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Abbey Road Zebra Crossing

The famous zebra crossing or crosswalk  featured on The Beatles Abbey Road album/LP/CD cover is a popular place for a photo for any Beatles fan.

Most people manage to find it, but the opening of a new station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) called ‘Abbey Road’ has confused some visitors. A local newsagent reports that around 10 people a day ask him where to find the crossing.

There are at least eleven other Abbey Roads in London. The Beatles’ Abbey Road is in the NW8 postcode area.

The full postcode of Abbey Road Studios is NW8 9AY.

Directions to Abbey Road

Abbey Rd Beatles crossing by tube:

  1. Take the tube to St John’s Wood underground station (Jubilee Line, zone 2)
  2. Cross over Finchley Rd, the main road
  3. Walk down Grove End Rd
  4. At the end of Grove End Rd, turn right into Abbey Rd and you will see the crossing

The zebra crossing is a 4-5 minute walk from the tube station.

Abbey Rd Beatles crossing by bus:

  1. Take bus number 139 or 189 from central London
  2. Get off at the ‘Abbey Road Studios/Grove End Rd’ bus stop (Stop R), just past the studios/crossing

This bus map of the St John’s Wood area (PDF) shows all the buses that stop in the area. It also shows the 139/189 departure points in central London.

The journey time by bus varies depending on where you take and the time of day you travel – it’s approximately 30 minutes from Oxford Circus.

The Abbey Road Studio has a live web cam of the crossing. You can see fans attempting to recreate the picture in the, now much busier, London traffic. It shows how patient most London drivers are. We’re not joking. Take a look.

Abbey Rd Map

Image credit: Rodrigo Galindez

Two huge Westfield shopping centres (or ‘malls’ if you prefer the American term) are within easy reach of central London. There’s no need to make the long trek out to Brent Cross on the outer edge of north west London.

Shopping centres might not be to everyone’s taste, but it has to be said that they’re certainly convenient if you want to do all your shopping under one roof. And a major benefit at both Westfield malls is there are some pretty decent places to eat.

If you’re in London for a short trip, you probably won’t have the time or the inclination to visit both, so here’s a quick summary of what to expect at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford.

Westfield London (White City) – Quick overview

Atrium Westfield White City

The first Westfield, in the Shepherds Bush/White City area of west London, opened in October 2008. It’s built on two levels, square shaped with a large inner atrium giving it a light and airy feel. The walkways are wide, so it doesn’t seem crowded and there’s plenty of seating to rest your weary legs (whether you’ll find a seat at the weekend is another matter).

It’s easy to get to from central London (12 minutes from Oxford Circus by tube).

Westfield Stratford City – Quick overview

Westfield Stratford

Westfield Stratford is London’s newest ‘mall’. It’s located in Stratford right next door to the Olympic Park in east London. Built on three levels in a crescent shape, it’s more compact and easy to walk around with escalators at each end. However, the walkways are narrower giving it a more crowded feel and there aren’t as many places to sit and rest if you’re not eating – most seats are on the top floor.

It’s slightly further from central London (20 minutes from Oxford Circus by tube).

Shops

What do they have in common? At both centres women’s clothes and shoe shops are the most common type of shop, including many non-British shops that you won’t find in a typical UK high street. Both Westfields have an Apple store.

The Village Westfiels White City

Westfield London (White City)

There’s a good range of shops from mid-price to designer. Westfield London is definitely the better choice if you’re looking for designer clothes. When the sales are on, if you want to buy quality clothes that will last for many years, it wins hands down as the better of the two place to shop.

311 shops:
British High St shops – All the usual suspects
‘The Village’ – 40  designer shops including Mulberry, Burberry, Gucci, D&G, The Kooples, Louis Vuitton.
Department stores: Debenhams & House of Fraser
Supermarkets: Waitrose & M&S
Bookshops: WHSmith

If you go with someone who hates shopping, there’s a brilliant public library outside near Debenhams.

There’s a Primark in Hammersmith, one stop on the tube from Shepherd’s Bush Market station.

Westfield Stratford City

There’s a better choice of shops to suit the budget-mid range pocket. If you’re on a tight budget then Westfield Stratford is better.

247 shops:
British High St chains – As above, all the usual suspects including Primark
Department stores: John Lewis
Supermarkets: Waitrose
Bookshops: Foyles

Food & Drink

Westfield London (White City)

Around 60 places to eat, so it’s easy to find something to suit your taste and budget. The Balcony area has 13 top-quality fast-food type places (i.e not McDonalds, although if you do crave something similar there’s a Burger King tucked away at the Wood Lane end of the ground floor).

There are branches of EAT and Pret a Manger if you just want a sandwich. For sit-down meals, there’s a decent selection of mid-priced restaurants on the Southern Terrace and more family-friendly restaurants in The Loft.

Westfield Stratford City

There’s slightly more choice at Westfield Stratford with around 70 places to eat. The Fast Food Court on the ground floor is where you’ll find KFC, McDonalds, Spudulike, Subway and Harry Ramsdens (good fish & chips).

A healthier and more varied selection of fast food can be found on the first-floor World Food Court including branches of the wonderful Franco Manca pizzas, Comptoir Libanais & Pho. If you want a restaurant – the choices are similar to Westfield London.

Facilities

Westfield London (White City)

Free WiFi, left luggage office, 14 screen cinema, library and a gym and spa.

