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Horniman Museum

Cultural Guide to Dulwich

18 December 2015 Helen Dalton

Dulwich in South London is home to some lovely parks, restaurants and pubs as well as a whole host of cultural and artistic venues. Our Cultural Guide to Dulwich explores the best of what to do in the Dulwich area including museums, art, music and books...

Looking for a new area of London to explore? Why not head to peaceful Dulwich in South London where there’s plenty for culture-vultures to do whether you're interested in art, film, history or literature…

Art
Situated just next to Dulwich Park, the stunning Dulwich Picture Gallery is at the heart of the area's cultural and artistic life. Founded in 1811, it was the world's first purpose-build public art gallery and is now home to an impressive permanent collection as well as a busy programme of events including temporary exhibitions, lectures, music and art classes. Visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery website to find out more.

Every year, hundreds of Dulwich artists open their homes to the curious public for the Artists Open House, which takes place over a couple of weekends in the spring as part of Dulwich Festival. It's the perfect chance to peek inside artists' homes, studios and workplaces, seeing work up-close and learning about how artists and craftspeople create. Artists take part across East Dulwich, West Dulwich, Dulwich Village and the surrounding areas and the standard of work is consistently high. Art forms on display include everything from illustration to furniture and ceramics to photography.

Dulwich is also home to some fabulous street art, particularly around the Lordship Lane area where you should keep your eyes open for some towering black and white figures and a brightly-coloured kingfisher mural.

Museums
The Horniman Museum can be found just to the east of Dulwich in Forest Hill. One of London's most unusual and underrated museums, the Horniman is packed with one-off objects, intriguing displays and strange stories. The Horniman has become well known and loved in London for it's superb Late events which, like the rest of the museum, have a reputation for being fantastically strange and intriguing. If that’s not enough to tempt you, the museum also has 16 acres of Gardens and even an aquarium! To find out more about the Horniman Museum, see their website.

Literature
Dulwich is home to a number of lovely independent bookshops including Dulwich Books, Rye Books and the award-winning Village Books, all of which host frequent events including author talks. The Review Bookshop on trendy Bellenden Road in nearby Peckham is also worth a visit.

Music
You may need to step slightly outside of the boundaries of Dulwich to find any dedicated live music venues (The O2 Academy Brixton and Peckham's Bussey Building are obvious nearby choices). However, many of Dulwich’s homely pubs hold great live music nights and events including The Great Exhibition, House of Tippler on Lordship Lane and The Railway at Tulse Hill.

Other Culture in Dulwich
What else is worth a visit in the area? Dulwich Farmers Market takes place once a month in Dulwich College and is the perfect place to pick up fresh produce and fancy foods. In the same vein, North Cross Road Market takes place every Saturday, with a selection of stalls selling food and drinks, gifts, crafts, books and antiques.

Picturehouse Cinemas have recently opened the East Dulwich Picturehouse, showing a mixture of blockbusters and arty films. You'll also find a nice little cafe at the cinema. If you fancy catching a film for slightly less, pop into Peckham where the Peckhamplex offers £4.99 film tickets all week!

Finally, the annual ten-day Dulwich Festival takes place every May, bringing together the many cultural trends and activities taking place in the area. As well as the Artist Open Studios already mentioned, there are talks, walks, competitions, music and live performances as well as weekend fairs held in Dulwich Park, West Dulwich and Goose Green. To find out more about the annual Dulwich Festival, see their website.


If we’ve missed a cultural event or venue in Dulwich that you love, let us know about it in the comments section below!
 

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