Your last 5 coffee adventures before a very cold, but very merry Christmas…
However different your Christmas might be looking this year, what remains constant is this: the outdoors, takeaway coffee and friends. So this month I encourage you to salute the cold, throw away old traditions and embrace an alternative view of London…by heading outside. Here’s the 3rd and final part of the series. I hope they have helped you to find some solace and comfort these past few months, and have served as a reminder that while restrictions may have changed our lives a bit, there are some windows of joy that covid can never touch…
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park – Coleman Coffee Roasters
For those looking for a spot of tranquility in the bustling Waterloo area…
The coffee: I first came across this coffee shop in 2017 and I fail to understand why more people don’t know about it. It’s on one of my favourite streets in London (all hail Lower Marsh), they roast their own beans and it is so charming inside, I wish I lived right next to it. Corona-wise, they have their own little garden out back which is partially covered by a jasmine bush; seating on the street with an awning, so if you’re wanting to drink outside, you’re all set. Note: Make you sure you get there in time, as they are open Wednesday-Saturdays until 2pm. If you miss it, check out the Travel Cafe or Four Corners, both in that vicinity – but getting to Coleman on time is worth it for their delectable freshly roasted beans… Address: 20 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London SE1 7RJ
The route: once you have a warm cup of coffee in your hand, take a right out of Coleman Coffee Roasters and then take the first right off Lower Marsh onto Frazier Street (just before Greensmiths). Take the second right onto Baylis Road and then head over the crossing in a diagonal left angle towards Kennington Road. After a few minutes on Kennington Road you’ll soon see the green of the park on your left. The park is also home to the Imperial War Museum, the Imperial Dog Park and the Tibetan Peace Garden which was opened by the Dalai Lama in 1999. The name of this garden translates to ‘Garden of Contemplation’ and houses four sculptures which represent gateways for the elements of earth, fire, water and air. The walk from coffee shop to the park should take just under 10 minutes. A perfect leafy sanctuary amidst a busy central London point.
Home Park – Local Hero
For those heading out for a day of serious walking in the Kingston area…
The Coffee: Local Hero is a jewel in a place like Kingston. It has another of its kind in Putney and is so popular with the locals, it has throngs of people in activewear outside it on weekends, all waiting for their coffee ahead of a big day out. They roast their own beans and I’ve found them to be consistently great. It’s worth saying you probably won’t leave here without a sweet treat – may I recommend the chocolate brownie. They serve a popular brunch too. Address: 22 Thames St, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1PE
The route: Head straight out of Local Hero, past TK Maxx, and across Kingston Bridge. At the roundabout you’ll see the entrance to Home Park on your left. Home Park is Hampton Court’s historic deer park, covering hundreds of acres of ancient parkland. Spot the deer, walk past the wonderful lakes, not forgetting the Long Water which is like something out of a spy film: a long stretch of man-made, perfectly symmetrical beauty. This is a walk to get lost in, it’s a real find. For more fun, head into the adjacent Bushy Park and discover their spectacular woodland gardens. The walk from coffee shop to Home Park entrance is 5 minutes.
Parsons Green – District Coffee
For those who want to stroll through a leafy neighbourhood in Fulham…
The coffee: this place is cool. Cool. Set up in 2017 by Aussie born Chelsea, she wanted to bring the Aussie-style brunch culture to London, so expect a laid back, open atmosphere. The Parsons Green branch is their original coffee house and their signature blend is a collaboration with coffee giants, Origin. Address: 50 Parsons Green Ln, Fulham, London SW6 4HU
The route: small and perfectly formed, the green is a lovely spot of grass in amongst one of the most charming neighbourhoods in London. Once you get your coffee, take a right and you’ll soon see the grass (should be about a 2 minute walk). Once you’re done walking in circles, head down the New Kings Road and take in some of the most wonderful independent creative shops London has to offer. With a coffee in hand, and perhaps a friend at your side, it is a day well spent (I mean, I went by myself, and I had a glorious time). If you want a longer walk, head further south to Hurlingham Park which is 5 minutes towards the river. Eight acres of land and great views of the river.
Greenwich Park – Greenwich Grind
For those who want a proper day out, filled with walks, culture and history…
The coffee: famous for their baby pink packaging, Grind now have an ever-growing empire of coffee shops sprouting up through London. And it is not style over substance – their coffee is seriously good. Famous for their compostable coffee pods (see my article here), come here to see what all the fuss is about. Perfectly situated in the middle of Greenwich, it really couldn’t be better for meeting a friend at the station, grabbing a coffee and then seeing where the day takes you, be it walking through Greenwich Market, heading to the river, or ambling through Greenwich Park itself. It’s a treasure trove of a stopping point. Address: 17 Nelson Rd, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 9JB
The route: hang a right out of Greenwich Grind and then take the first right onto King William Walk. Take in the impressive Old Royal Naval College and National Maritime Museum (it’s a pretty spectacular area), and head straight down the Walk which takes you nicely into the park. Spend a day here if you will. The Royal Observatory is a must, as is the world famous Meridian Line, the Rose Garden and London’s oldest Deer Park, ‘The Wilderness’. If your legs are still up to it, have a mooch around Greenwich village (providing ample opportunity for coffee number 2) and even jump aboard the historic Cutty Sark. The walk from coffee shop to park entrance should be less than five minutes.
Hyde Park – The Borough Barista
For those who want a central meeting point right by a station…
The coffee: perfectly situated at the gateway to Hyde Park (March Arch side), the Borough Barista is as exemplary as it is convenient. Their latte art is out of this world and the baristas are always keen to help, educate and guide you towards your perfect coffee. This location (they’ve another in Mayfair) is their original, opening in 2011. It’s gleaned a loyal customer-base over this time – and if your coffee date isn’t a coffee-drinker, they do mighty fine juices too. Address: 60 Seymour St, Marylebone, London W1H 7JN
The route: take a left out of The Borough Barista onto Seymour Street (away from Seymour Place), then take the first right onto Great Cumberland Place. You’ll soon see Marble Arch station and the park ahead of you. Being London’s most famous green space, it has taken on an iconic status in its rich history – books, films all seem attracted towards its appealing nature. I find the park rather big, so it’s always good to have a vague plan of where you’re going when you get there. Tips include walking along The Long Water and taking in the Serpentine Lido; catching a glimpse of Speakers Corner and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. The Italian Gardens at the end of the Long Water are a treat for the senses, as is the Rose Garden the other end. The walk from coffee shop to the Marble Arch park entrance should be 5 minutes max.
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and if nothing else, I hope a good coffee comes your way. Keep me updated with your winter walks. Stay safe,
The Snob x
Travelling solo? May I recommend my latest obsession, Autumn Acoustic, on Spotify – the perfect coffee/walk companion.
Want the Coffee Snob experience at home without having to leave the house? Get your beans below…
–District Resolute blend (in collaboration with Origin)