Hampton Court & Bushy Park

Continuing our “Holiday from Home”, we were going to go to Bushy Park on Friday, but decided it was far to hot to sit on non air-conditioned trains, so went yesterday instead.

We changed trains at Waterloo – it’s always interested navigating an excited dog through crowds of people going every which way:

There is a small park by Hampton Court Station, curiously named Cigarette Island Park, so Rocco had a chance to stretch his legs:

Then across the Thames:

and a quick look at Hampton Court Palace:

Unfortunately, we found out that it’s the wrong time of year to take dogs into Bushy Park due to the deer (one dog walker we spoke to had been cornered several times in the park by deer), so we retraced our steps and found a very dog friendly pub to have a beer (and a small snack) and consider our options:

Looking at the map, we decided to follow the “Barge Walk”, a good path along the Thames, to Kingston:

The first part of this is along the Hampton Court Palace house and grounds:

Rocco enjoyed himself, but was disappointed that the banks were too high to go for a swim in the Thames (luckily):

Soon we were approaching Kingston:

and in need of another beer:

We then walked to Hampton Wick station (closer than Kingston) and got the train back to Waterloo:

And from there, back to Orpington. A lovely day, a bit warm in places but with an occasional sprinkle of rain to keep us cool.


Continuing our “Holiday at Home” week, we went to Westerham to visit Quebec House. As we were a bit early, we let Rocco have a bit of a runaround in a nearby park:

We toured the house in shifts, so Rocco & I explored Westerham itself:

then the gardens at Quebec House:

We then swapped over and I had my tour of the house:

Next stop was Chartwell for a picnic in the shade:

Followed by a walk around the gardens and woodland:

A lovely day!


Elizabeth Line

The new railway across London opened last month. It used to be called Crossrail, but has now been named the Elizabeth Line, with a distinctive purple colour used for all the signage.

This was a good excuse to “play on the trains”, so we got a fast train up to London Bridge and had a few minutes to explore the increasingly pleasant area by Tooley Street:

Then a short Thameslink ride to Farringdon to explore our first Elizabeth Line station. The murals are supposed to depict diamonds, as Hatton Garden is nearby:

It all seems so new and shiny!

Some of the tunnels and escalators are quite long though:

and the platforms, with the platform edge doors, seem very different to normal tube platforms:

Despite a train every five minutes (or perhaps because), there were very few passengers:

We travelled east to Abbey Wood:

After failing to find a coffee there, we headed back west. Note the rather boring departure board:

Next stop was Woolwich, a brand new station not far from the existing Woolwich Arsenal station:

and time for a beer!

Next stop was Custom House, which mainly serves the ExCel exhibition centre:

While we were there, we looked at Royal Victoria Dock, looking splendid in the sunshine:

Then back underground to Canary Wharf, which had very strangely coloured escalators:

Canary Wharf itself was a bit busy, but the roof garden makes a nice quiet space:

Next station was Whitechapel, quite a contrast from docklands!

Again, very long tunnels and escalators between the tracks and the outside world:

Then on to Liverpool Street Station, again with very long tunnels and escalators:

Rather than walk back to the Elizabeth Line platforms, we took a Hammersmith & City tube to Paddington; the exit of which is right by the Grand Union canal and Little Venice:

After a meander along the canal, we headed back to Paddington, this time to the Elizabeth Line platforms:

and caught a train to Tottenham Court Road Station – passing through Bond Street Station, which has yet to open. Yet again, very long tunnels to get to the outside world…

From there, it was a train back to Farringdon, Thameslink to London Bridge and a fast train home. An interesting, but exhausting day.

Emmetts Garden

We’re having a “Holiday at Home” this week, going out for individual days.

Our first day out was to Emmetts Garden, a nearby National Trust garden we try to visit regularly. Unfortunately, we’d missed the bluebells, but the foxgloves were out in force:

Rocco was less impressed with the plants, but was well behaved as always:

One of the nice aspects of Emmetts is that the far end of the garden goes off into normal woodland so he could run around off the lead with a stick and let off some energy:

After a break for a cup of tea, we explored the rest of the garden:

A lovely afternoon out, helped by some excellent weather!

Shropshire Union Canal – Friday

A much cooler day today, with quite a bit of wind and rain showers.

We turned around in the Middlewich branch and soon rejoined the Shropshire Union Canal.

It was slow progress up the canal with lots of moored boats, but eventually we reached the locks at Hack Green.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a queue at the locks, but we helped the other boats through and stopped for lunch.

From there, it was just a short run back to the marina and time to refuel and pump out the toilets.

10.5 miles on the canal today, and 2 locks.

And finally, Saturday morning, just before we left Rowington:

Shropshire Union Canal – Wednesday

Another nice day weather wise – it makes such a difference!

We headed back to Chester in the morning, and stopped for a stroll by the (disused) branch down to the River Dee.

We then went back up the Northgate Staircase locks and stopped just outside Waitrose to do some shopping.

Then 5 more locks climbing out of Chester and we’re currently moored in the middle of nowhere by Waverton.

8.5 miles on the canal today, with 8 locks.

Shropshire Union Canal – Tuesday

We went through the triple staircase lock at Chester this morning:

Then followed the canal to Ellesmere Port. A dry day which was nice, but a bit windy at times. Duncan and I visited the canal museum there whilst Tina and Rocco watched nothing happening on the Manchester Ship Canal.

We struggled to moor the boat several times this afternoon, but eventually moored near to Chester Zoo.

13.5 miles today, with just 3 locks.

Shropshire Union Canal – Monday

A damp start this morning, but again, it eventually dried out apart from the odd sprinkle.

We’re moored in Chester, quiet but close to the centre:

We had a wander around Chester this afternoon, a nice city!

We walked along part of the city walls (dogs allowed, unlike in York) and looked at the River Dee.

Then back to a canalside pub for a beer!

10 miles along the canal today, and 5 locks.

Shropshire Union Canal – Sunday

A drizzly start to the day, but before long, it dried up and the sun came out.The canal got more interesting once we left the Cheshire Plain. Our first lock of the day was a small staircase lock:This was followed by many more locks – most large enough for two boats to go down together, with a nice opportunity to chat to other boaters.Though we did do some on our own!

12.5 miles and 6 locks today.