Before my latest trip to London, about all I knew of Hammersmith was that it was a charming area outside of central London; and that former Top Gear presenter James May calls it home! So when I spent a day in Hammersmith this past April, there was lots for me to learn and plenty to discover.
Hammersmith Bridge; one of London`s most unique bridges in my opinion!
The bridge is built with all the imagination and ostentation of the late Victorian period
My mum and I ventured into Hammersmith mainly to visit a pub– making it a very worthy trip! The destination was The Dove, which is a riverside pub once frequented by writers such as Ernest Hemingway. The lyrics to one of my favourite patriotic songs, Rule Britannia, were also reputedly written at this very establishment!
The Dove is accessible via a narrow alleyway, and is a building full of character
The Dove was a wonderful place. The atmosphere was welcoming and charming; dogs kept coming through the pub which is something one doesn`t see in central London, but which is in my mind the mark of a proper pub! Although the idea of allowing pet dogs in any kind of establishment where food is served is completely alien in Canada, I look forward to taking my dog on trips to the pub with me when I live in the UK someday!
I can`t say enough good things about my meal at the Dove– I enjoyed the best hamburger I`ve ever had, washed down with a pint of Fuller`s London Pride and complemented by a heap of chips. It was fantastic. And the experience was livened up by the amusing young man who was our server– he was quite a character, and was interested in where we were from and where we were going. The combination of the amazing food, incredible history, and friendly atmosphere made the Dove somewhere I`m dying to visit again.
Such a delectable meal!
And the obligatory pint
Once we had refueled at the Dove, we visited Kelmscott House; which is a museum dedicated to William Morris. Morris was a textile designer, writer, and socialist who offered a fresh and unique approach to life amidst the excess of the Victorian era. I`ve long adored Morris`s intricate yet natural designs (many of which were inspired by medieval art and the natural world), and many others do as well– Morris designs are still in production today, over a century after his death.
This is a Morris design for fabric– note the hand-drawn attention to detail, a sharp contrast to the mass-produced Victorian norm
Kelmscott House is filled with beautiful Morris designs, and boasts an attractive Georgian exterior as well
One of the most memorable sights of the whole trip was a small Border Terrier by the riverside in Hammersmith. He was sitting by the wall, across from a man who was presumably his owner, and who was reading a newspaper and not paying the slightest attention to the dog. About three feet from the dog (out of shot in my photograph) was a tennis ball; which wasn`t throwing itself and which was evidently irking the dog. This dog was in a snit; that`s the only way to describe it! He wasn`t concerned by any of the passers-by, and just sat grumpily by the wall for ages. It was most unusual and it really made me laugh!
The grouchy Border Terrier
Riverside Hammersmith is a picturesque place, and it`s not terribly crowded either. I really enjoyed walking along the river and seeing all the boats, wildlife, and locals on what was a gorgeous spring day.
There are plenty of pubs along the river in Hammersmith
Dozens of houseboats moored near the path
Hammersmith was a delight to visit; it`s so much quieter and closer to nature than central London. No wonder people like Hemingway, William Morris, and yes, James May, choose to spend time there!