Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

31 July 2009

See a concert at Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall, on Wigmore Street just north of Oxford Street, is a concert venue that specialises in hosting performances of chamber music. Indeed, it bills itself "as an essential platform for the world's most sought-after soloists and chamber musicians", and apparently has near perfect acoustics, which has helped to attract some of the greatest classical artists to play.


Best known for piano, song and instrumental recitals, it was purpose built in 1901 by the German piano firm Bechstein, beside its showrooms on Wigmore Street, to provide London with a grand yet intimate chamber music venue. Originally called Bechstein Hall, it was sold to Debenhams at a knock-down price in 1916 after the First World War hostilities made it almost impossible for Bechstein to continue.

Today the hall hosts around 400 concerts a year, some of them broadcast in a weekly slot on BBC Radio 3. It even has its own record label, Wigmore Hall Live.

For more information, and concert listings visit http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of audiophilia^

30 July 2009

Drink at the Albertine Wine Bar

The Albertine Wine Bar, in Shepherd's Bush, is a lovely little place, which serves wine, food and beer in ample portions in an excellent atmosphere which, thankfully for the Bush, is in no way antipodean.


It's just off the Green at 1 Wood Lane, Shepherd's Bush. For more information, visit http://www.timeout.com/london/bars/reviews/12780.html

Click here to see the location on a map.

29 July 2009

See the V&A Cast Courts

For London's bigger museums, your author likes to pick key parts which are particularly interesting. After all, you can rarely see all the exhibits in one visit. Today's idea isn't a single item, however, but a pair of rooms in one of the great museums, the Victoria and Albert.


The Cast Courts are amazing, and are a testament to the notion that you don't have to sail around the world stealing treasures, or even house originals, to be an interesting and enlightening museum space. For all the exhibits here, whilst they might seem like great architectural and sculptural masterpieces, are in fact plaster casts of the originals.

As such, many have even stood the test of time and pollution better than many originals and are placed here together, in a space which opened in 1873, and still remains just as interesting. The pair of absolutely amazing halls don't have the draw of the likes of the Parthenon Marbles, but are, in your author's humble opinion, equally as interesting. Where else can you see Michelangelo's David alongside the pulpit from Pisa Cathedral, and a portal Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Nowhere...

For more information on the Cast Courts, click here.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from VeronikaB under Creative Commons^

28 July 2009

Go punting in the East End

Your author doesn't usually repeat other people's posts, but he noticed something over on Londonist yesterday which is definitely worth sharing here. Apparently an enterprising young student at Queen Mary and Westfield College has started hiring out punts on the Regent's Canal.


Nothing that new, you might think, but as we learn from Narrowboat World, these are the first punts to be licensed on the canal by British Waterways, so this is something quite special. For just a 21 year old, fourth-year medical student David Carruthers should be commended for his forward thinking attitude, for it was he who approached British Waterways, and he who set up the enterprise.

It seems to have caught the attention of a lot of press outlets, who are revelling in puns involving ample use of the word "punters". The punts are allowed to run between Mile End Lock, Old Ford Lock, and Top End Lock on the Hertford Union, and, we are told, are available daily, weather permitting, at £15 an hour during the week and £18 an hour between 1pm and 6pm on weekends. You can also hire a chauffeur for an extra £12. It sounds ace.

^Dodgy photoshop picture combination by the author using originals from Flickr courtesy of Tony Moorey and Gill Wildman^

27 July 2009

Visit the Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop, at 13-14 Portsmouth Street near the London School of Economics buildings, claims to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens' novel of the same name. The shop was built in the 1560s, and is rare in that it was spared by both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz.


In fact, the name was added after the novel was published, but people did believe that it was the inspiration for Dickens' description of the antique shop. In the 1990s, Daita Kimura began his business designing and making hand made shoes in the building, but the name of "The Old Curiosity Shop" remains. For more on the shop visit http://www.curiosityuk.com

Click here to see the location on a map.

26 July 2009

Admire the view from Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill, part of Hampstead Heath, offers one of the most celebrated views of London.


Rising 321 feet above sea level, it is the focal point of the Heath and draws many visitors for a nice sit.

