What is there to do in Elephant and Castle?
People often say of Elephant and Castle: “There’s nothing to do.” But, as someone who lives and works in the area, I can tell your there is definitely more to the place than meets the eye.
Elephant and Castle – or Elephant, as I call it – is home to a diverse number of communities, all of which are reflected in the restaurants and stores to be found in the area.
Among these is Mercato Metropolitano, which can be found just less than 10 minutes away from Elephant & Castle tube station. It is a vibrant community of small businesses all under one roof, where you will be spoilt for choice. Food outlets range from Italian and Spanish to British and Vietnamese, all of which smell and look delightful.
The first time I went to Mercato, I had an incredible Margherita pizza. I was shocked how big it was… for the price. I had only expected to get a normal- sized pizza, for one person. Instead I got a large pizza that was big enough for two. I struggled to finish it all, but wasting a slice was not an option!
Situated by One The Elephant (tower block), there is a great park where you can go and chill out with friends and family. There’s a play area there that’s perfect for small children to enjoy when the weather is nice. A new park has also opened opposite the train station; it is hidden away, but it’s great for children to enjoy. There’s a slide, swing and a stage where the children – and adults, if they feel so inclined – to get up on and pretend they’re a pop star or in a musical or at the theatre. The park is situated away from main roads, eliminating the worry of children running out in the road – so you can just have fun!
East Street Market, know locally as ‘The Lane’, or ‘East Lane’ is another great place near Elephant and Castle. The street has a mixed community that’s reflected in its stalls and shops. My first memory of the market is waking up at the weekend at my grandparents’ house and getting ready to go for a walk along East Street. I later found out that it had once been home to the great Charlie Chaplin.
Located just a few minutes away from the station used to sit The Artworks – a small communal area, built up of shipping containers that house small businesses. The ground floor was mainly made up of food outlets and the floors above were home to a range of businesses, including a tattoo parlour.
When I went to The Artworks for the first time, I couldn’t make up my mind where to go to eat as it all looked amazing. I ended up trying BezaEthio that offers meat and vegan food – all of which smelled divine. I can honestly say that it tasted just as good as it looked. Again, I could not eat it all and ended up taking it home to finish later. If you’re brave, try the spice. BezaEthio offers two levels of spice – green and red. I tried both and green was enough for me; red was off the scale for me, but I did like it.