One of the most noticeable regions undergoing a major transformation in South London is the beloved neighbourhood of Elephant and Castle.
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Here you will have the opportunity to explore an astonishingly varied selection of attractions and things to do in.
If you are someone who is interested in history and culture, you should consider visiting a museum or seeing a play at the local theatre. Or, if you’re looking to get in touch with old friends, plan a get-together over a scrumptious meal at one of the many trendy restaurants.
This developing neighbourhood offers a wide variety of options, so you’re not hard-pressed to make a choice. If you’ve been looking for a hip and diverse place to do it all in London, Elephant and Castle has you covered.
In this guide, I’ll highlight all the top things to do near Elephant and Castle London. But before we do, let’s learn a bit more about the area.
If you’ve ever wondered how Elephant and Castle got its name: here’s a brief explanation. An 18th-century tavern that was popular with ivory dealers is the inspiration for the area’s name.
Newington was the original name for Elephant and Castle. The name is actually derived from the crest of the tavern, which depicts an elephant holding a castle. Pretty cool, right?
Central London’s Elephant and Castle neighbourhood is situated on the southern bank of the Thames River. You can find this area around its major intersection.
Thankfully, London has a well-established and extensive transportation system. Your trip to the bustling Elephant and Castle is made easier by the fact that this area is one of the city’s transport hubs.
There are four ways to get to Elephant and Castle. There are four ways to get to Elephant and Castle, including travelling by car, train, bus, and tube.
Several bus lines run routes close to Elephant and Castle’s London Underground Station, whereas Southern Western Railway or Thameslink can take you by train. Lastly, the Bakerloo and Northern routes can take you to the tube.
You can also easily access Elephant and Castle by foot from central London, making it ideal for a quick stopover to catch up with friends.
Tip: Read this guide if you’re planning on shopping and are looking for the most famous shopping streets in London before visiting Elephant and Castle.
There are plenty of fun activities in Elephant and Castle for a thrilling day out. From historical museums to relaxed restaurants, here are the top Elephant and Castle locations you should visit.
Mercato Metropolitano, which opened in 2016, is a fresh, sustainable, and accessible food spot with the charm of a farmers’ market. Doesn’t that sound good?
In fact, it’s London’s first sustainable urban market aimed at revitalising neighbourhoods while doing its bit to conserve the environment. As such, it is a much-loved spot amongst eco-conscious consumers.
The enormous food hub features both internal and external food and beverage providers, as well as a local grocery shop.
You may find it hard to take in the enormity of Mercato Metropolitano — the market is a whopping 4,181 square metres. But it’s easy to see why. With market booths, an Italian grocery, and even unexpected services like a barbershop and a boxing gym, it’s no wonder this place covers so much ground.
There’s also Backyard Cinema, where you and your mates can watch the latest movies while snacking on warm, buttery popcorn. If you’re interested, another Mercato may be found in Mayfair, as well as a smaller counterpart in Elephant Park.
Mercato Metropolitano is one of the best food markets in London and is a lovely venue to hang out with friends and family and enjoy a cool beverage and delicious bites.
Tip: Pick a table ahead of time (as spots tend to fill up), so you have a space to eat and chat at. Then, make your way over to the stalls and choose from a wide variety of excellent dishes at the market.
Address |42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR, United Kingdom.
Operating hours | Main Market: Mondays to Thursdays: 12:00 to 23:00; Fridays and Saturdays: 12:00 to 00:00; Sundays: 12:00 to 22:00. The MM Grocery is open from 08:00 to 20:00 on Mondays to Saturdays, and from 09:00 to 20:00 on Sundays.
There are ample scenic spaces, as well as a variety of pubs and restaurants in and around Elephant Park, making it a fascinating spot to visit.
As a result of recent construction, the area has seen a lot of congestion, but you’ll enjoy dining in this bustling area, nonetheless.
You’ll find it apt (or cute) that there are beautifully crafted elephant models all over the park.
If you thought adults are the only group who’ll love spending time in Elephant Park, you’re wrong. Elephant Springs water park is a great place to take the kids for some water play. The best part: it’s completely free. So, everyone in the family is sure to have a good time.
For some more adult-friendly fun, there are numerous opportunities to go bar hopping for a fun night out.
Tip: Try out some artisanal dishes or keep cool with some silky, fruity gelato at the smaller Mercato in Elephant Park.
Address |Elephant Rd, London SE17 1UB, United Kingdom.
Operating hours |08:00 to 20:00 daily.
The Imperial War Museum (IWM) London, founded during World War I, is the world’s first museum to house both the Second World War Galleries and Holocaust Galleries under one roof.
Visit this world-class attraction to learn about the lived experiences of those both home and abroad during World War I.
Throughout the year, the IWM organises a variety of free presentations and temporary exhibits. Making a visit there a rich history expedition.
Because of the interactive displays for children, visiting the Imperial War Museum is an excellent learning experience for youngsters. It’s also one of many free museums in London, making it easier on your pockets.
