Vancouver, what more can I say?...

Jul 31, 2016 by

Looking to explore further afield, when my son got the chance to work in Vancouver, I began to plan my visit straight away. I would recommend booking your flight early. I tried playing a game, by waiting for the price to drop around a magic date. When it did drop, I dithered and then it went back up again. I ended up booking a flight with Air Transat, a Canadian budget airline.  If you like a lot to eat, it’s a good idea to bring some extras, but I was fine with the free stuff, which was snacks and drinks, including a glass of wine and seconds were offered, when there was food left over. So all in all, not a bad choice of airline. Except for my case arriving home three days after me....

read more

Darwin, Down and Downe

Jul 31, 2016 by

 If you’re travelling to Down House, home of Charles Darwin on public transport, you need to know that buses to Downe are very infrequent, by which I mean every 90 minutes Monday to Saturday and not at all on Sunday. I discovered this when I had just missed one. I had a nice 80 minutes at Orpington Station,  chatting to bus drivers and reading my book, but it didn’t make for good progress. It’s a 25 minute ride to Down House from Orpington, with various Hail and Ride sections along the way, so once out of the town, you make speedy progress into the countryside. Shortly after Downe village you need to ring the bell and tell the driver you want to get off at Down House. I think most people must travel by...

read more

Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Dec 13, 2015 by

In my experience, people find it hard to talk about mental health. A visit to Bethlem’s Museum of the Mind might help start that conversation.  Enlarged and reopened in 2015, the museum is situated within the large grounds of the Bethlem Hospital, a 15 minute walk from Eden Park Station (trains from London Bridge, every 30 minutes.) On your way, you can see how many different Art Deco features you can spot on the 1930s houses you pass. There are three parts to the Museum. On the ground floor there is a gallery of art created by people with mental health problems, often for sale. The first floor has a temporary exhibition space, which is changed three times a year and the main, permanent exhibition. A timeline curves around the head of the staircase...

read more

A Day out in Bexleyheath

Oct 9, 2015 by

  I picked a glorious day to explore two remarkable houses outside London. Trains run to Bexleyheath frequently from several London stations, and the journey takes 30 to 40 minutes. Danson House is the farthest from the station, about a 20 minute walk and is set in beautiful grounds which include a large lake, English Garden and many amenities for local people. Built in 1766 with money acquired from the slave trade, Danson House was designed by Robert Taylor. Passing through many hands and falling into decay, it was rescued by English Heritage and lovingly restored in 1995. It is now managed by the Bexley Heritage Trust. Watercolour paintings created by a  former resident,  Sarah Johnston were used to help the team when bringing the house back to its former glory. If you need an...

read more

Osterley House and Gardens – A Little Piece of Paradise...

Jul 10, 2015 by

There aren’t many National Trust properties you can get to by tube, and Osterley has everything you could ask for; historic house, beautiful gardens and a great tea shop, situated, not, uncommonly in the former stables. If you’re only in London for a few days, why not take a break from the crowds and enjoy a relaxing day exploring the Robert Adam (mostly) designed house, set within x acres of grounds, which include a Tudor walled garden, lake and masses of space to find a secret corner of your own. There is even a volleyball net and football goals, if you feel in need of some energetic activity. Beneath the 250 year old cedars there are deckchairs, irresistible for a little snooze on a sunny day. Not just any deckchairs either, I was delighted to see...

read more

All my Walks

Jun 7, 2015 by

I’ve been leading walks for two years now so thought it was about time I wrote something about what I offer, for the website. My first walk, and still a favourite is Creatives, Canons and the New River. It has two slightly different versions at the moment with a third in the planning stages. The original starts from Essex Road Station but, as that’s closed at the weekends, I also start from Highbury and Islington with a couple of different stops. Both walks stop for coffee at The Place, a lovely independent coffee shop with its own art gallery in the basement. Among the places we visit are: The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Canonbury Tower and, of course, the New River, possibly at its most beautiful section. We end at Newington Green, handy...

read more