Barons Court

Barons Court Station first opened on the District Railway on 9th October 1905. On 15th December 1906 the newly opened Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway began calling here.

Barons Court is another fine example of station architecture. It was designed by Harry Ford, who was also behind other District Line stations such as Embankment and Earl’s Court. The station building, which is Grade II listed, is excellently preserved with its terracotta coloured exterior. The decorative metalwork above the station sign is very impressive, as are the distinctive green tiles in the ticket hall.

Traditional structures also remain at platform level, with the old ‘lightbox’ indicators for the destination of the next train. An interesting feature here is the station sign incorporated onto the back of the benches on the platforms. Barons Court is also one of those handy stations which offers a cross-platform interchange between the two lines it serves.

The Pub: The Curtains Up, 28A Comeragh Road, W14 9HR

The Curtains Up is a short five minute walk from the station. After heading south down Gliddon Road, turn onto Barons Court Road until you reach Vereker Road. The pub is located on the junction with Comeragh Road.

With a name like The Curtains Up, you will get no prizes for guessing this particular pub has the Theatre based downstairs. The Barons Court Theatre has been running since 1991 and according to my friends at Wikipedia, recent shows have included Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House.  As we visited on a Sunday, the venue was playing host to ‘The Magic Cavern’, an afternoon magic show.

The pub itself has a spacious, modern interior. It all feels very light and open, thanks both to the white-painted walls and numerous windows looking out onto the outside world. There is also a selection of comfy chairs and sofas, items that no good gastropub could do without.

On the ale front, there was a nice mix on our visit. Trumans Runner, Doombar and Youngs Best.  Given our relative proximity to Wandsworth, I had to go for Youngs. Food wise, you’re looking at gastropub staples such as burgers and fish and chips, as well as a decent range of desserts.I was feeling a bit peckish and went for a side of chips. In retrospect though, I wish I’d have tried something from their bar snacks range like BBQ wings or Calamari, as I was still feeling a little hungry after the chips.

As an added bonus, The Curtains Up also has TVs and a Sky Sports licence. There is also a pub quiz running every Sunday with a nice chalk board advert for it on the wall asking would be participants whether they are Smarter than Homer Simpson.

The Curtains Up really felt like the kind of pub you could while away a lazy Sunday afternoon in. Definitely worth a visit if you’re based in West London.

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Ickenham Station first opened on 25th September 1905. Metropolitan Railway bosses had been reluctant to place a station here as they felt there would be a lack of revenue, but following lobbying from the local parish council agreed to put in place a ‘halt’ here. It was the first additional intermediate station to be included on the line between Uxbridge and Harrow-on-the-Hill which had opened the previous year. The District Line also called here between 1910 and 1933 until these services were transferred to the Piccadilly Line.

Architecturally, Ickenham Station is rather drab. Both the platform shelters and ticket hall date from a 1970s rebuild and are petty dull and non-descript. That said, the station is redeemed by its leafy backdrop with both platforms bordered by trees and other greenery.  The community noticeboards on one of the platforms helps to add to the village atmosphere, with information about the local residents association,sports clubs and other events.

The Pub: The Coach and Horses, 1 High Road, Ickenham, UB10 8LJ

The Coach and Horses is about a five minute walk from the station, if you head north from the station up Glebe Avenue, then turn right onto Long Lane – the pub is shortly after that.  The countryside vibe I picked up at the station was  further reinforced by the village pump I caught a glimpse of just before reaching the pub.

The Coach and Horses feels similar to other ‘outer-London’ pubs I’ve visited so far. It has a spacious interior with a number of alcoves set away from the main bar. There are pictures of historic Ickenham on the wall, with comfy leather backed seats. There was a solid ale offering on our visit, with London Pride, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, Adnam’s Broadside and Abbott Ale all available.  Food wise, it’s pretty standard pub fare on offer with sausage and mash, fish and chips and the like. There is also a number of sandwiches and ‘sharing platters.’

It has an ample outside seating area, both in terms of their outside ‘garden bar’ and a patio area by the front. We chose to enjoy the sun in the front patio area. The pub also has a sizeable car park and I imagine given its out of town location, a number of people would drive here. It certainly seemed to be doing a decent trade in Sunday Roasts on our visit. They also run pub quizzes twice a week, on Tuesday’s and Sunday’s.

The Coach and Horses is another decent pub, all things considered. A good range of ales and lots of outside seating. A good shout for the summer if you’re based nearby!

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Uxbridge Station has to be one of the most striking architecturally on the entire tube network. It just has so many standout features!

The tall concrete canopy,  reminiscent of European stations,  is the first thing you see when the train pulls into the platform.  At the end of the ticket hall there are three bright stained glass windows, designed by the artist Ervin Bossanyi. The left and the right windows depict symbols associated with Middlesex and Buckinghamshire respectively. The middle window is thought to be the arms of the local Bassett family.

The outside of the structure is just as impressive, with a curved red-brick facade topped by two sculptures over the entrance representing wheels with leaf springs. This magnificent station complex was designed by Leonard H.Bucknell and Charles Holden, opening on 4th December 1938.  Unsurprisingly it has been Grade II listed since 1983.

