A tour of the recently- regenerated southwest London neighbourhood.
1 - Battersea Power Station
When you think of Battersea the Grade II*-listed power station immediately comes to mind. The landmark was designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and over six million bricks were used during its construction in the 1930s, making it one of the biggest brick buildings in Europe. Operational until the early 1980s, the station produced a fifth of London’s electricity at its peak. After decades of failed redevelopment attempts, the building was purchased in 2012 by a consortium of Malaysian companies. A £9 billion restoration project of the area began in 2014 and the revamped Power Station opened in October 2022, trading its industrial purpose for a more leisurely one.
The two soaring turbine halls are now home to shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, with each hall featuring a unique design – A has a more Art Deco feel, while B is brutalist owing to its post-war debut. Support local businesses with a visit to Curated Makers, which sells products from more than 40 small businesses. The mixed-use building also houses apartments and more than 52,000 sqm of office space, including Apple’s London campus, with glass lifts designed to resemble the iPhone. Visitors can access the building via the Battersea Power Station underground, served by the Northern line, or via Uber Boat operated by Thames Clippers River service. batterseapowerstation.co.uk
2 - History lessons
Delve into Battersea Power Station’s history with the free exhibition ‘Power of Place’ on the lower-ground floor, which charts the building’s journey from its closure in 1983 to its current transformation and explores the numerous attempts at redeveloping the site, which included imaginative proposals for a theme park and use as a stadium for Chelsea Football Club.
Beyond this, the building features original cranes and steel work, plus grey tiles on the floor of each Turbine Hall to mark the spot where the turbines once stood. The Control Rooms, which once powered destinations such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, have also been painstakingly restored, with their original controls and dials on show. Control Room A is an events space, while Control Room B serves as a 1950s-inspired all-day bar.
3 - Lift 109
The world-famous chimneys at Battersea Power Station were dismantled and rebuilt using the original construction methods, but the northwest chimney in Turbine Hall A has had a glow-up too. It now houses Lift 109, a glass elevator experience, which transports you to a 109-metre platform with 360-degree views of the Big Smoke. Before your ascent, there is an interactive exhibition exploring the building’s history and presence in popular culture – including cameos in films such as The Dark Knight, and appearance on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals.
You’ll also take part in a countdown in The Infinity Room, complete with colourful projections of energy particles. For night owls, a series of “Lift 109 Lates” events take place monthly – next up is a Full Moon Manifestation workshop on 27 November. Open 10am-6pm Mon-Wed (until 8pm Thurs-Sun); tickets from £15.90. lift109.co.uk
4 - Battersea’s jewel
If heights are only palatable with the promise of delicious food, then head to the glamorous Joia, located on the 15th floor of art’otel Battersea Power Station. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer electrifying views, while curious diners can watch mechanics at play in the open kitchen.
The menu, conceived by award-winning chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, is packed with shareable Iberian plates, with highlights including smoky grilled leeks with almond romesco, rocket and hazelnut, pan con tomate on chunky sourdough and Portuguese specialty bacalhau à brás. The latter is a comforting carb-packed medley of shredded salted cod, matchstick fried potatoes and black olives, served pristinely with a raw egg before waiters mix it up tableside, making for a theatrical entrée. It may lose its picturesque presentation, but it gains fantastic flavours in the process.
If you just need a pick-me-up then check out the Feel Good Bakery truck, which pops up 9am-5pm Mon-Sun on Grosvenor Arch and Electric Boulevard. The social enterprise offers young people from disadvantaged backgrounds barista training, and every coffee sold sees a meal donated to a child in need. joiabattersea.co.uk; feelgoodbakery.com
5 - Battersea Park
If you need a break from brickwork and industrial touches, then you’re spoiled by green space at this Victorian park on the banks of the Thames, developed between 1854 and 1870. Follow the riverside promenade to this 83-hectare space which features attractions including a zoo, large lake, sculptures by the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and contemporary art space Pump House Gallery. If you’re looking for an outdoor meeting spot, the Victorian Bandstand on Central Avenue is a picturesque location used for events throughout the year.