Posted by: hiddenlondon | August 6, 2013

London Villages – Dulwich

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Dulwich Village is a charming haven of greenery and calm in an otherwise sprawling stretch of South London.  Beautiful 18th century houses line the streets, lending the village the feel of another era.  Dulwich Park is a huge and attractive area of colourful flowers and wildlife, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery has been called ‘the most beautiful small art gallery in the world’!

The Village is probably most famous for being home to Dulwich College, one of the country’s oldest public schools, founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn.  It boasts writers Raymond Chandler and P.G. Wodehouse amongst its past pupils.

The college still controls much of the village and is keen to preserve its special atmosphere, with a conservative approach to building and development.  It is because of these rules that Dulwich maintains the feel of a small semi-rural community with a personal touch for everyone, again with the feel of past times.

Dulwich is the ideal spot for a late summer stroll. Sarting at the park, take in the vegetable garden and the Dry garden, dedicated to plants which do not require much watering.  Relax at the pond and perhaps a make stop at the excellent Pavillion Café.

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From the park, walk towards the centre of the village as the picture gallery should be the next port of call.  Designed by Sir John Soane in 1811, the gallery is home to one of the world’s most important collections of European old master paintings of the 1600s and 1700s.  There is a beautifully designed modern café here and there are also regular exhibitions and events, see www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk for details.

Most importantly, check out that rare thing, a surviving, independent bookshop, Dulwich Books, at 6 Croxted Road.

And since no visit to Dulwich would be complete without having a drink at the Crown and Greyhound, why not end your walk here?  This rambling Victorian pub, once frequented by Charles Dickens, has original bar fitments, a huge conservatory and an attractive garden.  It is situated at the heart of the picturesque village, serves good food and is one of London’s best pubs.

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Get there: Trains to West Dulwich or North Dulwich

Check out the excellent website, Dulwich on View for news and lots of articles about the area.

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