Slap bang in the middle of popular London neighborhoods like vibey Brixton, verdant Battersea, and brunch-haven Balham, Clapham holds its own in terms of fun things to see and do. With its population of predominantly young professionals, the area is known for its lively club scene (just ask any Londoner about Infernos) and huge array of upmarket bars, cosy pubs, and trendy coffee shops.
But that’s not all Clapham has to offer. Meandering through this neighbourhood you’ll encounter rows of elegant Victorian buildings, wonderfully quirky independent shops and charming leafy streets. Ready to explore? Take a look at our pick of the best things to do in Clapham.
Clapham War Tunnels
WWII enthusiasts will jump at the chance to explore the shelters that exist below Clapham South station. Located 11 stories below the ground, these deep-level shelters include over a mile of subterranean passageways that were used over the years as shelters for various groups including those seeking refuge during the Second World War and Caribbean migrants arriving on the Empire Windrush. A 75-minute tour will take you on a journey to discover the history and story of these tunnels, as well as the people who have used them over the years. Tours run from Wednesday to Sunday and can be booked via the London Transport Museum website.
The epicenter of Clapham living, Clapham Common is one of London’s nicest green spaces. Spend a sunny day here wandering around the tree-lined paths of this 220-acre park. Framed by attractive Victorian and Georgian homes, locals often spend the entire afternoon here, enjoying the lively atmosphere on sunny days, playing sports, and setting up picnics.
Its attractive bandstand is definitely worth a visit - the Grade II listed building is the largest in London and one of the oldest cast-iron bandstands in Europe.
Located on the periphery of Clapham Common, the Omnibus Theatre is one of the area's best performance art spaces. Within this former Victorian library, the venue hosts a variety of theatrical, musical and visual performances, along with spoken word evenings, comedy nights and art exhibitions. There’s always something interesting going on here and it makes for a good alternative to Clapham’s lively bar and club scene. Saying that, be sure to grab a drink in its atmospheric bar - that second-hand furniture gives it an entirely hipster vibe.
Venn Street Market
If you’re heading to Clapham on a Saturday, be sure to stop by the popular Venn Street Market just opposite Clapham Common Station. This unfailingly busy community food market works directly with farmers and small independent producers to bring the people of Clapham the freshest and tastiest food around. From 10AM to 4PM, you can pick up everything from cheese and charcuterie, to delicious sweet treats and much more.
A trip down Northcote Road will easily take you from day to night. Start the day by queuing up for one of the street’s popular brunch spots. We’re fans of Brew’s antipodean coffee and scran, or hit up Cafe Tamra, which has a varied menu of savory and sweet treats. Home to an array of independent and boutique chain stores, you’ll be able to wile away a few hours window-shopping before heading to one of the streets' buzzy bars or restaurants.
For gourmet pub grub, The Bolingbroke is a good choice. Or if you’re looking for some traditional Italian treats, head to Osteria Italia Bologna. Later, make your way down to Vagabond to sample their dizzying array of wines, or check out the Northcote, if a traditional pub is more to your taste.
Bar, brewery and arcade all-in-one, The Four Thieves is one of South London’s most entertaining venues. Seriously, it’s got everything. Big comfy sofas, a beer garden and a decent selection of beers and spirits, it’s a good choice to appeal to all tastes. Its arcade is of course the star of the show though. Along with mini-golf, VR headsets, and traditional arcade games, its remote control racing track is the main crowd-pleaser. Be sure to check out their website for their full list of events too, as they often host fun quiz and comedy nights throughout the week.
WC is undoubtedly Clapham’s most photogenic bar. Housed in a former Victorian loo, the 100-year-old water closet is located underneath Clapham Common station and still boasts original tiling, complemented by classic furnishings and wood paneling. Specializing in wine and charcuterie (W and C… get it?), their menu is brimming with tasty old and new world wines, as well as specialty European cheese and meat boards.