Wednesday, 21 December 2022

St Mary Le Strand Church, The Strand, Central London


The completion of the pedestrianised precinct around the handsome St Mary Le Strand church has transformed this neighbourhood from a car-choked thoroughfare into an alluring public space. Together with the neoclassical grandeur of Somerset House, and the monumental Bush House from the 1930s, the baroque church is a treat for fans of historic architecture. 

Sunday, 4 December 2022

The Ham Yard Hotel, Soho, Central London


Retro movie posters, funky lighting and distressed wallpaper in the depths of the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.

Friday, 18 November 2022

Albert Square, Stockwell, South London


Dating from the late 1840s, Albert Square retains much of its original grandeur. It has 36 imposing five-storey houses (including basements and attics) embellished with elaborate cornicing and stucco dressings. They overlook a neat communal garden shaded by towering plane trees.

Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, South London


Awash with exotic street trees and shrubs, Bonnington Square has both a bohemian and a tropical vibe. The greenery dates from the early 1990s, when the Bonnington Square Garden Association began planting street trees, vines and creating small community gardens, according to the Conservation Area report. Dating from the 1880s, the three-storey Italian Gothic style terraces are packed in, creating a sense of seclusion, even in the heart of London. The square only has one exit, meaning there is virtually no traffic. A vegetarian cafe sits opposite a small, but characterful communal garden, which was planted on a former bomb site. 

Stockwell Terrace, South London

Although it overlooks a busy road junction, Stockwell Terrace retains its Regency elegance, thanks in part to a hint of a crescent, some well-preserved wrought iron balconies and old school street lamps.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Blythe Hill Fields, South London


About 70 metres above sea level, Blythe Hill Fields is one of the highest of the many green parks dotted around south east London. 

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Portobello Road, Notting Hill, West London

One of the most colourful streets in London, Portobello Road is famous for its market, its quirky antique and bric-a-brac shops and its vibrant early Victorian houses with their wrought iron railings. It is more than a mile long, with both residential and retail stretches. The antique traders first moved in 1948, supplanting the original fruit and veg market.

Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, West London


Although it is slightly dilapidated. the east end of Elgin Crescent still has an air of grandeur. The tall stucco style houses have been embellished with all sorts of Victorian flourishes and period features.

Kensington Park Terrace North, Notting Hill, West London


Built in 1852, Kensington Park Terrace North is made up of about 30 houses (nos. 126-184 Kensington Park Road) painted in sober shades of green and brown. The central six houses (nos. 148-158), which are Grade II listed, are distinguished by two floors of elegant arched windows, above their curvaceous iron railings. The name of the terrace is displayed in the wide central pediment on the middle duo.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

The View from Gypsy Hill, South London


The view from the top of Gypsy Hill is truly panoramic. The Victorian architecture lining the hill leads the eye down to the leafy environs of Dulwich College and then on to the gleaming skyscrapers of the City.

Monday, 24 October 2022

Leeds Town Hall, Leeds, Yorkshire


A grade I listed building dating from 1858, the truly monumental Leeds Town Hall is one of the largest municipal buildings in Britain. Although it is currently closed for a £17 million refurbishment, this enormous neo-classical building is now used for concerts and other entertainment events.  Apparently, it houses a 50-foot high three manual organ in Europe with 5,700 pipes, weighing almost 70 tons. 

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Victorian Bath House, Bishopsgate Churchyard, Liverpool Street

New Broad Street, Central London


Cobbled, pedestrianised and with no on-street parking, New Broad Street is a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle and glass and steel of much of the City. As a handsome early twentieth century office building, numbers 56 to 62 (on the left in the photo above) are Grade II listed. They face the neo-classical Friars House and Orient House, which date from 1907, but aren't listed.

Saturday, 15 October 2022

Chimps Squaring Up, Near City Hall, Central London


Two bronze chimpanzees prepare to settle a score on the South Bank. It is one of the 28 statutes between London Bridge and Tower Bridge that make up the Chimps Are Family public exhibition, created by Gillie and Marc to highlight the value of conservation.

