Saturday 9 June 2018

The Saturday List #177 - My Top Ten Thameslink Destinations from Mill Hill!

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Thameslink Network
With all the criticisms of the appalling services provided by Govia on the Thameslink Route, it is sometimes difficult to remember what an amazing route it is and just how many excellent places are easily. As summer approaches, I thought I'd compile a list of my top ten destinations from Mill Hill on the Thameslink Service.

1. Brighton. On a glorious, sunny day such as today, you can hop on a train at Mill Hill and in less than a couple of hours be on the seafront at Brighton! Unless you leave at silly o clock in the morning, you have to change, but that gives you a chance to take in the amazing views from Blackfriars station. Top tips are the pier, the Pavilion, the Lanes and the whelks on the seafront. We usually stay at The Ship, although it can be a bit noisy outside on a Saturday night. There are also some great restaurants on the seafront.

2. St Albans. St Albans is another destination worthy of a visit. The Cathedral, the Roman Amphitheatre and the selection of fine pubs is worth the trip.  Ye Olde Fighting Cocks claims to be the oldest pub in England. There are numerous pubs and there is also a real ale festival. The Arena has some excellent shows, we are off to sea Joan Armatrading there later in the year.

3. St Pancras. What many consider to be the best station in the World. There are many things to enjoy, the architecture, the drinks, the restaurants. The whole Kings Cross area has massively benefitted from regeneration and is worth a good walk around. If you want a pleasant walk, go to the Kings Cross Canal Museum, then walk along the canal to Camden Town.

4. Blackfriars and the South Bank. As I mentioned above, Blackfriars station is awesome, great views and amazing modern architectire. It also provides access to the South Bank which is a pleasure on a sunny day, with all manner of buskers. The Tate Modern is adjacent, and if you want a relatively cheap day out, a tour of the Tate and lunch at one of the food stalls in Borough market is a very pleasant way to waste some time. If you head Westwards there is the NFT and some lovely restaurants at Gabriels Wharfe. On the north side, there is the Blackfriar, which is one of Londons most spectacularly decorated pubs.

5. City Thameslink. This is the nearest rail station to St Pauls. I love the Cathedral, it is well worth the tour. I did an O Level project on the building. It is amazing to think that all of the materials were brought by barge and hauled by hand & horse to the sight. You only realised the Genius of Wren when you realise he had no power tools, no computers, only quill, pencil paper and ink.  The Old Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street does a mean pie and is pretty good value. For those of you that care about such things, it is a Sam Smiths pub so the beer is pretty cheap. Good shopping at New Change.

6. Farringdon. This is the stop for Smithfield Market. There are some fine eating establishments, especially for the meat eaters amongst you. The nearby Bleeding Heart is my favourite restaurant for a schmoozy romantic dinner. I nearly didn't say because I don't want it getting too popular! The nearby Betsy Trottwood is also a great pub, music nice beer and a great vibe.

7. Loughborough Junction. I bet you didn't see this coming! It is actually the quickest way to get from Mill Hill to Brixton, being a 7 minute walk down the road. Brixton has an amazing market and one of the best venues in London with the Academy. I have seen more brilliant gigs there in the last 20 years than just about anywhere.

8. Kentish Town. Another great place for a drink and great live music. With the iconinc O2 forum, it is a great place to see a band and less than 20 minutes from Mill Hill on the train. There are a few great pubs nearby, such as The Pineapple and The Oxford.

9. West Hampstead. Again some great places to eat and drink. We particularly like The Wet Fish Cafe in West Hampstead for a bite to eat and The Railway for a drink. A brisk ten minute walk down the road is Kilburn, and we often visit the Tricycle Theatre, which is one of Londons best small Theatre venues.

10. Cambridge. I thought I'd throw this one in. It is now possible to change at St Pancras and get a train to Cambridge. I've not done this although we have had a few great little visits to Cambridge. A historic University town and also home to the Corn Exchange and The Junction, two great venues. A whole host of great places to eat and drink.

All we need now is for them to sort the Timetable out!

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