If the oft-told Oscar Wilde quote, “we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” is true (and after all, we daren’t argue with Oscar), then our feet must have a wonderful vantage point for celestial gazing.
Our ChattyFeet pals are destined to be forever at gutterlevel, but footheight needn’t mean a gloomy outlook. If you know where to find them, London is packed with footlevel wonders. So for once, ignore “don’t look down” commands and take a peek at the fascinating sights your tootsies take in.
1. The Wildflower Meadow at London Fields
Nestled among men with beards, slinky bikes without brakes, afternoon drinking and barbecue parched soil is a little slice of the English countryside slap bang in the middle of Hackney. This beautiful sea of colour came about in 2013, created as a habitat for butterflies and bees. The flowers regrow every spring, and look their most resplendent between June and October.
2. Banksy’s Guard Dog at Cargo on Rivington Street
Street art is ten a penny on east London, but arguably its most famous proponent is that mysterious chap known as Banksy. One of his most impressive pieces, now protected by plexi glass, is Guard Dog and His Masters, which can be found in the garden of Shoreditch bar Cargo.
With typically politicised stencilling, the artist shows us a torchbearing policeman and his rather unusual hound – a wellcoiffed poodle with a red nose and a bow on its head. There’s another Banksy at the back of the pub too, His Masters Voice, a play on the little dog of the HMV logo.
3. Highgate Cemetery
Home of the 1970s Vampire, as well as the grave of Karl Marx, Highgate Cemetery is a spooky but rather beautiful sight in north London. Our ChattyFeet mates just adore punk music, so they were keen to pay their respects to Malcolm McLaren, the musician and clothing designer and most notoriously, manager of those cheeky scamps the Sex Pistols.
4. The Dogs at Parliament Hill lido
If you can brave the chilly waters, Parliament Hill lido is a fabulous place for an alfresco swim. If you just want to relax in the undulating green surrounds, there’s a lot to see too: the views for taller chaps, and these charming dog statues for those at ground level. Feetasso and Vincent Van Toe didn’t fancy getting their feet wet, but boy did they enjoy chatting to these canines.
5. Liberty’s Rug Room
Many know about central London’s stunning department story Liberty, but few are aware of its little carpeted hidden gem, the rug room. Tucked away on the store’s fourth floor, the Rugs and Carpets room is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of Oriental wonders, each one cherry picked by the store’s rug and carpet buyer Bruce Lepere. The perfect spot for a tired yet visually discerning foot.
6. Greenwich Meridian line
An unassuming silver line on the ground in south London’s Greenwich is literally the place where time is kept. Or something along those lines, anyway. This silver emerges from the Royal Observatory, and is the site where east meets west at Longitude 0°, making it the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian of the World.
This means that if one chatty foot stands on one side of the line, and one on the other, that one is placed in the eastern hemisphere and one in the western. The mind, and toes boggle. All this is true, if confusing, unless you happened to read the slightly dispiriting reports emerging last year which said that the “The Prime Meridian...is actually 334 feet to the east, cutting unceremoniously through a footpath, not far from a rubbish bin.” We’ll take the pretty silver line, thanks.
7. Mudchute City Farm
Photo by See Inside
What better amusements for mind and foot that cute cuddly critters? While the capital has its fair share of city farms for the poor concrete dwellers to get a taste of rural life, our favourite has to be Mudchute. Not far from Limehouse and the docks, Mudchute city farm is a veritable even of domesticated little creatures, from at head height, like donkeys, to those closer to the ground. Our favourites are the cheeky goats, willing to nibble at anything sleeves to grass, and the adorable little bunnies making the most of their semiruralised environs.
Anything we missed out? Let us know by commenting below!