A local’s guide to Bermondsey: Design Stories’ Murude Katipoglu on the indy, London area with a ‘Mediterranean feel’

Murude Katipoglu in her studio just off Bermondsey Street  (Helen Cathcart)
Murude Katipoglu in her studio just off Bermondsey Street (Helen Cathcart)

I have always loved Bermondsey for its architecture and history. It is secluded from the usual crowd with lovely independent shops and restaurants, which can be hard to find in central London. Yet it’s so close to London Bridge station which is excellent for transport.

There is a great community and the neighbourhood has everything we need on our doorstep.

The area feels like it could be somewhere in the Mediterranean. Most restaurants and cafes have outdoor seating where people enjoy a glass of wine or two during lunch.

Or you’ll find the locals chilling in one of the Italian or French cafes with their book and a coffee.

My studio, just off Bermondsey Street, feels like home. We spend long hours here so it is crucial for me that it is comfortable, spacious and inspiring.

The building we are in is a former leather factory and you can still see the original timber beams. We love having traces of the history.

I wanted to create a serene, warm and welcoming domestic-style space. It is refined, eclectic and pared back.

We have a long table instead of desks where we all sit together and an open-plan kitchen where you can smell freshly brewed Monmouth Coffee and delicious pastries we grab from Borough Market and Bermondsey Street.

Monmouth Coffee Company in Bermondsey (Alamy Stock Photo)
Monmouth Coffee Company in Bermondsey (Alamy Stock Photo)

Where to eat and drink in Bermondsey

Bermondsey has so many great places to eat which is one of the main reasons I love it around here.

On Bermondsey Street, Josè Pizarro’s tapas restaurant Josè is one of my favourite lunch spots. It has a great atmosphere, it’s always busy and serves delicious food.

Casse-Croûte is ideal for a romantic midweek dinner date and exceptional French food. It is very intimate with only five or six tables.

B Street Deli is one of our lunchtime spots. It has lovely freshly made salads and cheese and charcuterie platters. They also sell beautiful bouquets of flowers.

Giddy Grocer is great for good quality ingredients and produce as well as fresh bread and natural wine.

Comptoir Gourmand and Eatalia have delicious fresh pastries and coffee. There is always a long queue in front of both cafes but it is worth a wait.

I sometimes meet friends at Bedales of Borough wine bar for a glass of red or Flor in Borough Market for delicious food. Pique-Nique in Tanner Park is a great spot, especially for families with kids, as it is inside the park and serves large sharing food. It’s perfect for long Sunday lunches.

Murude suggests popping into White Cube gallery for some lunchtime design inspiration (Alamy Stock Photo)
Murude suggests popping into White Cube gallery for some lunchtime design inspiration (Alamy Stock Photo)

Where I work out

Tanner Street Park nearby has tennis courts. There is also a great Pilates studio on Bermondsey Street called Studio 74.

For a culture fix

Pop into White Cube gallery or the Fashion and Textile Museum for some lunchtime inspiration.

Eames Fine Art gallery on Bermondsey Street, which I walk past every morning, generally has some great exhibitions on. I recently popped in to see the Norman Ackroyd show.

We are very lucky to be next door neighbours with Norman Ackroyd. He has been living here for more than 40 years and knows the area and people very well, which is great for some insider tips.

To commune with nature

We are lucky to have parks in very close proximity to us, which is excellent for picnics in the sun. Leathermarket Gardens is lovely for walks around the rose gardens. The neighbourhood is very dog friendly, so you see a lot of doggy dates around the park.

Grocery shopping

Head to Borough Market. We often go there on Fridays and pick up delicious cheeses, cold meats, olives and bread and wine.

I also stop at Monmouth Coffee to get some fresh coffee beans and brownies. If you love brownies (who doesn’t?!) find the Cinnamon Tree Bakery stall in the market. His salted chocolate and vegan brownies are out of this world.

There is also Spa Terminus for foodies. Each Saturday morning a community of traders, artisan food producers and wholesalers open their converted railway arch doors to the public selling fresh food, meats and cheeses or craft beer.

Getting around

I like strolling around the neighbourhood as you never know what you’ll see. I often change my route so I get to see different sides of the area.

London Bridge station is a seven-minute walk from my building, which is great for transport.

Dream street

Bermondsey Street, of course. The area has a rich history, famous for its tanneries and leatherworking.

In the Seventies, the tanneries had moved out and the antique dealers moved in, filling the industrial spaces with antique furniture.

Something you see only in Bermondsey

Probably the many independent restaurants and small businesses. It feels suburban despite still being in very central London.

What’s the catch?

Premium prices.

In three words

(Unpretentiously) cool. Local. Varied.

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There are several primary schools in Bermondsey rated outstanding or good, including Boutcher Church of England Primary School, The Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overie and Alma Primary.

For secondary education, Ark Globe Academy and the City of London Academy are rated good.

What it costs to live in Bermondsey

Average flat price: £652,153

Average house price: £910,962

Average price to rent a flat: £2,182 a month

Average price to rent a house: £3,331 a month

Source: Rightmove

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