Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3

Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 station first opened on 16 December 1977 and was at that point called Heathrow Central.  It was renamed as Heathrow Central Terminals 1,2,3 in 1983 ahead of the opening of a tube station at the new Terminal 4 in 1986 which saw it given its present name.

Its all pretty modern on the platforms and there isn’t too much of note there. Confusingly(to me anyway!), Heathrow Terminal 1 has shut down now. The station is still called 1,2,3 but maybe it will be renamed in the future – I’m not really up on all things airports, the Underground is enough for me!

The Pub: The Flying Chariot, Before Security, Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport, TW6 1EW

From the start, I know lots of people have been looking forward to the moment I had to visit Heathrow and that time finally came! There was indeed a pub ‘landside’ in Terminal 2, sadly removing the necessity of me having to tie in visiting Heathrow for the blog with a foreign trip.

The Flying Chariot is located in the Departures Lounge of Terminal 2 and has a prominent glowing sign which should make it relatively easy to spot! It’s a Wetherspoons but as we were visiting on a mid-week evening, was surprisingly quiet. I think their peak times are probably with stag dos first thing in the morning!  There were a few people here having a ‘Spoons meal and another chap fast asleep on some of the seating. Travelling is a tiring business afterall. There were three ales on tap, London Pride, Doombar and Adnams Broadside – I went for a Pride.

The Flying Chariot is named after the prediction of Doctor John Wilkins, a rector in a church which would have been situated at the east end of the airport and who in 1638 had predicted the coming of a ‘Flying Chariot’, which man could sit in and be carried through the air!

To be fair, there is only so much you can do with decor when you’re inside an airport, but there are some information boards on the wall about the local area – tales of Hounslow Heath and Henry III for example. The upstairs of the pub has an impressive view over the expanse of the departure lounge and pretty comfy looking seats too.

Unless you’re me, you’ll only be coming here if you’re about to get a flight. In which case, it is a perfectly acceptable place to stop for a drink. Of course, that might be different at 6am in the morning mind you!

Visit their website

Hatton Cross

Hatton Cross opened on 19 July 1975 as the first stage of the Piccadilly Line’s extension towards Heathrow and served as the lines terminus on that branch until 1977.  It certainly does feel very ’70s here, especially the colour scheme used for the platforms.  The central columns have the old British Airways ‘Speedbird’ logo on them.

The station building is a large brick box which also incorporates the bus station used by many of the routes from South West London which then head onto Heathrow.

The Pub: The Green Man, Green Man Lane, TW14 0PZ

When I first started the blog, I remember thinking what on earth am I going to do when it comes to Hatton Cross? I knew it was located right near Heathrow and therefore most of the buildings round here were industrial units associated with the airport. Certainly getting off here and the rather barren landscape didn’t look that promising. However there is a pub a ten minute walk away. From the station, you need to get onto Faggs Road, having crossed the very busy Great South West Road, turning onto Green Man Lane where you’ll find the pub.

Finding The Green Man was a surprise in itself and after going inside, I’m happy to confirm it was a pleasant one at that! It’s very much an old country pub with a low ceiling with wooden beams and cosy alcoves. It’s also got quite a history to it and parts of the pub date back as far as 1640. One of the locals there told us that the famous Highwayman Dick Turpin, who reportedly used to terrorise nearby Hounslow Heath, was allowed to hide here by the innkeeper at the time in exchange for a cut of the bounty. He pointed out a little hidden chamber behind the fireplace where Turpin would conceal himself. Near this alcove are old claypipes and also locks which had been discarded by Turpin.

Back to 2016, there were a couple ales on tap, Directors Bitter, Alan Partridge’s favourite, and Greene King IPA. I naturally went for the Directors. Its a John Barras pub, continuing their West London powerbase I encountered in Ruislip, so has their menu of reasonably priced pub classics – mains vary from around £6.50 to £8.50.  The Green Man also has a small garden too but can’t imagine its too peaceful!

The pub has a dart board as well as a TV Sports Licence. It was pretty busy here on the rainy, cold Wednesday evening we visited. Given there aren’t too many houses round here, it did make me wonder where the locals actually would live given how close everything is to Heathrow.

