Visiting Lambeth: History of the Area, and Must-See Attractions
Named after the London Borough of Lambeth, Lambeth is a beautiful district about a mile from Charing Cross. It may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of neighbourhoods in the area, but it’s well worth visiting. We’ll break down the history and list three fun things to do in Lambeth so it’ll be easy to explore when you visit.
The History of Lambeth
Although Lambeth was one of the most developed London districts in the late Victorian era, the area was largely marsh and undeveloped until the mid 18th century. It gets the name from an old English word Lambehitha, meaning the harbour or landing place for lambs.
The district began as home to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Edward the Black Prince between the 10th and 14th centuries. It remained rural and undeveloped until the opening of the Westminster Bridge in the 18th century, followed by other thoroughfares, roads, and marine transport ushered in significant growth into the area.
By the wake of the industrial revolution, Lambeth had theatres, bear pits, taverns, and entertainment options, not forgetting businesses and retail spaces. However, most of the population was relatively poor, fueling the establishment of workhouses in the area.
The arrival of the railway in the 1840s helped boost the area’s economy. By the turn of that century, Lambeth was quite developed, with the site around Lambeth Walk featuring over 150 shops and Victorian swimming baths. Unfortunately, it was significantly damaged during the Second World War, and much of the restoration has been happening in recent years. The current district sits north of London and Westminster cities and stretches south from Brixton to almost Crystal Palace.
Modern-day Lambeth is largely gentrified, but the area retains some of its Victorian-era architecture and has a good share of historical landmarks and contemporary attractions. We’ll focus on these three below:
Enjoy a Tour of Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace was and is still the official home for the Archbishop of Canterbury. It dates to 1197, making it one of the oldest archbishop’s residences and one of the most notable historical landmarks in the London Borough of Lambeth. Besides being a residence, Lambeth Palace is also where the two international Lambeth treaties were signed. It still sits about 400 meters from the south bank of The Thames, offering visitors stunning and unobstructed river views while they explore what it offers during guided tours. The Palace of Westminster sits on the opposite bank, so if you’re looking to hit two birds with one stone, add the Palace of Lambeth to your itinerary.
Shop Till You Drop at Brixton Market
Open seven days from 8 am to 7 pm, the Brixton Market is the place to go for delicious and authentic Afro-Caribbean cuisines. Besides the mentioned cuisines, the market has over 130 indie stores, including Portuguese, Moroccan and Ethiopian restaurants and cafes where you can treat your tastebuds to new tastes. You can also shop for fresh meat, seafood, unique crafts, handmade cookware and other unique crafts to take back home.
Other Notable Attractions in Lambeth:
- Imperial War Museum
- Lambeth dungeon
- Tibetan Peace Gardens
- Garden museum
- Young Vic contemporary theatre
Getting to Lambeth
Lambeth is a short distance from Lambeth North, Waterloo and Southwark underground stations, but you can take a train from Vauxhall Station if heading to areas near Kennington.
Official website: https://beta.lambeth.gov.uk/