Bermondsey

Bermondsey station opened on 17 September 1999 as the Jubilee Line Extension edged its way into Central London and towards the existing section of the line. The platforms have the shiny metal finish seen throughout the extension. Compared to some of the other stops on the line, the station building here is a more modest rectangular box – the glass roof means it still feels light, airy and spacious.

The Pub: The Angel, 101 Bermondsey Wall East, SE16 4NB

The pub is just under 10 minutes walk from the station – head East along Jamaica Road, turning north up Cherry Garden Street until reaching Bermondsey Wall East, continue eastwards along here until you come to The Angel.

The Angel has a real history to it. Pubs have stood on the site since the 15th century, Samuel Pepys was a visitor to one of its earlier incarnations – the current building dates from the early 19th Century. If you’re into your art, Turner painted The Fighting Temeraire from the Angel’s upstairs room. I don’t blame him because the pub has excellent views of the River looking towards Central London – there is a small outside seating area on the ground floor which is where I took my photo from.

It’s a Sam Smiths pub, so that means cheap drinks and ales from their own brewery only so this includes their best and sovereign bitter. I went for the Sovereign and found it to be a solid bitter. They also do food, again reasonably priced and most under £10. I didn’t eat on the day I did the review but on my visit earlier this year I had a very nice fish finger sandwich with cheesy chips – again, my classy tastes coming through.

Its got a traditional interior with old school lights and curtains, as well as a sturdy stone floor. There was also a real fire on the go on our visit. The front room is divided into two sections with a small door that most people would have to duck to go through. If you don’t fancy doing the limbo, its probably easier to go out the pub and come back again. As I said earlier, their is an upstairs room which has fantastic views of the River Thames.  Sam Smiths pubs don’t play any music so this is the place for you if you want a quiet drink without any distractions, well bar the view!

The walls have old pictures of the local area as well as paintings/drawings of London bridges,  including a nice one of the old Hammersmith Bridge. I also liked the photo of a Vicar blessing the beer. The pub was quite quiet on the Thursday evening we popped by, there were a few tourists here but I suspect it might be slightly off the beaten track for most of them.

In my opinion, The Angel is the pub with the best riverside view in London that I’ve visited. Combine that with the agreeable Sam Smiths prices, it’s definitely worth a visit! Make the short journey on from London Bridge and give it a go!

(The pub has no website)

 

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Blackhorse Road

Blackhorse Road opened on 1st September 1968 and is currently the least used station on the Victoria Line. Like every station on the line bar Pimlico, interchange is available with other rail or tube services. Here its an Overground station on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

As I said for Walthamstow Central, all of the Victoria Line stations have their own ‘motif’ at the platform level. It will come as no surprise the one here is indeed of a Black Horse, designed by Hans Unger. There is a second Black Horse outside the station, designed by David McFall. On top of all that, there is rather funky tile artwork in the main ticket hall area, continuing the arty theme here.  This all helps to make up for the fact the actual design of the station building is rather drab and 1960s.

The Pub: The Coppermill, 205 Coppermill Lane, E17 7HF

There aren’t really any pubs near Blackhorse Road so it’s a bit of a walk to the nearest option round here. From the station, head down Blackhorse Road itself, turning onto Courtenay Road and then onto Edward Road. Head down here until you reach Coppermill Lane where the pub is just past the local primary school.

The Coppermill is a traditional street corner pub. It’s got a relatively small, old school interior. Despite this, I think it actually hasn’t been a pub too long and was converted from a off licence. There are various ‘novelty’ figurines and garden gnomes above the bar, as well as a sign towards one end of the bar reading ‘Job Centre Application Area’ – we didn’t sit there! The walls are decorated with pictures of the local area from time gone by as well as old football and sporting memorabilia.

The pub had three ales available on tap, Doombar, London Pride and an IPA I didn’t recognise or catch the name of. They don’t do food here to my knowledge so you’re best bet is a pack of crisps if you’re peckish. The Coppermill has a Sky/BT Sports licence and was showing a Premier League match when we dropped in but it certainly wasn’t dominating proceedings and you could have easily had a quiet pint without knowing the game was on. They also have quiz nights on Sundays. There are also a couple of tables outside the front of the pub.

The Coppermill is a good solid traditional boozer. I’d definitely pop down here for drinks every now and again if it was one of my locals.

(The pub has no website)

Theydon Bois

Theydon Bois opened on the Central Line on 25 September 1949 as the final section of the London and North Eastern Railway was transferred across to London Underground as part of the ‘New Works Programme.’

The station retains a traditional Victorian ticket office building and footbridge in keeping with a number of other stops on this section of the Central Line. The platform canopies seem more modern though as they are less decorative than those that survived at other stations on the route.