The Green Man was an alright pub in a location that seemed to promise little. I have to admit though, I’m not sure of the circumstances that would ever bring you to Hatton Cross but if you do ever find yourself here, at least you know there is a decent pub nearby!

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Pimlico

Pimlico is the newest station on the Victoria Line, opening on 14 September 1972, a year after the final section of the route from Victoria to Brixton. It is also the only station on the Line without any interchange with other tube or national rail lines.

Its platform motif is of ‘spots’, by Peter Sedgely, and representing Modern Art that at that time would have been on display at the Tate, prior to the split into Modern/Britain in 1999. The art theme continues in the subways after the ticket hall, where homages to various artists displayed at the Tate – Turner and John Singer Sargent – have been painted on the walls. I think they are best viewed with a sympathetic eye!

Pimlico has no station buildings above ground. One of its air vents is however an interesting sculpture in itself, designed by the Italian artist Eduardo Paolozzi who was behind the colourful platform mosaics at Tottenham Court Road.

The Pub: The Morpeth Arms, 58 Millbank, SW1P 4RW

Pimlico is an incredibly well-heeled part of London, consisting of many streets of impressive Regency Townhouses courtesy of 19th Century master builder Thomas Cubitt. The pub is a short walk from the station,  simply head onto Vauxhall Bridge Road until you reach Millbank and head along there briefly in the direction of Parliament until you reach The Morpeth Arms which itself is in an impressive Victorian building dating from 1845. I know The Morpeth Arms very well – its proximity to the Tate meant its always been a good meeting spot with my parents in the past if they’ve been seeing an exhibition in London

The pub is set over two floors. The downstairs has quite a cosy vibe to it, thanks to the darker colour scheme used for the walls and its carpet with a traditional wooden bar in the centre. The backroom feels a bit brighter due to the presence of a sky-light. There are lots of pictures of London landmarks, especially bridges(not surprising given we’re by the river!), around the place.  There is also a TV screen permanently showing the pub’s cellars, these are reputed to be haunted by prisoners and staff of the former Millbank prison which covered this area and the site of the Tate Britain. Keep your eyes peeled on the screen for ghosts!

The upstairs room is known as the ‘Spying Room’, with great views over the river and indeed towards the MI6 building on the other side of the Thames, hence its name.  There are also comfy seats up here! On the stairs leading up to the room there is information about famous spies/double agents.

The Morpeth Arms is a Youngs pub so there’s the staple photo of the Queen Mother pouring a pint of their ale somewhere. The ales on tap were their usual staples – Bitter, Special, London Gold as well as Bombardier’s Gloriously English. The food menu is again what you’d expect from one of their pubs – standard pub favourites. I liked the nod to their surroundings by calling their larger burger the ‘Millbank Tower burger’, in honour of the office building nearby that has had many famous political tenants.

The Morpeth Arms is a decent riverside pub. Given how poor the options are around Victoria Station, if you’re prepared to head one stop further down the line, this place won’t let you down!

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Brixton

Brixton station opened on 23 July 1971 and is the southern terminus of the Victoria Line. There is also a National Rail station a short walk from the tube, complete with its slightly ominous statues of commuters..

The station motif here is very literal. It’s by Hans Unger and is lots of bricks, so in other words, a ton of Bricks – get it? The station building was extensively revamped in the early 2000s – there are now offices above the entrance and a huge Underground roundel on the glass frontage. It looks very different from how it did when it first opened, as you can see from this photo from the 80s.

The Pub: Effra Hall Tavern, 38 Kellett Road, SW2 1ED

Brixton is a very lively, colourful place – I worked here for over two and half a years when I was student so I’ll always have a soft spot for it.  The pub is five minutes walk south of the station – carry on down Brixton Road, passing the Ritzy Cinema where I worked and then onto Effra Road, turning down Kellett Road where you’ll find The Effra Hall Tavern.

The Effra has a nice mix of traditional and contemporary features. The old tiles on both the wall and floor and impressive wooden bar with its lights both seem suitably historic while the plain white walls and uncluttered interior have a modern feel. I really liked the framed collection of old football cigarette cards which are on one of the walls. There is also a clock in the shape of Jamaica on the wall, in homage to the Caribbean roots of many in the local area which I also thought was a nice touch.