Click here for more on the Heath, and here for a map.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Jim Linwood^

25 July 2009

Visit the Jewel Tower

The Jewel Tower, opposite the Houses of Parliament and beside Westminster Abbey, is one of the few original bits of the medieval royal Palace of Westminster.


The Tower was built around 1365 to house the treasure of Edward III, and was saved from the great fire of 1834 by virtue of its detachment from the main palace.

The Tower is open seven days a week, April - 1st November 10am-5pm and 2nd November-March 10am-4pm, and costs £3. For more information, click here.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of AntMoose^

24 July 2009

Drink in Winehouse's favourite pub

As your author noted over on Londonist yesterday, Amy Winehouse is back in the UK, and is, according to her mother, on the road to recovery. So what better time to take a look at the pub which is synonymous with her, the Hawley Arms in Camden.


Devastated by fire in February 2008, it reopened in November and if you haven't been back since, it's still fine, albeit Amy doesn't go there that much when she's in rehab or prison or St Lucia.

The Hawley Arms is at 2 Castlehaven Road in Camden. For more information, visit the website at http://www.thehawleyarms.co.uk

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Ewan Munro^

23 July 2009

Pop by Benjamin Franklin's House

Benjamin Franklin may have been born in the United States of America, and been one of its Founding Fathers, but for more than a decade and a half between 1757 and 1775 he lived in a town house at 36 Craven Street in Westminster.


Franklin had many strings to his bow. He was an author, printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He originally came to London in the 1720s to learn about printing, then returned later as a diplomat in 1757. After a couple of stays, a number of years in the capital, and significant attempts to try to avert an American War of Independence, he finally left for good in 1775. His life is too interesting and detailed to reproduce here, so click here if you want to learn about exactly what he got up to in London.

Benjamin Franklin House is open 12-5pm, Wednesday - Sunday and tickets cost £7. For more information visit http://www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Andyrob^

22 July 2009

Experience the last days of the Foundry

The Foundry, at 84-86 Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, certainly polarises opinion. The bar and 'arts centre' was set up some time ago by Bill Drummond from the KLF and others and continues, for the moment at least, to provide a home to many of the dirty art school skanks who frequent the area, with the help of their monthly cheque from mummy and daddy's accountant.


It would only be the most stone-hearted East Londoner, however, who wouldn't feel the slightest pang of anxiety at the news that the Foundry site is subject to a planning application scoping report to kick off plans to bulldoze it and build an "Art'otel" on the site, complete with gallery space and photographic studios.

It's another step in the gentrification of Shoreditch which is probably enough to bring the (formerly) Young British Artists out in force to defend it.

Your author, for one, is loosely a fan of the Foundry but it's ages since he's actually been in, so perhaps now is the time. The frankly bizarre interior, 'exhibits' and clientelle are always interesting and there is plenty of room to lock your bike up outside. For more information, see the Time Out review at http://www.timeout.com/london/bars/reviews/13147.html

Click here to see the location on a map.

**Edit: Just for the record, your author has had someone on claiming to be from the Foundry and complaining that "bill drummond owning/setting up the foundry along with klf is a popular myth".

Not sure what to think, as the rumour is very widespread:
i) http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/billdrummond
ii) http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/8b4d89c7-cdc8-4c1f-8438-0e9d7774be4d
iii) http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22bill+drummond%22+%22the+foundry%22&hl=en&start=60&sa=N

The correspondent goes on to say: "Most people are aware of the history so we don't usually need to publicise it. If you are looking at doing an article about it that is concise I could direct you in a number of web research ways if you are focusing on the ownership/land development from the recent G20 protests being organised there to where the funding came from for Boris Johnstones election campaign as Mayor of London, or the Russan Mafia and aluminum wars of the 90's this would all be more appropriate."

A Art'otel you say? Sounds like a fantastic idea...

The Foundry Website is almost impossible to navigate, and doesn't actually seem to contain any information about the history of the foundry. If they are looking to correct the myth your author suggests they start there.

