Heathrow Terminal 5

This is very nearly the end! Heathrow Terminal 5 is the second newest station on the tube, it opened on 27 March 2008, a day before the first flight arrived at the new terminal in Heathrow.  It all feels very shiny and modern here with the blue colour scheme. Apart from that, there’s not much more to add here architecturally I’m afraid.

The Pub: The Five Tuns, Landside, Terminal 5 Heathrow, TW6 2GA

I’m normally not a huge fan of airports because I often find their buildings quite claustrophobic and chaotic. Heathrow Terminal 5 seemed very different to this with its open feel and large roof letting in lots of natural light. Admittedly I only saw the Departure Lounge but I think leaving from here would start a holiday off on the right foot.

The Five Tuns is on the main floor of the departure lounge. Like The Three Bells I visited in Terminal 3, its another Geronimo pub. As a result, the design of the place is fairly similar but the Five Tuns has got itself a better location in terms of being easy to find. It had two decent ales on tap in the shape of Youngs Best and Doombar. Food wise its standard pub fare at around £12 for a main – slightly higher than you might expect elsewhere but that’s the Airport premium for you! The Five Tuns feels light and airy as it doesn’t have any windows so just opens out onto the departure lounge.

There are old Underground posters on the walls, including the classic ‘For The Zoo’ featuring four penguins. The Five Tuns also has books dotted around the place. As well as approving of the posters, I was a fan of the music selection when Torch by Soft Cell came on – maybe a more obscure choice for an airport bar but a good choice in my eyes. This made for an interesting soundtrack for what was on TV with the sound off – the Roger Moore James Bond film ‘The Man With The Golden Gun.’ I’m not sure why, but Roger’s quips seemed even better with subtitles and facial expressions only.

I enjoyed my pint at The Five Tuns. I think I’d be in high spirits if I was having one last Doombar here before setting off somewhere exotic.

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Heathrow Terminal 4

Heathrow Terminal 4 station opened on 12 April 1986,  days after the new terminal itself had opened. It is one of the few stations on the network to only have one platform. It shut for a brief period between 2005 and 2006 to allow the construction of the new link to Terminal 5.

I quite liked the platforms here, the tiling has a slightly marble look to it which gives it a bit more identity than if it were merely plain white tiling. This is also true of the small ticket hall area.

The Pub: The Three Bells, Heathrow Terminal Three, UB3 5AP

When I started this mission, I had checked and found that there were ‘landside’ pubs for all of the relevant Heathrow Terminals and stations. Sadly shortly ahead of my visit here, I discovered that the Windsor Castle, the Wetherspoons I had planned to visit had subsequently closed down!  Therefore the nearest pub was in Terminal 3- well I’d come this far so I wasn’t going to back down now and headed over to the Three Bells.

Its located on the first floor of departures next to a Pret and above the Virgin Departures area. I was very relieved we found it! I quite liked the advertising on the hoardings outside it – ‘Last British Pub Before the Rest of the World’.

Inside, they’ve actually done a fairly decent job of disguising the fact you’re drinking in an airport. It’s a Geronimo pub and doesn’t feel too dissimilar to their pub inside the Westfield Centre which I visited for Shepherds Bush.  On the ale front, there were a couple available in the shape of Youngs Best and Doombar. There is food available in the shape of standard pub classics.

If your flight is delayed and you find yourself with time to kill, there was a decent selection of board games including Labyrinth – sadly not based on the 80s childs TV gameshow! There was also one of those table top old arcade game emulators which is always good fun if you fancy a bit of Pac-Man or Asteroids. The TVs here were showing BBC News.

As it shut at 10pm on weekdays, it was pretty much dead when we arrived. We didn’t have enough time to finish our drinks here but the staff were nice enough to let us pour them into coffee cups and head on our way – it’s certainly been a classy business doing this blog.

The Three Bells seemed like a decent option as far as airport pubs go. Terminal 3 and 4 really aren’t that close together(baffling world of airports again), so probably only worth going here if you are actually flying out from Terminal 3!

