diamond geezer

 Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Outer London Day Out (SW)

I'm continuing my sweep round Outer London cataloguing the most interesting places to visit, today reaching the southwest quadrant. Thanks for all your suggestions yesterday, not that there were many, which must mean a) I listed all the best places anyway b) you don't live in southeast London, or c) you're not especially interested. Again, any top-ups to today's list of sightseeing suggestions would be very welcome. All attractions are free unless otherwise stated.

WANDSWORTH
Battersea: Battersea Park is a lovely place for a stroll, especially if you find the Pump House Gallery (11am-4pm, closed Monday, Tuesday) in almost-the-middle of the lake.
Tooting: A fascinating hoard of everyday industrial history can be found upstairs on Balham High Road at the London Sewing Machine Museum (2-5pm, first Saturday of the month) [blogged].

MERTON
Wimbledon: There's the tennis of course, its tale told at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum (£13, 10am-5pm). And nearby is the enormous stroll-worthy Wimbledon Common, at the heart of which is the Wimbledon Windmill Museum (£2, Saturday afternoons & Sundays).
Morden/Merton: The National Trust manage the green oasis of Morden Hall Park, with its waterwheel and second hand bookshop. Just across the tramtracks is Deen City Farm (10am-4.30pm, closed Mondays), and a bit further up the Wandle is Merton Abbey Mills [blogged] with its William Morris heritage, arts and crafts, and another waterwheel.
Mitcham: The Wandle Industrial Museum (50p, Wednesday and Sunday afternoons), located in a hut opposite the cricket ground, has possibly the cheapest entrance fee of any London museum.
• For riverside ramblers, the Wandle Trail [blogged] and the Beverley Brook Walk [blogged] are recommended.

SUTTON
Carshalton: Pick the right day, like this Sunday, and here's an unlikely multi-venue day out. The regular-opener is Honeywood Museum (11am-5pm, closed Monday & Tuesday) [blogged] overlooking Carshalton Ponds, a listed building refurbished in 2012. Close by is the Carshalton Water Tower (£2, 2.30pm-5pm, Sundays from April to October) [blogged], with additional tours of the Hermitage for an additional £1 on the first and third Sundays. Meanwhile down in Carshalton Beeches, Little Holland House (1.30-5.30pm, first Sunday of the month & Bank Holiday weekends) [blogged] is a homemade Art Nouveau/Arts and Crafts fusion, suburban style.
Cheam: Whitehall (2-5pm - also Saturday mornings - closed Monday & Tuesday) [blogged] is a Tudor timber-framed house (and museum) in the heart of Cheam village.
Little Woodcote: In the last field before Surrey, Mayfield Lavender (approximately June to August) [blogged] is a blaze of purple colour and, if the sun's out, an absolute delight.
(Sutton in 'more interesting than Wandsworth' shocker)

KINGSTON
Kingston: The royal town, on Thames, is home to the small but well-appointed Kingston Museum (10am-5pm, closed Mon, Wed, Sun). About a mile up Coombe Road is Coombe Conduit (2-4pm, 2nd Sunday, April-September) [blogged], a rarely open Tudor pipehouse which once supplied Hampton Court with water.
Chessington: For London's best (indeed only?) rollercoaster experience, plus safari animals, big rides and mortgage-sized admission prices, it has to be Chessington World of Adventures (£46 on the gate, £26 in advance, 10am-5pm).

RICHMOND
Richmond: Richmond - town and borough - boasts an embarrassment of sightseeing riches. Embracing the river helps, along one of the finest stretches of the Thames Path, which is pretty damned great all the way from Hampton Court to Fulham. But equally lovely is Richmond Park, London's largest green expanse, where the views are extensive and the deer run free. At the foot of Petersham Hill, and along the river a bit, you'll find 17th century Ham House (£10, noon-4pm, March-October). And if you can draw yourself away from all that, the Museum of Richmond (11am-5pm, closed Sunday & Monday) is in the Old Town Hall.
Kew: Amongst London's very best attractions is Kew Gardens (£15, 10.30am-5pm) [blogged], an unsurpassed botanical collection and a World Heritage Site to boot. Within its grounds lies royal Kew Palace (April-September), now included within the main ticket price.
Barnes: On a loop in the Thames, the London Wetland Centre (£11.60, 9.30am-6pm) [blogged] is like Heathrow for waterfowl, especially at migratory times.
Twickenham: Twickenham Museum (11am-3pm, Sat & Tue, plus Sunday afternoons) [blogged] is a tiny thing on the riverfront near Eel Pie Island. Close by to the east there's art at the Orleans House Gallery (10am-5pm, closed Mondays) and also the gleaming white Palladian villa of Marble Hill House (£6.20, guided tours at weekends only), while to the west is the newly restored Strawberry Hill House (£10.80, afternoons, closed Thursday & Friday). And then of course there's rugby, specifically the humbly-named World Rugby Museum (£8, 10am-5pm, closed Mondays) (or £20 with stadium tour).
Hampton Court: 500 years old this year, Hampton Court Palace (£19.30, 10am-6pm) [blogged] is the great Tudor survivor with much to see and explore, plus the famous maze. If you have time, extensive Bushy Park (with its deer and gardens) is just across the road.

HOUNSLOW
Chiswick: For a small artist's home by a roundabout, pick Hogarth's House (noon-5pm, closed Sundays) [blogged]. For a grand neo-Palladian mansion in beautiful gardens and parkland, pick Chiswick House (house £6.10, 10am-6pm, closed Thu, Fri, Sat) (gardens free, daily) [blogged].
Brentford: To the west of Kew Bridge, a Victorian pumping station has become the London Museum of Water and Steam (£11.50, 11am-4pm) [blogged], recently rebranded and relaunched, with rotative steaming on certain dates. A few doors down is the Musical Museum (£10. 11am-5pm, Friday to Saturday) [blogged], a collection of self-playing musical instruments, plus demonstrations on the Mighty Wurlitzer. Boston Manor House (noon-5pm, April-October) is a homelier Jacobean affair by the M4, while Syon House is quite the lordly mansion, set in spacious gardens overlooking the Thames (£12, 11am-5pm, Wed & Thu & Sun) (or £7 for just the gardens, daily)
Osterley: Hounslow has far more than its fair share of grand mansions, with Osterley Park (£9.90, 11am-5pm, March-October) [blogged] one of the grandest, located at the centre of a landscaped estate large enough to build a small town.
Hanworth: The world’s largest working triple-expansion steam pumping engine has been restored in an old pumping station at the Kempton Steam Museum (£5, 10.30am-5pm, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and the third weekend of the month) [blogged] and is a breathtaking sight. Also on site, the newly-restored (and very dinky) Hampton and Kempton Waterworks Railway (£2, 10.30am-4pm, Sundays, March-November) [blogged].

If you have any further thoughts on places you'd go out of your way to visit, please add them in the specific comments box. Strictly no food and drink, no shopping and nothing from Zone 1. And I'll add your best choices later.


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