The Pub: The Queen Victoria, Coppice Row, CM16 7ES

On leaving the station, head onto Station Approach and continue along this as it becomes Forest Drive and Coppice Road. You’ll find the The Queen Victoria just after the Tesco Express

The pub is divided up into two sections. The snug is The Victoria Room which has a cosy, traditional feel with a low, wood beamed ceiling, open fire and old nick nacks like a gramophone dotted around the place. The famous Victoria quote ‘We are not amused’ has been painted onto one of the beams. This seemed to be the spot for a quiet drink among the regulars. The Albert Room feels much more modern and expansive with a light, open feel.

I quite liked the homely atmosphere of The Victoria Room so we based ourselves there. Two ales were available on tap in the shape of McMullens Country Bitter and their AK beer. I went for the Country Bitter which was a very pleasant pint! The food menu is mainly traditional English fare, or ‘heritage cooking’  as the menu puts it, as well as sharing platters and various options from the grill. I had a very hearty portion of Ham, Egg and Chips which was very solid value at £8.95.

The Queen Victoria also has a sizeable front garden which was illuminated with some impressive fibre optic lights. They also have free car parking for customers, although I’m glad I arrived by public transport as I imagine I’d not have figured out the automated system where you have to put your registration number in when you arrive at the pub!

I really liked The Queen Victoria. The snug area had a charming, old school vibe to it which was right up my street. Equally, if you were after something more open and contemporary then The Albert Room covers that base too.  A definite must visit if you’re based at the outer edges of the Central Line.

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Woodford

Woodford brings me back to East London for the start of a long run of stations on the edge of the Central Line. It was first served by Underground trains on 14th December 1947, serving as the northern terminus of the line until the full route up to Epping was electrified.  These days it remains a terminus for services on the Hainault loop.

It originally opened as a rail station on 22nd August 1856 on the Eastern Counties Railway branch line from Leyton to Loughton. Much of the station seems to date from that period, especially the platform shelters and supporting iron structures with their decorative finishes.

The Pub: The Travellers Friend, 496-498 High Road, IG8 0PN

It’s quite suburban around the station and although there were a couple of options closer, we decided to go for the one with the best reviews which was just over 15minutes walk away. I figured if you’re going to come this far out, you might as well do it properly.  The quickest way to get to the pub is to leave the station via the main exit and get onto Monkhams Avenue. Follow this up and along its various twists and turns until reaching The Green, carry on along here, turning up onto Inmans Row until reaching the High Road where the Travellers Friend is located a few doors on.

After a walk like that,  the pub’s named seemed very appropriate. Inside its a small, cosy pub with plenty of wood panelling. There are a fine array of nik-naks dotted around the place, ranging from old adverts for Campari, pictures of Winston Churchill and a collection of beer jugs – I spotted a Bayern Munich one. The etched windows at the front are also another nice traditional touch.

The Travellers Rest had an excellent collection of ales available when we dropped in – Tribute, London Pride, Broadside, Bombardier and Bolt Maker from Timothy Taylor. I could have gladly had all five of those! Their great beer selection probably helps explain why they were named CAMRA pub of the year 2015 in the South West Essex region.  The only food available here are traditional “huffer” rolls for £3.50, as well as crisps and pork scratchings aplenty. It’s quite reassuring to discover pubs that keep things simple in that regard.

It was pretty busy on the mid-week evening we visited with plenty of people enjoying a pint after their commute home from work and had a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The pub seems to have really turned around under the current owners who took over in late 2013 when it had been at risk of closure. There is also has a garden for whenever drier times return and looked quite striking in the dark thanks to its colourful illuminated plants.

The Travellers Friend is another one of my favourites so far, especially in one of the outer suburbs. It was certainly worth the trek from the station. Well worth finding a reason to come to these parts and visit a great boozer!

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Leytonstone

Leytonstone first joined the tube network on 5th May 1947, acting as the temporary eastern terminus of the Central Line. The rail station here first opened in 1858 and was operated by the London and North Eastern railway when the route was transferred across to the Underground as part of the ‘New Works’ programme.

While the station isn’t particularly interesting from an architectural perspective, there is still something worth looking out of the shape of a series mosaics commemorating Alfred Hitchcock, who was born in Leytonstone and his many memorable films including ‘The Birds’ and ‘Vertigo’.

The Pub: The North Star, 24 Browning Road, E11 3AR

The North Star is just under a 10minute walk from the station. Exit the station onto Church Lane, continuing on here until reaching Leytonstone High Road. Carry on along up the road until reaching Browning Road where the pub is located.  The road itself is a picturesque conservation area, made up of terraced cottages. The pub itself dates backs to 1858.

Inside, The North Star is homely, welcoming East London pub. It feels very traditional with old adverts on the wall(including one for Pears Soap), photos of the area in days gone by as well as lots of paintings of trains. It had a solid few ales available on our visit, including Foundation Bitter and the fantastically named ‘Cow Catcher’ from the nearby East London Brewery, as well as one of my favourites, Tribute.

