Brockley Central salutes: Greenwich

What would we do without our tourist-friendly neighbour?

Greenwich town centre itself has changed in recent years, selling some of its soul and caving in to chain bars and restaurants, pushing out our pie shops, but there is still much to be thankful for. When you’ve exhausted Brockley’s limited supply of restaurants, or you want something just that little bit more grown-up; when you fancy a spot of retail therapy but don’t want to get on a train, or want something a little more unique - there is always Greenwich. An abundance of facilities that we often long for in Brockley, and all only a brisk stroll away.

There is one part of Greenwich especially that makes us happy: Royal Hill. Still seemingly untouched by the commercial heart of Greenwich, a road that packs in pretty much every lazy weekend destination we could hope for. A decent cafĂ© or two, numerous pubs including a great microbrewery, a butchers, a deli, even a cheese shop. All shamelessly middle class, perhaps, but so are Brockley’s latest additions.

At the weekend, we got to sample this side of Greenwich at its best. Without even touching the main market square, and hence avoiding the crowds, we managed to enjoy a cracking meal at our new favourite gastropub The Hill, and then take in Batman at the Picturehouse - a cinema where the staff are all enthusiastic about the films, the seats lean back properly, and you can take your drinks in from the bar. Perfect.

What are your favourite bits of Greenwich?

80 comments:

tj said...

1)Listening to music from the bandstand in the park - bring back Hilly Fields Bandstand and some weekend recitals
2)The view of London fron the Observatory
3)The See Woo & Five Crops Asian Supermarkets in East Greenwich
4)The Dim Sum on weekend morning's at Peninsula

tj said...

grocer's apostrophes excluded

Brockley Nick said...

I take it we're limiting it to Greenwich centre and the park?

The cricket square and tennis courts at the top of the park.

The view over London from the General Woolfe statue.

The walk along the river past The Trafalgar and the rowing clubs to the Cutty Sark pub.

hat said...

The Richard the III pub (always called the Tolly by my dad, and now us for some reason), the view from Point Hill, even though it's touristy a window seat in the Trafalgar is always a joy in summer.

Hugh said...

Exhausted Brox already?

11.34 said...

The pie shop smelled of school dinners - enough to make me retch when I went in to see what the fuss was about. Lumpy, watery mash, cheap tasting pies, and revolting gravy. God knows what the tourists thought. An anachronistic embarrasment and I'm glad it's gone. (I was born, raised and educated in the borough of Greenwich btw).

The cinema though is FANTASTIC and I'm so happy that it's opened up again.

Richard Elliot said...

Drings. Certainly not cheap, but a good quality butcher.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the obsession with delis, cafes, butchers, bakers (the less said about the candlesticks the better) and cheese. Does BCs only interests and aspirations for Brockley involve making onesself fatter and more caffeinated?

I rank both as minor interests by the way, but I can't help but notice the slant.

Anonymous said...

What are your major interests?

Richard Elliot said...

I can't speak for others but I enjoy cooking, entertaining and dining out with friends. Its a pleasure to be able to shop / eat locally in nice places. Where's the harm in that?

nobbly brick said...

The picturehouse definitely doesn't get my vote, for one very subjective reason, the recent Rolling Stones film, which is without doubt the grimmest experience I've ever had to sit through, and one very objective reason, an experience with a George Clooney film (name I forget) when the seats I was offered, and foolishly took, were right on the front row and as far to the left as was possible. I could barely see the film in any 'reasonable' way.

I complained bitterly on the way out that not only shouldn't they be selling tickets for seats where the view was so bad, but having seats in such a place was more than a bit cynical.

They did give me complimentary tickets, (usable on Monday to Thursday,) which I never used, and indeed, the abysmal Rolling Stones experience took place after this event, but I still feel that selling items (the seats) which are unfit for the purpose is ridiculous.

Mara said...

Ginza - I rate it as best Japanese restaurant in the locality.

Greenwich Park - Particularly the rose garden

The green laser Meridian line at night - because I'm a big geek.

Thames Clippers - Take the boat from Embankment to Greenwich - Greenwich architecture from the water is superb.

11.34 said...

I'm a bit blessed being a freelancer at the moment and can go to the Picturehouse during the day (when it's less busy and cheap) so haven't experienced seating probs.

On a positive note. Greenwich Yacht Club has a great clubhouse (built on the proceeds of selling off a Portakabin which found itself in the firing line of the Millennium Dome development) which served some of the cheapest beer in London - with a view to match, or better, the Riverside boozers. A reasonable cross-section of people too, before you non-sailors jump to the conclusion that it's full of Hoorays ;)

nobbly brick said...

well, yes, I'm freelance as well, but having spare time during the day is a mixed blessing...

