Monday, 30 May 2011
A Wander through West London (3) - Eel Pie Island
In London, there are plenty of islands, or Aits/Eyots as they are known, in the middle of the Thames. West London is where the bulk of the islands exist, and Eel Pie Island (one of the few on the Thames not called an Ait or an Eyot) is one of the most famous, partly as it has a great history to it. Plus, it is one of the few that is partially accessible to the general public. Many others require a boat ride to get to it, but for Eel Pie, you can simply walk across the bridge.
Eel Pie Island itself is a hidden gem. Much of it is very artistic, probably due to its history as an old Hippie Commune. Today, the island is filled with a mixture of rustic buildings, and slightly more modern fare.
And it is surprisingly tranquil. It is only a small wander over a footbridge, but the lack of vehicles makes this a very peaceful island. Despite the nearby rattle of Twickenham town centre, once you are on Eel Pie, everything is surprisingly quaint and quiet. No cars, no cycles, just people and postmen wandering around the island, taking random photos of what is around...
Getting there and Away:
Eel Pie Island is just across the river, over a footbridge, from Twickenham Town Centre. Most of the island is a private nature reserve, so look out online for the special open days, when a hike to Twickenham actually becomes worthwhile. The nearest railway station is Twickenham, (which is a ten minute walk away). There are also plenty of buses that make the quick journey (usually 15 mins) from Richmond Tube Station on the District Line. Alternatively, it is a very pleasant walk from Richmond.