Follow Lucy's tips: LucyRM
Hello, I’m Lucy Mallows. I was born in Guildford and can remember walking along the King’s Road, Chelsea in the swinging sixties with the Biba shop and ladies in Mary Quant mini skirts. I lived in Brixton in the late eighties, worked as a tree surgeon in Croydon and also as a waitress at the legendary Fridge. Does that make me a Londoner?
However, it took 12 years of living in Budapest and a newly discovered love of architecture (thank you Odon Lechner, father of Magyar Art Nouveau!) and also four years in Brussels (another great Art Nouveau city) to make me fully appreciate London.
I have been back in south London for two years, and I feel like I’m discovering my ‘hometown’ properly for the first time.
I love to walk great distances in the early morning or late evening, and especially at the more traffic-free weekends, and admire the buildings and overlooked details, in so many different architectural styles and periods of history, and the endless variety of green spaces, the parks, the cemeteries (Nunhead is a favourite haunt of mine).
I often walk from Camberwell to Clapton on a Sunday morning, to enjoy the Lea Valley wilderness and all the pubs by the river. We also walked from Embankment to Greenwich recently, all along the riverbank, passing through many districts, each with its distinct nature.
I feel most at home south of the river and I love all the different ‘villages’ with their different ethnic make-ups and vibes: Brixton, Stockwell, Camberwell, Peckham, Clapham, Balham, the list is endless.
My new job as a gardener takes me to some of the most incredible private gardens tucked away in leafy backstreets of Balham, Streatham and Wandsworth. Otherwise, I’ve been a travel writer, photographer, editor and translator (Hungarian, Russian, French & Spanish) for 20 years now and have written on almost every destination in Europe, from Estonia to Madeira via Iceland or Transylvania.
My favourite things about London: its diversity, the Thames, parks, trees, cemeteries, gardens, bridges, architecture, unusual museums, galleries, cafes and traditional pubs Three tips to get you started: Persepolis – Peckham’s only Persian corner shop
Southend-born Sally and her charming Iranian husband Jamshid have created a little corner (shop) of Persia right in the heart of Peckham. It was one of my first discoveries on moving to the area and it’s impossible to go past the bright yellow shop front, plastered with humorous messages, without being tempted inside to check out the vast range of taste treats in jars and tins, chilled salty yoghurt drinks, Turkish coffee, dried fruits and nuts, fresh pastries (arriving three times a week from Iran) sold by the weight, fruit teas for sisha pipes and musical instruments. Flame-haired Sally and her husband are always on hand in their Aladdin’s cave, ‘We want to showcase Iran and show its friendly side’ says Sally.
Sally has also published a book of recipes, ‘Persia in Peckham’ and the second in a series of Persepolis Pop-Up Supper Parties will take place on 1st July at Anderson & Co nearby in Bellenden Road. Persepolis
28-30 Peckham High Street, London SE15 5DT
+44(0)20 7639 8007www.foratasteofpersia.co.uk
Google map: bit.ly/lp1vdG
Isabelle, an artisan chocolatier, created a little choccie heaven in a back street near the Gallic-influenced Choumert Road (home to Petitou Café and the Montpelier pub, as well as a vibrant street market with fresh vegetables from China, the Middle East and Africa). Isabelle takes first grade Belgian couverture chocolate and infuses it with spices, herbs, fruit and flowers to create the most amazing taste combinations. Thin chunks of all the selections can be tasted at the counter and the only embarrassing feature is knowing when to stop! I tasted the dark raspberry & rosemary, the milk cumin & mint and the dark basil & lemon and then resolved to sneak back the next day and try another three…Isabelle has a small café in the shop and there are also chocolate making workshops, chocolate and wine tasting events as well as chocolate painting workshops. Breakfast on the pavement terrace is an ideal way to start the weekend on a sweet note with croissants, Caphe-Vietnam coffees, herbal teas and, naturally, hot chocolate. Isabelle opened the chocolate Mecca three years ago, only my waistline is happy I didn’t discover it earlier! Melange Chocolate
184 Bellenden Road, London SE15 4BW
+44(0)7722 650 711www.themelange.com
Google map: bit.ly/lTAwwoBrunswick Park
Brunswick Park is a tiny hidden treasure, located in a residential backwater off the Peckham Road. The beautiful Victorian-style park was even mentioned in 1087 in the Domesday Book as 63 acres belonging to the Church. The gorgeous green space was refurbished in 1997-2000 with new planting and lighting, the creation of disabled access, a large playground and basketball court as well as two hard tennis courts. The park was named in honour of the marriage of George IV to Caroline, daughter of the Duke of Brunswick. Caroline was locked out of Westminster Abbey at George’s coronation because their marriage had collapsed and Caroline had taken to ‘cavorting around south London in a state of undress’. Whadda gal! Brunswick Park
St Giles Road, off Peckham Road, London SE5
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