Spend time touring its world-famous atrium and examining different artefacts and memorabilia such as planes and tanks from the War.
It’s recommended that you spend two or three hours here to soak up as much history as you can.
Interesting fact: The Imperial War Museum can be found in five different locations around England, with three of those being in the city of London.
Address | Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ, United Kingdom
Operating hours |10:00 to 18:00 daily.
Another historical museum, albeit less sombre, is the Cinema Museum. It was founded by Raleigh Hall in Brixton and was later relocated to Kennington. For over twenty years, the cinema has been in its current location and offers enjoyable experiences.
The Cinema Museum is dedicated to preserving the “spirit of cinema before the multiplex.” This is evident by the art and rich history shared in their tours.
In addition to tours, the Cinema Museum hosts seminars, Q and As, and film screenings in their main hall or screening room.
You’ll find it to be a highly interactive and engaging experience, as costumed volunteers dressed in classic attendants’ uniforms bring the movie experience to life, and making you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
Interesting fact: The Cinema Museum’s building was once a workhouse and Charlie Chaplin resided there as a child due to his family’s financial difficulties.
Address | 2 Dugard Way, Renfrew Road, London SE11 4TH, United Kingdom
Operating hours | 18:00 to 21:00 daily.
Elephant Central is part of a larger retail and entertainment district that includes Castle Square. In addition to fashion and textiles, electrical goods and services may be found here, as well as some of the area’s best cafés and restaurants for you to dine at.
During the construction of Elephant and Castle’s new town centre, its developers created Castle Square as a temporary and inexpensive retail and restaurant space. You can see this based on the number of restaurants, bars, and retail stores in the area.
Purchase textile fabrics you can make beautiful pieces of clothing or accessories with or pick up a few LED light bulbs for your home. There’s plenty to shop for in this bustling square.
You can get to Castle Square in a matter of minutes if you reside in central London because of its proximity to both the Elephant and Castle tube station and the Elephant and Castle train station.
Address | 2 Dugard Way, Renfrew Road, London SE11 4TH, United Kingdom
Operating hours | Mondays to Saturdays: 10:00 to 18:30; Sundays: 11:30 to 17:30.
Sayer Street is teeming with top restaurants and bars in London. If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, look no further than this trendy spot.
Check out KOI Ramen Bar, a Japanese and Asian food sensation, for a delicious meal.
Their staff is kind and attentive, and the atmosphere is laid-back. Vegan ramen (made from tofu) is rumoured to be a fan favourite at this location.
Have a slightly different idea? True to its name, Bobo Social is a good place to start. Bobo Social’s mission is to bring people together over mouth-watering European and British food in a social setting.
Vegans, vegetarians, and those who are gluten-intolerant can all enjoy their food. This way, you won’t have to miss out on a delicious meal because of a friend’s (or your own) dietary restrictions.
With all these mouth-watering meals, you have to make it your mission to dine at what is described as “the food district at the heart of Elephant Park.”
Note: Sayer Street is still under construction, with development estimated to be completed in July 2023.
Address | Sayer Street, London SE17 1FY, United Kingdom
Operating hours | 09:00 to 21:00 daily.
Founded in honour of the owners’ little girl’s adoration of two pandas (Kiki and MiuMiu), Kiki & Miumiu is an independent business that honours family values and love.
The independent food market they manage carries a large selection of fresh and frozen Asian and East Asian products.
Kiki and Miumiu also stock food items such as salted egg fish skin and luo han guo, which can be quite difficult to get in London.
If you’re looking to make biang biang noodles or miso soup you can purchase authentic Asian ingredients, many of which are imported from China and Japan.
Address | 141 Walworth Rd, London SE17 1RW, United Kingdom
Operating hours | 09:00 to 21:00 daily.
East Street Market, which opened in 1880, is one of the city’s oldest, largest, and busiest food marketplaces. Locals often refer to it as “The Lane” and it’s certainly the lane you want to be in when looking for a bargain.
Head to the East Street Fruit Market Veg Box, a small independent business selling affordable fresh fruit and vegetables, such as plantain and prickly pears. Or visit one of the African stalls to purchase traditional African fabric from which you can make clothes and accessories.
When it comes to old-school bargain-hunting and having endless options, East Street Market offers the best of both worlds.
Address | 141 Walworth Rd, London SE17 1RW, United Kingdom
Operating hours | Tuesdays to Fridays: 08:00 to 17:00; Saturdays: 08:00 to 18:30 pm; Sundays: 08:00 to 16:00.
This nightclub, which opened in a derelict bus depot thirty years ago, is widely regarded as the original UK dance music establishment.
The Ministry of Sound is a well-known nightclub in the United Kingdom. In fact, it’s an internationally famous franchise with its own music label and successful clubs worldwide.
Enjoy a diverse blend of electronic and heart-pumping techno music, as well as a cool industrial ambience.