The station itself first opened back on 4th July 1904 on the Metropolitan Railway as the terminus of its branch that diverged from the main line at Harrow-on-the-Hill. It was initially located in a slightly different location on Belmont Station. The District Line arrived in 1910, these services were transferred to the Piccadilly Line in 1933.

In terms of the vision, attention to detail and scale of the buildings here, Uxbridge Station definitely ranks up there as one of my favourites so far. At this stage, I’d say it is the best I have seen from the art-deco era of station buildings.

The Pub: The Queens Head, 54 Windsor Street, Uxbridge, UB8 1AB

Now after such a fine station, the challenge is inevitably to follow that up with an equally good pub. Fortunately we did just that in the shape of The Queens Head.  It’s based on Windsor Road, which is just off Uxbridge High Street, turning off by the Natwest and before you reach the large shopping mall.

The pub dates back to the 16th century and is a listed building. It is rather cosy on the inside,  the wood beamed roof further adds to the traditional atmosphere. The pub proudly proclaims its status as West Middlesex CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014, so it comes as no great shock they have a wide range of ales.  Those available on our visit included Portobello UPA, Windsor and Eton’s Brew 477 Bostin’ Mild, Slaters Premium Best Bitter and XT Mellow Amber.  I went for the XT, which proved to be a refreshing amber ale.  Also on tap was Directors Bitter, a beer I always associate with Alan Partridge.

It also serves a traditional pub menu at what are very reasonable prices. The Gammon Steak was priced at only £6.99! The bar staff were polite and friendly and the pub overall seemed to have a very welcoming atmosphere.

If you live in Uxbridge or nearby, I definitely recommend The Queens Head.  Even if you don’t, if you have an appreciation for fine architecture and ale, I would suggest you make the trip out here to take in a fine pub and station!

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Ruislip Station first opened on 4th July 1904 on then newly opened Metropolitan Railway branch line between Harrow on the Hill and Uxbridge. The numerous intermediate stops on this branch did not follow until later. In 1910, District Line services began calling at the station which in turn transferred to the Piccadilly Line in 1933.

The Edwardian station building is still in place and is Grade II listed. The original cast-iron columns supporting the platform canopies are still in place. Along with the traditional footbridge linking the two platforms, these all help create the air of a rural railway station.

The Pub: The Duck House, High Street, Ruislip, HA4 7AR

It’s a little bit of a stroll from the station to The Duck House – walk up Station Approach to reach the High Street and then head north along there till you reach a roundabout and you’ll spot The Duck House.

I initially thought the building might be a shop, as one of the windows has a distinct shop frontage look to it. According to the sign, it dates back to 1640. For me, the name The Duck House is intrinsically linked to the MPs expenses scandal, something that came back into public consciousness earlier this year thanks to the play of the same name. The pub sign is rather nice with a duck emerging from its house.

It bills itself as ‘Ruislip’s Original Village Bar & Grill’ and it is indeed mainly restaurant, rather than pub.  There is however an area where you can sit and have a drink so we perched ourselves there. Doombar is available on tap, as well as some bottled beers such as Meantime Pale Ale which has grown on me recently. Bar snacks are also available for those not wanting to go the whole hog. The menu itself is traditional English staples such as roasted lamb, sirloin steak and other old favourites.

Even it is now predominantly set up as a restaurant,  it still feels like a classic country pub due to the low, wood-beamed roof. The walls are decorated with old photos of Ruislip, as well as lots of small mirrors. There is also a selection of board games, including ‘Outburst’, which I admit I’ve never heard of before.   There is also a ‘courtyard garden’, again for those eating at the restaurant.

The Duck House was a very enjoyable place to have a pint. I strongly recommend it to anyone living in those outer western fringes of London!

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South Harrow

South Harrow first opened on 28th June 1903 as a terminus station of the Metropolitan District Railway. It stayed this way until 1910 when the MDR was extended to reach Rayners Lane and the Metropolitan Railway, allowing services to run through to Uxbridge.

Like the other stations on this branch I have visited, it was rebuilt in the 1930s when the District Line services were transferred to the Piccadilly Line.  There are plenty of nice period features retained at the station, a couple of which I have highlighted in the gallery. I always rather like the old school ‘light box’ train indicators displays!  However unlike the other stations, the original building was not demolished and remains in situ slightly further up the line, as can be seen here.

In a fact that may or may not be useful for pub quizzes, Harrow is the area of London that has the most tube stations named after it with five.  In addition to South Harrow, there is Harrow-on-the-Hill which I have already visited, with North Harrow,  West Harrow and Harrow and Wealdstone all still to come in the future.

The Pub: The Star, 2 South Hill Avenue, HA2 0NQ

Heading northwards up Northolt Road, you will find The Star pub pretty much opposite the station. It’s a pretty large, spacious pub. There are quite a few TV screens for the football, including a large projector on the back wall. With a couple of pool tables too, it feels like quite a sporty pub.