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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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Cockfosters

Ahh Cockfosters, a station that tends to reduce many American tourists on the Piccadilly line into fits of laughter – can’t think why? It first opened on 31st July 1933 as the north eastern terminus of the Piccadilly Line.

The Charles Holden station has many similarities to his design at Uxbridge, primarily the roof over the platforms which is reminiscent of those at European rail stations.  At this is the end of the line, there are buffers here – interestingly one has been decorated with some garden gnomes.  The buildings at street level are fairly basic and a departure from Holden’s typical striking style – if it wasn’t for the roundels you could easily miss it.

The Pub: The Cock Inn, 14 Chalk Lane, EN4 9HU

It’s a lovely rural walk to The Cock Inn. To reach it, turn down Chalk Lane which is opposite the BP petrol station.  The walk along this quiet street took us past a bowls club, cricket pitch and football club – another one of those moments where it didn’t feel like we were in London at all! It’s based towards the end of the lane.

The pub changed hands earlier this year, undergoing a full refurbishment in the process. It certainly all feels ‘fresh’ inside with that still new sparkle. Its all very smart and contemporary, in some respects reminding me more of a boutique hotel. There are some nice touches, I especially liked the sun mirror above the fireplace. The pub has been divided into two seating areas either side of the bar. Most people here were eating and the seating was laid out to reflect it.  Equally though, it didn’t feel the kind of place where it would be frowned upon if you just came here for a pint – and a good thing too! There is also a dining room at the back of the pub which can be hired out for birthday parties and functions.

The ale selection was strong here with decent variety on tap including London Pride, Broadside, Autumn Red from Caledonian and the marvellously named Silver Stallion.  As you might expect, the food menu is pretty high end with prices towards the upper end of the pub scale, with around £12.50 being standard for a main. Dishes include pub staples like fish and chips alongside restaurant cuisine like Duck Leg confit. There are also a couple of pizzas and I went for the carne(meat) option – it was very tasty.

I was a big fan of the pub overall. As I said, in many respects it feels more like a restaurant but you can still come here and have a fine ale! A fitting venue for the Northern limit of the Piccadilly Line and well worth a visit if you’re based in these parts.

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Southgate

When it comes to iconic tube buildings, they don’t come much better than Southgate! Someone once described it as looking space age, and its not hard to see why with its flying saucer-esque ticket office, complete with small beacon on top. On the subject of sci-fi, it has been said the beacon served as a inspiration for the design of a Dalek.  Another design master class from Charles Holden and well worth a trip up here to appreciate it for yourself.

The station first opened on 13th March 1933, the same day as Oakwood, as part of the Piccadilly Line’s northern extension.

The Pub: The Woodman, 128 Bourne Hill, N13 4BD

The Woodman is about 10minutes walk from the station. When leaving it, head onto The Bourne and keep on this until you reach the pub. Part way along, this road becomes Bourne Hill. Its a pleasant walk, especially as when passing Grovelands Park where it all feels very leafy. This route also passes a sign to The Priory, although I chose not to take this as an omen…

In keeping with the leafy surroundings, The Woodman has a bit of a country pub atmosphere, especially in the small bar at the front of the pub with wood panelling throughout. This wasn’t staffed on our visit so all drinks orders were being processed at the main bar, a bigger room towards the back of the pub. In addition to this, there is also a conservatory type room at the front which was set out for those eating here.

Beer wise, there were three ales on tap here. They were all Marston offerings – Pedigree, Bitter and the EPA –  it is of course a big brewery but whose beers I see less and less in pubs these days. The food menu here is primarily English fare with most dishes around the £10 mark. I had the burger here and it was excellent, very filling and with excellent chips.

As well as being roomy inside, The Woodman also has a large back garden, containing a children’s play area and a few tables in a small front garden too.  The pub has BT and Sky Sports – a sign outside the pub was also advertising live music coming up when we dropped in. It also looked as if they had a quiz machine, but sadly it was just running a set of fruit machine type games on it.

