Nestled in the leafy South London suburbs between a railway line and a Sainsbury’s supermarket is Champion Hill, the home of Dulwich Hamlet. Formed in 1893, the club plays in the seventh tier of English football, and it’s a good day out for the alternative atmosphere and wide beer selection.
London has a plethora of clubs to choose from, and its non-league clubs can go overlooked by groundhoppers. But one of the best non-league experiences in London involves a 20-minute ride from the city centre to East Dulwich, in travel zone 2.
Playing in the Isthmian League Premier Division, Dulwich Hamlet has garnered quite a following in recent years. At its core is ‘The Rabble’, a group of friendly ultras keeping the noise coming from behind the goal with witty riffs on bands such as The Specials and Kraftwerk. There’s no love lost in their canon for local rivals, Tooting & Mitcham.
The night I was there – a midweek league match against Wingate & Finchley of North London – the attendance was 742. This is below the season average for what is the league’s best-attended venue. What is also great about the crowd at ‘The Hamlet’ is that there are a lot of young people and women in attendance compared to many other non-league venues.
The club has a special relationship with like-minded Altona 93 of Hamburg. Check out our podcast with Duncan Hart from Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust to learn more about the fans’ activities in the local community and beyond.
I have a soft spot for The Hamlet because I played at Champion Hill once in a charity match and also lived just up the road in Streatham for a number of years. I only wish I’d visited more often!
For the visitor, adult match day tickets cost £11, and there is a plethora of food and drink on offer, including a really wonderful range of craft beers from small London brewers.
How to visit Dulwich Hamlet FC
Champion Hill Stadium is just 200m from East Dulwich mainline station, which is accessible from lines out of London Bridge, West Croydon and Beckenham Junction. It’s also on bus routes 40, 42, 176, 185, 484 and P13.