Category Archives: England

List of articles with tips for things to do in England; top English attractions, sights and museums.

acton cemetery west london

Acton Cemetery in London

When I was walking back to the Holiday Inn Express London Park Royal from Park Royal Tube station, one of the last sections of the route took me through Acton Cemetery.

acton cemetery london

The cemetery was consecrated in the late 1890s and is home to a Victorian Gothic Chapel. There are no new plots available, but there are occasional burials in existing family graves.

acton cemetery chapel from the side

I like exploring cemeteries, but it was too cold to hang around for long. There are benches dotted around, so it would be a good place to sit and read in warmer weather.

acton cemetery chapel

The cemetery was split in two by the construction of the Metropolitan District Railway in 1903.

acton cemetery london looking back to chapel

It only takes five minutes to walk to Acton Cemetery from North Acton Tube Station. Click here to check  the cemetery opening hours, which vary according to the day of the week and the time of year.

toilets at park royal tube station

Why Don’t All Tube Stations in London Have Toilets?

When I was staying at the Holiday Inn Express London Park Royal, I looked on the map to find a walk in the area, as the following morning was forecast to be dry and sunny.

A section of the Grand Union Canal looked promising. It was accessible from Perivale Station, three stops up the Ruislip branch of the Central Line from my hotel. After around a mile along the canal, I could walk to Alperton Station, where I could travel two stops south on the Piccadilly Line to Park Royal Station, a 15 minute walk back to the hotel.

I did wonder if there would be any toilet facilities en-route during my morning out, especially as it was a cold day. Surprisingly, there were toilets at Perivale Station. I did wonder if toilets were more common at suburban stations, as I can’t remember seeing toilets at any other Tube stations.

perival stationi toilets

By the time I found the Canal, after a wrong turn into an industrial estate, and walked along to the exit for Alperton Station for the return leg of my journey, I was desperately hoping that Alperton Station would have public toilets. But no luck.

grand untion canal perivale

Thankfully my destination stop, Park Royal Tube Station, did have public toilets, otherwise it would’ve been a struggle to walk back to the hotel.

park royal toilets

My morning out left me wondering why all London Tube stations don’t offer toilet facilities for passengers? It’d be so good to be able to go out and about anywhere in London knowing that you could find a toilet in any Tube station.

rhododendron at cragsiade house in northumberland england 1

Rhododendron Time at Cragside in Northumberland, England

One of the best times of the year to visit Cragside House in Northumberland is Rhododendron Time, which usually runs from late May to mid June.

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The largest variety of rhododendrons is found in the Rock Garden, which is one of the largest in Europe.

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The Rock Garden runs down the slope from Cragside House to the Iron Bridge.

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My favourite rhododendron had peachy-pink flower buds, with white outer petals and yellow in the central area upon blossoming.

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This variety of rhododendron had a stronger smell than I usually associate with this plant.

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Do try to visit Cragside during Rhododendron Time, to enjoy this colourful floral display.

rhododendron at cragsiade house in northumberland england

kitchin buffet restaurant kings cross inside

Review of Kitchin Buffet Restaurant in Kings Cross London

I usually have a buffet Indian lunch at the Poppadom Express when I’m in London, often before heading for a mid-afternoon train back to Berwick upon Tweed from Kings Cross Station. However on my most recent trip my train was departing at 2pm, so I decided to look for a restaurant closer to Kings Cross Station.

The Kitchin international buffet in Caledonia St, literally around the corner from Kings Cross, fitted the bill. The lunch buffet was served between 12 -3pm and cost £7.95.

kitchin buffet kings cross exterior

The restaurant is quite trendy inside with reasonably spaced seating. The buffet is arranged around a central island kitchen which allows good access even with the restaurant is busy.

kitchin buffet kings cross interior

I liked the fact that there were several vegetable dishes; the broccoli in the Stir Fry was perfectly cooked.

kitchin buffet kings cross veg

You can select your own ingredients for a freshly cooked wok meal. I plumped for prawns and through that they were quite generous with them.

kitchin buffet restaurant kings cross prawns from wok

The desserts were very good. The Fruit Salad had pineapple and honeydew melon. There was a whippy ice cream machine.

kitchin buffet restaurant kings cross desserts

All the staff were pleasant.

I’d recommend Kitchin, especially to have a tasty meal before boarding a train at Kings Cross for a long journey. Particularly so when you compare the buffet lunch at the Kitchin with what food you could buy on a train for £8.

