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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Acton Park

Acton Park opened to the public in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. It is Acton's largest open space and contains many features that make it stand out from other parks, including the 'Twilight Tree', a fantastic playground, a children's centre, tennis courts, a pond, a basketball court and, most recently, a miniature golf course.

Acton Park
Acton Park - http://www.visitlondon.com

The 'Twilight Tree' is a Dutch Elm tree that was carved into a statue of a woman, with a squirrel and a pair of owls above her. The sculpture was originally about 28 feet tall, but has since been cut in half, so the woman and the wildlife and separate statues.

The Twilight Tree
The Twilight Tree - http://www.geograph.org.uk

The South side of Acton Park is an important area for wildlife, as it contains a pond, an elaborate garden and an area that is fenced off purely for wildlife to thrive.

The playground is fantastic and has recently been redesigned to incorporate a huge wooden climbing frame. At the Southern end of the playground is the children's centre which offers a programme for babies and toddlers in the morning, and then an after school club for local schools in the afternoon. They also operate programmes during school holidays.

Putt in the Park is Acton Park's newest edition. It replaced the bowling green and has become a big hit since opening in 2016, as it is also attached to the Acton Park Cafe and they have their own fully licensed bar.
Putt in the Park
Putt in the Park - http://www.puttinthepark.com

Park Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 9am-Dusk
Telephone for the Children's Centre: 020 8743 6133

Acton Park is easily accessible by bus and tube.
Buses: 207, 607, 266, 70 and E3
Tube Stations: Acton Central (Overground) - 2 min walk, Acton Town (Piccadilly Line) - 20 min walk, East Acton (Central Line) - 20 min walk

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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Needles Isle of Wight

The Needles are a row of tall, pointy chalk cliffs that are located off the coast of the Isle of Wight. They are the Isle of Wight's most iconic and popular tourist attraction.

The cliff which gave the Needles their name, being the only needle-shaped rock in the row, collapsed in a storm in 1764, but the name has stuck ever since.

The Needles Isle of Wight.
The Needles
Due to the popularity of the Needles as a tourist attraction, a small amusement park was opened at Alum Bay, where the Needles are located, as well as a chairlift that allows a better view of the Needles than you can get from the headland.
The Needles Isle of Wight.
The Needles chairlift - http://www.theneedles.co.uk
Also located on the headland are the Needles Old Battery, the Needles New Battery, and the High Down Rocket Testing Site. The Old Battery was built between 1861-63, designed to defend against enemy ships.

The New Battery was then built after there were concerns that the firing of the guns from the Old Battery was causing the cliffs below to crumble. The New Battery was built further up the cliffs, and was completed in 1985. Both of the buildings are Grade II listed buildings.

The Needles Isle of Wight.
The remains of the Old Battery - http://www.geograph.org.uk

The High Down Rocket Testing Site was built in the 1950's and was operated in secret. The Black Knight rocket was tested at this site in the 1950's, prior to it's launch in Australia, as well as the Black Arrow rocket in the 1960's.

The High Down Rocket Testing Site played a very important part in Britain's Space Programme, but was neglected after the 1970's and the majority of the buildings were demolished. There is a small museum dedicated to it at the Needles New Battery.

The Needles Isle of Wight.
The High Down Rocket Testing Site - http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk
Alum Bay New Road
Alum Bay
PO39 0JD

Read more on The Needles

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chief Coffee Chiswick

Chief Coffee is a new, independent coffee shop in Chiswick, London.

Chief Coffee.
Inside Chief Coffee 
It is located just off Turnham Green Terrace, on the site of a Victorian bottling factory. The decor matches it's history, with exposed brickwork, art deco hanging lamps and original wooden ceiling still in place, it has a slightly industrial feel, although it is very light and spacious.

The counter is covered in baked goods, varying from sausage rolls to cakes and cookies. The coffee is also excellent, along with the service.

Chief Coffee.
Chief Coffee counter
The thing that distinguishes Chief Coffee from the next coffee shop, is their pinball lounge downstairs. A hand painted 'Pinball Lounge' sign leads you downstairs, to nine pinball machines which cost nothing to play on. Some of the machines are vintage, from the 90s, and some more recent.
Chief Coffee.
Pinball Lounge at Chief Coffee

Chief Coffee.
Pinball Lounge Sign

Opening Hours
Opening Hours Mon-Fri 8am-5:30pm Sat 9am-6pm Sun 10am-5:30pm

Chief Coffee
Turnham Green Terrace
London W4 1QU

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Richmond Park

As well as being a London's second largest open space, after Lee Valley Park, and being a national nature reserve, Richmond Park is also the home to many historic buildings, including The White Lodge and Pembroke Lodge.

The White Lodge is a Grade I listed building, originally built as a hunting lodge for George II, which has been home to the Royal Ballet School since 1955. Pembroke Lodge is a Grade II listed Georgian mansion, which in 1847 became home to then British Prime Minister, Lord John Russell. It is now a very popular restaurant with amazing views of the Thames Valley.

The Ponds in Winter 
A Winter walk in Richmond Park
As well as being a London's second largest open space, after Lee Valley Park, and being a national nature reserve, Richmond Park is also the home to many historic buildings, including The White Lodge and Pembroke Lodge.

The White Lodge is a Grade I listed building, originally built as a hunting lodge for George II, which has been home to the Royal Ballet School since 1955. Pembroke Lodge is a Grade II listed Georgian mansion, which in 1847 became home to then British Prime Minister, Lord John Russell. It is now a very popular restaurant with amazing views of the Thames Valley. 

