So, get a bowlful of Barbados in the capital this summer with a few of our favourite Caribbean haunts.
With rum shacks in Camden, Vauxhall, Notting Hill and Shoreditch, Cottons serves up authentic home-cooked food and plenty of rum cocktails. Expect a laidback party vibe as you decide on your perfect rum cocktail and take in the bright carnival decor.
Cottons takes rum seriously. With over 300 varieties, it has the largest rum collection in the UK. And that means plenty of cocktails, from fizzy and spicey to ones that have you singing a classic Rihanna tune in no time. It’s hard to beat pairing a divine Barbados rum with a Creole grilled mahi mahi.
Cottons Rum Shacks is in Camden (NW1 8AN), Shoreditch (EC2A 3AR), Vauxhall (SW8 2LE) and Notting Hill (W11 3LF).
Legacies: London Transport’s Caribbean Workforce is a new exhibition at the London Transport Museum exploring how generations of Caribbean workers contributed to London’s transport network and shaped the city.
Personal oral histories from people of Caribbean descent document some of the struggles and unique experiences many faced in the 1950s and 1960s starting new lives in the capital. See archive photography of potential applicants to London Transport’s recruitment campaign in Barbados, read historic newspaper clippings, and trace the journey many Caribbean people made.
The exhibition also celebrates the cultural renaissance Caribbean communities brought with them to London. It’s a fascinating insight into this important part of London’s history and well worth a visit.
Explore the London Transport at Covent Garden (WC2E 7BB). The closest underground station to the museum is Covent Garden.
If you’re looking for that reggae sound in London, head to Brixton’s Lion Vibes, a record store dedicated to new and second-hand vintage reggae on vinyl. Founded by Matt Downs, the record shop began as a market stall in 1997 and has grown into a popular shop with an impressive selection of rare collector’s records and books covering the history of music.
If you want to pick up something special, a good place to start is their website, where you can listen to a clip and either order direct or pop into the shop to collect. All they sell is vinyl, so if you’re passionate about music and want some rare reggae in your collection, you can’t get much better than this.
Lion Vibes is in Brixton Village, (SW9 8PS). The nearest underground station is Brixton (Victoria Line).
A little further afield in Croydon, Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen in Boxpark is worth the trip if you want to visit London’s only Bajan restaurant. Opened by chef Mike Springer in 2020, this place is about more than serving up delicious food – it’s a community hub. Mike regularly works with Croydon Nightwatch to feed the homeless, something he’s passionate about.
Food wise, you can pick up 3, 6 or 10 award-winning salty Bajan fishcakes. If you’re craving curry goat roti, you won’t be disappointed – it’s lip-smackingly delicious. For a Sunday Caribbean barbecue in the sun, check out Big Mike’s Rooftop Lime events on Boxpark Terrace for fresh jerk chicken, torched jumbo chilli prawns and a glass of rum punch.
Pop into Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen at Boxpark, Croydon, (CR0 1LD).