Westfield Stratford City

Free WiFi, left luggage office, 17 screen cinema, Aspers casino, All Star Lanes luxury bowling alley.

Opening hours

Westfield London (White City)

Mon-Wed 10am-9pm
Thur-Fri 10am-10pm
Sat 9am-9pm
Sun 12pm-6pm

Bars and restaurants are open later.

Westfield Straford

Mon-Fri 10am-9pm
Sat 9am-9pm
Sun 12am-6pm

Some shops are open until 10pm (not Sunday). Bars and restaurants are open later.

Transport & Parking

Westfield Stratford City

It’s 20 minutes by tube from Oxford Circus to Stratford. Westfield Stratford is in zone 2/3.

Underground – Stratford (Central Line)
Overground – Stratford
Docklands Light Railway – Stratford

Parking is available. See car park fees. Westfield Stratford is cheaper than Westfield London.

Westfield London (White City)

It’s 12 minutes by tube from Oxford Circus to Shepherd’s Bush. Westfield London is in zone 2.

Underground – Shepherd’s Bush (Central Line) or Wood Lane (Hammersmith & City Line)
Overground – Shepherd’s Bush
There are numerous buses stopping at the bus station right in front of the centre.

Parking is available. See car park fees

Useful Info

There are ‘information screens’ dotted around both centres to help you find the shops you want but they’re slow to use. If you have a smart phone, download their free app (available from the links below) so you can easily find out how to get from shop A to shop B. They’re also useful for finding information on sales, events and meal deals.

Map

Websites

Westfield London uk.westfield.com/london

Westfield Stratford uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity

If you visit Richmond Park, London’s largest Royal Park, make sure you visit one of its highlights – the Isabella Plantation. This wonderful 40-acre ornamental woodland garden has something of interest whatever time of the year you go, in fact, it’s worth a special trip on its own.

Started in 1831 by the Lord Sidmouth, the Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park planted beech, oak and horse chestnut trees and enclosed it to protect it from the deer. An ornamental garden was started in the late 1940’s and it opened to the public in 1953.

What to see

Evergreen azaleas – flowering in late April early May
Rhododendrons – over 50 different species and 120 hybrids at their best in April-May
Camellias – white, pink and red camellias, best from February- March
Acer Glade – stunning autumn colour
Heather Garden – heathers, gorse and broom provides year round colour
Thomson’s Pond – water lilies
Bog Garden – pools and streams with architectural plants and ornamental grasses

Isabella Plantation

It’s also a good place to spot some wildlife with plenty of ducks to feed including handsome Mandarin Ducks (pictured). Resident birds include Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Redpoll, Bullfinch, Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Tawny Owl.

Mandarin Duck Isabella Plantation

How to get there

The garden is in the south west section of the park and if you travel by car, the nearest place to park is the Broomfield car park.

Without your own transport, there are two ways to get there:

Via Richmond

This is ideal if you plan to spend some time in Richmond. Take the district line to Richmond tube station or the train from Waterloo to Richmond. Take bus 65 from outside the train/tube station. Get off at Ham Common and head down Ham Gate Avenue. It’s 1.17-mile (1.89km) walk to the garden.

Via Putney

For a shorter and easier walking route, take the district line to Putney Bridge tube station or the train from Waterloo to Putney. Take bus 85 and get off at the Warren Rd/Kingston Hill stop and walk along Ladderstile Ride. It’s 0.82-mile (1.33km) walk from here.

Website

London’s Portobello Market has long been on the list of ‘good things to do on a Saturday’, but if you prefer vintage clothes to antiques, then Friday is by far the best day to visit. You’ll avoid the crowds, and find a much larger choice of vintage and second-hand clothes.

Vintage accessory stall - Portobello Rd

The best area is the Ladbroke Grove end of Portobello Rd, from the Westway flyover to Golborne Rd. Ladbroke Grove rather than Notting Hill Gate is the closest tube station.

Walking from the station you first come to a huge white canopy, where you can find everything from 1920’s floaty dresses, 50’s–60’s shirt dresses, 80’s jumpsuits through to classic Barbour jackets, Burberry Macs and more quirky modern designer clothes. It’s the place to find a unique piece and quirky vintage shoes, boots, belts & bags.

Vintage clothes stall Portobello Rd

Directly under the flyover, most stalls sell vintage costume jewellery from the 40’s to the 90’s. There’s the ubiquitous military jackets & uniform stall and a few stalls selling records, new books and the odd collectable.

Continue north along Portobello Rd, and you’ll find a little gem — the long-established cashmere stall sells a colourful range of new and lightly worn jumpers and cardigans from £10. Portobello is probably one of the best places in London to buy cashmere sweaters.

Cashmere stall Portobello Rd

North of Raddington Rd, the clothes are more ‘second-hand’ than vintage but it’s where you’re likely to find a bargain. Prices are cheaper than most central London charity shops.

Head north and you reach Golborne Rd, a lively street overlooked by Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower. On Fridays, antique & junk dealers line the south side of the street. The Moroccan fish and falafel food stalls on the north side are good spots for lunch.

Vintage suitcases Golborne Rd

Open: Fridays 8am–4.30pm
Transport
Tube: Ladbroke Grove
Buses: 7, 12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 52, 70 & 328 stop close to Ladbroke Grove tube station.

If you want to walk the length of Portobello Rd, get off at Notting Hill Gate tube. The Westway flyover is a 15–20 minute walk.