***********Further update July 2010********

Finally, some progress has been made and the Foundry has closed, though the inevitable squatters are holding the site for the moment. The Hackney Gazette has the full story, and it is worth reading even if only for a quote from the owner of the excellent City Best Kebab in Pitfield Street.

^Picture from Wikipedia^

21 July 2009

Go for a wander in Petts Wood

Thirteen miles South East of Central London, and accessible via Petts Wood and Chislehurt stations, Petts Wood comprises more than 300 acres of woodland owned and managed by the National Trust.


The wood includes land formerly part of the Hawkwood Estate and Edlmann Wood, which were donated by local landowners, and is home to a range of wildlife, including a number of species of birds and butterflies alongside oak, ash, birch, hornbeam and sweet chestnut trees, and a range of others.

The wood is part of the London Loop walk, and if, like your author, you were raised in the middle of a wood, it all sounds very soothing. For more information, visit the National Trust Website.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Wikimedia Commons^

20 July 2009

Take a cruise on the Regent's Canal

Jason's Trip runs cruises on the Regent's Canal between Little Venice and Camden Lock every day. On the way, the boat passes through London Zoo, and past Lord's and Regent's Park Mosque.


Whilst trips are more frequent on weekends and bank holidays between June and September, their trusty 100-year-old canal boat boat works the route daily. The trip takes about 45 minutes each way or one and a half hours round trip, and on the Little Venice to Camden leg there is a live commentary.

Trips cost £8.50 return or £7.50 single. For more information visit http://www.jasons.co.uk/

Click here to see the Little Venice departure point on a map.

19 July 2009

Eat a Big Lunch

The Big Lunch project arrives in a street near you this lunchtime, with a plan to make you talk to your neighbours, something which seems almost completely unimaginable to many Londoners.


The idea is simple - encourage ordinary people to come out into their street and have lunch together, and whilst it's looking like it might rain, that will at least make it a truly British experience. The organisers maintain that two million people are intending to lunch across the country, so we'll get through.

To find your nearest Lunch, visit http://www.thebiglunch.com/

18 July 2009

Tour Linley Sambourne House

18 Stafford Terrace, or Linley Sambourne House, is the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne. It is now owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is open to the public as a museum.


When Sambourne and his wife Marion died, the house passed to their son, then on his death in 1946 it then passed to his sister and then to her daughter, Lady Rosse. During this time the house was largely unchanged, and Lady Rosse, a founder of the Victorian Society.

The the Victorian Society eventually opened the house to the public in 1980 and in 1989 passed ownership to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is now open for guided tours only on Wednesdays at 11.15am and 2.15pm, and tours by guides in period costume on Saturdays and Sundays at 11.15am (not costumed), 1pm, 2.15pm and 3.30pm, at a price of £6. There are also evening tours in December.

For more information, visit http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/linleysambournehouse/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture courtesy of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea^

17 July 2009

Go to the Proms

The Proms begin today, with the first of 100 concerts stretching all the way to 12th September. Since their foundation in 1895 by Henry Wood they have entertained millions of concert-goers for a reasonable fee.


Nowadays, tickets begin at just £5 (a little more than the original price of 5p) and there are around 1,400 tickets for every concert, so you're certain to be able to get your hands on one, should you wish to.

For more information, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2009/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Abbey Man 2002^

16 July 2009

Find Europe's Largest Disco Ball

Many readers will know Koko from paying an awful lot of money for a particularly small bottle of beer, but did you know it has the largest disco ball in Europe? Possibly.


The building itself began life as the Camden Theatre, opening on Boxing Day 1900, and has been through a significant number of incarnations since then. By 1909, it was the Camden Hippodrome Theatre, renamed as the Camden Hippodrome Picture Theatre in 1913. In the 1970s it began its time as a live music venue, being renamed The Music Machine, then in 1982 it became the Camden Palace.

After a £4.5m refurbishment, which included the installation of the disco ball, the club finally became Koko in 2004. Not a lot has changed in the exterior of the building, with the large copper dome still dominating the roof, but the inside is even rather smart for a Camden club, and manages to retain its distinctively theatrical feel well.

