If you make a special trip to Peckham Rye to see the Peckham Peace Wall that sprung up on thousands of post-it notes plastered over the boarded up walls of Poundland after the recent riots, then you'll be disappointed.
Poundland has now replaced its smashed windows, however the Peace Wall will be preserved as a piece of local history in Peckham Library.
Some of my favourite messages were/are:
'Well luv Pecknam' (sic)
'Diversity + jerk chicken'
'Stop the riot, allow Greggs, man' (referring to the trashed bakery)
'Love is the key'
122 Peckham Hill Street, London SE15 5JR
+44 20 7525 0200
Open: Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 09.00-20.00, Wed 10.00-20.00, Sat 10.00-17.00, Sun 12.00-16.00
Buses: 12, 36, 63, 76, 171, 343, 345, 363, 436
Rail: Overground train to Peckham Rye
Google map: bit.ly/nGupZS
Lucy is the Been there local for London. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/london-local-lucy-mallows.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/LucyRM.jsp
Pasha claims to be London's only Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan restaurant, hiding at the back of an exterior that seems straight out of a scene from Borat.
Pasha also hosts a hotel and a sauna and hammam (Turkish steam bath) on the premises. Quite an unusual venue and a great, if somewhat wacky, night out.
A delightful mixture of a Spanish tapas bar and a Mexican cantina. Great tapas, using organic and free-range produce. Guests can enjoy divine Iberico hams washed down with fine Spanish wines. There's even a hotel on the premises, if you become 'tired and emotional' ...
Johanssons looks like a tiny deli and sandwich bar from the front but behind it stretches out into a Tardis of wonderfulness. There is a small bistro behind with a lovely garden where you can enjoy a quality bottle of plonk and some olives. The Mediterranean/Swedish menu has sea bass, wild boar, home-cured salmon and scrummy pork belly plus there are plenty of veggie options.
2 Grove Lane, Camberwell, SE5 8SY
+44 207 701 4944
Buses 12, 36, 171, 436 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/p0Vmh0
After swimming lengths, I'm always famished.
Actually, I need no excuse to pop into the Brockwell Park's Lido Cafe, swim or no swim, I'll be there enjoying a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate. The menu is extensive and inspired with smaller portions for kids, and food served throughout the day. When the outdoor pool is open, there's even a little hut where swimmers and 'sunbathers' (ha!) can get snacks.
Special events include live jazz and flamenco evenings and five-course supper parties.
Art Deco fans can also admire the interior, when not gazing at all the beautiful bodies by the pool. Dream on!
Brockwell Lido has been a vital part of Brockwell Park life since 1937.
The Art Deco Grade II listed building was recently renovated, extended and transformed and now offers fantastic health and fitness facilities all year round.
The Lido is managed in partnership with Fusion, a registered charity, who also run Camberwell's freshly-renovated baths.
Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA
+44 207 274 3088
Open Mon-Fri 06.30-22.00, Sat 07.30-21.30, Sun 07.30-21.00
Buses 3, 133, 159
* Lucy is our Been there local for London. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/london-local-lucy-mallows.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/LucyRM.jsp
A lovely pub on the Gallic Choumert Road with a 'Back Room' cinema club and a long menu offering organic roasts for Sunday lunch
The fish is fresh and comes from sustainable sources & British seas. The supplier is F.C Sopers fishmongers in Nunhead (www.fcsoper.com), a local institution since 1898.
The meat is free-range and organic. The chicken, pork & lamb comes from a small farm, Gillwing, in Sussex (www.gillwing.co.uk/farm) and is delivered by Andrew, the farmer, who makes the sausages all by hand.
The opening times seem to vary, the staff are exceptionally friendly and continued to pour the beverages long after midnight on a Thursday, as everyone was still having a good time and reluctant to leave!
