Hounslow East

Hounslow East brings to a close the trilogy of Hounslow stations on the Underground network. It first opened as Hounslow Town on the District Railway on 2nd May 1909, gaining its present name in 1925.

The station has been served by the Piccadilly Line since March 1933, District Line services were removed in October 1964.

The station was rebuilt in the early noughties and has a snazzy, modern vibe to it. The ticket hall in particular has a spacious feel to it, partly due to its high roof. The subways between the platforms are also jauntily decorated with white and green tiling.

The Pub: The White Bear, 198 Kingsley Road, TW3 4AR

As an area, Hounslow isn’t particularly awash with pubs so the choice was limited here. We ventured to The White Bear, complete with mock Tudor frontage, which is about a 5minute walk from the station north up Kingsley Road.

It’s a pretty spacious pub inside – the interior is fairly basic but in decent nick. Abbott Ale was available on tap on our visit for the bargain price of £2.50 – I’m not sure if this was just a temporary/weekday promotion or if its always that cheap! The pub also serves an array of Indian dishes – I didn’t see anyone eating here so I can’t pass any judgement.

The White Bear has a pool table and there is also a stage which must be where the live music advertised at the pub is performed. When we dropped in, there was no band but a projector showing music videos from the rap channel AKA . I have to admit, I’m not sure how well that went with the rather subdued clientele on our Wednesday evening visit.

I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t really make much use of The White Bear if it were my local. That said, it was a passable place for a quick pint and as such, is better than some of the depressing venues I’ve stumbled upon in the outer suburbs.

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Preston Road

Preston Road station first opened on 21st May 1908 on the Metropolitan Railway. It used to have the rather snappy name of ‘Preston Road for Uxendon and Kenton.’ It apparently opened in order to allow passengers to reach the nearby clay pigeon shooting venue as part of the 1908 Olympic Games. It gained its present name in the 1920s and was resited between 1931-32.

I assume the present station dates from that period as it has a very ’30s feel. The building also appears to incorporate flats above the ticket hall, something I’m pretty sure I’ve not seen anywhere else on the trail. Now that’s what I call convenient! There is also a station garden here which appeared in fine health when we dropped by with a mixture of plants and shrubbery.

The Pub: The Preston, 161 Preston Road, HA9 8NG

The area around Preston Road station feels typically suburban. There is a small parade of shops with two/three stories of flats above them. The pub is a few minutes south down Preston Road itself. The Preston is an Ember Inn, who we’ve come across in a couple of other outer London locations earlier in the crawl, such as Northwood and Hornchurch.

Inside, it’s a spacious pub, divided into a number of different seating areas. There are various pictures of bygone Preston Road/Wembley decorating the walls. The Preston has a standard Ember Inns menu, so their usual mix of traditional British pub staples. There are always offers on so I was able to get Ham, Egg and Chips for £4.50. For an extra 2 quid, I could have even had two courses, but I wasn’t that way inclined…  Beer wise, there were a few real ales on tap including Brakespears Bitter and Hobgoblin.

There is also an ample garden at the back of the pub. The grass was looking a bit wild and overgrown on our visit, but then again it’s not really the season for tending to them!

Overall, The Preston is a decent, middle of the road offering from Ember Inns. Not worth going out of your way for, but if you’re in these parts and fancy a pint, it will do fine.

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Northfields

Northfields first opened on the District Railway as Northfield Halt(Ealing) on 16th April 1908. In December 1911, it was renamed Northfields and Little Ealing. In 1932, the station gained its current name and was rebuilt ahead of the introduction of Piccadilly Line services through here onwards to Hounslow. District Line services were removed in their entirety in 1964.

Architecturally, the station serves as another fine example of Charles Holden’s work on the Underground. The platform structures all feel very art deco. The ticket hall, one of his typical tall block designs, is made more striking by the rather European-esque open precinct right in front of it. According to Ed Glinert’s fine London Compendium book, the station used to use kestrels and hawks to kill pigeons that had begun roosting in the station.  I didn’t spot any on my visit mind you…

The Pub: The Forester, 2 Leighton Road, W13 9EP

The Forester is a little bit of a walk from the station but it’s a relatively straightforward route. On leaving the station, head north up Northfields Avenue for about 10minutes until the road forks, turn onto Seaford Road and you’ll see the Forester right in front of you.

The pub was recently restored which you can tell from its impressive exterior, with both the green tiles and the wooden balcony/awning looking particularly pristine. The interior also feels like it has been recently spruced up. As a rarity for pubs these days, The Forester still has a separate ‘saloon’ and ‘public bar’ which you can only pass between externally, there is no internal link between the rooms. The saloon bar is very spacious while the public bar is suitably intimate. The building itself is Grade II listed by English Heritage.

Its a Fullers pub and their standard range of ales were available on our visit – Pride, Chiswick Bitter and ESB to same but three. On the food front, we dropped by on a Sunday and they were doing a roaring trade on roasts. I decided to go for a burger which was very tasty. A couple of people near us plumped for the pies which also looked suitably hearty. The pub also has a fully fledged carvery in the back room.

As we’re getting further away from Central London here,  it is perhaps not surprising the pub has a decent sized back garden. They also have a Sky Sports licence, with a number of TVs dotted around both rooms of the bar. There are also regular quiz and poker nights at the pub. There are even six guestrooms available to book above the pub.

The Forester clearly has pedigree, as demonstrated by the number of CAMRA awards its picked up over the years. I really liked it here – it’s a great suburban pub and another I would be glad to call my local! If you ever find yourself drifting west on the Piccadilly Line, check it out!

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