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Daniel Pinto (Dnzh Travels): Your Local Brixton, London Insighter

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6 months ago

Meet Daniel Pinto, the face behind Dnzh Travels, and your Local Insighter for Brixton, London.

Daniel, or Dnzh as his friends know him, is a recognized world traveler, having visited over 120 countries on his quest to Visit Every Country in the world! Today, we are gaining exclusive access to Daniel’s local insights from the neighborhood that he grew up in and still calls home today: Brixton, London.

If you are planning a trip to London in 2024, you will not want to miss Daniel’s tips to get under the skin of South London’s best hidden gem.

dnzh travels on iron ore train in mauritania
Daniel is an extreme traveler in the truest sense. Here is atop the infamous Mauritanian iron ore train – a 16-hour journey through the Sahara!

Daniel, welcome to Travel Insighter! We are so excited to pick your brain! For our readers who aren’t yet familiar with Dnzh Travels, would you mind introducing yourself?

I’m Daniel and I go by Dnzh pronounced “Danzy”.

I’m 25 years young, born in Portugal but have lived in London for 20 of those years. For most of my adult life I have worked a finance-type office job in the heart of London but slowly making my passion of travel my main income.

I have been to over 120 countries on my journey to Visit Every Country. I love spending time in the most “offbeat” places. Trying food, learning about cultures, seeing wildlife and meeting amazing people.

daniel pinto (or dnzh.travels) in a temple

Alright, we can call you Dnzh! It sounds like you’re on quite the journey. How long have you called Brixton home?

Well this is just a technicality, but I don’t technically live in Brixton… I lived many years in Stockwell and went to school in Clapham. Both neighborhoods border Brixton so that makes Brixton a central point in my life – an area I would have to go through often.

In more recent years, Brixton is the place I’d go out with friends and an excellent place for food!

london from above plane view
From above, you can see the River Thames dividing north and south London

We want to hear more! What do you love most about living in Brixton?

For sure it is how raw Brixton is.

One cannot help but fall in love with Brixton’s kaleidoscope of cultures.

Brixton has long been a haven for people from all corners of the globe, resulting in a vibrant tapestry of traditions, languages, and cuisines.

ethiopian food, including injera and multiple stews in london
Ethiopian food

Walking through the buzzing side streets of Brixton, the air is filled with the aromas of jerk chicken, Ethiopian injera, and Colombian Empanadas, offering a sensory feast like no other.

Brixton’s multicultural DNA is a testament to the power of coexistence, creating an environment where diverse communities thrive side by side. Brixton’s vibes are hard to replicate!

You’ve already sold us on Brixton! For our readers, can you share some places in Brixton that you wouldn’t typically find in a tourist guide?

First up is Brixton Market. It’s on your left as you come out of Brixton tube station and it’s the perfect start to any Brixton visit.

Come on a Sunday to catch Brixton Market at its fullest. You’ll find everything from food, clothing, spices and more from all over the world.

From the market, head to Brixton Village which is essentially an indoor market with food from so many countries. It’s best to go in with no plan as you’ll be lost for choice.

If I had to pick one spot it would be “Light of Africa” a locally run Ethiopian/Eritrean hole in the wall serving the best Injera. £12 (approx. US$15) will feed three people. Light of Africa is my go-to spot when I have friends over, and it always takes me back to my time backpacking around East Africa.

Once you are full, I suggest a drink at Pop Brixton, a communal space made from shipping containers. Here you’ll find some great craft beer from local breweries and I suggest trying a Brixton Brewery beer.

mushroom grilled cheese toastie at abuelo in soho
London has amazing grilled cheese toasties

That’s enough about food!

While you are in Brixton, I would suggest learning about Brixton’s heritage at the Black Cultural Archives, paying a visit to the David Bowie memorial and simply wandering around all the little side streets to take in the atmosphere that Brixton has to offer.

Are there any hidden gems in Brixton which only locals know about?

For food, you have to eat at Refill – a 24-hour Caribbean spot and it’s the best in London in my humble opinion.

Another hidden gem is Paula’s Colombian Bakery. I can’t name my favorite thing as everything they sell is amazing!

The Prince of Wales has a great rooftop and throws good parties. But from the road you wouldn’t know it exists.

