Looking for the best things to do in Deptford? We’ve got you covered with this guide to one of London’s little hidden gems.
Sat south of the river, this eastern neighbourhood is bursting with history, beauty, and culture. It is also full of potential for fun – whether you enjoy spending your evening grooving to some northern soul, or your early mornings browsing markets full of fresh produce.
From indie restaurants to funky pop-ups, and bustling markets, and everything in between, this insider’s guide will help you discover everything that Deptford has to offer.
Ready to explore?
Best Things to do in Deptford
You haven’t experienced a proper London market until you’ve experienced an east London market. And, Deptford Market is the perfect example of what a great market looks like. This market sells, well… pretty much everything, and it is one of the most affordable around.
Don’t get Deptford Market confused with the commercial hub Deptford Market Yard. While both are worthy of a visit, the traditional Deptford Market definitely comes out on top. It has been around since the 1800s and shows absolutely no sign of going anywhere.
The market operates on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, between 9:00 and 17:30. It spans Douglas Way, Deptford High Street, and Griffin Way. If you love multi-cultural foods and fresh goods, head down to the high street first.
South City Market Tattoos
Ok, so this one may not be for everyone. However, if you fancy splashing some cash on your next tattoo fix, you have to head to South City Market. This wonderful space is home to a modern tattoo studio that is welcoming, safe, and has been designed for ultimate client comfort.
South City Market Tattoos have a huge range of in-house artists. Whether you love tattoos that are traditional, colour, realistic, geometric, or abstract, there will be an artist that suits your needs and preferences.
In particular, we are huge fans of Kamil Arthur (we’ve been tattooed by him, in fact) – if you’re looking for fine lines and micro-realism, look no further.
Read More: London’s Best Tattoo Shops
Don’t let the name fool you – this is a pie house with a difference.
Matchstick is a bar, restaurant, and art space that resides under the railway arches in Deptford. While they do serve pies (and they are all delicious), this space is a must-visit for any music or art fan.
This inclusive, anti-capitalist bar, venue, and art space is a vibrant community hub that hosts a massive range of events, including comedy nights, club nights, live music nights, and socials. However, if you can make it, you just have to give their weekly jazz night a try. Called ‘Steam Down’, this event is a mid-week must for any jazz fan.
Tickets for all of their events tend to sell out quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on their social media channels so that you don’t miss out. On the upside, many of their events are very affordable and accessible as they seek to break down barriers for those that otherwise struggle to find the arts accessible.
The Art in Perpetuity Trust (A.P.T) Gallery is sat on the Deptford Creekside in an old warehouse. Founded in 1995, it has become a mecca of creativity in each of its 42 studios.
Part gallery and exhibition space, part working sculpture yard and with an external public performance space, the A.P.T. Gallery always has something going on that’s well worth seeing.
Previous exhibitions are as wide-ranging as a speculative art exhibition from SPACE Lab that showcases collaborations between artists and astrophysicists, and the moving, but gorgeous VainEgo exhibition that featured 108 ceramic heads created by Yurim Gough during her battle with breast cancer.
Check out upcoming exhibitions here.
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Although primarily a dance and music college, the Trinity Laban Faculty of Music and Dance is also one of London’s finest examples of modern architecture and well worth seeking out to have a look at if you’re in the area.
Designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, whose other London designs include the Tate Modern and the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, the faculty opened in 2003 and looks as fresh today as it did 20 years ago.
The world’s largest purpose-built contemporary dance centre, the building is eye-catching in the extreme, with its flowing shape specifically designed to inspire dance movements, while blending in seamlessly with the South East London streets it finds itself within.
You’ll find plenty of Instagrammable angles with which to boost your feed with this gorgeous building.
Deptford is one of London’s lesser-known arts hubs, yet it is one of the most vibrant with the community very much front and centre.
Alongside the Matchstick Piehouse is the Albany Theatre, a multi-purpose arts space that has shows, exhibitions, festivals, educational workshops, and even a regular roller disco on the third Thursday of every month.
Run by the local community for the local community, and those far beyond, the Albany always has something worth investigating on and is one of our favourite spots south of the river.
Bars & Restaurants
Of course, as you’ll know from reading our various area guides, food comes first – always. Take a look at the best places to eat and drink in Deptford below.