Vikki said...

Sorry to be negative too but agree with Nobbly Brick about those cinema seats. The entire front row of one of the cinemas just shouldn't be there.

It is cynical to even have them there in the first place. Made me very cross and I've not been back.

Surrey Quays and Peckham mulitplex may not be independents or as nice (on first appearances) but they are cheaper and crucially, you actually see the film.

Brockley Jon said...

I would have thought the front row of any cinema would be a neck-strain inducing experience? I'm more of a back row canoodler myself, but enough said about that...

@11.34, yes, the yacht club looks great every time I cycle past (working off the deli visits) but don't you have to be a member to get in?

11:34 said...

Brockley Jon - Ah yes, but you can be signed in by a member. Although,if you can express or feign enough interest in riverside architecture or sailing, they might let you in regardless!

I became fascinated by the boats in the b'yard a few years ago and decided to learn to sail. Took a RYA dinghy sailing course (Greenwich Borough subsidised) in Thamesmead, and became an associate member of the Yacht Club. My plan was to buy a cheapish four-berther and keep it on a mud mooring at Greenwich, but then realised how much boats cost to run, and gave up the idea.

They're often on the lookout for crew down there, and it's the best way to enjoy sailing in my opinion - by letting somebody else shoulder the responsibility of running a boat..

Headhunter said...

A friend of mine does a lot of sailing with a club based in Hammersmith and sometimes sails round along the river to the Greenwich club. She loves it and has made a lot of friends and agrees with 11:34 that it's best to let someone else pay for the boat! She just sailed from Dover to France last weekend.

Last year I was invited to join a couple of other friends on a sail to the Isle of Wight which was brilliant, although I haven't done any sailing since. Did a bit a school many years ago too, and really enjoyed it. I should pop down to the Greenwich club sometime... Just can't fit all these things in...!

Back on thread, I have to say that I like Greenwich Market. It's an obvious thing to say and I suppose it's a bit twee but I quite enjoy nosing around every now and then, and it has saved me on many an occasion when I have forgotten to buy someone a birthday present. Just nip down there and buy some crafty nick nack, job done!

Headhunter said...

Hello? It's gone very quiet over the past few days. Come on, someone say something... let me see if I can start the ball rolling... Something controversial. Let me see... Has the sign outside Speedicars gone yet? I used the station over the weekend but I didn't notice. Is Portland Bookmakers open yet? If so is Moonbow Jakes still there? They promised they would shut down if Portland opened.

Andy - say something about gay black people...

G said...

My favourite pastime in Greenwich, apart from the park, is to mooch around the markets, particularly the most raggedy one, the Village Market. This is the sprawling, mostly-open-air one, with second hand furniture, clothes, knick-knacks, etc - not the more la-di-da bijou covered market closer to the Cutty Sark.

Unfortunately, it is for the chop and has no more than a few months of life left. The council has granted a potentially horrific application from its owner which will see flats and offices built, some glass-fronted shops which will no doubt be affordable to glossy chains but not to current shopholders, and space for a number of stalls but nowhere near the current number. It risks becoming a clone town development. Perhaps it won't, but the wonderful anarchic spirit of surprise and discovery that I go for will almost certainly be lost.

Bizarrely, this has not even been mentioned in the local papers. It's the loss of a much-loved institution, but it's to disappear with barely a squeak because it seems local journalists don't bother reading council documents.

The Cat Man said...

HH, the speedicars sign has been taken down but no new sign put up! - Still, a step in the right direction I suppose!

Yes, gay black people - mmm! they have really big...

...feet :o)

lb said...

The Village Market's the only bit really worth going to, I'm very surprised there hasn't been more outcry about this.

I like the river, and the view of it from the park.

Headhunter said...

I didn't realise that the outdoor/2nd hand bit of the market was for the chop. It's a shame the council didn't force the construction firm involved to provide some space in the new development for at least some of the stallholders. I remember a while ago the freeholders of the main market bit (some hospital or charity?) were trying to demolish the whole market area and re-build offices and flats. Is this an overspill from that application?

Danja said...

So that's why you're always putting your foot in your mouth.

Headhunter said...

Glad the Speedicars sign has gone. Now how about that massive Wates sign on UBR?

Back to Greenwich. Has anyone heard any more about the plans for the park vis a vis the Olympics? Last I heard there was a lot of concern that they were going to have to alter the park irreversibly so that they could stage equestrian events there. And aren't they going to close it soon so they can start work?

patrick1971 said...