For more information on Koko, and upcoming events, visit http://www.koko.uk.com

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Ben Hanbury^

15 July 2009

St John's Smith Square

St John's, Smith Square, is a deconsecrated church in Smith Square, a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament. It is now used as a concert hall and also houses a restaurant.


The church was origninally built in 1728, and was badly damaged by the bombing raids of the Second World War. Following the war, it was restored by a charitable trust and is now plays host to frequent classical concerts and, very occasionally, ones by more contemporary acts like Arcade Fire.

The restaurant in the crypt (open weekday lunchtimes and concert evenings) is called the Footstool, in a nod to the legend that Queen Anne requested that the church be built to resemble a footstool.

For more information visit http://www.sjss.org.uk/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of Dan Taylor^

14 July 2009

See Britain's best portraits

Although the winners have already been announced, the BP Portrait Award show, which this year attracted entries from around 1,900 artists, runs until mid-September and is free.


The Award show marks its 30th year at the National Portrait Gallery this year, and the £25,000 prize was won by Peter Monkman for Changeling 2, one of a series of portraits of his daughter, Anna.

The gallery is open Saturday - Wednesday 10am - 6pm, with late opening on Thursday and Friday until 9pm. For more information, visit http://www.npg.org.uk/bp-portrait-award-20091

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Redvers^

13 July 2009

Drink at The Seven Stars, WC2

What seems on first sight to be just another pub for legal types, behind the Royal Courts of Justice, is actually a little gem of an establishment.


One of a few of local buildings which survived the Great Fire in 1666, the pub is run by chef Roxy Beaujolais, a sometime low-ranking 'celebrity chef' on BBC's Full on Food, and is awesome. Unusually for a pub in the area, it's even open Sundays. Get down there now.

For more information, visit http://www.timeout.com/london/bars/reviews/9345.html

Click here to see the location on a map.

***Edit - Your author forgot to mention earlier that the pub has a cat called Tom Paine who wears a ruff***

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of jamingray^

12 July 2009

Explore the Geffrye Museum

Hoxton's Geffrye Museum is situated in a set of Grade I listed almshouses, built in 1714 at the bequest of Sir Robert Geffrye, a former Lord Mayor of London. The Museum exhibits a series of domestic interiors from different periods between 1600 and the present, and uses these to show trends in furniture, textiles, paintings and decorative arts.


Admittedly, for your author this set of rooms is only mildly engaging, but the almshouses themselves, the gardens at the rear, and the pleasant little restaurant/cafe make the museum worthy of a visit if you are in the area and have time to kill.

The museum is free and is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am until 5pm, and noon - 5pm on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. It is closed on Mondays. There is also a restored 18th Century almshouse which is open occasionally for £2.

For more information on all aspects of the museum, visit http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of bortescristian^

11 July 2009

Celebrate the Tudor revival at Liberty & Co

Most Londoners will know Liberty's, the department store just off Regents Street on Great Marlborough Street, for its Tudor-style fa├žade. For those who don't know, the building is particularly interesting considering it wasn't built by Henry VIII or Elizabeth I, it was constructed in 1924 by architects Edwin T. Hall and Edwin S. Hall.


The result is recognised as one of the finest buildings of the Tudor revival arts and crafts movement, and is Grade II listed. The fabric of the building, however, predates the 20th Century, as the timbers used in construction were taken from British ships the HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. It's not all architecture however, as there is an overpriced shop inside selling a range of clothes, cosmetics, accessories, gifts, homewares and furniture.

For more information, visit http://www.liberty.co.uk/.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Steve Parker^

10 July 2009

The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead

It's another of London's historic pubs and who is first in the list of notable patrons? That's right, Charles Dickens once drank here, and the pub featured in his books the Pickwick Papers and Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. Alongside him, highwayman Dick Turpin (whose father was the landlord), Lord Byron, Bram Stoker, John Keats and Karl Marx were all regulars, though not all at the same time.


If nothing else, this adds to your author's opinion that Dickens was a rampant alcoholic, if only by virtue of the sheer number of pubs he frequented, but at least he had taste. This one, the Spaniards Inn, was built in 1585 as a tollgate inn, forming the entrance to the Bishop of London's estate. The tollgate remains and traffic is reduced to one lane outside, often making it difficult to cross the road.

