Secret South London: A Day out in ClaphamBy Carolina Vergara Miranda -
I’ve been living in London for almost two years now, and before that, I visited a couple of times as a tourist. I enjoyed those trips so much! It’s amazing to see everything for the first time. Tower Bridge was my favourite place, I loved Little Venice, I was impressed by Westminster and I had so much fun in Camden.
However, I wish someone had told me about the places where tourists don’t go... places where you can really feel the city, feel that you are a part of it.
For my first year in London, as a resident this time, I lived in South London. This gave me time to see other places that I had never seen before like Chelsea, Battersea, Wandsworth and, of course, Clapham.
Now that I've moved to another neighbourhood, I wanted to remember how amazing that side of the city is and I went with my husband to spend our Saturday in Clapham. It was amazing!
First of all, there is really easy access. If you travel to Clapham Junction, the busiest railway station in London, you will find a completely step free station - something that I am always trying to find.
We arrived there in the morning and after a short walk from the station found the immense Clapham Common Park. This park has 220 acres of green grass, trees, three ponds and tons of people all the time enjoying the park and doing all kinds of activities: running, playing football, enjoying the day with their kids, having a picnic, chilling with friends or just reading a book in the grass feeling the sun on their faces (I know we are in London, but you can be lucky!).
For me, the park is the perfect place to chill out and have a picnic for lunch. But I think it's also important to enjoy the nature and the freshness between the trees. You can find small “woods” where everybody takes their dogs for a walk or where they just go to feel that they are being transported somewhere else.
There are plenty of shops around if you forgot to pack those sandwiches from the fridge.
After lunch, we felt it was time to leave Clapham Common. It would've taken us about 30 minutes by foot to walk through the park to the Clapham Common tube station, but for me this would have been too much... This wasn't a problem though as there's a bus route which is easy to navigate. We hopped on at Battersea Rise in the direction of Clapham Common Station. It didn't take much more than five minutes and we were able to admire the immensity of the park during our ride.
At Clapham Common Station, the first thing you will notice is the Clock Tower. It was built in 1906 and is right by one of the entrances of the underground station.
However, if you have accessibility requirements, Clapham Common tube station is not ideal as it has a big flight of stairs. You're better off arriving at Clapham Junction train station and enjoying the Southside of the park, which is exactly what we did. Clapham South tube station is also another option as it has escalator access between the street and the platform.
Almost in front of Clapham Common underground station you will find Venn Street. We stumbled across the Venn Street Market which is open every Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00. I loved this place. It had a mixture of all kinds of produce and stalls: vegetables, bakeries, French and English cheese, pâté and brownies! We decided to have a dessert here, enjoying a delicious brownie which is ideal for chocolate addicts like me!
After enjoying the market and buying some cheese to taste tonight at home, there were plenty of options of things to do next. Venn Street is full of restaurants offering a multitude of cuisines. There are Spanish bars, French bistros, burger joints, Indian foods and to top it all off, even a cinema on the same street!
It's a brilliant cinema, but today was not the day. We had been walking a lot and were tired, plus the cinema sadly has lots of stairs.
So after enjoying the park, a picnic, and this amazing market, it was time for us to go home to enjoy some delicious cheese with a glass of wine.
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