Oct. 30th, 2016


Oct. 30th, 2016 09:14 am
millionreasons: (london)
I have decided to nick [livejournal.com profile] diglett's idea and write about lesser known places of London that I like.

First up, I am somewhat biased: Forest G(re)ate. The first time i heard of E7 was when I was on jury service and the defendant was from the borough. It's now the new Hackney, or rather Hackney as it was 20 years ago, i.e. it's not full of fixie-beards and cereal cafes and has useful shops where you can buy rawl plugs. Unlike Stoke Newington, it has a smattering of chainstores (Superdrug, Gregg's a well stocked Co-op). There're are 3 (three) places to eat: an accidentally veggie coffee shop, a Portuguese place that does an excellent pastel de nata and has a nice sun-filled garden, and a new opening that's aimed at the yummy mummies who couldn't afford Walthamstow that does brunch in the day and pizzas in the evening. There's one good pub (the Forest Tavern) and one good venue (Wanstead tap). If you want owt else you'll have to go to Leytonstone. I like that lack of choice, it makes you loyal. It has its own football team, which is next door to a Tudor hunting lodge (now closed). I've been fascinated to read about the history of it, which isn't just murders and terrorism trials.

Further towards Upton, there's Green Street, a.k.a little Karachi with its sweet and sari shops, its Asian shopping centre and not one not two but three vegetarian Indians.

It has loads of green spaces, not just Wanstead flats but West Ham Park, West Ham cemetery, Forest lane park with its owl sculptures and Victorian workhouse (now flats) and further west, past Maryland, there's East village and Victory park, which can be a bit "lifestyle" - come and drink a flat white next to a man-made river, do some free yoga, have a gelato, go to the Sunday food market, but it feels like there's been a bit of effort put in - the restaurants are not the usual Carluccio's-Jamie's-Wagamama types and it was highly pleasant on a summer evening. I'm enjoying it now before a) the eateries close through lack of footfall or b) all the flats being built are finished and everywhere gets full up of twats.

There's also Wanstead, which I've only visited once, but is like Chiswick or Highgate plonked down in east London. I think the locals keep very quiet about it. "Yeah, Wanstead, zone 4, don't bother coming to visit, it's terrible."

Golders Hill Park

We used to go here at lot when we lived in West Hampstead. It's a part of Hampstead heath. There's a lovely pergola and sunken lake, and when it's empty and misty, you're basically in a Cure video. I'm not sure if they're still there, but there used to be flamingoes in an enclosure. It's the sort of place where you can imagine peacocks wandering about in.

Harrow on the hill

You come out of Harrow station and it's just like anywhere with a shopping centre and buses and people. But you walk up the hill to the village and you're in the countryside but fifteen minutes from Baker Street. Beautiful old houses, charming half-timbered high street an OTT tea shop, a lovely old church, Byron's favourite view, the place of the first fatality by car (bit grim, but i found it interesting). OK, you have to put up with lots of little posh boys hanging around, but you have to do that anywhere in London, if you swap posh for 'lairy'.

South east London

I don't mean Peckham. I'm thinking of Eltham Palace, an art deco extravaganza in Mottingham, one tree hill, where you can see a relation of a tree that QE1 once sat near, Nunhead cemetery, Crystal Palace with its dinosaurs and sphinxes, the gothic Sevendroog castle/folly in Shooters Hill, even Greenwich, which is no longer secret since the tube now goes there, but if you walk up the Maze Hill side of the hill, you can see the crazy Vanbrugh Castle house. There's a lovely vegetarian tea room and of course the fantastic Goddard's pie 'n' mash shop.

Sky Garden

It's hardly a secret, but I'm not sure why people would pay £25 to go up the Shard when you can do the sky garden for free. Or wait 'til Open House and do Heron Tower or Broadgate Tower instead - better views and Heron Tower has a gorgeous aquarium too.

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