On the food front, things start to get interesting. The North Star has Thai food available. On top of that, there is also a full Pizza menu,13 to choose from, courtesy of ‘Muga Pizzas’ and their wood-fired oven in the back garden. I went for a Pepperoni Pizza which was huge, tasty and less than a tenner. Muga Pizzas used to be based elsewhere in the area and have only recently relocated to the North Star.

It feels like a pub rooted in its local community and most of the people here on our Saturday afternoon visit seemed to know each other. The TV was on showing BBC Final Score(which in itself feels more traditional than Soccer Saturday!) and there is also a dart board, quizzes and live music.

The North Star is definitely one of my favourites on the trail so far and especially in this part of London. A proper East London pub which I hope remains this way for many years to come!

(The pub has no website)

Clapham South

Clapham South brings to a close my run of stations which all opened on 13th September 1926 on the then City and South London Railway.  As you’ll have come to expect by now, the station building is another fine Charles Holden design and again, also Grade II listed.

The ticket hall itself felt slightly wider than its contemporaries, giving further prominence to the hexagonal roof contained within the centre of it. Clapham South was also the location of one of the eight deep level shelters built during World War Two on the tube network and briefly housed Jamaican immigrants arriving for work in the UK in 1948 when no accommodation was available.

The Pub: The Nightingale, 97 Nightingale Lane, SW12 8NX

As an the area around the tube and the south side of the Common is generally populated with rather uninspiring bars, so we went a little further afield. The pub is about 10 minutes along Nightingale Lane. It’s a very pleasant 10 minute walk past some very impressive houses – just keep heading along the Lane until you reach the pub. It looks charming from the outside with its old cut glass windows and tiles. The building dates from 1853 and is Grade II listed.

Inside, its a cosy, traditional pub with a low ceiling. There are lots of nice comfy seats – the walls are decorated with photos and maps of Old Clapham.  The Nightingale also has a dart board near the front of the pub. Towards the back is a more open conservatory area, just before you reach the garden. The garden itself is a decent size, including a covered area and heaters, ideal for when the weather takes a turn for the worst.  The pub also has a small outside seating area at the front.

The Nightingale is a Youngs pub, so it had all their usual ales available as well as Doombar and appropriately Wandle, named after the nearby river. They and other Youngs pubs currently have an excellent offer running, sign up to their mailing list and get a free drink – whats not to like? It has a decent food menu of primarily classic pub meals like Fish and Chips and Sausage and Mash. It was pretty busy on our visit as you can see from the photos. Quiz night was just starting as we were leaving and there were plenty of teams packed in and taking part!

I really liked The Nightingale. Its a lovely, traditional pub tucked slightly away from the main hustle and bustle of Clapham. Well worth the walk from the station!

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South Wimbledon

South Wimbledon marks the second stop on my run of stations on the City and South London Railway’s extension from Clapham Common to Morden which all opened on 13th September 1926.

Like others on the extension, this was another designed by Charles Holden. The station building here is at a street corner, rather than in a parade as had been the case in Morden. It also remains more visually striking, benefitting from the fact there is no other development behind it. Its been Grade II listed since 1987.

Soon after opening, the station name was modified slightly to South Wimbledon(Merton) reflect the fact it is closer to Merton than Wimbledon.  This suffix was dropped in the 1950s but remains on a couple of the roundels at platform level.

The Pub: The Trafalgar Freehouse, 23 High Path, SW19 2JY

To reach the pub,  get onto Morden Road and head South until you reach High Path a couple of minutes down the road.  The Trafalgar Freehouse is located a short walk along High Path, just past Merton Abbey Primary School. You have to look out quite clearly for the pub, its located in an unassuming building so you could easily miss it!

Its equally modest inside, a small one roomed pub which in some respects feels closer to being in someones living room.  The walls are decorated with a collection of paintings relating to the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson, as well as other naval related items such as a Ship’s wheel. Everything is presented in a very understated way.

Above the bar, The Trafalgar advertised that it has a regularly rotated selection of real ales.  On our visit, these included a selection from the Surrey Hills brewery. I’ve been walking out in those parts recently so it felt appropriate to go for their Greensand Way Ale,  a very pleasant IPA.  My friend went for the High Wire IPA and gave it a glowing recommendation. The Traf doesn’t do much by the way of food – sausage rolls are available though

The pub was very quiet when we first arrived but gradually over the course of our pint, more and more people filed in. There was one TV towards the back of the back, which had Athletics on BBC One showing but was very firmly in the background. There are also live music nights on Thursday evenings, given the pub’s size, am sure these are quite intimate affairs!

I was really taken by the Trafalgar. Something here just clicked for me. At a time where pubs are increasingly bustling venues with various goings-on vying for your attention it’s so refreshing to find somewhere where you can enjoy a fine pint and have a good chat with your companion without any other distractions. Sometimes that’s exactly what’s called for, for those moments, you can’t go much wrong with The Traf!

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