There was a time when the word boutique and Peckham could never be associated with each other.
But those days have receded.
Peckham has become one of the hippest areas in south London and the recently refurbished Victoria Inn is a 15-room testament to that.
Peckham has become one of the hippest areas in south London and the recently refurbished Victoria Inn (pictured) is a 15-room testament to that
The Victoria Inn serves up hearty fare in a convivial atmosphere. Ted enjoys devilled kidneys with pickled Scottish girolle mushrooms and a 10oz Rib eye steak with herb crusted bone marrow
Ted loves the stylish black-and-gold cushions on the bed, the smart headboard, the bedside plug and USB points, the cool local art on the walls and the Magimix Nespresso machine
It sits on the corner of one of the trendiest streets in the area – Bellenden Road – and has been there since 1878, but a recent makeover makes it one of the most stylish – and best-value – places to stay for miles around.
Rooms here, after all, start at just £90 a night. Including breakfast.
What’s more, to stay here is to be ensconced in a completely tourist-free area of London, yet it’s just minutes away from major attractions such as The Shard and Buckingham Palace by train and Tube.
I stay on a Saturday night with my girlfriend and we’re shown to our room on the top floor by a very chirpy member of staff.
She leads us up delightfully creaky, thickly carpeted stairs to a double room that has pleasingly Scandi-cool décor and a great view of The Shard.
Victoria Inn sits on the corner of one of the trendiest streets in the area – Bellenden Road (pictured) – and has been there since 1878, but a recent makeover makes it one of the most stylish – and best-value – places to stay for miles around. Rooms start at just £90 including breakfast. Ted’s room features hip sideways (and diagonal) tiling and a rain shower (right)
I love the stylish black and gold cushions on the bed, the smart headboard, the bedside plug and USB points, the cool local art on the walls and the Magimix Nespresso machine (that you can also use to make tea).
Plus, it’s spotless, along with the en-suite bathroom, which features nice hipster sideways tiling and a rain shower – though the water pressure isn’t brilliant.
And a sink-side soap dish would be handy.
But overall, it’s a dapper bedroom that we happily get snug in.
Until hunger strikes.
So we descend to the bar for a feed.
In a convivial atmosphere and flanked by exposed brickwork, filament light bulbs and black-and-white floor tiling we tuck into some nicely crafted, hearty fare – with possibly the biggest forks I’ve ever witnessed in a restaurant.
Devilled kidneys with pickled Scottish girolle mushrooms and toasted hazels is a very tasty starter. And my 10oz Rib eye steak with herb crusted bone marrow for mains is just the ticket on a cold night, with juicy, succulent meat.
For dessert I choose a malted chocolate fondant that also tickles the taste buds.
The food at Victoria Inn is cooked well and diners tackle it with enormous forks, Ted reveals
The pub serves up a great evening meal for Ted and he also enjoys a very good breakfast, the sausages being a highlight
To stay at the Victoria Inn is to be ensconced in a completely tourist-free area of London, yet it’s just minutes away from major attractions such as The Shard and Buckingham Palace by train and Tube
Afterwards sleep comes easily and in the morning we park ourselves at one of the window booths in the pub for breakfast – something that is clearly no afterthought here. It’s done properly.
This is evidently not news to the locals – we notice several groups coming in for breakfast.
I feast on a superb full English (my other half opts for Severn Wye smoked salmon with scrambled eggs) with seriously tasty sausages, Orkney black pudding and field mushrooms, and smooth coffee.
Not only is the food decent, but the pub really lends itself to paper perusing. We completely lose ourselves in the Sunday column inches as the chefs push out one spinach-laden plate after another (they’re a healthy lot round here).
Some of the best nearby activities also happen to involve food and drink.
Bellenden Road is chocka block with artisanal offerings in these departments, including restaurants Artusi (excellent cooking here) and The Begging Bowl (a ferociously popular Thai eatery) and the delightfully old-school General Store, which sells beautifully baked loaves, cheese, wine, beer and fruit and veg – in just the way your parents would remember.
Neighbouring hot spots include Thai restaurant The Begging Bowl (pictured here opposite the pub), another fine eatery called Artusi and a wonderful artisanal grocers called the General Store
Just 10-minutes away by foot, meanwhile, is a restaurant that I think is one of the best in London – Peckham Bazaar. It offers a Balkan-influenced menu with dishes cooked to an exceptional standard, always rammed with flavour and there’s a superb wine list, too.
In the summer good times can be had nearby at Frank’s Café, a pop-up bar that pops up on the roof of a multi-storey car park, with Instagramable views of the city as standard.
For seriously good wine, a 15-minute walk to East Dulwich’s buzzy Lordship Lane will bring you to the terrific La Cave de Bruno shop (where you can quaff on tables outside) and the brilliantly bistro-y Toasted.
Just 10-minutes away by foot from Victoria Inn is a restaurant Ted hails as one of the best in London – Peckham Bazaar (pictured)
Toasted (pictured) in East Dulwich is a short walk from Victoria Inn and serves up delicious wine by the tank-load
Dulwich Picture Gallery is within easy striking distance of Victoria Inn. The Duchess of Cambridge is pictured here paying a visit in March 2012
Artusi (pictured) on Bellenden Road is one of the many establishments that help make it a hot spot for locals
For culture vultures, the renowned Dulwich Picture Gallery (visited recently by the Duchess of Cambridge) is easy to reach by train from Peckham Rye station – which is just five minutes by foot from Victoria Inn. Just go two stops to North Dulwich and saunter from there.
Travelling to major tourist attractions is also a cinch from Peckham Rye as there are direct trains to London Bridge (for the Shard), Victoria (from there the likes of Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park are easy to get to) and Shoreditch (the trendiest district in Europe).
Peckham may not be everyone’s cup of tea – some bits are gritty – but the Victoria Inn, with its boutiquey credentials and transport connections offers a brilliant alternative to shacking up in a bland chain hotel in the city centre.