Am I the only middle-class person who doesn't like markets? I just tend to find them boring and full of second-hand tat. The covered one in Greenwich isn't too bad as it's good quality stuff, but in general I really don't like markets per se; just get bored hanging around them.

Headhunter said...

I think the attraction is the atmosphere at some, the potential for unearthing a good bargain, the wafting smells of food and coffee and just the novelty of wondering around, outdoors rather than being couped up in a sterile and dry, air conditioned department store.

I suppose you just need to have a love of nosing around, if you're the kind of person who shops for specific items - get in, buy the item, get out, then markets are unlikely to appeal.

Some markets are not so pleasant. I remember going to Portobello Market years ago and thinking that it was just full of overpriced tat, and Dalston Market/Ridley Road Market is just 3rd world-like.

Brockley Kate said...

Ooooh really - the sailing club is looking for crew??? That could be the opportunity I've been looking for (I'm cursed with landlubbing friends).

Headhunter - yes, the plans to mess up the park for the Olympics are still underway. There is a Facebook group campaigning against it, as are Friends of Greenwich Park, if you want more info.

PS. It's quiet cos Monkeyboy is in Peru, innit! ;-)

patrick1971 said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head there, headhunter. For me, shopping is a case of know what you want, get in there, find it, get out again as quickly as possible so you can do something better with your time. As you say, markets hold little appeal!

Also, seven years of living next door to Deptford Market, home of: a lot of junk; stuff that will fall apart in two days; and the contents of the back of thousands of lorries, didn't necessarily endear me to the concept of the street market.

Anonymous said...

What/where is Wates? Is it in the dirty side of Brockley?

Anonymous said...

Have to say I agree with Patrick1971 Thing is with markets, is that you're trying to beat professionals at their own game. They need to turn a profit and they know what some mug will pay for a piece of tat. I shared a house with a bloke and his Mum 15 years back who used to run a leather jackets stall at the outdoor market.

The mark-up on the jackets was about 500%.

These days I stick to eBay for my collectibles (and almost everything else for that matter!)

Brockley Kate http://www.greenwichyachtclub.co.uk/

tyrwhitt ali said...

Hmmmm, my favourites bit are the cake shop on one of the market passages and the old bookshops. Unfortunately one of them closed down a couple of months ago, but there's still a few near the mainline station.

tj said...

..and a dead rat...I've mentioned it before but it obviously scared me.. a whacking great big dead rat in the middle of the road with the market going on around it.

I like Columbia Road market - but having only been there once, about 8 years ago, maybe I didnt like it that much

tj said...

obviously the board has picked up - previous comment was re Deptford market

The Cat Man said...

What do people think of borough market? Its good if you like to spend alot on over-priced food.

One of the bread stall there, used to even supply Dandelion Blue (before they changed suppliers). Dandilion Blue used to have the same bread, but 10-15% cheaper!

11:34 said...

Oops. Leather jackets post above is from "11:34"

Brockley Kate - another one to whet your appetite over the coming winter is..

https://www.crewseekers.net/
(aren't html tags fun?)

Sorry folks - going a bit OT.

Anonymous said...

Borough Market is nice for an ostrich burger or a beef bap - but the queues are longer than strictly speaking I think they should be!

Brockley Kate said...

11.34 - Thanks for the links. What with you, me and Headhunter we've nearly got enough people to put our own crew together! Maybe the next BC meet-up should be on the water?!

The Cat Man said...

I have a gull spirit if that means anything, havnt used it much as I hate my wet suit getting wet!

Brockley Jon said...

Being a Dorset boy, there is some solent blood in me, and I have been known to man the rigging a few times in my youth, so could be persuaded to join a BC crew!

11.34, html tags are fun when you give them a hyperlink to go to ;)
Try <a href="yourlink">link text<a>

11.34 said...

Ah! That's how you do it.

Anonymous said...

My favourite Greenwich past time is feeding the squirrels in the park, great fun, they come right up to you and the most tame ones will take nuts right out of your hand, just sit there and scoff 'em - fabbo!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised - maybe they're decended from the Crack-addicted squirrels from Brixton

Headhunter said...

Anon 12:17 - the Wates sign is on Upper Brockley Rd in the conservation area. It's basically a sign advertising flats for sale in the building behind it and is so large you can barely see the 3/4 story Victorian house behind! It is literally the same size as the building and you actually have to cross the road to read it. If the small Speedicars sign was an afront to the conservation area, this positively kicks it whilst it's down. Take a look - it's towards Brockley station from the Wickham Arms.

