Glimpsing the past

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Many people would be surprised to learn that there is a small part of West London, not far from the Albert Bridge, where you can stroll through gardens that have changed little during the past three centuries. Here you can see a grade II* listed rockery, the oldest in Europe, and the UK’s largest olive tree.

The Chelsea Physic Garden was established in 1673 on a four acre plot of land in the privately owned Manor of Chelsea. It was leased from Buckinghamshire MP, Charles Cheyne, by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries so that they could plant a garden where students could learn to identify the medicinal plants that they would one day prepare for their customers. Additionally, it would provide somewhere they could build a boathouse for their official barge.

Since its completion there have been many Curators of the Physic Garden. One of the earliest was John Watts, and it was he who instigated the plant and seed exchange programme in 1682. This scheme, which still continues today, allows botanical gardens around the world to increase the diversity of their flora by sending out specimens to other gardens and receiving new plants in return.

In 1712 Charles Cheyne sold his estate to Dr Hans Sloane, the noted physician and collector whose extensive assortment of curiosities would one day be left to the nation as the basis of the British Museum. Sloane, himself, had studied at the Physic Garden in his youth, and became concerned when he saw the Apothecaries’ difficulties in maintaining their tenure. In 1722 he guaranteed them a permanent lease for the fixed amount of five pounds per year, an arrangement which is still ongoing.

That same year he appointed acclaimed botanist Philip Miller as Gardener (Curator). It was under this gifted individual’s stewardship that the botanical garden rose in prestige to become a world famous site. The seed exchange thrived, not least because Miller was extraordinarily successful in cultivating plants never before grown in Britain. He was generous too in passing on his knowledge to the young men who came to study.

One young student was Joseph Banks, later to achieve fame for his scientific voyages around the world. He contributed many plant specimens collected during his travels, and made a significant contribution the rock garden that was opened in 1773 in the form of lava brought back from a trip to Iceland.

After the medical reforms of the second half of the nineteenth century, botany was removed from the medical curriculum. The Physic Garden lost its importance as an educational resource, although it was still used for scientific research. In 1901 trusteeship passed from the Apothecaries to the City Parochial Foundation: a charitable institution. It retained control until 1983 when the Chelsea Physic Garden became a registered charity and opened its doors to the public for the very first time.

The British have always had a special relationship with nature, to the extent that we appreciate it wherever it may spring up. Such is the case with the Chelsea Physic Garden which has now become a popular London attraction.

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Northwest London – An Underrated Tourist Hub

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Wembley

A name synonymous with football, Wembley is a great place to connect with sport. The newly constructed Wembley Stadium and recently renovated Wembley Arena are great attractions to visit for the atmosphere they provide and the memories they invoke. The lb35 million Wembley Arena renovations were eventually completed on 2nd April 2006. As well as this strong sporting tradition, the venues are also famously involved with popular artists such as Abba, Barbra Streisand, The Cure, and many more.

Wembley Stadium

The second largest football stadium in Europe, narrowly beaten by FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou, the new Wembley Stadium is worth a visit just for the stunning architecture. This was built to replace the Empire Stadium demolished in 2003, and is now the national stadium of England.

Cricklewood

When moving from the bustling Cricklewood Broadway to the Victorian era residential streets you could be forgiven for believing that you’ve suddenly stepped back in time, since the gorgeous Victorian buildings are a throwback to a time before this former rural village was enveloped by gigantic London. Due to the presence of Cricklewood Studios, opened in 1934, Eric Morecambe famously said that “life’s not Hollywood, it’s Cricklewood!”.

Hampstead

A gorgeous 790 acre heath within the expanse of London provides a breath of fresh air when driving through the urban sprawl. Hampstead heath contains a variety of water features to provide a reservoir for wildlife and interest any hill walker. The assortment of water features allows a perfect space to relax.

Little Venice

Little Venice, situated where London’s Regent’s Canal meets the Grand Union, accommodates a large amount of water-borne activity from all over London. The picturesque views across the tree lined waterways can be enjoyed from one of the caf’es or restaurants along the edge of the canal. The canals spurting from Little Venice are all as gorgeous as the location itself, making the area perfect for evening walks.

Maida Vale

Among the redbrick mansions and Edwardian apartments, Maida Vale is home to a BBC Studio, running since 1946. This studio was used by John Peel, the longest serving BBC Radio One DJ, in his early career and is now the location of a wide range of classical music recordings.

St. John’s Wood

London’s NW8 area, of which St. John’s Wood is a part, is an especially affluent area and a popular celebrity residence. The Lord’s cricket ground is found in St. John’s Wood, and well known artists such as Cliff Richard, The Beatles and Pink Floyd have recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studios.

Abbey Road Studios

After recording their album at this iconic studio, the Beatles snapped the Abbey Road album cover at the crossing nearby, naming the famous album for this road. Tourists are often seeing snapping similar pictures to try and mimic the Beatles’ efforts.

Willesden

Home to the Willesden Cycling Club, London’s largest cycling club, host to a large Irish population, the setting of Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth, and receiving more and more investment every year, Willesden has been described as an up and coming area of London.

West Hampstead Life

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London Renting

People are flocking in several rented properties in London to taste a variety in areas before deciding to buy one. Due to change in their job location they prefer moving to London to stay close to their work place. London is a patchwork city with immense potential. All the places are knitted together with short distances of separation. Tourist attractions, vivacious streets, chic pubs, classic parks are very close to each other.

Renting in West Hampstead

West Hampstead area is not as costly as Hampstead and is well knit with various transportation systems. This makes young professionals choose West Hampstead over Hampstead. The attractive pubs, various shopping areas and the thriving nightlife of the area make it popular amongst the young group.

West Hampstead

West Hampstead is located in the north-west London and it is just 4 miles from the West End. The alluring shopping mall stands tall on the former railway land of the area. It houses many lavish shops, cinemas and other social niceties of the area. The smart bars, the pleasant coffee shops and the posh restaurants give the West End locality a hamlet like feel and are very well supported by the locals. The area is immensely well knit with underground transportation and rail.

Property

Hampstead’s skyrocketing property prices has made West Hampstead the most preferred residential area amongst young professionals and bachelors. There are myriad accommodation choices available in West Hampstead. The enchanting Edwardian castles are of the greeting variety, while the Victorian terraced houses are equally attractive. Needless to mention the neat 2 bed and 3 bed terraces and semis with small gardens are wise choices for those who prefer compact accommodation. The wide gracious streets bordering Hampstead “proper” is strewn with large 7 bedroom detached constructions. The Maryon Wilson Estate boasts of classy properties namely red-brick mansion blocks with spacious communal gardens, purpose-built and converted flats as well as whole complete houses. There are also some 20th century council blocks and upcoming modern flat projects.

West End Lane

The West End Lane is the nucleus of the West Hampstead area. It’s rich greenery and its hamlet like aura is not smothered by the tall Victorian constructions. The enchanting village feel is still retained by its numerous shops, restaurants and lively bars. The area has a prominent night life.

Transportation

West Hampstead is very well knit with the public transportation system. It is directly connected with the airport in Luton and the city with the Thameslink. Its Jubilee line connects it to the West End and to the South Bank and the Canary Wharf. The over ground station connects east-west from Stratford to Richmond.

The Abbey Road

Broadhurst Gardens in West Hampstead are famous for Decca records. David Bowie and the Rolling Stones also recorded their early albums in these studios. Even the X Factor TV show’s contestants were once housed in this area.

The wonderful residential area in West Hampstead is flocked by young professionals because of its good transportation and its close proximity to several attractions.