The seating is laid out in a mixture of high tables facing towards the TV screens as well as some comfy looking sofas. It’s another pub that feels quite light and airy. The Star has a couple of ales on tap and we went for the ever reliable Doombar. The menu looks like standard pub fare with Fish and Chips, Burgers and the like. While the majority of the interior is decorated in a fairly typical manner, there are a few more eclectic touches such as the Egyptian-style head above the main entrance and some other statues dotted about.

The quiz machine is also slightly more unique than most, being housed within a mock-up of a classic red telephone box. It had a fine selection of games on our visit, including Cluedo and Monopoly which sadly seem to have vanished from many of the remaining quiz machines in other pubs.  The Star also has a small outside seating area at the front of the pub.

With DJs on Friday and Saturday Nights, I think The Star is somewhere that heats up as the night goes on. It does makes sense for suburban pubs to do that given there will be plenty of people nearby who want to have a decent evening out without having to traverse the night bus network to get home.  As we visited during the early evening, this hadn’t got going yet but there were still a fair few people in the pub.

The Star is a perfectly decent place to have a pint. Another one I’d definitely return to if I was in the area.

(This pub has no website)



Sudbury Hill

Sudbury Hill first opened on 28th June 1903, the penultimate station on the Metropolitan District Railway’s extension to South Harrow. The 1930s buildings are another fine example of Charles Holden at work, with many similarities to those also built at the same time at Alperton and Sudbury Town.

The buildings are now Grade II listed, with many period features remaining including art deco telephone booths. The only part of the station that seemed to be lacking on our visit were the hanging baskets, which were all earth and no flowers!

The Pub: Gerry Macs, 1211 Greenford Road, UB6 0HY

Sudbury Hill is another slice of outer London suburbia,  albeit slightly less leafy than the area around Sudbury Town. Gerry Mac’s is a short walk from the station, heading south down Greenford Road. It is based at the end of a small parade of shops.

Given the name, it is perhaps unsurprising that Gerry Mac’s is an Irish bar. I have to admit, my hopes weren’t initially high for the bar – these bars can be of questionable quality. Thankfully Gerry Mac’s easily surpassed my expectations.  It’s a relatively small pub comprising of a single room with the bar in the far corner.  The wood paneled interior and leather backed seating are both well maintained and in good condition.  Being an Irish bar, there is the obligatory Gaelic paraphernalia decorating the walls. It had a friendly atmosphere on our Saturday evening visit. There were also posters in the bar advertising live music nights too.

There are a few TV screens dotted about the place and it has both a Sky Sports and BT Sport licence. Sadly there are no ales on tap but my disappointment didn’t last long when I found out the price of our round. I was buying for three of us, two Guinesses and one Kronenberg(I’ve never been a stout man) –  the total price came to £7.80! We were all shocked! I mean, it’s been years since even Wetherspoons in London was that cheap.

Buoyed by the excellent value of the drinks, we really enjoyed our trip to Gerry Macs.  It happily seems a world away from the bleakness of Irish bars like The Brogue, which I had the misfortune to visit for Boston Manor. If you’re in the area, I recommend popping in at least once.  At their prices,  you’d be mad not to!

(The pub has no website)

Sudbury Town

One of the joys of doing this stretch of the Piccadilly Line is coming from the station architecture and Sudbury Town is no exception . It is another classic Charles Holden 1930s design and was Grade II listed in 2011. I really like the station’s modernist footbridge.  The ticket hall building is also very striking with the tall brick structure and long bay of windows having much in common with the one at Alperton.

The station itself first opened on 28th June 1903, on the same day as Alperton Station,  on the Metropolitan District Railway extension to South Harrow. Like other stations on the branch, it was transferred to the Piccadilly Line in 1932.

The Pub: The Fusilier Inn, 652 Harrow Road, HA0 2HA

I have to admit, Sudbury is one of those areas in London I’ve never really given much thought to. From the parts I saw, it seems like a nice enough suburban area.  The Fusilier Inn is about 5 minutes away from the station –  you need to head up Station Approach, then along Bridgewater Road to meet the roundabout.  Head East along Harrow Road and you’ll hit the pub, opposite Barham Park.

We initially found it hard to get into the pub – a couple of the patio gates were locked which seemed to block the obvious entrance. After looking around sheepishly for a bit, a passer by pointed out the main door which is just off the main road.  It’s a pleasant enough pub on the inside. I wouldn’t say it has anything earth shattering in terms of decoration, but it’s in a clean and presentable condition which is a step up from our experience in Alperton. As seems to be par for the course at the moment, it was also sadly an ale free zone.  There is a sizeable Indian community in the Sudbury/Harrow area that the pub seemed to be popular with on our visit.  The pub was screening the Indian Premier League cricket on their TV, which most people seemed to be watching. They also have a Sky Sports(and I assume BT Sport) licence too.  Food wise, The Fusilier offers a range of curries and kebabs.

As it was a sunny day, we chose to sit outside in the sizeable patio area. With a park opposite, it’s quite a pleasant spot to have a drink when the sun is out.   It is also an ‘Inn’ in the traditional sense, as there are rooms for the night above the pub. From their website, I’d say these don’t look quite as inviting as the pub does…

All in all, I found The Fusilier a perfectly decent pub. I’d definitely come back for a pint if I was in the area again.

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