Thursday, 13 October 2022

St Peter's Church, Walworth, South London


The deservedly Grade I-listed St Peter’s Church was designed by Sir John Soane. It is an elegant brick built building "that would be of considerable interest anywhere", in the words of Southwark Council's report on the local conservation area. The tall arched windows are particularly eye-catching, as is the square clock tower bearing a round tower and small dome.

Thursday, 6 October 2022

The King's Arms, Roupell Street, Central London


Although the bar staff can be a bit surly, it's well worth paying a visit to this old school London pub. The cramped and atmospheric interior makes few concessions to the 21st century and the real ales are popular with local workers, creating quite a buzz early on a Thursday evening.

Monday, 3 October 2022

The Liverpool Grove Conservation Area, South London

Just north of Burgess Park, the Liverpool Grove Conservation Area spans about half-a-dozen streets of harmonious social housing dating from the dawn of the twentieth century. A mix of two-storey terraced cottages and three-storey tenements, the houses have an Arts and Crafts architectural character and are laid out according to "Garden City" planning principles.

The conservation area report notes two dominant styles: rustic and neo-Classical. It says the rustic style is expressed primarily through front door canopies on wooden braces on the terraces, together with upper storey plasterwork and half-timbered gables. "The neo-Classical style pertains to the block of flats and is expressed primarily through strongly-modeled doorways of various designs," it adds.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Tom Tower, Christ Church College, Oxford

Christ Church College's monumental, yet handsome, Tom Tower is one of Oxford's best known landmarks. Built at the tail end of the seventeenth century, the tower houses Great Tom, the bell used to signal the now notional 9pm curfew for the college's students.

Holywell Street, Oxford


Semi-pedestrianised, Holywell Street is a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Oxford High Street. Many of the terrace houses date from the seventeenth century. Famous former residents include J.R.R Tolkein, who lived at number 99 during the early 1950s. A grandiose late nineteenth century extension to New College backs on to the street. 

Old Indian Institute Building, Catte Street, Oxford

Dating from the late nineteenth century, the elegant Old Indian Institute building sits on the corner between Holywell Street and Catte Street. The institute was the brainchild of Sir Monier Monier-Williams, who was appointed the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University in 1860. He wanted to encourage and support greater research into Indian literature and culture. The building is now home to the management of the Oxford Martin School.

The Memorial Gardens, Christ Church College, Oxford

Passing through the ornate iron gates that lead from St. Aldate's into Broad Walk will take you into Christ Church College's well-tended Memorial Gardens.  Designed in the 1920s to mark the college's losses in the First World War, the gardens were laid out in an Arts and Crafts style with a York stone path, stone walls, and herbaceous borders. 

Trinity College, Oxford


Dating from the mid-sixteenth century, Trinity College is proud of its verdant gardens, visible from Broad Street.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Cubana Mural, Lower Marsh, Central London


The street art proclaiming the presence of the Cubana bar and restaurant brings a splash of colour to the top end of Lower Marsh street.

The White Bear Theatre Pub, Kennington Park Road, South London


Squeezed in between venerable early Victorian terraces, the White Bear is a 250-year-old pub with its own theatre on site. Owned by Young & Co.’s Brewery of Wandsworth, this is a South London institution.

Monday, 29 August 2022

Notting Hill Carnival, Central London

A captivating window into London's Caribbean culture, Notting Hill Carnival made a welcome return to the upmarket west London neighbourhood in 2022.  While it can be marred by some violence and crime, this extraordinary festival is generally a good-natured celebration of London's ethnic diversity.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Cycling around Richmond Park, South West London


Thanks to the partial closure of the ring road to cars, cycling in Richmond Park early on a summer evening is a joy.

Friday, 26 August 2022

Addington Square, South London


Lined on three sides by a jumble of early nineteenth century houses,  Addington Square is a peaceful and picturesque spot next to Burgess Park. Although most of the square is well maintained, there are a couple of semi-derelict houses that hark back to the 1960s, when the area was a den of iniquity. 

