Updated: Dec 8, 2020
With Christmas around the corner, we are feeling quite festive and looking forward to some home cooked meals and time with our loved ones. We wanted to share our suggestions, ideas and a kind of “planned day out” for all of you to shop and support local in our valued SE1 and SE16 communities this holiday season. Below are some of our own personal experiences with some of our favourite places in the area!
As 2020 comes to an end, we look at local independent businesses in Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays and Canada Water. SE1 and SE16 shops offer a wide range of unique store fronts, neighbourhoods and properties! All across London we have supported local businesses and thought what better way to finish off the year by giving back again.
Our experiences at each business is below for your reading enjoyment! We first start with one of our favourite areas in London: Bermondsey.
We have worked and lived in the area now for almost a decade and we have realised over the years, it has much to offer, from stunning properties, local attractions but also a depth of local shops and businesses. If you need Christmas gift ideas, whether be from greeting cards, handmade craft products, decorations, jewellery, clothing, independent and local art, we suggest for you to check out Bermondsey Fayre in Bermondsey Street!
We have personally shopped here and highly recommend it if you want to pick up something special for the holidays. Bermondsey Fayre prides itself on supporting local independent art designers by selling their beautiful art in shop! Fast forward 10 years later and they have become the go-to local place for unique gift ideas and local charm. A part of their ethos from the beginning was to sell ethically made products and products that have meaning. Both online and click and collect services are offered here now!
So now that we have your gift ideas sorted, what about health and wellness?! Bermondsey Fayre also offer a yoga studio for your various yogi needs!
As a local resident, Matteo uses this studio time to time. If you are looking for a specialised and welcoming yoga studio in the area, we highly recommend this lovely and cosy place. They offer small classes for beginners and experienced yogis. They invite anyone to come and experience yoga at their lovely Bermondsey location. Each of their teachers have their own specialism and offer workshops throughout the year. They also run retreats in beautiful places for that extra nourishment of mind, body and soul. They offer live online classes via Zoom at the moment!
Continuing with our gift giving ideas and suggestions, we stumbled across this other local gem called Lovely and British.
We came across this brother and sister run shop few years ago and cannot recommend it enough! Their shop is located in Bermondsey Street SE1. It was not a surprise to us that Lovely and British was located here mixed in with all the other unique shops on Bermondsey St. What makes Bermondsey Street unique is you’ll hardly find a shop or restaurant that is not independent and unique. If you are looking for lovely British gift ideas, check them out today!
Lovely and British have a wonderful range of gift ideas such as cards from independent artisans, locally made handbags, essential body oils, unique picture frames, handmade pottery, soap and scents and a lot more! All products share and celebrate the uniqueness of British culture!
Now let’s talk and share two experiences we had recently.
We visited Peter Layton London Glassblowing last winter and what an experience! If you could mix colour and glass together, you would get the empathies of what Peter Layton is trying to achieve with his work. We picked up a copy of his book – A Celebration of Colour and what beautiful artwork he has inside.
The shop owner’s work has been featured in museums around the world. His work has been shown in America, Europe and the UK to name a few. His works of art are all online and are simply incredible! Check out their website today. Peter Layton London Glassblowing is known for their incredible sculptures and installations as well.
To continue with exploring something new and thought provoking we recently went to a couple of exhibitions at the Eames Fine Art Gallery in Bermondsey SE1. They represent a number of brilliant printmakers (many of them producing in Bermondsey) and store hundreds of their masterpieces. We recently enjoyed Sarah Gillespie’s exhibition just few weeks prior to the recent lockdown and you shouldn’t miss out on the current one by Veta Gorner. It runs until December 23rd.
Now, let’s eat!
For whatever type of meat or food you want for Christmas, visit Bell & Sons Butchers! At Bell & Sons, at The Blue in Southwark Park Road SE16, quality service is at their core. They pride themselves on their selection of meat, quality of cuts, attention to detail and connection with every customer that walks through the door. We have purchased many steaks and meat from them in the past and have never been disappointed. They have also wonderful selection of delicatessen foods such as Italian cold meats, and homemade bread.
They will be selling Christmas turkeys for the holidays. We suggest you come down and check them out as well! We have never been disappointed when shopping locally here.
Looking for a warm coffee and a freshly baked croissant? You must visit The Little Bread Pedlar under the ever so popular arches in Dockley Road SE16!
This hidden gem is located minute’s walk from our office! It offers speciality breads like sourdough, focaccia, rye, baguettes and more!
On many Saturdays Alex visit them for coffee and to grab a delicious pain aux raisin in between his appointments and property viewings.