Tired of dancing and needing to get home? There’s no need to be concerned. The club is only a short distance from the subway station. You’ll arrive at the station five minutes after leaving the venue.
Tip: Ministry of Sound requests that their customers are stylish and smartly dressed. While they have no issues with anything from jeans and t-shirts to branded sneakers, they strongly recommend that visitors should not wear tracksuits or caps.
Address | 103 Gaunt St, London SE1 6DP, United Kingdom
Operating hours | Fridays: 22:00 to 06:00; Saturdays: 23:00 to 06:00; Tuesdays: 22:30 to 04:00.
Southwark Playhouse Performance Company was founded in 1993 by Juliet Alderdice and Tom Wilson. This was after they found a dilapidated workshop and swiftly transformed it into a theatre venue. You’ll like this excellent theatre and its friendly staff.
Operation Mincemeat is one of their most recent plays that’s received glowing reviews from theatregoers. You may want to check it out if you love history with a twist of humour.
Southwark Playhouse’s theatre programme is presented in two venues: the Large, a 240-seat main theatre, and the Little, a 120-seat studio space.
Address | 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD, United Kingdom.
Operating hours | Weekdays: 09:00 to 00:00; Saturdays: 13:00 to 00:00.
Four Quarters has an unrivalled collection of rare vintage arcade games from the 1980s to the mid-2000s. These include classic arcade games ranging from Street Fighter II to Space Invaders.
Those on the younger side may recall cult classics like Pac Man, The Simpsons, and Sega Rally.
It has more than 30 original arcade machines, eight antique console booths, and two huge screen projection game rooms. But that isn’t all. Four Quarters will not force you to play on an empty stomach.
You’ll eat burgers and snacks from their exciting menu and wash it down with one of their 16+ craft beers on tap. Not a fan of beer? You can sip on any of their cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages.
Four Quarters is the ideal place to let off some steam and have some fun.
Address | 20 Ash Ave, London SE17 1AZ, United Kingdom
Operating hours | Tuesdays to Thursdays: 16:00 to 23:00; Fridays: 15:00 to 00:00; Saturdays: 12:00 to 00:00; Sundays: 12:00 to 22:00.
The Elephant and Castle pub, a neighbourhood favourite since 1765, is a terrific spot for an impromptu beverage and delicious pub grub.
This beautiful 18th-century bar offers a lot of character and beautiful views, which you can’t help but notice when you visit.
With large bay windows facing the main road and a menu of plentiful and classic pub fare, this is a terrific site for a drink and observing passers-by.
Enjoy prompt service from kind and helpful employees who care about ensuring you have a comfortable experience. You’ll also appreciate the clean environment maintained by tidy workers. Their staff is really friendly and helpful if you have any questions about a meal or drink.
Thinking of rushing home for the game? No need to. They broadcast all major sporting events, ranging from football to rugby, and their basement area is the best late-night party spot in South East London. So, what are you waiting for?
Address | 19 Newington Causeway, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6BN, United Kingdom
Operating hours | Sundays to Wednesdays: 12:00 to 00:00; Thursdays: 12:00 to 01:00; Fridays: 12:00 to 02:00
If you’re looking for a brunch spot, Louie Louie is one of the best places to eat Elephant and Castle has to offer. It is a pub, restaurant, and cafe that provides a unique dining experience.
Despite wearing all these hats, Louie Louie manages to serve a delicious brunch. Sandwiches, cakes, and a strong cup of coffee are all you need to keep you going throughout the day.
You can also enjoy a large selection of beverages, wine, and local beers at the Louie Louie bar at night.
Also, keep an eye on their site to see what activities or music they have scheduled for the night.
Address | 347 Walworth Rd, London SE17 2AL, United Kingdom
Operating hours | Mondays to Tuesdays: 08:30 to 15:00; Wednesdays: 08:30 am to 23:00; Thursdays: 09:00 to 23:00; Fridays to Saturdays: 09:00 to 23:00; Sundays: 10:00 to 15:00.
Since 2005, the proprietors of this small club in Southeast London have been bringing in the best house and dance DJs and musicians from all over the world.
Corsica Studios is a venue for music and the arts that is located in Elephant and Castle, London, United Kingdom. It is housed in two railway arches.
Corsica Studios comprises two distinct areas: Room 1, which features a stage for live performances, and the bar, which has a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from.
Address | 4, 5 Elephant Rd, London SE17 1LB, United Kingdom
Operating hours | 10:00 to 18:00 daily.
Elephant and Castle is brimming with fun things to do for both individuals and families alike and is fast becoming one of the top areas to be at if you’re looking for things to do in London.
If you’re seeking a spot away from London’s most famous landmarks and wish to discover something that is truly one of a kind, you’re sure to find it here.
Having said all of that, this rapidly developing enclave offers a little something for everyone.
Seeking more London adventures? Check out this article for the top things to do in Peckham.