Saturday, 4 February 2023

The Saturday List #395 - The top ten places to go on Crossrail for a nice day out

I had a day off yesterday! Me and the missus decided to do a lunch cruise on the Regent's Canal with The London Shell Co. If you like fish and sea food, it is a delight. Clare doesn't eat meat and I don't eat meat on a Friday, so it was an ideal choice. 

 I'd thoroughly recommend it! Here are a few pictures we took on the water. The boat goes from Paddington Basin to Camden Town. I love industrial architecture so it is a real treat for me. You can also see the Hyena's in London Zoo if you are lucky!

Regents canal 2023

As with all the best laid plans of mice and men, we booked it ages ago and then we found out that it was a rail strike day. My plan had been to extol the easy of the journey from Mill Hill to Paddington, via Thameslink and the Elizabeth line. It takes less than 40 minutes and is as easy a journey as you could hope for. However, we had to get a 114 bus to Burnt Oak and The Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road, adding around 20 minutes to the journey. 

I am a big fan of the Elizabeth Line. It's been open less than a year, but it already feels almost as if it's been there forever for me, as I've used it many times and the novelty has worn off. I realised that there are quite a few places on the line that are worth a trip out for.  I thought we'd concentrate on the central section. 

Here is a selection of things that I'd thoroughly recommend. I'll start in the east move eastwards.

1. The Whitechapel Gallery -  This is a little gem. I used to work around the corner and check out every new exhibition and have lunch in the cafe, which was brilliant. I saw exhibitions by the likes of Lucien Frued and Tracy Emin. I think I learned more about art in that time than I learned in the rest of my life.  You may like to have a beer at the legendary Blind Beggar pub whilst in the area, the haunt of the notorious Kray brothers. A curry in Brick Lane or at the Lahore kebab house is also worth including in your trip. The station is Whitechapel. 

2. The Artillery Arms and Whitecross Street Market. This is one of my favourite lunchtime treats. The Whitecross Street food market is a wonderful place to take visitors to London. There is a whole range of food for sale encompassing cuisine's from around the world. Being a traditionalist, I love the pie stall, but there is Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, Chinese, Brazilian etc and it's a fraction of the price of the local restaurants. If the Sun is out, enjoy it in the Fortune Street Park, then walk to the Artillery Arms for a pint. It is one of my favourite pubs in London. The Station is Liverpool St, Moorgate Entrance.

Artillery Arms
3. The Barbican Centre. I am constantly staggered by how many people have never been to The Barbican Centre. There are all manner of shows etc, and the library has all sorts of exhibitions. The Clash exhibition last year was wonderful.   Even if there's nothing much on that appeals to you, it is worth a walk around, if you enjoy brutalist architecture - Station Farringdon - Barbican entrance

4. Smithfield Market. This is the last of central London's proper markets and it is moving out, so check it out while you can. It is a great place to get a bargain if you like a bit of meat. .It is a fine bit of London Architecture and history Just up the road is my favourite London Restaurant, The Bleeding Heart. There are plenty of decent pubs in the area as well.  Farringdon Station. 

5. Denmark Street. If you like guitars, this is the place to go. About a minute's walk from Tottenham Court Road Station - HAVE A READ OF THIS. Just down the road is Old Compton Street, centre of London's gay community. The Admiral Duncan pub was bombed by a right wing terrorist in 1999. It was an attempt to start a war on London's Gay community, but had the opposite effect, revolting everyone and making us appreciate the open tolerant society we have. I was having a pint in the Cambridge Arms with mates and I saw first hand some of the devastion. I often nip into the Duncan for a pint, just to show solidarity, if I am passing, just to show the Fascists that they cannot win. If you get hungry, nip down to Chinatown and Gerard Street. Tottenham Court Road Station. 

6. Ronnie Scotts. This is the heart of London's Jazz scene. I love the Jazz lunches. I always have a Peroni in Bar Italia over the road first. The Mods congregate on their scooters. If you are feeling flush, nip around the corner to Kettners after for a cocktail. It is perhaps my ideal Sunday, especially if you go with a bunch of friends. If you fancy seeing a really decent show, check out Yolanda Charles Project on the 24th March. 

Tottenham Court Road Station - Dean Street Entrance.

7.  The 100 Club. Another of my favourite London clubs, another icon. I went to my first gig of 2023 here, to watch Punk Legends 999 at the Resolution Festival. As well as punk, the club is famed for blues, soul and jazz. I have seen some of the best shows of my life at the venue. We usually eat at East Street that does wonderful and inexpensive Japanese food on Rathbone Place. 

Tottenham Court Road Station - Dean Street Entrance.

8. Selfridges. I'm not really one for shopping, but I love Selfridges. This probably because, as a child, my mum would take me to meet Fr Christmas there. I have a special affection for it after the 7/7 bombings. I was doing some work for Debenhams that day. I've told the story of the day in blogs elsewhere, but I ended up in Selfridges, with the shop almost to myself, no one else around and plenty of staff. I ended up buying my wife a present and chatting to the staff for ages. As the mobile network was down, when I arrived back, with a present, Clare was chuffed. Although for most people, the shop is about gifts, the food outlets are wonderful. Although there are other department stores on Oxford Street, for me Selfridges is the one. 

Bond Street.

9. Go Boats. We've arrived at our end of the line. If you want a fun day out in London, then I'd recommend Go Boats. These are small boats for hire in Paddington basin, that can hold up to eight people. They have a small electric engine and just poodling around the canal, nipping down to London Zoo and Little Venice and Camden is great fun and we've already discussed where you can have a tasy meal after!


10. And finally...... Well I had intended to stop at Paddington, but I realised that The Elizabeth Line makes havinga curry in Southall, perhaps the best place in London to get a proper curry, feasable. Now I have a confession to make. I've never been to Southall. It was just too out of the way. As I wrote this blog, I realised that this is something I need to rectify and the Elizabeth Line makes it more than feasable. I had a look at Trip Advisor. These were the recommendations. Which one do you think is best? -Southall

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