Exploring Hammersmith

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.

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Hammersmith Bridge; one of London`s most unique bridges in my opinion!

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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!

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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.

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Such a delectable meal!

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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.

Morris Tulip Willow

This is a Morris design for fabric– note the hand-drawn attention to detail, a sharp contrast to the mass-produced Victorian norm

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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!

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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.

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There are plenty of pubs along the river in Hammersmith

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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!

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