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Trinity Street, South London


Laid out in 1813, Trinity Street is part of the well-preserved and peaceful Trinity Square Conservation Area. While it is an entirely residential area today, it was dotted with businesses in the nineteenth century. Largely closed to traffic, Trinity Street is now on one of the main cycling routes up to the City of London. A barrier, which prevents through traffic, was erected in 2002. 

Benhill Road, South London


Another one of Camberwell's leafy Victorian residential streets, Benhill Road is on the cycle route from Crystal Palace into the City of London.

Brunswick Park, South London


Brunswick Park, the road, overlooks Brunswick Park, the park.  With big mature trees and venerable Victorian architecture, it is a fine road.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Blackmere Road, Staffordshire Moorlands


East of Stoke-on-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands are criss-crossed by serene roads perfect for road cycling

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Halles Saint-Géry, Brussels


An ornate covered market built in 1881 in the Flemish neo-Renaissance style, Halles Saint-Géry now serves as both an impressive exhibition space and a suave night spot. With a high vaulted ceiling and extensive wrought ironwork, the interior is just as handsome as the exterior.

Nero Street Art, Place Saint-Géry, Brussels


One of Brussels' many street murals, the comic panel on a wall of Place Saint-Géry depicts Nero trying to feed some birds with the help of other characters also created and drawn by Marc Sleen. Nero, who appeared in a Belgium newspaper for more than 50 years, is one of the country's best known comic book characters. 

La Machine, Pl. Saint-Géry, Brussels


A popular drinking den and live music venue, La Machine occupies a charismatic building in the heart of Brussels.

Rue Jules Van Praet, Brussels


Toy Soldiers and Lace, Manufacture Belge De Dentelles, Galeries Royales, Brussels

Rue du Marché au Charbon Kolenmarkt, Brussels


Street Art, Rue Des Bogards, Brussels


Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Albert Embankment, Central London

The cycle ride down from Vauxhall Bridge to Lambeth Bridge gives you fine views of the Houses of Parliament and Lambeth Palace.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Festival Time in Brockwell Park, South London


For several weekends each summer, Brockwell Park opens its gates to thousands of festival goers. But you can still get away from it all by heading for the hill at the rustic south end of the park.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Emmetts Garden, Ide Hill, Kent


A National Trust property perched on a lush hillside, Emmetts Garden is awash with colour in early May. As well as being packed with horticultural attractions, this six acre Edwardian estate has commanding views across the North Downs.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Court Road, Orpington, Kent


The landmarks of the London skyline are just visible from Court Lane, which runs from Knockholt to Orpington.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Watery Lane Meets Red Lane, Kent

Although it's just a stone throw from Sevenoaks, this patch of rolling Kent countryside is criss-crossed by picturesque lanes that lend themselves perfectly to road cycling.

Ightham Mote, Ightham, Kent


A fourteenth century moated manor house, Ightham Mote has been meticulously restored and maintained by the National Trust. Something of a gem.

Friday, 18 February 2022

South End of Flood Street, Chelsea, London


On Flood Street, the red brick mansion blocks are almost caressed by the branches of the towering London plane trees that lean across this elegant Chelsea thoroughfare. The entrance to St. Loo Avenue is guarded by a particularly grand specimen.

Storm Damage in Chelsea, Central London

 Storm Eunice upended this mature street tree in Chelsea - one of many to come down in the capital

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Herne Hill Station, South London


Herne Hill station overlooks a small pedestrianised square complete with bars, cafes, restaurants, a book shop and a flower stall.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Blythe Hill Fields, South London


The winter sun lights up dusk over the view of Docklands from Blythe Hill Fields.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Fitzrovia Mural, Whitfield Gardens, Central London

First painted in 1980 by the London Borough of Camden, the Fitzrovia Mural celebrates the history of the area and eclectic sample of its residents, including the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. At 60 foot high, the mural dominates the small public space at its foot.