Dulwich area guide
Dulwich is host to a broad range of beautiful family homes from the pre-war, Victorian, Edwardian and Tudor eras. At the heart of Dulwich is the picturesque Dulwich Village, which is laced with wonderful flowerage and architecture. Surrounding the village are elegant West and South Dulwich – boasting a discreet affluence which is typified by the many delightful homes which occupy the area.
Additionally the vibrant East Dulwich and Herne Hill neighbourhoods can be found bordering the village, both home to an array of independent shops, tasteful markets and restaurants. With its strong community spirit and greenery, it is hard to believe Dulwich is a mere 15 minutes from central London via train (approximate journey time to North Dulwich).
One of the main attractions to Dulwich is its proximity to some of the most outstanding high-achieving schools in the country. Dulwich College, James Alleyn’s Girl’s School, Dulwich Prep and Alleyn’s are located in the immediate vicinity and Dulwich Village Infant’s School, The Hamlet and Charter School are highly sought after state schools. All exceptional in reputation and, further to academic excellence, many of the schools are architecturally astounding, a feature matched by the local Dulwich Picture Gallery, churches and private manors.
Properties and architecture
Dulwich Village is made up of an imposing patchwork of Georgian and Victorian architecture; large (3+ bedroom) family homes, mansion houses and spacious flat conversions line the bucolic, verdant streets. As such, residents tend to fall within the higher income brackets as properties such are these are rare and in high demand. Because Dulwich Village remains a private estate managed by the Dulwich Estate, local development is strictly controlled and therefore new homes are few and far between.
Best known for
Member of the prestigious Eton Group, Dulwich College is perhaps one of the most successful independent public schools in the country. The College of God’s Gift is astonishingly beautiful having been the subject of impressionist paintings, and the location for many major Hollywood films. With alumni including Sir Ernest Shackleton, Raymond Chandler, PG Wodehouse and more recently Chiwetel Ejiofer – the college has an impressive track record in its educational achievements.
Social and cultural attractions
The Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose built public art gallery, founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bestowed his collection of old masters paintings to the picture gallery for public viewing. Contained within a truly impressive piece of architecture designed by Sir John Soane and located amongst beautiful surroundings the picture gallery has been called ‘The most beautiful small art gallery in the world’.
Belair house is an estate dating back to 1726, which today stands as a grand private manor located amongst the greenery of Dulwich’s Belair Park. Exhibiting a great selection of culinary delights coupled with a first-grade bar serving exquisite cocktails for enjoying out on the manor’s lawn until late in the evening.
Sport and leisure facilities
Avid golfers, cyclists, tennis players and swimmers will feel most at home in Dulwich owing to its great facilities including the Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club, JAGS and Dulwich College sports clubs and the Paragon cycling club. The Herne Hill Velodrome was originally used for cycling events in the Olympics of 1948 and was recently saved for future refurbishment and extension.
Dulwich is served by five local railway stations; North Dulwich, West Dulwich, East Dulwich, Sydenham Hill and Herne Hill – all less than approximately 15 minutes away from central London stations. Dulwich is on the South Circular Road allowing easy access to Wandsworth, Clapham and the Woolwich Ferry.
Our favourite place
In East Dulwich, The North Cross Road plays host every Saturday to a buzzy, popular market providing gourmet food stalls, antiques, crafts and much more. During the summer months the market has an intoxicating atmosphere reminiscent of Portobello market, encapsulating East Dulwich’s propensity toward organic and independent food shops.
Gatronomia is a charming delicatessen in West Dulwich which sells a wonderful range of Italian foodstuffs. Gails serves fresh pastries and breads as well as a selection of salads to be enjoyed outside overlooking Dulwich Village.
Best coffee shops in Dulwich
This small café and Italian delicatessen is a local gem nestled in the heart of Dulwich Village. Romeo Jones takes pride in serving premium coffee and delicious homemade cakes alongside a seasonal menu of breakfast and lunchtime favourites. The café has further cemented its place in the local community by hosting a monthly exhibition of work by local artists.
80 Dulwich Village, SE21 7AJ; romeojones.co.uk
Blue Mountain Café
It’s easy to spot Blue Mountain Café, with its quirky mosaic frontage and eclectic decor. A recipient of Time Out magazine’s Love London Awards 2014, this popular local café is renowned for its fresh coffee and hearty menu with distinct Caribbean flavours. Blue Mountain is also king of the lazy-weekend breakfasts; the generously sized organic Full Monty fry-up is a firm favourite.
18 North Cross Road, SE22 9EU; bluemo.co.uk
Gail’s might be a chain, but it certainly lives up to its artisanal label, with top-quality produce including a variety of homemade breads, pastries and cakes. Gail’s also takes its coffee very seriously and uses hand-roasted coffee beans from London roastery Union. It even hosts an annual Coffee Olympics, where baristas from every branch compete for the title of Coffee Master.
91 Dulwich Village, SE21 7BJ; gailsbread.co.uk
Blue Brick Café
Located on the corner of Fellbrigg and Shawbury Road, the diminutive Blue Brick Café is a former Victorian dairy now transformed into a vegetarian bistro. The all-day breakfasts and lunch menus are pretty special, devised by founder Daniel Hughes, who was previously head chef at central-London vegetarian restaurant Carnevale. Blue Brick Café also offers a fine selection of homemade cakes (including plenty of vegan options) and top-quality coffee.
14 Fellbrigg Road, SE22 9HH; bluebrickcafe.com
Au Ciel Patisserie & Café
Au Ciel is a petite café and tearoom in Dulwich Village specialising in traditional French cakes, pastries and homemade macaroons and chocolates. Popular with local families for its delectable sweet treats, fruity milkshakes and afternoon tea, Au Ciel also makes a great alternative to Starbucks by serving commuter-approved Monmouth coffee to the morning rush.
1a Carlton Avenue, SE21 7DE
Dulwich has easy access to Central London; railway links provide transport from North Dulwich to London Bridge in just 15 minutes, and a fifteen minute bus ride will take you to Brixton, with access to the Victoria tube lines.
North Dulwich / East Dulwich – Access to London Bridge Herne Hill / West Dulwich / Sydenham Hill – London Victoria, London Blackfriars
South Circular Road, A205, Herne Hill, A215
37 to Putney, P4, 12 to Westminster, 187
Heathrow 20.2 miles, Gatwick 24.2 miles