We continue our journey and move our way east to the boroughs of Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays and Canada Water SE16. All three boroughs are conveniently located very close to one another offering a wide array of shops, retail and local businesses.
We started our day off in Bermondsey with some shopping, an art exhibition and glassblowing and some food. We continue the day by visiting a community charity shop to better understand their needs and how they give back to the community.
We visited Up Market Community Charity Shop, which is situated in Albion Street SE16, and spoke with some of the shop attendants to learn more about them. In speaking with the staff, you could tell how passionate and loving they are towards giving back to the community. They provide quality pre-loved clothing and items at amazing prices. They have a range of Men’s, Ladies and Children’s clothing in shop!
They also offer artwork, chinaware, literature, small household items and much more. They receive new and exciting items daily and you never know what little gems you may find! If you happen to be in the Rotherhithe area and fancy picking up a bargain, pop in and say hello!
Surrey Quays/ Canada Water
Let’s venture into the Surrey Quays / Canada Water SE16 area to explore a local some local food and drinks shops. We leave Rotherhithe and end to our last and final destination; Surrey Quays / Canada Water. We have a lot of history in these boroughs and have visited many local shops in the area.
If there is one location we have ate at the most, it is The Plough Way Deli. This local delicatessen opened in March 2018 and has been serving residents with delicious food since. It is based just off Plough Way on the SE16/SE8 borders. Inspired by simple food & quality Italian produce, they provide locals with a range of deli products, freshly made breakfast & lunch options as well as freshly made coffees and teas. Something exciting this Christmas season is their Christmas hampers. They will be selling Christmas hampers this year so don’t miss them while supplies last! We could not recommend this place enough to everyone! It is a quiet, authentic and very personable experience.
Through our relationship with Plough Way Deli, we have also frequently visited another local café called the Canada Water Café (watch our video interview from last year by clicking here). Another local restaurant serving quality homemade food every day. We have eaten here multiple times and have never been disappointed. Owned by the same owner as the Plough Way Deli, we cannot suggest this establishment more to our readers! They do fantastic pizzas, fresh food, great coffees and offer a range of foods for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner! If you are in the area, check them out! They will also be offering Christmas hampers this Christmas season!
Two other restaurants worth checking out are: The Yellow House and The Pizza Room. Both restaurants are located in Lower Road, Surrey Quays, SE16 and attract residents from all over London to their locations. We have frequented The Yellow House a lot in the past and have had many meals here. The staff are lovely people and it is a restaurant with tasty food and an inviting atmosphere. Due to the pandemic, we want to invite people to check out their website not just for their hours of operation but for their Christmas Day menu. They will be offering and serving turkey for any family in need this year! Check them out!
The Pizza Room is another staple of the local area. They have four locations across London; Mile End, Poplar, Surrey Quays SE16 and New Cross. The Surrey Quay location is the shop we have visited the most but from what we experienced; we can bet the other three locations are even better! Something interesting about this business is they have their own pizza delivery app developed in house! Pretty neat! They are so committed to their brand and products; they crowdfunded the development of their own app to make it easier to get their delicious pizzas to you!
Lastly, no day is complete without a nice drink at the end of the day. Why not check out our favourite local wine retailer in the area.
Local wine shop Bon Vino (watch our video interview by clicking here) is a must stop for the holiday season. Check it out in Dockhead SE16! Opened and run by owner Alessandro who has a deep love and understanding of wine. He did not become the connoisseur that he is overnight – in fact, wine and the making of it is in his blood. He is a passionate winemaker through his grandfather’s inspiration. Since 2011 Alessandro has searched Italy for the most delicious and sustainable wines and brought them back to Bermondsey for us to try! Swing by to pick up a bottle or two to go with your Christmas dinner! Please check the website for hours of operation due to the recent lockdown and Covid-19 pandemic.
What a day! We shopped, we explored and did new things, we ate and drink! We cannot go on enough about SE1 and SE16 communities and what they have to offer. Lastly, we would like to encourage all residents to give back by providing whatever small donations you can. Matteo have been a partner with the North Bermondsey Support Group for quite some time and love supporting this local initiative. With over 150 volunteers, they are assisting residents, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with arranging deliveries, picking up shopping & medication, posting mail, any urgent supplies, help topping up electric or gas key or if you are simply in for a friendly phone call.
We encourage our neighbours to make a donation to the local Rotherhithe Brunel Museum, that like many museum all over London had to close down during the pandemic. The museum has no access to public funding so every donation will make a difference
If you like to give back this holiday season to your local SE1 and SE16 area: we have listed their website below!
From all of us at Alex & Matteo, we wish you Happy Holidays!