Re markets. I'm sure that some of the mark ups in markets are enormous, but then again these people have to stand outside in the rain, shine and cold selling their stuff. And in any case, I'm sure mark ups in many department stores/supermarkets are not much less on some products and I know I'd prefer to give my money to the little man. However it's not a case of supermarket or market really for me. I go to markets just for a relaxing stroll around rather than with a specific item in mind.

Borough Market is quite expensive, but I still love it. I took my friend from Texas there recently and we spent a fortune just buying little cakes, pies, beers etc from different stores, but it was a good day just wandering around eating....

Anonymous said...

How are people pronouncing (or subvocalising) "Greenwich"? Mr Fishenden at Wybourne Junior School in New Eltham told us that it should be pronounced Grinidge, and only people from outside the area mispronounced it Grenidge in an effort to sound posh!

35 years on, and I haven't let him down.

Brockley Nick said...

As a Greenwich native, it enrages me when nouveaus try to tell me it's pronounced "Grenwech" - it's pronounced "Grin-itch"

"Grin" is a shortening of "Green".

There is no such thing as the colour "Gren".

11:34 said...

Pronunciation thing is me again. Must find myself a more memorable moniker (and some work to do)

Brockley Nick - And I thought I was the only one who'd been patronised by 'outsiders' telling me I'm mis-pronouncing the place where I grew up!

Same thing went for Eltum/Elth-ham! Grrr.

Headhunter said...

It's like Marylebone which should be pronounced "Mah-le-bun" and Holborn which should be "Ho-bun". Or so I am told...

Tamsin said...

On pronunciation - I've noticed that the true natives (I'm an incomer, only been here twenty years) call Pepys Road Peppies.

On Markets - a real shame about the tatty bit of the Greenwich one - I must make a point of visiting it this month. They are fun, and do sometimes have just what you want. Anyone been to the Bermondsey Antiques Market in its heyday? Stalls setting up from 4pm, professionals selling to professionals, specialist stalls - piles of sea-shells or printers blocks or silver spoons or carpenters tools, coffee, tea and bacon rolls. Now a shadow of its former self - hidden behind new development - but still there.

What I liked about Greenwich - the antique shop with an old diving helmet in the window (and I didn't get my wooden ship restored before they suddenly weren't there), the old fashioned ironmongers and Moores Auction House.

What is still there to like now, the river, the views, the foot-tunnel (wooden panelled lifts with a grumpy man in charge), a church dedicated to "Our Lady Star of the Sea" and St Alfege's (where I help sell charity cards come Christmas).

Headhunter said...

I cycle past Bermondsey Antiques Market in its new venue every day. I think it's only open Mon to Fri though isn't it?

jon s said...

One of the reasons I selected Brocley to move to was the rowing clubs and sailing club in Greenwich.

a BC Crew, I'm in! (well from next May/June anyway) I grew up on Sydney Harbour and have even done the angle grinder to raise the sails on a maxi, about as pointless and physically demanding as rowing.

Pete said...

My favourite places in Greenwich are Royal Teas and the park. I'm not all that bothered about any of the pubs and if I was going to one it would the Prince Albert as it is usually less packed than some of the other pubs and shows the football.

Headhunter said...

I'll go sailing with you all, but I must say that the sum total of my experience is sailing Wayfarers at the age of 16 so I barely know the blunt end from the pointy end, so to speak.

I did try to help out on the sailing trip to the Isle of Wight last year and was even left in charge of the wheel for a bit heading across open water using the little bits of string (whatever they're called) on the sail to steer. You know, one on each side of the sail that cross over when you're heading in the right direction because the airflow over the sails is correct.

The Cat Man said...

HH, do you?

I cycle past a place that is currently being done up on bermondsey st, I guess that was it.

I always thought the market was something old not something brand spanking new?

11.34 said...

HH - You mean the telltales. I haven't done any sailing for 3 years myself (when I returned to a sport that helped keep my weight down), but wouldn't mind getting back into it. Unlikely to be this year though. Love the idea of a BC crewed boat though. Anybody have a skipper's licence?

To anybody interested, get yourself down to GYC on a Tuesday night, and sign yourself in as a temporary member. Then find some old bearded sea-dog, bribe him with a pint, and he'll sign you in fully (for that evening). Then you'll be able to wax lyrical about how you rounded the Cape in a force ten with the best of 'em. Or just say that you're interested in learning the ropes (or sheets) and would anybody be prepared to let a novice loose on their pride and joy ;)

They used to have Wayfarer 'round the cans' (basically out and back across the river) racing on Saturdays, but you'll need a dinghy licence to do this.

Headhunter said...

Andy - I think the market used to be in a much older building which they demolished, possibly on teh same site. They re-built it as flats and offices with a spot for the market, but I think it was closed for a long time and lost customers etc

Brockley Kate said...