Pembroke Lodge - https://www.royalparks.org.uk
Richmond Park continues to be a successful nature reserve, as the home to around 650 red and fallow deer, many birds, rabbits, snakes and rare beetles. There are also roughly 30 ponds throughout the park, the newest of which was opened by, and named after, Sir David Attenborough in July 2014. 

Deer in Richmond Park

The Ponds 

The Park has played an important part in many historic events.

For example, in World War I, it was used for cavalry training. In preparation for the 1948 London Summer Olympics an Olympic village was built in the park, and most recently, during the 2012 London Summer Olympics both the men's and women's cycling road races took a route through Richmond Park. 

Richmond Park is not only an important piece of London's history, but also, with it's 2,360 acres of land, a beautiful place for a walk all year round.
Richmond Park is open from 7am in the Summer and 7:30am in the Winter, and it closes at Dusk. 

The Ponds In Winter
Richmond Park
TW10 5HZ

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pierreponts Café

Pierreponts is a café and restaurant located in Goring-on-Thames, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea, and dinner on Fridays.

Pierreponts Café.
Pierreponts - http://www.visitgoringandstreatley.co.uk

It is a small establishment with mismatched furniture and decor, making it feel homely and comfortable.

Pierreponts Café, Goring-on-Thames.
Pierreponts' Interior - https://www.facebook.com/pg/pierrepontscafe

There is a variety of food on offer, from quiches and tarts to salads and sandwiches, but all of it is equally as beautifully presented and tasty. There is also a very long list of teas available, as well as may other hot drinks and soft drinks. The chilli hot chocolate is certainly a favourite.

The counter is covered in cakes, slices and cookies, all of which are baked by local residents who bring in their baked goods in return for a small payment. The quality is outstanding, and of course it means that what's on offer varies all the time.

Pierreponts Café.
The cake counter at Pierreponts - https://www.facebook.com/pg/pierrepontscafe

The café is usually very busy, so they recommend booking a table, which you can do by phoning them on 01491874464.

Pierreponts is also located right next to a particularly scenic part of the River Thames, and there are plenty of great walks you can do from it's doorstep, including up Streatley Hill.

Pierreponts Café.
The Thames at Goring - http://www.annescountrygallery.co.uk

Opening Times:
Tuesday-Saturday 8am-5pm & Friday evenings 6-11pm

1 High Street,

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Monday, February 20, 2017

O'Meara London

O'Meara is a new venue in London that opened in 2016.

The venue was set up by Ben Lovett of the band Mumford & Sons and is based between Borough Market and London Bridge.
The idea of the venue is that 'music, food and culture come together in 7 railway arches'.

O'Meara London.
The Bar at O'Meara - https://www.facebook.com/omearalondon/

The venue's capacity is 320, making it the perfect place for club nights, talks and comedy nights, as well as being an ideal place for upcoming artists to play shows. The venue also has a gallery space, perfect for any sort of exhibition.

O'Meara London.
A live show at O'Meara - https://www.instagram.com/omearalondon/ 

O'Meara has gone for the slightly vintage, derelict aesthetic, with peeling paint and bare brick walls, but behind the facade is a state-of-the-art sound system fantastic stage area.

Upcoming shows at O'Meara include Maggie Rogers, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Wild Beasts. Tickets are available from their online site - http://www.omearalondon.com/events/

O'Meara London.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich O'Meara Promotion Poster - http://www.omearalondon.com/events/benjamin-francis-leftwich/ 

6 O'Meara Street,
London Bridge,

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Knole House Kent

Knole House in Sevenoaks, Kent is an historic country house, set in the surrounding 1,000 acre Knowle Park. Knole House dates back to the late 15th century.

Knole House is one of the largest houses in Britain and is believed to have once been a so-called
"calendar house" - a residence having 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and seven courtyards.

Knole House Sevenoaks Kent.

Knole House was constructed during the Tudor and Stuart periods of English history from the 15th to 16th centuries. The house was begun as a palace by an Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Bourchier in 1456, on the site of an earlier residence. It passed briefly into the possession of Henry VIII until the Sackville family, cousins of Queen Elizabeth I, became the owners. Descendants of the Sackville family continue to live in parts of the house to the present day. Knowle House and its vast deer park is also supported by the National Trust, which restores and preserves the structure as well as organizes a variety of events, both cultural and sporting, to attract the paying public.

Knole House Sevenoaks Kent.

Knowle House is a treasure chest of historic paintings and furniture. Its walls are lined by portraits by such greats as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and Van Dyck. The interior boats a superb Italian staircase, several Tudor and Stuart fireplaces and England's oldest organ.

The house has numerous literary connections. The writer Vita Sackville-West wrote on the house in her Knole and the Sackvilles (1922) and her lover Virginia Woolf draws on Knowle and its inhabitants as a source of inspiration for her novel Orlando (1928).

Knowle has also appeared as a backdrop for a Beatles video and in several films including A Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Knole House Sevenoaks Kent.


Knowle (National Trust)
Kent, TN15 0RP
(Sat Nav TN13 1HU)

The nearest station is Seveonoaks, one and a half miles away. Sevenoaks bus station is nearer. The Vintage Bus runs out to Knowle on select days between March and September.


Check the National Trust website for comprehensive opening times. The showrooms close over the winter until March but Knowle Park is open throughout the year.

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