The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and London is bursting with things to do! Not quite sure where to start? No problem, we’ve done the hard work for you! Below is a curated list of some of the best things to do in Vauxhall, be it on the weekend, an evening midweek, or even when you call in sick…(we won’t tell!)
The Pleasure Gardens are bursting with things to do this season. Family-friendly, free, and outdoors, there’s no better way to unwind. Starting with Vauxhall’s Summer Screen, you can watch some of your all-time favourite films every Tuesday evening in July from 7pm. From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to Frozen and Grease, there really is something for everyone. Grab a picnic, pets, kids, or pals and settle into a good old-fashioned movie. There’s even street food and drinks on sale to keep you going all evening! Skip ahead to Saturdays and Bearpit Karaoke makes your Glastonbury headline dreams a reality. Grab the mic and sing your heart out as a solo artist or the next big band sensation on the second Saturday of every month until September. There will also be a wealth of food and drink options including Bokit’la’s French-Caribbean street food and Mother Kelly’s beer collection. To round the summer off at the end of August, the Pleasure Gardens welcome a Victorian extravaganza complete with funfair, circus acts, vintage games, and traditional sweet treats. Victorian Vauxhall allows you to entirely immerse yourself in the delights of the Gardens’ historic and vibrant past, and all for free. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped through a time portal!
With Vauxhall very conveniently bordering the river, you can’t convince us that evening drinks could get much better. As the well-known saying goes, cocktails taste better next to the Thames (something like that…). So don’t waste time, we’ve picked out four special spots for drinks with the girls, the perfect date night, or that dreaded monthly in-law catch up. The Riverside serves some of the most vibrant spritzes in town. Their Watermelon & Basil Spritz made with Grey Goose Essences Watermelon & Basil, Mexican lime, and soda makes for a thirst-quenching treat. There’s also a selection of classic cocktails from the legendary Aperol to the Paloma. And don’t sleep on their Spicy Margarita Spritz, a blend of Triple Sec, Olmeca Altos Plata, Mexican lime, soda, and Hellfire Bitters – yes, please! The Waterfront is another riverside classic, serving well-loved traditional cocktails including Espresso Martinis, Piña Coladas, and Strawberry Daquiris. As if you needed further convincing, they also run a happy hour every weeknight from 4-7pm. For a bit of excitement, head to Tamesis Dock, a 1930s converted Dutch barge which is now permanently moored. Choose from their selection of ‘Docktails’, all incredibly well-priced at £9.50 and enjoy your Negroni, not beside, but actually on the river. For a taste of the Caribbean, look no further than Cottons. With a terrace fit for royalty, it’s a rum lover’s idea of paradise.
Five of the best galleries to see the most striking contemporary art are right on your doorstep in Vauxhall. Gasworks is a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation focused on the intersection between UK and international practices. Until the 18th of September, the space will be taken over by multidisciplinary artist, photographer, and director, Dafe Oboro. By using image and sound, Oboro will contemplate masculinity, movement, and the social-political state of contemporary Nigeria. Offering an uncompromising space for the development and appreciation of experimental art, Beaconsfield gallery is the place to go for work that will inspire, shock, amuse, and mystify. For a striking gallery designed by Sanchez Benton architects, head to The Sunday Painter. There you’ll find an artist-led gallery representing a small roster of trailblazing contemporary artists including Piotr Bury Lakomy and Cynthia Daignault. CABINET is a spectacle for the eyes with architecture inspired by the traditional pavilions that once populated the Pleasure Gardens where it sits today. Expect the edgy and contemporary. Finally, Sundy is not to be missed. As a gallery that platforms solo and group exhibitions by a young generation of international artists, it’s guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Arguably one of the best ways to spend the summer, a picnic in the park never gets old. At first glance, Vauxhall might not seem like the best place to nestle into nature but you’d be surprised at how many green oases there are dotted amongst the urban landscape. The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens are a firm favourite, and with the striking towering skyline visible above the greenery, it offers the perfect blend of the urban and natural. Bonnington Square Gardens is Vauxhall’s answer to the secret garden, offering a small sanctuary away from the buzz of the city. Adorned with sculptures, art, and fairy lights, there’s a quiet magic to this hidden corner. With a history as intriguing as its name, Old Paradise Gardens was a gift from Lambeth Palace to the people of Lambeth Village. It’s the perfect place to explore, with an area of the walled garden serving as the site of a watch house erected for the drunk and disorderly in 1825. Albert Embankment Gardens are a chain of small open spaces that run along the river between Vauxhall and Waterloo. A sweet spot for blistering days when being next to water is a necessity. Vauxhall Park and Kennington Park are full of shady greenery and bursts of colourful flowers. The ideal setting for a big chill with none of the fuss.
So there you have it! A list well worth saving for days when inspiration is low. Happy relaxing!