I really liked The Woodman. It’s a welcoming homely pub and the food I had here was great! Definitely a good spot for anyone living in the northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line.

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Oakwood

Oakwood first opened on 13th March 1933, initially called Enfield West. It was briefly the Northern terminus of the Piccadilly Line before the extension to Cockfosters opened later that year.  In 1934, its name was amended to Enfield West(Oakwood). It gained its present name in 1946.

The station is another classic Charles Holden design, the ticket hall is another of the box style with large windows much like those he rebuilt at the Western end of the line in the 1930s. The platform shelters also have a clean, art deco feel to them. Just outside the station and its spacious car park is a large Underground roundel. It hass been Grade II* listed since 2011.

The Pub:  The Oakwood Tavern, 155 Bramley Road, N14 4XA

The Oakwood Tavern is located a couple of minutes from the station,  turn right onto Bramley Road and you’ll find the pub just past the petrol station/Tesco Express in a small shopping parade.

Inside, The Tavern is a rather spacious one room bar. As a pleasant surprise,  there was one ale on tap here, the ever reliable Doombar. In an interesting twist, the pub does Thai Food which is also in contrast to many of these outer London bars.  The interior walls have been decorated with paintings of old film stars in a film reel. Another nice touch comes from the frosted glass windows with the pub’s name on it. The seating is primarily at high tables as well as some comfy sofas towards the front of the bar.

The Oakwood is another Irish bar but with less gratuitous celtic memorabilia than I’ve come across in other suburban bars.  The pub has four screens and a Sky Sports licence. It probably won’t surprise you one of them was showing At The Races mind you! It was fairly busy on the Wednesday evening we visited and had a welcoming atmosphere.  A sign outside advertised live music on Saturday nights.

Overall, I found The Oakwood is a decent spot for a pint in North London suburbia.

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Arnos Grove

Arnos Grove marks another milestone for the blog – its the 200th station I’ve visited! It also means the end, although still distant on the horizon, is getting slightly closer in sight.  It also concludes – for now, my Piccadilly line travels.  Like the last four stations I’ve visited, it also opened on 19th September 1932. It marks the point where the Piccadilly Line emerges above ground, having been down in tunnels since leaving Barons Court some 20-odd stops earlier

Its another Charles Holden design, indeed it feels a bit like the Holden show on here at the moment. However in contrast to some of his other efforts I have seen recently, the station building here is circular rather than his more usual box shaped design – this gives the interior of the ticket hall a rather striking design which is enhanced by the lighting around its central column. The station was awarded Grade II* listed building status by English Heritage in 2011, having previously been designated as Grade II listed back in 1971.

The Pub: Molly’s Bar, 380 Bowes Road, N11 1AH

Just because Arnos Grove is the 200th stop, it didn’t mean the gods would align it so there was a feast of options to choose from here and so it turned out to be. Choices here were limited so we went for Molly’s Bar on Bowes Road, a couple of minutes north of the station.

As you might gather from the sign and the name, Molly’s Bar is an Irish pub. Its a relatively small, thin bar with the obligatory Irish memorabilia on the walls.  Sadly there are no ales on tap here so I had to go for a Kronenberg. The bar has a couple of TVs, one was showing At the Races and another had an Irish TV channel on.

Molly’s seems like quite a local’s haunt, indeed there are pictures of some of the regulars on the wall towards the back of the bar. That said, it certainly wasn’t one of those places where the eyes followed you as soon as you arrived. It also has a jukebox which was in heavy rotation during our time here. Elvis was a particular favourite with several of his songs playing with some audience participation, as well as other ’50s and ’60s songs. Later, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion, which seemed a bit of a curious choice given the previous songs,  came on at full volume.  It was at this point we decided it was our time to go on.

In short, Molly’s was perfectly alright to have a quick drink in but unless you live in these parts and want a drink close to home, I’m not sure there is really much reason to visit it!

(the pub has no website)