Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Get to Putney When the District Line is Down

Since Armistice/Veterans Day always falls on November 11, which is more often than not a weekday, the UK has set aside the second Sunday in November as Remembrance Day, which is when all the ceremonies take place.  Several AWC members were planning to go to the Brookwood Cemetery to attend a service for the American soldiers buried there, but since Josh was still trying to fight off his cold, we decided to skip it.

However, since it was a sunny, unseasonably warm (60 degrees!) day, Josh thought some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise might do him some good.  After a homemade pumpkin pancake brunch, we laced up our walking shoes and set off towards Wimbledon Common.  Just before leaving Wimbledon Village and entering the Common, we passed the WWI Memorial, where there had been a service earlier that day.  The entire base of the memorial was covered with poppy wreaths commemorating different groups.
Wimbledon WWI Memorial
Poppy wreath
We weren't the only ones who thought it would be a nice day to go to the Common and go for a walk, have a picnic, ride a bike, walk the dog, play with the kids, or ride a horse.  Fortunately, the Common is so vast and crisscrossed with walking trails, that it rarely feels crowded, even on a day like this.
A nice day to be in the Common
We thought it would be a good opportunity to visit the Windmill Museum in the middle of the Common, since it's only open on weekends, but it was closed.  Turns out it's only open on weekends between March and October.  Doh!  Someday, the planets will align and we'll actually be there when it's open.
The Windmill Museum
The adjacent tea room was doing a brisk business.  We considered stopping for a cuppa, but the line was long and we only had an hour and a half of daylight left, so we continued north towards Putney Heath.
A nice Autumn day in Putney Heath
And eventually emerged in Putney, where we continued along the high street towards the town center.  We pass through Putney all the time on the Tube, but we had never spent any time there.  It turns out it's a lot like Wimbledon.  It has two Tube stations and a train station, a small shopping mall, and most of the same high street shops and restaurants. 
The Railway pub, across from the train station
The only big difference is that Putney sits right on the Thames, so it has some nice riverfront areas and is closer to central London.  I can see why it was recommended to us as a potential place to live, and had we had more time to look at rentals, it would have been nice to see what our options were, but I suspect Wimbledon is still more convenient for Josh's commute.

We stopped in the mall for tea and cake, and continued on towards the river as the sun was setting.
View from Putney Bridge
We reached Putney Bridge just as the sun went below the horizon, and the lights came on around the distinctive apartment building that overlooks the river by the bridge.
Apartment building near Putney Bridge
I was surprised to learn that of all the bridges in London, Putney Bridge was the second one built, after London Bridge.  Of course, both bridges have since been rebuilt, but there has been a bridge here since 1729.  Why? Because the royals used to hunt in Richmond Park, and didn't like having to wait for the ferry to get back and forth across the river.

Since it was completely dark and Josh was tuckered out, we hopped on the 93 bus for the trip home.  It follows almost the same route that we walked -- except that it runs alongside the Common rather than through it -- and stops 3 blocks from our house.  We were able to score the front seats on the upper level of the bus, which gives you a better view than the driver and made for an equally scenic trip home.
View from the upper deck of the bus
If I ever need to go back to Putney, I now know I have at least three options -- Tube, bus, or walk.  I suspect I'll take the bus.  It's a bit faster than walking, and cheaper, more reliable, and more convenient than the Tube.


  1. I've enjoyed reading your blog this morning! If you are on FB, why don't you you go onto the post I just added on AWC London where I've requested AWC members to list their blogs?

  2. Great to read this Naina..I have not been to Putney yet and have heard from others it is worth a visit. Nice to meet you here. :)


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