If you have the time, check if there’s a free exhibition to visit at the nearby Kings Place.

hungry yeti earling buffet lunch

Review of the Hungry Yeti in Ealing, London

On the day I checked out of the Holiday Inn Express London Royal Park I decided to take the Tube west to Ealing Broadway to visit Walpole Park. I thought it’d be a good idea to find somewhere for lunch after a walk around the park.

The Hungry Yeti buffet restaurant in New Broadway, opposite Ealing Town Hall, received good reviews and at £6.95 for a weekday lunch sounded good value for money and was only a five minute walk from Walpole Park.

hungry yeti ealing exterior


It wasn’t too busy when I arrived at the Hungry Yeti around 12.30pm. I was able to select my own table.

hungry yeti ealing interior

There was a fair selection of starters. My starters were a bit cold, I assume they’d been sitting out since opening time at noon.

hungry yeti ealing starters


The salad items were very fresh.

hungry yeti ealing salad and fruit selection

My favourite dishes were the Aubergine Curry, although it was a bit oily, and the Vegetable Stir Fry.

hungry yeti ealing lunch buffet

There wasn’t much choice for dessert,  the fruit salad was mainly apple and the ice cream wasn’t great.

For £6.95 I was happy with my lunch. I wouldn’t rave about the food, but if you’re in the area it offers a well priced, tasty meal.  It’s probably better to eat there during busier periods so that the food is hotter,

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant buffet selection

Review of Diwana Vegetarian Indian Restaurant in Euston, London

I did a search for a buffet restaurant close to the Wellcome Collection in London, as I planned to visit the ‘Institute of Sexology’ exhibition there. The Diwana Vegetarian Indian Restuarant in Drummond Street, close to Euston Station, received very good reviews. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I was attracted to the lunch buffet at the price of £6.95.

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant exterior

I was impressed by the extremely attractive buffet selection as I waited to be shown to a table.

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant buffet lunch

I was offered a table on the first floor. Not ideal when you’re as accident prone as me, but I managed not to spill any food on my trips up and down the stairs.

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant interior

I thought that the food was fantastic. I wasn’t sure what everything was, but it was all very tasty.

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant plate

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant lunch buffet

diwana indian vegetarian restaurant dessert

When I asked for my bill there was a notice on the small silver plate saying that service was not included. I checked that I could pay by card. When the waiter brought the card reader machine, he asked if I wanted to add a tip. I’ve never had this experience at a buffet before, although many London restaurants automatically add a supposedly discretionary service tip to your bill. I do usually leave a tip, but In some ways I wish that the Diwana would just increase the price of the lunch buffet to include a service charge, which would save them asking customers for a tip.

The buffet is only available at the Diwana Vegetarian Indian Restaurant during lunch time, from noon to 3pm. I’d recommend that you eat then, so that you can try a wide selection of wonderful dishes,

walpole park ealing pitzhanger manor house

Photo Tour of Walpole Park in Ealing, London

When I was staying at the Holiday Inn Express London Park Royal, I planned a trip to Ealing Broadway, which is a few stops west from North Action (adjacent to the hotel) on the Central Line. I wanted to have a walk around Walpole Park.

I’d read about Pitzhanger Manor House in the park, which was designed by the architect Sir John Soane. I’d visited the Sir John Soane’s Museum, located in the town house which he built for himself, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields on another visit to London, so I was curious as to Soane’s country house.

walpole park ealing approaching pitzhanger house

Approaching Pitzhanger Mamor House

Pitzhanger Manor House is now an art gallery owned by Ealing Council. Unfortunately, it’s undergoing renovation and won’t be open until Spring 2015. I didn’t spot much evidence of renovation on the exterior or interior.

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Rear of Pitzhanger Manor House

Walpole Park was formerly part of the estate belonging to Pitzhanger Manor House. The grounds became a municipal park in 1901.

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Walpole Park information boardwalpole park ealing looking towards bridge

Soane’s Rustic Bridge on the Serpentine Lake

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Decorated tree in Walpole Park

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Fountain in the pond at Walpole Park

The Rickyard, named after the areas previous used for stacking (ricking) hay, houses a community centre, a cafe and free, clean public toilets. The ‘Drop’ sculpture by Paul Cocksedge sits at the front of the Rickyard.

walpole park ealing sculpture by the rickyard cafe

‘Drop’ scupture outside the Rickyard in Walpole Park

ahaleena buffet park royal main course

Review of Ahaleena Buffet in Park Royal, London

I knew from looking at the map and talking with our son who had previously stayed at the Holiday Inn Express London Park Royal that there wasn’t much to do in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. When I did a search for restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, the Ahaleena Mediterranean Buffet appeared. I liked the sound of the food and reckoned it would take me around 20 minutes to walk there.

