Friday, December 30, 2011
dg 2011 index
Ten memorable London jaunts in 2011
1) The Capital Ring: 78 miles round the edge of Inner London, the ideal way to learn more about how the capital fits together and to see some fascinating sights along the way [photos] [starts here]
2) The Royal Wedding: I wasn't expecting to be wowed, but I was in the right place at the right time when the surge down the Mall began, so ended up almost in front of the railings for the kiss on the balcony. Once in a lifetime.
3) Ceremony of the Keys: It's so easy to get tickets to this slice of history, if you don't mind waiting, and the fact that the ceremonial barely lasts ten minutes.
4) London Open House: There's always somewhere special to investigate at this annual architectural shindig, and this year that meant the Commonwealth Institute and Abbey Mills Pumping Station.
5) Olympic Park: I had a great day out at the BMX test event alongside the Velodrome, despite (or maybe because of) a torrential downpour mid-afternoon [photos]
6) Rail Replacement Safari: One weekend back in January I rode every single rail replacement bus in London. Memorable, if somewhat misguided.
7) Boring 2011: The annual offbeat leftfield conference in Bethnal Green, alas really rather interesting.
8) Aldwych: OK, so that's the ghost station on the Strand ticked off, been there, done that.
9) Olympic Marathon test event: Almost nobody else got up on May bank holiday morning to watch a few dozen amateur athletes run around the City (and Tower Hamlets!)
10) M&Ms World: If you value your sanity, never ever visit this inane chocolate bazaar in Leicester Square.
Runners up: The Siege of Sidney Street, Church Farmhouse Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Dome 2011, The News Quiz, Kapoor in Kensington, March For The Alternative, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Tube Challenge 13, London Maze, Lansbury Estate, New Bus for London, route 488, Love Is What You Want, National Maritime Museum, Bus-Tops, CS2 (and associated deaths), Bow floating towpath, Countdown, Wandsworth Museum, Wandle Trail, Thames Chase Visitor Centre, Occupy London, Cartoon Museum, Brockley Hill, Film, tube week, King's Boulevard, London Stone, Two Temple Place, Bow Church 700, Aspers Casino, Boxpark, Canada Water Library, Ratcliffe Highway Murders, the last bendy, E Pellicci, Woolwich Foot Tunnel, Noel Park.
Olympics: Stratford Hotspur, toxic legacy, Westfield Ham, sponsor quiz, wrap, commercial restrictions, Olympic Route Network, four years on, Water Chariots, 1 year to go, opening day, naming neighbourhoods, new streets, Games over, travel plans, stadium for hire, London Live.
Westfield Stratford City: six months to go, how to get to Westfield, DLR extension to Stratford International, opening day, two weeks on, at Christmas.
Cablecar: prelude, your name here, naked commercialism, critical path analysis, under construction, on the map.
Random boroughs: Camden, Bexley, Havering, Hammersmith & Fulham.
Ten favourite Out-of-London destinations
1) Iceland: Wow, such contrasts. A nation of volcanoes, ice and geysers, plus my first ever experience of the midnight sun. Highly recommended, so long as the price of everything doesn't put you off [photos]
2) Hadleigh Farm: The Olympic mountain bike test event was an amazing day out - far better than the real thing next summer [photos]
3) Shoreham-on-Sea: First I walked from Brighton to Shoreham on a bright blue midwinter's day... [photos]
4) Newhaven: ...then I went back later and walked from Newhaven to Brighton [photos]
5) Lee Valley White Water Centre: The Olympic canoeing venue in Cheshunt opened early to the public [photos]
6) Margate: Tracey Emin was right, the opening of the Turner Contemporary has made Margate even more worthy of a visit [photos]
7) Wakefield: I don't get up north often enough, so when the opportunity came to visit the new Hepworth gallery, I grabbed it.
8) Amersham Heritage Day: Every form of transport imaginable, old and new, on the trip out to Metroland and back.
9) Folkestone: The Triennial was marvellous - be there in 2014.
10) Letchworth: I never realised quite how lovely Ebenezer's garden city was until I visited Britain's first roundabout.
Runners up: Northampton, Sheppey, Ivinghoe & Ashridge, Emmetts Garden, Burnham-on-Crouch, Croxley Green branch line, Slough bus station, Cambridge Guided Busway, Eastbourne, Mid Norfolk Railway, Sutton Hoo, Horsey, South Mimms, Watford station, Bure Valley Railway.
Ten other favourite posts from 2011:
The home of the future, Olympic travel tips, dumbdown geezer, writing a book, Yes and No, born too late, step-free access, 200 things I love about London, No Effing Fortnight, Bow roundabout.
Half of my ten favourite photos of the year:(or all ten here)