The pub itself is very pleasant, and is the perfect spot for a bit of Sunday lunch on a circular walk around the Heath and Kenwood House before heading back into Hampstead Village. Having said that, there are said to be many ghosts, with Turpin's ghost resident upstairs, the ghost of 'Black Dick', a moneylender who was killed by a coach on the road outside downstairs, and a ghost horse in the car park.

Your author thoroughly recommends whiling away a summers afternoon here. For more information, visit the website at http://www.thespaniardshampstead.co.uk.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons^

9 July 2009

Visit Neal's Yard

Neal's Yard, in the North part of Covent Garden is a pleasantly secluded hippy enclave in an otherwise rather relentlessly urban environment.


Sure, it's not like you're in downtown Stroud or anything, but there are a few health food cafes 'new age' retailers such as Neal's Yard Remedies, Neal's Yard Dairy and the World Food Cafe. There are also a few other handy shops selling a range of things, from trainers to sandwiches.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of psd^

8 July 2009

Browse for umbrellas at James Smith and Sons

Another shop today, but you may need this one after yesterday's brolly-busting thunder showers. Whilst the company was founded in 1830, it wasn't until 1857 that James Smith and Sons Umbrellas Ltd moved to its current location on New Oxford Street where it has remained for 152 years.


The company still manufactures walking sticks and umbrellas in its basement workshops, and is an unrivalled destination for any brolliologist.

With so few such specialist shops remaining, its a valuable part of London's shopping heritage, especially so considering the shop frontage has remained unaltered for 140 years. Having said all this, it's not a destination for the thrifty, as a good umbrella will probably set you back in excess of £100.

For more information, visit http://www.james-smith.co.uk.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of MairiMcCann^

7 July 2009

Indulge your passion for travel at Stanfords

Your author loves travel books and guides, and there's no better place in London, nay the world, to indulge this passion than Stanfords Bookshop in Covent Garden.


Though the bookshop was founded in 1853 by Edward Stanford, it wasn't until 1901 that the flagship store opened on Long Acre, where it remains more than a hundred years later. The store claims to have the world's largest stock of maps and travel books under one roof.

Stanfords has hosted many famous visitors over the years, including, according to the website, 'Amy Johnson, David Livingstone, Scott of the Antarctic, Ernest Shackleton, Florence Nightingale, Ranulph Fiennes, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin and Sherlock Holmes' (the last apparently, bought a map from Stanfords in Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, but your author is still unsure whether this counts).

For more information on Stanfords, or to order books online (thereby removing half the fun), why not visit the website.

Click here to see the location on a map.

(N.B. Your author decided to avoid doing a bit on the plinth thing today - not least because Gormley didn't give him a place - but there are indeed people on the fourth plinth from now until the autumn, as you will no doubt have heard about from many news outlets, because Sky are sponsoring it)

6 July 2009

See the horses of Horse Guards

Horse Guards is a Grade I listed building which faces onto Horse Guards Parade and Whitehall, in Westminster. The building was constructed in the 18th Century on the site of the old Guard House of Whitehall Palace in Westminster.


Originally the headquarters of the British Army's general staff and the formal entrance to St James's Palace and St James's Park, Horse Guards is guarded daily by the Household Cavalry, either on horseback or on foot between 10am to 4pm daily.

For more infomation click here.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of yvescosentino"

5 July 2009

Drink at the Prospect of Whitby

The Prospect of Whitby, in Wapping, claims to be on the site of London's oldest riverside pub, dating from around 1520. This is another riverside pub in London which drew the city's artistic greats, the view having been drawn by both Turner and Whistler. We are told that Dickens and Pepys also visited.


Historically, it has had a number of names including the Devil’s Tavern and The Pelican, it was not until a fire razed it to the ground in the early 19th century that the pub was rebuilt and named The Prospect of Whitby, though the stone floor is original.

