Enjoy the communal idyll of Bonnington Square

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In Vauxhall stands a square so idyllic that, upon entering, you feel like you’ve entered a dream located between the French Riveria and the Paris Commune.

Bonnington Square isn’t like the hundreds of other residential squares across the city – it’s controlled by a resident’s association; boasts a volunteer-based vegan restaurant and an excellent Italian deli; and retains the secluded atmosphere of a suburb – without the parochialism. 

Originally built in the 1870s to house the working-class Londoners employed by the railways – Vauxhall station and Waterloo are nearby – it was purchased and ‘decanted’ (to use the contemporary euphemism) by the now-defunct Greater London Council. In response, it was squatted by a bunch of people who eventually negotiated their legal right to stay. The resulting housing co-operative also runs Bonnington Square Garden, a trove of rare flowers. 

We recommend booking a table at Bonnington Café; since it’s volunteer-run, there’s a new chef every night but 8/10 times the quality is really high, and it's always cheap. If not, then a weekend brunch at Italo, the excellent Italian deli (check out their Twitter for the daily, changing lunch menu), is probably the best way to appreciate this idiosyncratic community, followed with a wander through the nearby Harleyford Community Garden, another verdant idyll in Vauxhall. 

 

Visit Bonnington Square

To get there from Generator London, get the Victoria line from Euston to Vauxhall station.

From there it's a five minute walk.