On the ale front, two were available – Sharp’s Atlantic and their own Effra ale.  Given they make Doombar, I put my faith in Atlantic and found it to be a very refreshing pint. I didn’t look fully at the menu here but I hear they do a mean Jerk Chicken. The Effra had a good atmosphere here on the Sunday afternoon we visited with a friendly, diverse bunch of people here, in contrast to some of the pubs in Brixton which have become rather homogeneous and unrepresentative of the character of the local area.

The pub was showing both the Six Nations and a Premier League game and had managed to come up with the system keeping both groups of fans happy. The screen at the front of the pub was showing the Rugby and the one at the back the football. In the pub’s small garden there was also another TV screen showing the football.  They also have regular live jazz nights too.

The Effra Hall Tavern is a good solid pub. As I said, it retains the character and spirit of Brixton – long may that continue!

(The pub has no website)

 

Vauxhall

Vauxhall tube station opened on 23 June 1971 when the Victoria Line was extended down to Brixton. The tile motif on the platforms is by George Smith and is a representation of the old Vauxhall pleasure gardens. The tube station doesn’t have any buildings above ground, instead emerging from a number of subway exits.

The tube station is part of a busy transport interchange with the rail station serving the lines out of Waterloo and the bus station with its ski jump roof. This dates from 2004 and is equipped with photovoltaic cells which provide its electricity. The grim gyratory road system surrounding it is due to be completely remodelled by TfL which in turn will lead to sad demise of the bus station, from an architectural perspective anyway!

The Pub: Zeitgeist, 49-51 Black Prince Road, SE11 6AB

The quickest way to reach the pub is to head down South Lambeth Road, turning onto Tyers Street, passing the edge of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and the City Farm, continue along here until you reach Black Prince Road. Here in an old Victorian pub building you’ll find Zeitgeist. Don’t be confused by signage that says this is ‘The Jolly Gardeners’, they are one and the same thing.

Now before I start the review, I’ll admit Zeitgeist is one of my favourite haunts. I’ve had birthday drinks here which all ended messily as well as work leaving drinks which almost did! But this pub is definitely here on merit for its uniqueness and I’ll outline why I picked it.

For starters, its a German pub. When I say a German pub, I don’t mean one of those ‘Bavarian Beerhouses’ with all the cliches and mandatory lederhosen for the barstaff. This is a pub staffed by Germans and frequented by Germans. I’ve always thought it’s incredible its ended up setting up shop here, on a side street behind Lambeth Bridge.

Inside its spacious with nice high ceilings and comfy, leather backed seats. It has a very vivid colour scheme with the dark walls complemented by a red ceiling. There are a couple of big projector screens where they show live Bundesliga games and the pub is always busy when these games are on. They also show English Premier League games too. They have a few tables outside on Black Prince Road, as well as a little backyard seating area too.

There are no ales here but they have a fine range of German beers. These include a number of varieties of Krombacher, Konig Pilsner and Paulaner. Pints aren’t cheap at £5 but you get what you pay for as they are cracking beers. The food is also authentically Germanic, with currywurst, schnitzel and the like as well as really German dishes like Schweinshaxe(pork knuckle!).

Zeitgeist is a fantastic pub. If you like German beer or food, you’ll love it here. Even if you aren’t, it’s still a great pub and well worth a visit!

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Highbury and Islington

Highbury and Islington was initially the southern terminus of the Victoria Line before the next section to Warren Street three months later on the 1st December 1968. Highbury and Islington had been on the tube for a spell before when the Northern City Line was a part of the tube – as seen from this map from 1974 – before passing into British Rail hands in 1975.  Again, there’s plenty of interchange options with cross platform interchange available between the Victoria Line and the Northern City Line route. The integration of the North London Line into the London Overground and new connection to the old East London Line has further opened up journey opportunities into South East London.

The platform motif here is by Edward Bawden and is of the ‘High Bury’ a nearby manor or castle which was destroyed during the peasants revolt of 1381.  Due to budget constraints costs were kept to an absolute minimum on the Victoria Line which is why several stations only had two escalators and a fixed staircase in the middle. It’s also why many of the platforms all feel very cramped. The narrow passageway that takes you up from the platforms to the ticket hall certainly feel like they hark from an era of cost cutting.  That area in general is also looking pretty weathered and in need of a spruce up! The station building is also rather uninspiring.

