There’s really nothing that makes exploring London more enticing than the prospect of a sunny weekend. Whether it takes food, drink, history or just an impressive view to draw you out from under your duvet on a Saturday morning, there’s something among Miss Immy’s secret spots that will appeal. And with a bit of luck you’ll feel bold enough to set off without an umbrella in tow. Maybe even without a coat…
Ruby’s Bar, 76 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16
I discovered this little gem which opened recently and love it! Hidden in a Dalston basement in what used to be a Chinese takeaway, Ruby’s is a perfect bar to while away a few hours drinking top-notch cocktails in old milk bottles and tin cups. The eclectic, dishevelled décor gives it a cosy, inviting atmosphere, and the friendly staff and great music make this place a must.
Trinity Buoy Wharf
On a peninsula in E14 you’ll find Trinity Buoy Wharf. It feels like a world away, yet is on the cusp of zone 2 and has the best up-close and personal view of the O2. There’s all sorts to see here including London’s historic lighthouse where you can listen to Longplayer – a piece of music playing continuously for 1000 years without repetition (due to finish on 31st December 2999). There’s Container City, a block of artist studio spaces and flats made entirely of old containers. And how about a burger, shake and stick another dime in the jukebox at Fat Boy’s, an authentic 1940’s American style diner which has been plonked in this obscure location, yet fits brilliantly. During the week, you can hop on a boat across to the O2. Plus just down the road at Royal Victoria Dock, you’ll soon be able to take the brand spanking new Emirates Air Linecable car across to the Greenwich Peninsula. Can’t wait for that to open this summer – I’ll be to’ing and fro’ing willy nilly!
Sands Films & Rotherhithe Picture Research Library
Situated in historic Rotherhithe (home to the Brunel Museum and the fantastic Mayflower pub where the Pilgrims set sail for America), you’ll find Sands Films. This amazing place is located within an old Grade II listed granary, and the moment you step inside, it’s like going back in time. There’s an old picture research library where you can browse through endless dusty picture-filled books. While upstairs there are loads of ladies beavering away making beautiful period costumes for film and TV. Every Tuesday evening, there’s a free film club in a tiny cinema full of mish-mashed sofas and chairs, where they show wonderful old foreign films (a small donation is encouraged). This is without a doubt, one of my favourite places in London.
Brunswick House Cafe
Two minutes from Vauxhall station is Brunswick House, a stunning 18th Century house which sits like an island surrounded by the chaos of the Vauxhall Bridge roundabout, numerous new build flats and MI6. Currently owned and restored by the architectural salvage company, Lassco, Brunswick House is a wonderful oasis selling chandeliers, antique radiators, house fittings, vintage signs and other curiosities. And amongst it all, you’ll find Brunswick House Café oozing Bohemian charm, cocktails and good food. It’s run by Jackson Boxer and his brother, Frank, (who runs Frank’s Café atop a Peckham car park each summer – another favourite spot I’ve snuck in there!)
Crossness Pumping Station
As far as pumping stations go, this one is drop dead gorgeous. Located by the Thames in Abbey Wood, Crossness is a Victorian masterpiece where engineer, Joseph Bazalgette vastly improved London’s sewage system. The ornate and intricate ironwork is strangely beautiful and despite being a girl with little interest in things like engines, I found it quite magnificent. Crossness is open on random Sundays throughout the year. The next being June 24.