London is without a doubt one of the premier tourist destinations in the Western world. Over the last year, London has played host to an estimated 3.5 million North American visitors, making it one of the most popular destinations for a European vacation. However, beyond the iconic spires of Westminster Abbey and the regal grandeur of Buckingham Palace, London houses a number of quieter boroughs which are equally worth a visit for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle for day.
Whilst Putney Bridge may not be the first London borough that springs to mind when you think about the British capital, there’s a great deal to see and experience once you choose to dig a little deeper. Read on to find out more…
Putney Bridge certainly has a lot of history for a place that’s so small. The bridge itself, which was constructed in 1726 to serve as the only bridge between Kingston Bridge and London Bridge, has featured prominently in the history of famous British figures and institutions. Revolutionary campaigner Mary Wollstonecraft was reported to have attempted suicide at the bridge, while in 1845, the bridge became (and remains to this day) the starting point of the world-famous Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race.
Aside from its deep-rooted footing in London history, Putney Bridge has a great deal to offer visitors looking for a quieter London experience. Next to Putney Bridge station is a small but lovely independent bookshop, Hurlingham Books, filled with piles of books stacked to the ceiling. The shop leaves a bookshelf outside after hours, just put a small donation through the doors if you wish to take a book.
Across the river, under Putney Bridge, is Bishop’s Park, an area that can easily be overlooked but is the perfect spot to watch rowers go by and it has a great kid’s play area as well.
Talking of rowers, don’t forget to check out the The University Boat Race Stone across the river on the towpath, a few metres below Putney Bridge, which marks the start of the famous boat race.
When it comes to food and accommodation, you’re very well-catered for in Putney Bridge. There are a range of great restaurants around the area and you won’t have to go far to find one. Amongst the best is Enoteca Turi on Putney High Street.
If you’re not staying in the area, it’s very easy to get to Putney Bridge tube station on the District line and many buses stop here too. However, if you would prefer to spend some time in the attractive area then the local Premier Inn is a great choice, and only a minute walk from the station.
The northern Italian food they serve here is a favourite with locals but just as popular is the 500 variety-strong wine list which was strong enough to be shortlisted for a prestigious award last year.
When it comes to unwinding with a few drinks, again Putney Bridge is a great choice. While The White Horse on Parson’s Green is sometimes mockingly referred to as “The Sloany Pony”, there’s no doubt of the calibre of this excellent bar and it has the awards to prove it.
Further down from Putney Bridge, on Lower Richmond Road, is what looks like your average English pub, The Half Moon. But this isn’t any old pub. At the back is a small stage where Kate Bush performed her first gig. The Rolling Stones, The Who and U2 have also played there. It still hosts many live acts as well as featuring an excellent comedy line-up.
If you’re planning on visiting London this year, why not take advantage of some of Putney Bridge’s best music venues?
About The Author: Iain Aitchison is an avid travel and culture blogger from the UK. He has spent much of the last two years travelling the UK and Europe, writing about his experiences and recommendations.
Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons – garyknight