Yesterday I did my “mooch around North London” for this year or as my work colleagues call it “Les on tour”. I had a lot planned but had to re-write the itinerary on the train up as my back was bad so more buses than walking this time. Incidentally that reminds me to big up London buses. A £1.50 flat fare any distance is a good start but Mayor Khan’s innovation to allow a second bus journey within an hour free certainly changes the game. Yesterday this gave me 7 bus journeys for £4.50. But beyond that it’s a great and flexible way to see London, and you can walk miles changing lines on the underground. And you get to see so much more of what a wonderful cosmopolitan city London is. (I would emphasise that this is a weekend experience. I don’t have to commute on a bus) Oh and I still walked six miles.
So here’s a shot of Paddington Station which doesn’t do it justice. A glorious building.
Whilst I would have walked along the towpath from Paddington Basin to Little Venice I had to make do with this shot from the bus stop on Bishop’s Bridge Road.
Next up to my favourite London coffee stop. It’s Café Laville on Maida Vale. Unprepossessing from the front but it sits over the entrance to the tunnel that takes the Regent’s Canal from Maida Vale to re-appear just south of Lord’s cricket ground and then on round the north side of Regent’s Park. But you can sit and have a coffee or more and watch the boats enter the tunnel. The view from the cafe table is on the right.
The 46 bus took me from Maida Vale to just south of Hampstead Heath, probably a 10 minute steady uphill climb brought me to The Parliament Hill Viewpoint. 6 miles from the City of London the view is quite breath-taking. Yet again my camera doesn’t do it justice.
On down the south east side of the Heath and a bus to Belsize Park. This is where my love for the architecture of London Underground stations is outed. (see future blog on the Art Deco Piccadilly Line stations)
But there are some beautiful stations around Central London like Belsize Park and Mornington Crescent faced with these glazed, oxblood-red terracotta tiles. Buy why on earth do they allow tumbledown newspaper cabins in front of the stations? If you get the chance go see Lambeth North – no cabins in front.
Next a bus to within half a mile of Primrose Hill and walk up on to the view. Yes I know “it’s the same view but nearer” but you get much more of a birds eye view and can see right in to London Zoo. (See the zoo on this Youtube video)
Then 2 buses to Mornington Crescent changing at Camden Town. I wanted to see the former Carreras cigarette factory. Such an amazing example of restored Art Deco. Closed 1n 1958 it was bought by a Taiwanese entrepreneur in the 90’s and restored as a media business centre. Just magnificent. Don’t know why the cats are there though.
Then a bus to just beyond Paddington and a short walk to Leinster gardens. Number 24 Leinster Gardens Paddington is a false house frontage. When they built the Metropolitan line in the 1900’s rather than tunnelling they just dug deep cuttings to expose the track bed and then generally built over it. But two houses they didn’t. You can see the windows are blacked out on the false frontage.
And if you nip round the back and put the phone up to the top of a 7ft high wall you can see the backs and the track below. This is the section between Paddington and Bayswater (now Circle and District lines)
Then only a 10 minute walk for the train. A grand day out.
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