Deptford has a vast range of high-quality restaurants that offer several different cuisines. However, it is also home to a great Vietnamese food scene. If you’re looking for a casual but delicious dinner, you should definitely check out Eat Vietnam.
In fact, Eat Vietnam is the place to go in London for proper, slap-up Vietnamese cuisine.
The menu is extensive and the quality of the food is consistently divine. If you visit, you need to try the Cánh gà – super crispy chicken wings coated in a tangy house dressing.
They also do home delivery – so, if you’re new to the area and looking for your local go-to takeout food, you’ve found it. You can also opt to order online and pick it up yourself if that is more convenient for you.
Situated in the arches underneath Deptford Station, Buster Mantis is a killer fast-food joint-cum cocktail bar that oozes Jamaican influences in its food and drink.
We love their homemade punch that has us dreaming of laying on a sun-kissed beach with the Caribbean lapping at our toes. And the food? Wow! The crisp marinated haddock is wonderful, the rose harissa hummus with falafel arguably better and, the Guinness punch? A stout, creamy joy with a kick of cinnamon. And that’s without even mentioning their incredible Sunday roast.
Hungry and thirsty on a Thursday? All food and cocktails are just £6 each. Book in advance though, this is one popular offer!
With regular live music, this is one South London joint where every night is party night.
Marcella is named after Marcella Hazan, who hails from the Adriatic Coast and retired to Venice where she still teaches cookery masterclasses. Now run by a creative team of experts, Marcella is the kind of joint you go to for a hearty bowl of pasta, a decent glass of wine and come away thoroughly satisfied with life.
The menu changes according to the best available produce on a daily basis, includes starters such as cuttlefish with fennel and tomatoes, pasta such as pheasant with tagliatelle, mains such as salt cod and cocco bianco, and puddings like cranberry and clove rice pudding.
The wine list is extensive, tasty, and fine, with sparklings alongside reds, whites, pinks, and oranges to suit every dish and palette. And, if you’re hungry on a Sunday, we love their 3 course set menu for just £25 each.
Isla Ray is a beautiful bar / cafe on Deptford High Street that has everything you could want throughout the day.
From beautiful brunches with tea, coffee, and juices to evening burgers stacked with taste, toppings, and terrific sauces oozing out of the bun.
If you’re heading there for brunch, check out the stunning waffles or fried eggs on toasted sourdough with aioli. Meanwhile, if it’s a light lunch you want, check out the kimchi bagel with peanut sauce. Yum!
Monday to Saturday between 5pm and 7pm the burgers are just £6.50 each, while the range of sides will be the perfect accompaniment.
Wednesday night is quiz night, while they also have student night on Thursdays, regular reggae nights, and DJ spots to see in the weekend.
Read Next: Deptford Restaurant Guide
Top Shopping Spots
You can’t explore an area of London without doing a bit of shopping. Take a look at the best places to spend your money in Deptford below.
If you’re a plant enthusiast, you can’t miss out on the wonderful foliage available at Forest. Forest has two shops: one in Deptford and one in East Dulwich. Both are an absolute treat to visit, but the Deptford store truly is beautiful.
In fact, you can’t miss it. Just keep an eye out for a railway arch that is completely filled with luscious house plants.
They have a huge range of plants, and their knowledgeable staff members are keen to discuss plant care and what is best suited for your space with you.
They also have a range of gorgeous homeware and plant pots on offer. If you’ve just moved to the area and you’re in need of some details for your new pad, Forest is an absolute must-visit. Their scented candles are truly wonderful.
Rag N Bone
Thrifting is all the rage these days – and Deptford is a great place to thrift. If you’re interested in finding some second-hand, high-end, or even designer gems as you explore this great neighbourhood, you need to check out Rag N Bone.
Situated on Deptford High Street, this shop is easy to find and fun to explore! Their aim is to provide customers with a boutique shopping experience whilst also ensuring that you leave with enough money left in your pocket to enjoy yourself as you wear your new fit.
Their stock is fresh, colorful, and updated every week – so if you live in the area, it’s probably worth stopping by regularly to see what they have to offer. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, so don’t be afraid to ask for their advice!
Read More: The Best Vintage Shops in London