Guest travel tips

A Traveller’s Guide to Camberwell: The Village Vibe in South London

Written by Diana Santos

If you’re looking for a village vibe in London, Camberwell is the neighbourhood you’d want to visit. This multicultural district lies in the southern part of London and is part of the Southwark Borough. It is surrounded by Peckham, Walworth and Brixton – with a mix of well-preserved Georgian homes and modern housing structures.

What makes Camberwell an incredible place for guests is that it caters to various tastes and interests. It truly feels like a village with incredible access to the heart of London if you want to go exploring. But in case you decide to stay within the district, you’ll find that there’s a lot to do and places to visit – especially if you’re a fan of the arts.

In this article, you’ll discover more about the district of Camberwell and why it’s the perfect place to experience the history and modern appeal of London City. You’ll also get accommodation options from City Relay if you decide to stay in Camberwell.

The History of Camberwell

Camberwell’s history goes way back to 1086 when the Domesday Book describes it as a rural settlement. As the centuries went by, Camberwell evolved into a haven for wealthy members of society due to its proximity to London and the abundance of green spaces, clean water supply and fresh air. Mansions like the Bessemer House and the Camberwell Grove estate of Dr Lettsom were only a few structures built back then – most of which were constructed in the hilly southern part of the district.

Camberwell Green during 1900s (

The population grew throughout the 18th to 19th century – with residents enjoying the construction of railways during the mid-19th century. When Camberwell Grove was turned into a public road, more people flocked to the district and development flourished.

The northern part of the district was slower to develop and mostly attracted the working class. This led to a more industrial-looking space. Large houses were built along Champion Hill and it showed the contrast between the exclusive neighbourhoods and industrial area.

A Look at Camberwell Today…

Through the years, Camberwell has retained its village vibe despite the modernisation of the neighbourhoods around it. The district boasts a great mix of old and modern architecture, open fields and cultural traditions.

The proximity to London’s central hub makes it an ideal space for people from all walks of life. Although there’s no Tube station, central London is quite near and there are public buses that can take you anywhere.

If you plan on staying in this neighbourhood when you visit London, take the time to explore the local community. You’ll find several things to do before you explore the rest of the city.

The Food: Cosy Cafes and Gourmet Dining

The culinary scene in Camberwell is just like the rest of London – a healthy mix of cafes, pubs and gourmet dining options.

You’ve got the Camberwell Arms – a popular neighbourhood restaurant. Others include Zeret Kitchen (Ethiopian), Silk Road (Chinese), Falafel & Shawarma (Lebanese), FM Mangal (Turkish) and Nandine (Kurdish).

Going down Camberwell Road will give you various options. Whether it’s exotic street food, a relaxing cafe or elegant fine dining, you’ll find the perfect spot to satisfy your palate.

The Culture & Arts: Where the Arts Scene Began…

Camberwell is considered as one of the cultural hubs in London. It’s filled with artists – thanks to the proximity of the Camberwell College of Arts. It nurtures young artists and that means you’ll get a lot of cultural and artistic events throughout the year.

You can visit the South London Gallery to enjoy art exhibitions. There’s a beautiful garden known for being designed by Gabriel Orozco that’s also found within the neighbourhood.

Apart from these, you can walk around neighbourhoods to enjoy the Georgian homes that have been there since the 19th century.

The Shopping Experience: Traditional and Contemporary

Shopping is a must in London and you’ll find that Camberwell won’t disappoint. Locals usually go to Sainsbury’s or Gladwell’s for their organic food cravings. It also has nice wine selections as well as fruits and vegetables.

You can walk down Crossthwaite Avenue, Denmark Hill and Camberwell Church Street to see various local shops – from crafts, retail, produce and other unique finds.

You can also enjoy weekend markets. Feel free to inquire about the latest market schedules within the district of Camberwell.

Must-See Events and Activities: Camberwell Fair, Arts Festival and More

Camberwell is home to several parks you can enjoy. Brunswick Park has tennis courts and a cafe that’s perfect for recreational and relaxing activities. The park is often filled with people from the neighbourhood – socialising and sharing barbecues and their love for music.

There’s even a nature trail called the Green Chain Walk where grassy areas and forests are connected by pathways. It leads you through the south of London and it’s a great way to exercise and meet new people.

Every June, the community holds the Camberwell Arts Festival and it’s the best way to experience the local arts scene. Various artworks are taken from the studios and displayed on the streets. This family affair is also graced by live music from local artists and various sideshow entertainment.

The Camberwell Fair is also another event people look forward to. It dates back to 1279 and was a yearly event until 1855. It was revived in 2015 so it’s an exciting event you can immerse in.

Where to Stay While in Camberwell

If you want to experience everything Camberwell has to offer, you’d benefit from booking a place within this district. Its proximity to central London makes it easier to access other tourist attractions. You don’t have to worry about missing out on what the city has to offer.

City Relay has a couple of properties in Camberwell you can choose from.



This 2-bedroom flat is located on the 5th floor of a property in Camberwell. It also has 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a balcony. It’s close to the Denmark Hill Overground and Train Station. It’s a great option for those who wish to stay out of the busy streets of Central London while staying within reach of the tourist attractions.



This 2-bedroom Georgian apartment has 2 bathrooms and a functional kitchen fit for up to 4 people. It’s within reach of several hotspots in Camberwell including the Camberwell High Street, restaurants like “Silk Road” and “Caravaggio”, pubs like “The Camberwell Arms” and “Stormbird” and many more. This apartment is also near transport links and peaceful parks.

Do you want to look at other London properties? Check out City Relay’s property listing. You can also contact us so we can personally assist you in booking a stay in London. We’ll make it a seamless and hassle-free experience for you.

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