Blackheath, The Bar and ‘Bankment – London is Our Local with Damian Peachey
How long have you lived in London?
Although I was born in Hammersmith, I’m actually an Essex boy – I grew up in Epping. However, for longer than I care to remember, South-East London has been home.
Tell us a fact about London that you think no one knows:
While London has 32 boroughs – Kensington and Chelsea, Brent etc….- there are 12 Inner London boroughs, including my own home, Lewisham
What is the best thing about London?
Where do I start? I could talk about its’ diversity, its’ cuisine, its’ culture, but instead I’ll go for its’ villages. People usually think about London as one mass but actually it’s a tapestry of villages that have fused together, all with their own character. If I take my part of the capital, you’ve got Elephant & Castle, Kennington, Walworth, Lewisham, Hither Green, Catford and so on. I love the fact that even though London is this 24-hour global city, these villages still retain their own charm and distinct nature.
Where are you favourite places to eat and drink?
Blimey…the choice makes this a very difficult question. I’ve tried to narrow things down by imagining where I’d go for my last drink and meal (which is a little morbid, granted). I’d start by walking across Hungerford Bridge from Waterloo with my wife and have a drink (or two) at London institution Gordon’s, a subterranean wine bar by Embankment tube. One of life’s great pleasures is a bottle of something and a table outside in summer. From there, I’d go to Mon Plaisir in Covent Garden. This is one of London’s oldest French restaurants, serving classic cuisine in a setting that’s almost Parisian. The walk back to Charing Cross via Trafalgar Square would be the perfect end to lunch or dinner.
What is London’s best hidden gem
Hidden is maybe a little exaggeration, but two possibly overlooked gems. One is Temple Bar Gate, one of the old entrances to the City of London and rumoured to be designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It sat in the grounds of a mansion in Hertfordshire for over 100 years, but in 2004 was returned to the City as part of the Paternoster Square development by St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a beautiful structure, and I’m proud to say that my father had a role in bringing it back to its’ original home. Just a few miles from the location of Temple Bar Gate, and close to where I live is Blackheath. Another one of London’s villages, it’s perfect for a Sunday – close to Greenwich Park for a stroll, great restaurants, and cafes (Boulangerie Jade for a café and London’s best croissants and Café Buenos Aires for a piece of Argentina in South-East London) and a farmer’s market, natch.
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