The Pub: The Myddleton Arms, 52 Canonbury Road, N1 2HS

Highbury and Islington is definitely one of those stations where there are no shortage of places to drink, with countless bars on Upper Street alone. I always feel where there is such choice, it puts greater onus on me picking out an excellent place! With that in mind, I decided to venture somewhere I’d stumbled on by accident once before, The Myddleton Arms. Exiting the station, go past Upper Street and onto the quieter Canonbury Road with its lovely old townhouses houses. The Myddleton Arms is about five minutes along here on the junction with Canonbury Road.

Inside, its a cosy Victorian pub with contemporary decorations while retaining some traditional aspects such as the frosted glass front windows. They also had a fire on the go which I always feel helps give a pub a homely atmosphere. Talking of homely, the collection of old paperbacks and board games make it feel like you’re in pub in someone’s very tastefully decorated front room.  The pub’s logo is a Hand, a glowing version of which is on the back wall!

On the ale front, there was a decent selection of four in Doombar, Truman’s Runner, Adnam’s Ghost Ship and Bath Ales Gem, something you don’t see too often in London. Food wise, the pub does Sunday roasts but during the week you’ll have to make do with their range of bar snacks including home made scotch eggs.  The Myddleton Arms also has a lovely little back garden. I really like the view you get as you look back on the pub and its location at the end of a long street of tall Victorian houses.

The chalkboard outside was advertising their wine and vinyl nights, get a free glass of wine if you bring along a vinyl to play. I don’t think you can argue with that.  I visited The Myddleton Arms while being interviewed for the Londonist, given the effusive piece Victoria Thomas wrote about my little project, it certainly didn’t let me down!

I was incredibly taken with The Myddleton Arms. If you’re planning a few drinks at one of your usual haunts on Upper Street, give this place a try instead! I will definitely going to start finding more reasons to come back here!

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Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters continues my run on the first stretch of the Victoria Line which opened on 1st September 1968. It was built to allow interchange with the existing British Rail station here. The platform motif here is of seven trees, designed by Hans Ungar who also did the Blackhorse Road design. It was infact the trees which were the Seven Sisters which gave the area its name

There are actually three Underground platforms at Seven Sisters with one – Platform 4 only served by trains that terminate at the station. If you’re into the minutia of the tube, there is an excellent article about it from London Reconnections.

The Pub: The Fountain, 125 West Green Road, N15 5DE

There are two distinct exits to Seven Sisters, to get to the Fountain avoid the Seven Sisters Road exit and then head out of the ticket hall and follow the signs to exit onto the lively West Green Road. Its about a 10minute walk along the road to reach The Fountain.  Pubs around this area haven’t fared well in recent years with many closing, indeed we passed the now shut West Green Tavern en route. The Fountain itself now has a budget hostel/hotel upstairs with a pub still operating on the ground floor. The front of the building was covered in scaffolding on our visit but has an impressive, green tiled frontage which has sadly seen better days.

The interior tells a similar story – while it has some interesting features like old adverts for Guinness, Colmans Mustard and Schweppes and some nice traditional leather seats, overall its not in the best condition. They have a TV Sports Licence here and were showing a West Indies cricket match on our visit – there is a sizeable Afro-Caribbean community within Tottenham so I reckon there were some fans in here mixed in amongst builders in their high vis outfits. The Fountain also has a pool table and a dart board.

Its probably no surprise there was no real ale on tap so was a swift pint of Stella. More surprisingly though is the food, which is a Japanese menu and provided by the restaurant Kata! which has based itself at the pub. Japanese Chips are only £2 – sadly I didn’t try any.

I found The Fountain a little forlorn. With so many pubs in the area shut for one reason or another – some due to disturbances – it is good there is still somewhere hanging on in these parts. It is an interesting building but I wouldn’t really recommend a visit unless you have a burning desire for a drink round these parts!

Visit the pub’s website(mainly info about the hostel!)