For more information (most of which is reproduced above) have a look at the Wikipedia page.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of SideLong^

4 July 2009

Explore Korea

Opened by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in January 2008, the Korean Cultural Centre, on Northumberland Avenue just off Trafalgar Square, is effectively part of the Korean Embassy, and aims to 'enhance friendship, amity and understanding between Korea and the UK through cultural and educational activities'.


A while ago your author tried to investigate embassy visits in London, but with little success, so this is about as close as we will get. The Centre contains an art gallery, a cinema, seminar rooms, a library, a lecture hall, a small theatre and an IT and multimedia lounge, and hosts a wide range of activities, including Korean film nights, language courses, lectures, art exhibitions and concerts.

The next event on the agenda is an introduction to Korean cookery, which includes a master class with Chef Un Sook Yoon on how to cook popular Korean dish, Bul-Goggi (Sweetly marinated BBQ Beef).

So if you have an interest in any aspect of Korean culture, or if you're just interested to see what it's all about, why not take a look at the Korean Cultural Centre Website.

Click here to see the location on a map.

3 July 2009

Roller Disco at the Renaissance Rooms

Long since cancelled in North London, with the demise of the Kings Cross Freight Yard, the Roller Disco continues at the Renaissance Rooms in Vauxhall with all the style (or lack of) its former sister site in North London.


The disco, described online as 'one of the most friendly and fun-packed nights in London, complete with the best seventies hits, funky house music and rare soul grooves', and is held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Renaissance Rooms

Its reasonably fun, despite the pro skaters who are there seemingly just to show you up, and it is fairly good value for money so why not pop along. There are, apparently, two rooms, with the first playing classic disco and funk, and the second playing house and eclectic 'skate adventure'.

The Roller Disco is open Thursday 8pm - 12am (£10), Friday, 8pm - 2am (£12.50) and
Saturdays, 8pm - 2am (£15). For more information, visit http://www.renaissancerooms.co.uk.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Slush Pup^

2 July 2009

Walk the Barbican High Walks

Your author is a fan of the Barbican Estate. It is, he considers, a Brutalist Marvel and is certainly not the concrete eyesore that some would have you believe. As we have covered previously, it was here that the first bomb of the Second World War fell on London, and it was only a considerable time after the war that architects were able to realise their vision for the site.


Architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon put forward a design influenced by French architecture of the period, aiming to create an urban village and completely separate pedestrians from the traffic which ran in the congested surrounding streets. Their design adopted the concept of a podium with a network of high walkways within the estate, which allows people to move around relatively free from the usual traffic and noise.

The walkways are, however, in true Brutalist style, a bit of a maze, and you can easily get lost on your first visit if you do not keep an eye on the maps as the Estate all looks very similar. This is half the fun, however, and from the High Walks you can access a tube station, museum, arts centre, greenhouse, church, school and a range of other facilities without needing to go back into the outside world.

For more information, have a look at this handy leaflet: http://www.barbican.org.uk/media/upload/visitor%20information/129WalkThrough-barbican.pdf.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Kai Hendry^

1 July 2009

Wander Walthamstow Marshes

Walthamstow Marshes, on the borders of Hackney and Waltham Forest in the Lee Valley Park, are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, especially important considering the urban location, and is home to species such as the internationally rare Creeping Marshwort. Local bird life includes the reed bunting, reed, sedge and willow warblers, and a variety of wintering birds and finches in autumn.


The Marshes form a natural link between Hackney Marshes to the south and the various reservoirs to the north. To the West, the River Lee carries canal boats to the Springfield Marina and on into London.

In 1909, Alliott Verdon Roe completed the first all–British powered flight here in a Roe I Triplane, which he built in a small workshop in a nearby railway arch. For more on the history of the area, or for information on how to get there, see here or here.

Click here to see the location on a map.

**Edit** A commenter writes to remind us that the Marshes are on National Cycle Route One, and are very easily accessed from Central London by pleasant rides along the canals. Your author wholeheartedly agrees.

**Further edit** London Blogger Diamond Geezer also writes to let us know that this month marks 100 years since Roe's flight and a centenary celebration, featuring a replica plane, is scheduled for Sunday 12th July.


^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Contadini^