There are a number of high streets across London, each with their own unique character and local flavour – and if you’re looking to get a taste of the southern section of the capital, then Deptford High Street is one option to consider.
Where is Deptford?
Deptford is a town situated about half-way between Greenwich and New Cross. It is mostly in the London Borough of Lewisham, but a portion of it is also located within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It’s named after the Deptford Creek, a tributary of the River Thames – and the High Street is only a short distance from the river.
Getting to Deptford
If you’re travelling to Deptford High Street, the best option is to take a mainline rail service to Deptford. New Cross rail station is also nearby or you can take the DLR to Deptford Bridge. Driving is another option, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding on-street parking.
About Deptford High Street
Deptford High Street is a half-mile stretch of road between the A200 and New Cross Road. The railway station sits at the half-way point
The shops along Deptford High Street are mostly big chains. There’s Asda, Londis, Tesco Express and Poundland, as well as hair stylists, food outlets and bookmakers. In addition to the bigger brands, there’s also a huge range of independent merchants – such as butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, newsagents, restaurants and mobile phone sellers.
In addition to the shops, Deptford High Street also plays host to one of the busiest markets in south London. The market is held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 6pm and during those times, the High Street is closed to traffic. The market has been running for hundreds of years and a variety of goods are sold including fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, as well as multi-cultural food, clothing, shoes, soft furnishings and other household items.
Just off the High Street, Douglas Way market is famous for its bric-a-brac and second-hand goods. Savvy shoppers browsing the stalls there have been known to find treasures like vintage record players and antique silverware – and everything is a bargain.
In 2016, Deptford High Street was a finalist in the ‘Great Streets’ category of the 2016 Urbanism Awards. The street was praised for its library, computer labs, study areas and primary school, as well as the ongoing work to improve the region. “A series of initiatives including apprentices, moving art schemes, special events and infrastructure enhancements have refocused the market’s energy in a responsive way,” the judging panel explained.
Once you’re done shopping on the High Street, there’s plenty left to do in Deptford and the surrounding area.
Visit Albany Theatre – This is an arts centre with roots dating back to 1894, and it has a long history of “radical community arts and music”. The modern building was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1982.
Bust a move at Laban Dance Centre – This music and dance conservatoire has nearly 1,000 students and is internationally recognised as a leading school for music and dance training.
Explore the creek – The Creekside Discovery Centre offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, teaching visitors of all ages about the natural habitats that can be found in this urban location. Pull on your wellies and go stomping through the mud to see what wildlife you can find.
Enjoy some greenery – There are a number of parks in Deptford, offering a place to go for some fresh air and quiet surroundings. The largest park is Brookmill Park, while other options include Ferranti Park and Sayes Court Park. Deptford Park was originally a market garden and was known for onions, celery and asparagus. Today, the park spans 17 acres and features include a football pitch, children’s playground and a formal paved area with seating.
See a Baroque church – St Paul’s Deptford was built during the 18th century. Designed by architect Thomas Archer, a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren, the church has been named one of the finest Baroque churches in the country. It’s built from Portland stone and features a high tower with a steeple, along with a large portico.
Ponder a centuries-old murder mystery – In 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe was killed during an alleged drunken brawl. However, there were numerous accounts of what actually happened and there’s even a theory that he was assassinated. The jury in the trial concluded that Marlowe was actually killed in self-defence and the author was buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard of St Nicholas.
Find Peter the Great – You probably wouldn’t expect to find a Russian Tsar in this little corner of London, but in 1698 the royal visited for a few months to study shipbuilding. To mark the 300 year anniversary of the visit, a statue of Peter was erected in front of Greenfell Mansions at the entrance to Deptford Creek, as well as a statue of the Tsar, the monument also includes an ornate chair and a jester.