Limehouse Basin

After admiring the view of the Limehouse Basin and its pretty canalboats for months after passing over it on the DLR, I finally decided to get off a few stops early and check it out. I’ve on occasion cycled through this area on my way to work as well, and it was just as enjoyable this way. I will maintain, aside from the Embankment cycle route which will always take the crown (it’s very hard to compete with the Houses of Parliament), this is my favourite route to cycle in the city. The lovely new East-West cycle superhighway runs right through this area, and it’s fully segregated from the road with separate traffic lights, etc just for cyclists.

Viewing the basin from on board the DLR.

Bikes can move through congested areas much quicker than cars can, so it’s a smooth, uninterrupted journey. It’s so easy and effortless, that sometimes I can even pretend I’m in the Netherlands or something. Props to TFL for creating this route!

When you approach the Limehouse basin, you get the combined view of the impressive towers of Canary Wharf blocking out the sun, and the peaceful narrowboats in the foreground. Even just being a pedestrian is very nice, as it’s a very peaceful area.IMG_9833

It couldn’t be closer to the DLR station(s), and once you leave the stop you’ll find yourself free to wander the perimeter of the basin and admire the colourful boats. There’s some spots where you can look out onto the Thames as well, and take in the quieter side of the iconic river.

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The bank of the Thames.

This area has a very local feel to it, as unless they’re passing through on their bicycles, it’s mostly just residents enjoying the waterfront. I currently work near Canary Wharf, so sometimes I’ll go for a little walk around here before I start work which is really lovely. Personally I like to walk around to the other side where there is a small adjoining park called Ropemakers Fields, and from there on it’s only a 7 or so minute walk to the next station along, Westferry where I can continue my journey.

A spot of calm off Commercial Road, very well linked with the DLR running parallel to it, or a 15 minute cycle from Tower Hill.

Final rating: 7/10

Nearest Station: Limehouse (DLR, National Rail). Zone 2.

Stanmore Country Park

My series will begin with Stanmore Country Park. To many, Stanmore is only known as the place where Jubilee line terminates. However, it is so much more than that!

Walking there from the station, you can’t help but feel like you’ve already left London. Detached houses, wide roads, people driving everywhere? Is this really the city I’m so familiar with? But it is. The walk from the station is barely a few minutes at most, and during that time you can pretend you live in an alternate universe where you’ve actually escaped the money-grabbing jaws of London. Despite this, you’re actually only in Zone 5.

Is this really London?

When you first enter heading from the station, you’ll find yourself in a woody area, full of a winding maze of paths disappearing into the undergrowth. This is where just exploring the area is the best way to see it, there are plenty of peaceful clearings, meadows, and even cows grazing in a field if you’re there at the right times!

IMG_9925I was very pleasantly surprised when I emerged into this lovely grassland area at the top, and then I turned around and got a smashing view of the city! I was lucky enough to have visited on a clear day, so I could see as far as the radio mast at Crystal Palace, over 20km away. If you are in a rush, basically head uphill in any direction from the entrance of the park and you’ll be there.

The resolution isn’t great, but you get the idea!

Forests, quaint clearings, meadows, it’s got all of the makings of a great park. It’s close proximity to the Jubilee Line (arguably one of the more pleasant deep-level tube lines too) and lack of people give Stanmore Country Park a final rating of…

Final rating: 8/10

Nearest station: Stanmore (Jubilee Line). Zone 5