Looking for the best things to do in Blackheath, London? Don’t say another word. I’m taking you myself! Here’s an insider’s guide to one of London’s most hidden neighbourhoods.
The words “hidden gem” get thrown around a lot when it comes to London. But when it comes to Blackheath Village, it really is one of London’s most underrated areas. And storybook beautiful, if you ask me.
Often shadowed by the likes of Greenwich the quaint village area sits unknowingly to tourists, right off Shooters Hill Road, leading into an 18th-century hub of wild heaths, postcard-worthy cafés and perfectly stately homes.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing how to spend the day like a local in the area, including the history of Blackheath, the best things to do in, around and near Blackheath and your own handy Blackheath London map to download for your explorations. Shall we?
A Brief History of Blackhealth Village
I don’t know about you, but I always tend to appreciate London neighbourhoods more when I know the history behind them. Especially when that history includes black plague conspiracy theories.
Originally recorded as Blachehedfeld, i.e – “black heath field” it’s rumoured that the area originally served as the burial backdrop to Greenwich during the Plague of 1655. Hence the name.
The truth in that is still to be debated, but Blackheath has served as a rallying point for protests, England’s first golf club and eventually the home to several monarchs of the time — talk about multi-faceted!
What to do in Blackheath Village: Blackheath Area Guide
1. Roam the Heath & Blackheath Common
The first (and okay, perhaps the most obvious) best thing to do in Blackheath Village is simply to explore the Heath.
Spread out across hundreds of acres, it’s the perfect place for a contemplative walk, cosy picnic, or even kite flying! There’s also lots of events and Blackheath attractions on the common throughout the year, like the Blackheath Bank Holiday Fun Fair.
In summertime, I like to come here with a good book and a bite from the village, perch under a tree and read the afternoon away.
2. Visit The Bookshop on the Heath
Pungently turquoise and unapologetically old school, this local gem is spilling with books from the inside out. Have a chat with the bookkeeper and spend some lazy minutes in Blackheath eyeing up all the books, maps, posters and collectables on offer.
3. Have a crepe at Madeleine’s
There’s crepes, and then there’s Madeleine’s crepes. I prefer the latter.
The award-winning cafe and gelato shop boasts a reputation amongst locals and visitors alike for their tasty homemade treats.
The story starts in 1901 on the north coast of France; where a young girl named Madeleine would eagerly serve up her crepe creations to the local fisherman. Over 100 years later, the tradition holds (except this time, with hungry Londoners).
Don’t worry, with all the walking you’ll be doing in Blackheath Village, you deserve it!
4. Visit All Saint’s Church
Built in 1857, All Saint’s Church has always been a staple of Blackheath Village, standing proud and charmingly in the heart of Blackheath Common.
It’s also a member of the Diocese of Southwark Cathedral in Bankside.
There’s a big community spirit here, with weekly Mass, Evensongs and recitals. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s well worth giving this Grade 2 building a peek.
5. Shop at the Sunday Farmer’s Market
If you want to see Blackheath come to life, visit the Sunday Farmer’s Market.
A weekly affair for South East locals, the Blackheath market is stuffed with the best organic finds, seasonal goods and artisanal food to take home for the day.
There’s something about supporting local in London that really makes you feel connected to the city, and with most of the customers on a first-name basis with the farmers here, it’s simply too special to miss.
6. See a Show at Blackheath Halls
Because theatre isn’t just reserved for the West End.
Founded in 1895, Blackheath Halls is one of the oldest cultural complexes in London, founded by William Webster.
There’s a slew of entertainment to choose from here. With everything from comedy nights to literary events, children’s theatre shows and concerts.
Although it’s good fun, it’s one of those things in Blackheath that is best enjoyed when planned. Have a look at what’s on before your trip.
7. Have a Wealthy Stroll to the Pagoda House
Remember when I said monarchs used to live in Blackheath Village? Well, they may have left something.
As Chinese architecture gained popularity in London through the late 1700s, George IV decided to bring his own Pagoda to England, or Blackheath, to be exact. Since its creation its been a nursery and a refugee home.
Nowadays, it’s the perfect excuse for a wealthy stroll among Blackheath’s most affluent (and beautifully Victorian) estates. Just be mindful as the house is now privately owned.
9. Admire Art at Ranger’s House
Near the top of Blackheath Village, you’ll find Ranger’s House.
The elegant Georgian Villa holds a world-class collection of art, including the famed Wernher collection (and may or not may not be the backdrop to Bridgerton — and by that I mean it totally is!). It’s also an English Heritage site.
After your visit, be sure to walk to the rear of the building (in Greenwich Park) to admire their ever-so-peaceful Rose Garden.
10. Take Up the Town Square (Blackheath Style)
This may seem like a cop-out for things to do in Blackheath Village, but doing a weekend stroll in the area is truly one of my favourite things to do.
Bonus: Visit Greenwich
Admittedly it would be hard to write a post about things to do in Blackheath without suggesting you visit Greenwich.
Just a stone’s throw away from each other you can easily combine a day of exploring for the ultimate ‘village in London’ experience. Here’s how to spend a day in Greenwich.
Map of Things to do in Blackheath, London
• What’s the easiest way to get to Blackheath? Blackheath Rail Station or start at Cutty Sark station in Greenwich and walk to Blackheath after (20-30 minutes)
• Blackheath postcode: SE3 0BW
• What events does Blackheath have on throughout the year?: Here’s all the latest Blackheath events in the area
• Where can I learn more about Blackheath? Blackheath Tourism Site