I’d never been to Blackheath before, but on Saturday I had to go to North Greenwich for a photoshoot, and afterwards I decided it would be fun to explore an entirely fresh (to me) part of London. The centre of Blackheath was only a 10 minute drive away, and it was the perfect day for having a wander: the sun was shining, and I didn’t even need a jacket. I’ve been very thankful that lately the rain has been in the week when I’m at work, leaving the picture-perfect weather for the weekends (generally it’s the other way around!). Pretty please, could the weather gods let this state of affairs continue?!
Much as I adore London, I know that I can be horribly guilty of getting stuck in a rut and sticking to the same familiar areas and places. I’d heard from many people that I’d love Blackheath, but I’d never bothered to venture out to that part of South-East London, put off by the lengthy tube & train ride. What a lot I was missing! Blackheath is such a marvellous place, and I’m only sorry I didn’t discover it before: it’s a lesson to me to make more of an effort to branch away from my familiar haunts and explore a little further afield.
The first thing you notice about Blackheath is the impressive Common, which stretches out far and wide around you and looks one of the very nicest places to walk a dog in London. Blackheath reminds me a lot of my much-loved Hampstead, with its village atmosphere and plenty of green open space. The Common is a lot less wild than Hampstead Heath, but it is very beautiful, and it’s hard to believe you’re still within a city.
Blackheath village is equally delightful, with a fabulous assortment of shops, cafes and restaurants. After my photoshoot, I was starving, so we stopped at Chapters, a bustling, popular restaurant overlooking the common, for a Bloody Mary and a venison burger with chips and blue cheese sauce. Yum!
That was honestly the best burger I’ve had in a long time, and if you ever find yourself in the Blackheath area wondering where to have lunch, then I thoroughly recommend Chapters for its tasty fare and fun atmosphere. It does get very busy, so it’s best to book in advance, or you can do what we did and grab a drink at the bar whilst you wait for a table to clear. After satisfying our hunger pangs, we continued our stroll, picking up some fresh vegetables and flowers from pretty stalls and admiring the attractive cobbled alleyways that criss cross through the village.
I, of course, was delighted to discover the seriously charming Bookshop on the Heath, which stocks a tempting range of secondhand and rare books. I was drawn to their collection of vintage Agatha Christie paperbacks and brightly dust-jacketed Famous Five novels, but managed to restrain myself from buying anything (I really don’t have room for more books!). I’m still rather regretting the lovely old Puffin paperback of Ballet Shoes that I left behind though – sigh!
After our rambles, we rather thought we could manage a cup of tea and even a slice of cake, and as I’d been told that Boulangerie Jade was a must-visit, we headed over to the pretty cafe and were lucky enough to nab one of the tables outside.
This French boulangerie has the tastiest cakes imaginable, and it is clearly exceedingly popular with Blackheath locals. I almost felt like I could be at a cafe in Paris, especially as quite a few French people seem to live in the area, and I could hear the natter of conversations in French all around.
After our cake, it was time for one more quick stroll around the village before heading for home. Exploring Blackheath was the most fabulous way to spend an afternoon in London, and I can’t wait to go back again another time!
Have you been to Blackheath before? What are your highlights from the area?