43 Choumert Road, London SE15 4AR
+44 207 635 9483
Open Mon-Thur & Sun 12.00-23.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-01.00
Overground to Peckham Rye, buses 12, 171, 197
Google map: bit.ly/p4e0OB
Lucy is our Been there local for London. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/london-local-lucy-mallows.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/LucyRM.jsp
In February 2010, Southwark Council planted 40 fruit and nut trees in a corner of Warwick Gardens.
A fascinating, illustrated board, complete with map, explains when the different varieties of apple, pear and nut trees were introduced to the UK and by whom. Alongside the regular Cox's, Bramleys and Blenheim Oranges, there are more unusual varieties, such as the Vranja. A short message reads that residents can take one or two pieces of fruit home for their own use, but as the trees are only a few years old, they may have to wait a while.
In in the meantime, if starving for fruity vitamins, visitors to the park can also find blackberry bushes by the railway line and a large cob nut tree towards the main road.
Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, London SE15
Google map: bit.ly/nMOobt
Recently stayed at the Royal with my wife for our wedding anniversary. The room was very well appointed and spacious, but the main draw for us was the outstanding food! We ate in every night!
I always feel a little nostalgia when I return home from Coll. I've been twice and on both occasions it has been truly special. Not only is the island beautiful (perhaps because it is so isolated) but the locals on the island are so welcoming. I think its the simplicity of the place which captures my love for the Island. And you feel a sense of belonging there. On top of this, my reason for visiting has caused my admiration for the place to grow as it is where the charity Project Trust are based. It is this organisation which are allowing me to spend a year out in Thailand taking on projects in both teaching and orphanage work at the age of 18. Therefore I associate Coll with the positive prospects which I would not have received had they not have existed. Visiting the Island is all part of the Project Trust experience yet I would urge anyone to visit. Be it the Coll show, the golf tournament, Ceilidh dancing, fishing competition or beach football, there is certainly enough to keep you occupied. Or whether you fall more for the tranquil side which Coll offers: the unbelievably picturesque beaches, the wild flowers, rare birds or sea life you can find complete escapism here. Need I say more...
It's the strangest place I've ever been! No maps, just clues on how to get round and random stuff such as a giant mouse, a devil's cave, urinals with pictures of beauties with magnifying glasses, and a mouth you walk through only to come out of its bottom!
Kids love it, adults will love its surreality.
Brighton has been a home for embracing all things weird and wonderful for years. Every year hirsute gentlemen enter the World Mustache Championships held in the city and those who want to show a bit more can join the annual naked bike ride. Most unusually the musical among us can enter The UK Air Guitar Championships held in a local club. Want weird and wonderful? Come to Brighton!
This is the 'remotest bunkhouse' on the west coast of Scotland situated in a beautiful bay at Ardintigh on the south shore of Loch Nevis with a fantastic view over the sea to the Cuillin mountains and across to the remote peninsula of Knoydart. It is only accessible by walking or by sea and our party arrived by various methods including walking, boat taxi and canoeing via Loch Morar (deepest loch on the UK mainland). It is a wonderful place for adventure or just chilling out. We spent a long weekend canoeing and walking and thinking about swimming! The accommodation is in small wooden bunkhouses scattered around the bay with plenty space for campers too. We cooked in the large bunkhouse by the beach (showers and toilet block under the kitchen and dining room) We went as a small party of 11 but the site sleeps up to 24 (plus extras camping). You can go as a group or as individual at £15 per night for the bunkbed (take your own sleeping bag).
The sunsets are wonderful and the last night we watched the sun go down not long before midnight after a beach barbecue. I almost forgot to mention the whale ...
Tucked away close to St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral close to the center of Norwich, is a sunken garden being restored to its Victorian splendour. An old chalk pit was bought by William Trevor in 1856 and a three acre garden developed. He died in 1897 and the garden, while initially looked after declined, and by the beginning of the second world war was abandoned. It was completely lost until 1980 when it was rediscovered and is being lovingly restored by a group of enthusiasts.
It is now a haven of quiet, contains many original features and has the charm of a bye gone era. No one can visit without being enthralled by the atmosphere.