Finally, the ultimate hidden gem would be Gremio de Brixton – a tapas bar in a vaulted cellar under Saint Matthew’s Church. I only recently found out about this place so its definitely a hidden gem!

Sounds like we need to arrange a Brixton food tour! Do you go out much in the evening? What’s there to do after dark in Brixton?

Brixton has a super underrated nightlife and maybe one of the best in London.

Only in recent years has Brixton nightlife gained popularity. I do recommend sticking to the main areas such as the high street if you’re not local or familiar with Brixton.

Daniel Pinto (or dnzh travels) in the mountains
When he’s not on the road, Daniel enjoys a night out in Brixton

Brixton is considered safe nowadays, but it’s always a good idea to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at night.

O2 Academy Brixton, a famous music venue often hosts may popular names and has staged many of the greats.

In terms of nightlife, it’s hard to find a place that’s open past 3 am in London but head over to Electric Brixton for events that last until 6 am or even later. Growing up, I spent many nights there and the Latin reggaeton parties are my favorite.

Brixton at night is always packed with people and is a vibe. I totally recommend having at least one “Bricky” night out when in London.

A memorable evening for me would have to be my birthday two years ago. Like any night out, we start at a Weatherspoons for the cheapest pre-drinks. Brixton has a great one and it’s like a time capsule back to the 70s. We danced the night away on the rooftop bar called POW or Prince of Wales and it was a vibe.

daniel pinto in a mine
Daniel is always chasing the adventure – or a big night out!

Brixton is very well connected and easy to get to and from, even at night due to the Victoria line running 24/7.

Do you have a favorite landmark or place to go in Brixton, even if just to pass the time?

Apart from exploring the bustling markets, a good place to pass the time for me would be Saint Matthew’s Church Gardens. Get some snacks and find a spot. It’s the perfect place to sit on the green and relax.

Another good spot which is just across the street would be Windrush Square. It’s perfect for people watching and there’s always something going on.

If you want some more peace and quiet, head over to Brockwell Park. It’s a little further out from the center but it’s perfect – especially in the summer. It even has a lido (which is British English for an outdoor swimming pool) for those really hot days!

For photography lovers, head over to Brixton Town Hall (also known as Lambeth Town Hall) for a beautiful building which takes you back to the 60s. This one I suggest keeping to during the day.

street art on brick lane
You’ll find street art all over London

I would also recommend visiting Somerleyton Hall & Gardens at the Somerleyton Estate. Actually, Southwyck House to be specific, for a really unique brutalist housing project with a lot of history. It was designed as a noise barrier against a flyover that was never built. Today, it’s a statement piece of Brixton.

If someone had just one day in Brixton, where would you tell them that they must go to do or see that isn’t on all of the tourist guides?

For one day in Brixton I would suggest the following itinerary:

As you come out of Brixton tube station, cross the road and visit the Bowie Memorial.

Walk to Refill for the best Jamaican patties and take that with you while exploring Brixton Market on Eclectic Avenue. Get lost there and make your way to Brixton village for lunch.

daniel pinto dnzh travels in morocco
Now you know where to find him – when he’s not in Morocco!

Spend the afternoon visiting more of the sites I have mentioned above. Use the greens and communal square to relax and sit down before eating your life away at Gremio de Brixton, the vaulted cellar bar under Saint Matthew’s Church.

I think Brixton is about exploring and not having too much of a plan. The vibe is why you go to Brixton to let it decide what you do and see.

millennium bridge in london
London’s Millennium Bridge which takes you to South London

As a traveller who’s been to many countries, I can say it’s important to not over plan and let stuff happen. It’s the same with Brixton. You might show up and hear about a cool live show at a venue and want to go. Go with the flow and you’ll have an amazing time.

If you could give one piece of local insight to tourists visiting Brixton, what would it be?

My local insight would be to take Brixton for what it is and enjoy all the food!

Dnzh, it’s been so good to catch up with you. How can our readers get in touch with you or learn more about your experiences? 

If anyone wants to get in touch with me, I’m super approachable. I’m available @dnzh.travels on all platforms. If you prefer email the, please reach out at dnzhtravels@gmail.com.


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