diamond geezer

 Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Have you considered going sightseeing on the Hammersmith & City line?

Because now there's a map to help you do it.

Indeed there's one for every line except the Waterloo & City, and more besides.
To help families plan activities during half term, TfL has produced 18 culture maps, each with a unique design, highlighting places along Tube lines, London Overground and Docklands Light Railway for people of all ages to visit. The maps feature attractions such as the Olympic Park by Stratford station, Portobello Road market near Notting Hill Gate station and the famous 'Abbey Road' crossing close to Kilburn High Road. The maps can be downloaded by visiting londonblog.tfl.gov.uk/category/sightseeing.
They're new and yet not new, based on a virtually identical project three years ago but with slightly revamped maps. As well as tube, DLR and Overground there are also five maps based around 'leisure' bus routes, again really an old project repackaged, in this case with fresh illustrations containing less information than in 2018.

But today let's enjoy the treats the Hammersmith & City line has to offer. It's not all the treats, because there are far too many. It's not all the best ones, because several have been hived off to other maps (for example Madame Tussauds is on the Bakerloo and Petticoat Lane Market is on the Metropolitan). It's also not the selection you or I would have picked, but try not to get hung up on that. Instead let's focus on the ten TfL have actually selected.
Heading out on the Hammersmith & City line? Why not take a quick look at all the sights and attractions you can enjoy when using the line. From floating parks to zoology museums, there’s so much to see and do!
Technically there's only one floating park and one zoology museum, but let's not split hairs. Instead let's head off to the first tourist trap... in Bow.
📍 The Art Pavilion, Mile End Park (Bow Road)
Set within the leafy tranquillity of Mile End Park, The Art Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy some local art.
Two problems. Firstly the nearest station to the Art Pavilion is Mile End, also on the H&C line, so they should have used that. Bow Road is three times further away. Secondly (and more importantly) the Art Pavilion is currently artless having been repurposed as a Tower Hamlets vaccination centre for the last six months. Sorry, this one's very closed.
📍 Whitechapel Gallery (Aldgate East)
With plenty of pop up exhibitions, this gallery is perfect for art lovers.
Sheesh that's a bland description - who would have guessed an art gallery would be enjoyed by art lovers? More awkwardly I've had to lift the description from the District line sightseeing page because the Whitechapel Gallery appears on both the District & H&C maps but is only described on the former.
📍 Barbican Cinema (Barbican)
Located in the Barbican Centre, the Barbican Cinema shows the best international new releases, talks with filmmakers and major curated seasons.
Not the Barbican, because that's on the Metropolitan line map, but the very excellent cinema. No Time To Die is the big film at the moment, which I guess counts as a international film release. Before you whinge about the word curated, that's how the Barbican describes its themed seasons.
📍 Charles Dickens Museum (King’s Cross St Pancras)
Take a step back in time and discover Charles Dickens’ former home in London.
A lovely little museum, often overlooked, but King's Cross isn't the closest station. Russell Square is nearer so you'd be better off taking the Piccadilly, indeed KXSP is twice as far away.
📍 Grant Museum of Zoology (Euston Square)
The Grant Museum is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. It houses around 67,000 specimens, covering the whole of the Animal Kingdom.
It is perhaps not unexpected that only one university zoological museum remains in London. I would however like to take issue with the idea that 67,000 specimens could possibly cover "the whole of the Animal Kingdom", but that's the kind of hyperbole you get when marketing folk write stuff instead of experts.
📍 The Regent’s Park (Great Portland Street)
With a stunning rose garden, an open air theatre, ZSL London Zoo and dedicated sports areas, there’s something for everyone at Regent’s Park!
'Something for everyone' is another lazy phrase marketingfolk slip in when they've nothing better to add. More importantly the rose garden peaked some months back, the curtain came down on the open air theatre's summer season three weeks ago and it's over a mile's walk to the entrance to London Zoo.
📍 Floating Pocket Park (Paddington)
Buoy Your Spirits At Paddington’s Fabulous Floating Park, perfect on a sunny day!
We're barrel-scraping here because the floating park in Paddington Basin is quite small, basically three pontoons with benches, astroturf and a bar on top. Also it's at the far end of the basin relative to Paddington station's H&C exit so you'd have been better off getting out at Edgware Road.
📍 Paddington Library (Royal Oak)
With a separate building dedicated to children’s books, it’s the perfect place to take the kids!
This is the fourth time the copywriters have resorted to using the word 'perfect', and I for one am tempted to dock their pay. The children's library is really close to Royal Oak station, so that's a win, but inside a newbuild underneath a Baptist church so probably not what you're expecting.
📍 Museum of Brands (Ladbroke Grove)
Take a nostalgic journey through 200 years of branding and consumer culture at the Museum of Brands.
Marvellous museum. Faultless choice.
📍 Shepherd's Bush Market (Goldhawk Road)
This is another attraction which appears on the H&C map but not in the H&C listings so there is no blurb to attract you. It's a fascinating place though, a classic London market with many longstanding Afro-Caribbean stalls... but recently bought up by venture capitalists keen to redevelop the wider site, so watch this space.

It sometimes feels like TfL's social-media-facing content is written by people who don't really get transport, or indeed geography. Every time you read TfL content that's sprinkled with emojis like confetti, best take it with a pinch of salt and check before you travel.

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