If you are ever in Scotland during July, you have to head to T in the Park. It is Scotland's biggest festival and it is held in the picturesque Balado. It is a fantastic weekend filled with music, messy camping and the best people. I love it.
Housed in a 17th water-mill in the depths of the countryside, the Bakelite Museum is an extraordinary collection of early plastics and domestic paraphernalia. There are ovens and dentist's tools, Bakelite radios, egg-cups, hairdryers, musical instruments, spectacles, false teeth and even a Bakelite coffin, all beautifully arranged around the workings of the old mill. There is also a selection of vintage caravans that you can rent on-site for the weekend.
Skye is renowned for its wacky geology, and the northern peninsula of Trotternish boasts an array of bewildering natural weirdness; from a massive rock needle to an enchanting 'Faerie Glen'. The most bizarre place, however, must be inside the mind of the eccentric curator of this one-roomed 'exhibition' tucked away on the peninsula's west coast. Upon entering, the first impression is of nothing more than a collection of junk recovered from the beach, but a closer look reveals a surreal and often very humorous story or proverb attached to each artifact ("Life is like the wind- it's not there when there isn't any" is a personal favourite.)
Just outside of the village of Kilmuir on the A885 road north-west of Portree. The exhibition is signposted, but the road itself has no name (towards Bornesketaig on some maps). The exhibition is in a green-roofed shack about half a mile down the road towards the small bay.
Google map: bit.ly/qtW7ab
This church, overlooking Loch Awe on the road to Oban, has a very weird and wonderful personality, and its multifarious design echoes the eccentricities of its architect. On the outside many ecclesiastical styles are blended, such as the grand flying buttresses and stained glass, as well as other more zany features such as the stone-carved rabid hound chasing frenetic rabbits down the guttering. The gloomy interior holds many more delights including a giant effigy of Robert the Bruce, underneath which you can view a fragment of bone belonging to the great Scottish king.
A mile or so from the village of Loch Awe on the A85 towards Oban. Loch Awe is the closest station.
For information- www.loch-awe.com/local_groups/stconanskirk.html
Many people whizz through the borderlands in their haste to get to “Scotland proper” – up north – Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands, lochs and glens. However, if you are travelling on the A697 I guarantee you won’t regret taking a slight detour, a few miles south of Coldstream, to visit this small, imaginative and eccentric sculpture garden.
In the quiet village of Branxton you can come face to face with Lawrence of Arabia on his camel and Winston Churchill with his cigar as well as all the wild animals you could ever hope to meet in one garden - giraffes, wild boar and penguins to name but a few. There are some fantastic teeth on display – (check out the shark) – I think there must have been some deal going on with a local dentist! Created in the 60s and 70s, by John Fairnington to entertain his son Edwin who had cerebral palsy, each life size statue is full of character and very endearing and I’m convinced you will leave the garden with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
St.Pancras Gardens is surely the quirkiest park in London full of quiet corners and eccentric memorials.
In the middle sits St.Pancras Old Church, one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in Europe. The surrounding park is what remains of the old churchyard cut through from 1863 by construction of the Midland Railway into St.Pancras Station. The exhumation of the graves was overseen by Thomas Hardy, then a young architect, who placed many of the headstones in a circular pattern around an ash tree, whose roots now entangle the stones around what is known as Hardy's Tree.
When the churchyard was re-opened as a public park in 1877 the Burdett-Coutts Sundial had been added as a memorial to all those whose graves had been exhumed and moved elsewhere.
Among the graves that were left in situ are those of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft and the monument designed by Sir John Soane for his wife. The latter will look very familiar to most people because it was the inspiration for Gilbert Scott's design of the K2 red telephone box.
All this for free in a lovely park with a beautiful fence and gates all recently restored with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
191 Saint Pancras Way, London NW1 9NH
+44(0)20 7424 0724
Google map: bit.ly/mSFivF
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org