On Thursday it was chilly – 2 degrees at most – but gloriously sunny. Dave, Jon E and I had arranged a walk that started with breakfast at the Table cafe in Southwark Street, and ended in Hackney Wick, which I wanted to revisit in the daylight after my recent trip there to see Widowspeak at Studio 9294.
I took the tube to Blackfriars, and enjoyed the walk over the bridge, with the One Blackfriars tower glistening in the sun.
On the way along Southwark Street to the Table cafe you could catch views of the Tate Modern, a short distance away, by the Thames.
The Table is an excellent place for breakfast and brunch. Scrambled egg and smoked salmon, with a side dish of spinach, is a great start to the day, as far as I am concerned!
Coming out of the cafe there was a great view of the Shard to the east.
We headed past Borough Market, then down St Thomas Street, past London Bridge station and the Shard to Bermondsey Street, where we popped into the White Cube gallery to take a look at the Harland Miller exhibition.
Then it was along to Tower Bridge. The bridge was up, so we had a wait, but the views were enough to keep us occupied.
The walk from Tower Bridge to Limehouse is only occasionally right along the river, but one spot gives you this great view of Canary Wharf in the distance.
Just before going up to Limehouse Basin, we stopped for a beer at the Grapes, one of the pubs along the route which are among the oldest in London. The Grapes dates back to the 16th century. Later, Charles Dickens was a patron, and his novels and images line the walls.
Limehouse Basin is the end point of the Regent’s Canal and the River Lea Navigation, also known as Limehouse Cut at its bottom end. We took Limehouse Cut up to Bow Locks and Three Mills Island. A fascinating area – mostly industrial, but also a little piece of Bruges in East London.
From there it was along the Lea Navigation, past the London Stadium – the home of my football team, West Ham – to the White Post Lane bridge. Some great views of the stadium from the bridge.
From there it was straight into Queen’s Yard, an old industrial yard, now converted into a number of bars and restaurants. The Yard Theatre and Hackney Wick Overground station are close by. I was hoping to start in the Howling Hops, which I enjoyed before the Widowspeak concert, but it was closed for a private function. Fortunately there was an alternative in the same space, which I’d planned for us to visit anyway – the Crate Brewery. A converted print factory, I believe. Beer brewed on the premises, and top quality, as was the crispy pizza we shared.
It was a great place to spend a couple of hours. After that Jon left us for a Christmas party down in south London. Dave and I made our way to Bethnal Green and spent a few hours in the Renegade Urban Winery, under the arches near the tube station. They make their own wines, from imported grapes (and some from England). All really nice, quirkily given people’s names. In the course of the evening we sampled Janet, Alf, Sara and Courtney! The food – tasting plates – were good too.
8-9 miles of walking, endlessly fascinating and in splendid sunshine. Four excellent eating and drinking experiences, and a little bit of art on the side. A nice balance, you could say!