Wednesday, April 28, 2010
My ash cloud-induced staycation in London continued on Sunday. Because I enjoyed Wimbledon so much on Saturday, I decided to spend the afternoon in another new-to-me London neighborhood: Fulham.
A friend invited my boyfriend and me to his post-London marathon party at the famous Sloaney Pony, or as non-Londoners know it, the White Horse pub. Since Fulham is almost an hour’s trek from Hampstead, we decided to head down early and make an afternoon of it.
We stepped off the tube at the Parsons Green station and headed south to the park of the same name. We were immediately struck by its resemblance to a New England common, and felt like we were in Boston. The small triangular green was full of families on picnics, couples on dates, and groups of friends lounging on blankets. Add to that a few old pubs, a historic church, and some beautiful houses, and it was a lovely scene.
Not knowing exactly where to walk, we turned onto New Kings Road. Passing boutiques, shops, and restaurants, we noticed a coffee shop across the street that billed itself as a wine bar and cafe. Wine bar and cafe? This could be heaven.
It was. Di’zain—the phonetic spelling of ‘design’—was, despite its pretentious name, a complete gem. With contemporary decor, piles of magazines (including the May issue of Conde Nast Traveller and a magazine with Tina Fey on the cover!), and an enticing menu, Di’zain seemed like the perfect cafe.
So much so that we put aside our neighborhood exploration for a good hour and a half just to sit, drink coffee, eat delicious sandwiches, and read the piles of magazines.
We finally hoisted ourselves out of our comfy black leather sofa around 5pm and continued our walk down New Kings Road. At the end of the street we found ourselves in Bishops Park. We walked over to Fulham Palace, a historic home with beautiful grounds, and spent awhile strolling through the gorgeous walled gardens.
Eventually we found ourselves in a churchyard cemetery, presumably that of All Saints Church near Putney Bridge. We weaved our way through the mossy stones and overgrown trees, then headed back towards Parsons Green.
By the time we arrived at the Sloaney Pony, the place was overflowing. The interior, with its comfy furniture and massive bar, was packed, and the outside area, with picnic tables and a BBQ, was so full that people were spilling out into Parsons Green. We knew that the White Horse was one of the more popular pubs in the area, but we didn’t realize that it could pull such a crowd on a Sunday night. It put the Holly Bush, our most popular Hampstead pub, to shame.
Our friends had reserved an upstairs room for their post-marathon celebration, so we spent the evening congratulating the runners, catching up with old friends, and meeting a lot of new people. By the time we tore ourselves away and walked back to the tube, we felt like we had gotten a good introduction to Fulham, even if just the green and gastronomic highlights.