Following Luiz Hara’s five secret spots that were all about feasting are five recommendations from Chris Osburn that are more of a feast for the eyes. Chris is a freelance photographer and writer who blogs a daily London photo (among other treasures) at Tiki Chris. Pick a sunny day and start exploring. Ashleigh Arnott
Clapton Pond, E5
My local pub has a resident parrot. It’s not unusual to find an accordion player entertaining shoppers at the independently owned, incredibly well stocked and much beloved corner shop mere steps away from my flat. The Lea River, Hackney Marshes and Victoria Park are all close too. Excellent coffee, food and drink nearby are a heck of a lot cheaper and sometimes much better than at more central London locales.
As tranquil as anywhere you’ll ever find in London, Kyoto Garden is a traditional Japanese garden created in 1991 by a team of Japanese gardeners sponsored by Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in association with the Japan Festival of London. Its fairly large waterfall (about 15 feet at a guess) feeds a medium sized pond filled with colourful koi carp. A lovely stone path outlines the pond with a little bridge and viewing platform which crosses the pond at the base of the falls. Other highlights of Kyoto Garden are a stone washbasin, Japanese-style shrubbery and red maples. With the sounds of the rushing waterfall enhancing the bucolic feel of this garden, it’s easy to forget you’re only a short walk away from Notting Hill or Kensington High Street.
If you’re looking for a quiet spot for a softly-spoken lunch or you’re hoping to impress a client with a restaurant for those ‘in the know’, Nuno Mendes’ Corner Room at the Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel & Apartments is as good as gets in London. Moreover, the two course lunch special for £15 is deliciously good value for money. But be warned, this beauty of a bistro has a refreshingly strict ‘no phone, no email, no bookings, just walk-ins’ policy.
Dappled sunlight, ancient graves, scenic views over London… 52 acre Nunhead Cemetery is a brilliant place to let out your inner goth while still soaking up some rays in a historic setting.
Lea Valley Walk (from Lea Bridge to Three Mills)
Country-like bits, post industrial bits, some of London’s best graffiti, bobbing narrow boats, skylines, waterfowl, impressive views of all the Olympic development stuff all make this one of London’s most varied wanders. And if you know where to stop and venture off the towpath a bit there are awesome galleries, cafes, pubs and more rewards to be found.