In London, there are pretty neighborhoods and there are beautiful ones. Dulwich is the latter. Down in the south of the city, this area is full of impressive houses and village charm. If you want to explore, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to Dulwich.
Dulwich is known for a few things, not least its renowned art gallery and prestigious boys’ school. It also boasts an idyllic park, a golf course, and a high street with picturesque shops and pubs.
Walking around Dulwich is like stepping into a rural village in the middle of London. It feels like it’s a million miles from the bustle of London Bridge, but in reality it’s only five.
Getting here isn’t as straightforward as stepping on the tube, but there are plenty of trains from central London to North Dulwich and West Dulwich stations. A place this good is worth navigating the rails for.
Things to do in Dulwich
Once you’re here, there’s no shortage of things to do in Dulwich.
I like starting on the street called Dulwich Village. It’s where the area’s shops and restaurants lie, and it’s also dotted with elegant houses.
From independent bookshops and cafes to historic pubs and chic boutiques, there are some good places to explore here.
There are also some of the usual chain restaurants, but we can pretend they’re elsewhere.
Dulwich Picture Gallery
From the cluster of shops, I like wandering down to the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The oldest public art gallery in England, it was designed by architect Sir John Soane and opened to the public in 1817.
Today the Dulwich Picture Gallery is known for having one of the UK’s finest collections of Old Masters paintings and British portraits from the Tudor period to the 19th century.
I love popping in for a look at the permanent collection, which is rife with French, Italian, and Spanish Baroque paintings.
The temporary exhibitions are also a treat. I can’t wait for the Rembrandt exhibition in October, which will commemorate the 350-year anniversary of the Dutch artist’s death.
Across the street from the gallery, the fun continues in Dulwich Park. This leafy area is one of my favorite green spaces in south London.
With a boating pond, a cafe, and lots of adorable dogs, Dulwich Park is perfect for a wander. There’s even a Victorian-era American Garden featuring the Azaleas and Rhododendrons that were making their way over from the eastern United States in the late 19th century.
There are sculptures dotted throughout Dulwich Park, too. They offer a cultural breadcrumb trail to go along with the natural scenery.
There’s also street art from the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery, a collection of murals painted by famous street artists who base their works on historic paintings in the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Beyond the park, the pretty streets of Dulwich beg to be explored. I love walking down Court Lane and Turney Road. Alleyn Park road also has great views of the towers of Dulwich College, the aforementioned boys’ school.
The roundabout where Dulwich Village meets College Road, Gallery Road, and Burbage Road is also a treat, not least because Christ’s Chapel is a stunning sight.
I hope this London neighborhood guide has given you some good ideas for things to do in Dulwich. It’s such a beautiful village that it’s worth a special trip to explore the area for a day. When you do, I hope you fall in love with it as much as I have.
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