Getting my day skipper paperwork is something that's on my 'to do' list for the next few years ... still at first mate level atm tho!

The Cat Man said...

Dont worry kate, i'm still at 'reversing the boat trailer down the slip' stage!

Tamsin said...

I think the Bermondsey Antiques market as such is only on Fridays (and as I said, starting at 6am or earlier). It used to be on a large derelict site and have literally scores of stalls. It then began to be hemmed in by development and the stall-holders were so fed up with being messed around that they stopped coming in droves so it is much smaller now.

It may well be that the space is used by a more ordinary type of market on other days.

Always optimistic when I go there. On our first visit my daughter found a tenner in the gutter and given that most of the people buying and selling go around with wads of cash in their pockets it was not worth even thinking about being honest and handing it in somewhere.

Tamsin said...

Not so superior as Greenwich, but there is also the Ahoy Centre in Deptford for training on little dinghies.

Aunty Kate said...

Yes...all very well and good to have the lovely Grinitch..I'm a great fan of the Tolly and the Plume myself. Not to mention Davy's - my 2nd home. And its all very handy when hosting visitors from afar - plenty of stuff to entertain them with. But how do we get there? I've concluded over the 30yrs of experiment that bus to New X and 177 or 53 is best - BUT it can take over an hour! Why can't we have a direct bus? I've asked TfL more than once.

mg said...

That seems like a long time to get there. From this end the 122 or P4 to Lewisham centre and then the 199 or 180 works well, it rarely takes much more than half an hour once you get the first bus (unless the traffic is bad on Ladywell Road). A direct service would be lovely though.

Anonymous said...

You could catch the train to london bridge and back down the line in 20 mins. Or walk it from lewisham way in 15. Take the dlr from lewisham or elverson road. Cycle in 10. When the ell comes we'll be able to take the tube to surrey quays then to north greenwich for that bit of town.

Fabhat said...

Or walk down friendly st to deptford bridge and bus it from there? Dlr is very speedy though, and only slightly more expensive than the bus.

Beat Poot said...

What about the incredible Milkshake shop, with shakes from any chocolate bars or sweets and rather pleasant polish assistant...

tyrwhitt ali said...

Ohhh I love that shop!

drakefell debaser said...

Where is the milkshake shop please?

Bolted said...

Turkish pizza with Greek salad (they get on very well) from the little bakery/sandwich shop down the alley off King William Walk.

Brockley Nick said...

Bolted - you're not the Bolted from SSC are you?

Bolted said...

Yes, damn Google signed me in.

tyrwhitt ali said...

The milkshake shop is near the main entire to the market (the one near Cutty Sark).

I'd recommend the flake or Oreo coookie one!

The Cat Man said...

I would of thought Mars bar or Snickers would of been nice?

drakefell debaser said...

Thanks TA, i haven't had a milkshake in years so will pop in when i am next there.

drakefell debaser said...

Thanks TA, i haven't had a milkshake in years so will pop in when i am next there.

Headhunter said...

I can't believe all of you are debating how to get to Greenwich by public transport! Why fanny around with buses, trains and DLR? It's not exactly a long walk... I suppose unless you live on the dark side or down by Moonbow Jakes or something. It's about 1.5 miles from Manor Ave down Friendly St and then straight into central Grinitch... Takes about 25-30 mins

Anonymous said...

It's a pretty boring walk between Friendly St and Grinitch, though. I live at the "wrong" end of Tressilian Road, so it's quite a long walk.

I just take a taxi. I gave up my car 10 years ago when I moved to London, so I feel I can justify the odd call to Speedicars(especially since it's also supporting a local business). A 5 minute journey, for around a fiver, is very reasonable, especially if there's more than one of you going.

pedant said...

CatMan - It's would have, not would of ;)

Anonymous said...

What is this all about - Brockley, The Dark Side?...

boatbum said...

Walking's the only way obviously, unless one lives on the wrong side of the tracks. And it's downhill all the way and all.

Pubs on Royal Hill are pleasant (Union & Richard I - latter has the better garden and is less family-friendly). Dring's is OK, but dearer than Peter James. The deli on the Hill is woefully overpriced though - and no longer necessary with the advent of DĂ©gustation/Dandy Blue.

Ashburnham used to be an old favourite, but the refit is ghastly. Royal George pleasant if Richard I/Union heaving with three-wheelers/tourists.

And as an alleged posh tw-t, I pronounce it "Gren-ich", purely to wind up the natives naturally.

boatbum said...

And the notion of a BC crew appeals, as the monicker may hint at - although it's been a while since I adjusted a cunningham in anger...

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