful district of South London, located within the Borough of Southwark between Peckham, Clapham and Brixton. With a pleasing combination of well-preserved Georgian and 20th-century housing, Camberwell has a wide variety of properties to suit any budget. Renowned for its arts college, Camberwell is a focal point for creative types and has a distinctive, idiosyncratic atmosphere that is somewhat reminiscent of Brighton. Here’s everything you need to know about this arty, Zone 2 neighbourhood.
What’s Camberwell like?
Camberwell’s history dates back thousands of years (it appeared in the Domesday Book as ‘Cambrewelle’,) and it was the birthplace of Jérôme Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon’s nephew) as well as children’s author Enid Blyton. When Karl Marx moved with his family to London in 1849 they initially settled in Camberwell. More recent residents of Camberwell include Florence Welch (lead singer of the band Florence & the Machine), actress Jenny Agutter and fashion model Erin O’Connor. Comedian, author and actress Jenny Eclair is a long-term resident of Camberwell, and the area features heavily in her novel Camberwell Beauty, named after the species of butterfly.
For anyone who’s seen the cult classic film Withnail and I, Camberwell will forever be synonymous with the “Camberwell Carrot”. However, the district has also been immortalised by the dance act Basement Jaxx in their songs “Camberwell Skies”, “Camberskank” and “I live in Camberwell”; all of which are available on their album “The Singles: Special Edition” (2005).
Camberwell is best known for its arts college. Established in 1898, Camberwell College of Arts boasts a wealth of famous alumni, including Jeff Banks (graphic designer and TV presenter), Syd Barrett (original lead singer of the band Pink Floyd), Quentin Blake (artist), Des’ree (singer), Humphrey Lyttelton (jazz musician), Mike Leigh (film director), Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (interior designer and TV presenter) and Damien Hirst (artist, entrepreneur, and art collector).
Camberwell is also home to the William Booth Memorial Training College, which is the headquarters of The Salvation Army leadership and officer training; delivering education and training programmes. The iconic building was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and shares a similar look to his other landmark buildings, Battersea Power Station and the Tate Modern.
Shopping in Camberwell
Camberwell Road and Camberwell New Road boast a wealth of affordable shops to cater for every need. Both Denmark Hill and Brixton Market are also within walking distance.
Restaurants in Camberwell
Camberwell has a plethora of pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars to suit every palate and pocket. The Sunday lunches at The Camberwell Arms are both legendary and affordable. Silk Road on Camberwell Church Street is a cash-only takeaway, which serves delicious Xinjiang cuisine. There’s also sumptuous Kurdish meals available from Nandine, Italian pizzas and pasta at Theo’s Pizzeria, delicious Etheopian food from Zeret Kitchen, Turkish dishes available from FM Mangal and a vast range of Mediterranean meals at Falafel And Shawarma.
Camberwell has a number of beautiful open spaces for walking and people watching, as well as some parks designed specifically for children’s activities. The most notable open space is probably Camberwell Green where, on a summer Sunday, you might catch a few of the locals indulging in an impromptu game of cricket or football. Other scenic open spaces in Camberwell include: Frog Hollow Reserve, Bowen Gardens, Lynden Park, Through Road Reserve and Fordham Gardens.
Is Camberwell good for families?
Camberwell is ideal for young families, with its reasonable rent prices and plethora of parks and play areas. The nearest tubes station is Oval, which is only a 10 minute walk away from Camberwell green.
Find out more about schools in Camberwell here.
Sights and attractions in Camberwell:
Camberwell College of Arts
South London Gallery
Camberwell Arts Festival
Institute of Psychiatry
William Booth Memorial Training College
How much does it cost?
Get the latest Camberwell property market details here.
Camberwell is in the SE5 postcode area.
Travel in Camberwell
The nearest tube station to Camberwell Green is Oval, on the Northern Line.
There are Overground trains to Shoreditch High Street for the City and Canada Water, one stop away from Canary Wharf on the Docklands Light Railway. There are also trains to Victoria, London Bridge, Blackfriars and St Pancras International.
There are also nine commuter buses. You can find a timetable for all Camberwell bus routes here.
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