I was a bit surprised as I turned into Standard Road, where the restaurant is located, as it led into an industrial estate. I confirmed the street name and number of the restaurant’s address on my piece of paper. Sure enough as I walked down the street, I spotted the Ahaleena, which adjoined the Flames Food unit.

ahaleena buffet park royal exterior

 Entrance to the Ahaleena Buffet

The interior style was simple,. It was very quiet inside with only two other customers. I assume it’s busier during the week with customers who work in the industrial estate. There were some freezers selling ready made food by the entrance.

I didn’t see any prices displayed., I’d read online that the price was £7.95, but that must have been an old review, as it was £9.50 without a drink, or £10.50 with a drink. The selection when I was there consisted of orange squash, drinking yoghurt and tea. The price is the same every day.

ahaleena buffet park royal interior

 Interior of the Ahaleena Buffet

As soon as I looked at the food, I knew that I was onto a winner and it was worth £9.50,  My favourite starters were the Tzatziki (a yoghurt and shredded cucumber dip) and Lamb Parcels.

ahaleena buffet park royal starter

Starters at the Ahaleena Buffet

I loved the Meatballs Wrapped  in Aubergine.

ahaleena buffet park royal main course

Main course at the Ahaleena Buffet

I only saw one member of staff, who was very welcoming, saying “eat as much as you like, we want you to feel as though you are at home”. I asked him if the food was from any particular country and he said it was a mixture. However, when he told me that he was Lebanese, I remembered a similarly tasty Lebanese meal I’d eaten in Cyprus.

ahaleena buffet park royal starters

Buffet selection at the Ahaleena Buffet

The sweet filled pastry desserts were delicious.

I really enjoyed my meal at the Alaheena Buffet and recommend that you visit if you’re in the Park Royal or North Action area,

I’d advise you to phone (020 8838 0444) to check opening hours and prices before visiting. The restaurant doesn’t have it’s own website and the opening times and prices given on various other sites vary.

islington museum lenin bust

Islington Museum in London

Islington Museum is located in St Johns Street, beneath Finsbury Libray.

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Exterior of Islington Museum

I’ve always been a bit confused about the location of the boundaries of the London borough of Islington. I didn’t realise that its southern border reaches down to the City of London.

islington museum information board

Information board at the entrance to Islington Museum

I found the entertainment section interesting. Music halls were popular in Islington. Collin’s Music Hall opened in Islington Green in 1863.

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Marie Lloyd – “Queen of the Music Hall”

Islington was quick to embrace the cinema craze. The first film show in England took place at the Agricultrual Hall in Upper Street. In1914 the borough had around 30 cinemas. In 1930 the 3,000 seater Astoria Cinema opened. It’s interior was designed to look like a Mediterranean village. It later became the Rainbow Theatre, but is currently a Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

islington museum astoria cinema

Astoria Cinema

At the radicals section, there was information on rights for women. I hadn’t realised that Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18th century advocate of women’s liberation and education, died aged 38 after giving birth to her second daugher Mary Shelly, the author of Frankenstein.

islington museum mary wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft information board

More than 1,000 suffragettes were imprisoned in Holloway Prison during the fight for women’s right to vote in the early 20th century. I knew about the authorities force-feeding prisoners who went on hunger strike, but during further research I was horrified to read that force-feeding was also done through the vagina and rectum. There’s no way that would’ve provided any nourishment, it was sexual abuse and torture.

islington museum suffragette badge

Suffragette badge

It’s free to get into Islington Museum. The museum is open from 10am – 5pm, but closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

wesley's chapel interior

Visiting Wesley’s Chapel and the Museum of Methodism in London

I spotted Wesley’s Chapel and the Museum of Methodism in City Road as I was walking between the Geffyre Museum and the Barbican Centre. It was a coincedence, as I’d read about John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist movement, when I was in Islington Museum the previous day.

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Sculpture of John Wesley at the entrance to Wesley’s Chapel

Wesley’s Chapel opened in 1778, to replace the original Foundery Chapel.

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The Museum of Methodism is located in the crypt beneath the Chapel. There’s a short video giving a good summary of the life of Wesley.

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Entrance to the Museum of Methodism

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Collection boxes at the Museum of Methodism

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Ceremonial trowels at the Museum of Methodism

museum of methodism mobile pulpit

The Wesley tradition of outdoor preaching lives on

The Garden, where you’ll find Wesley’s tomb, is accessed through the rear of the museum. The rear of the Chapel is reflected onto the glass windows of the adjacent modern office block.

wesley's chapel garden

Garden at Wesley’s Chapel

You can also visit John Wesley’s House on a guided tour, but I didn’t have enough time to do this.

Wesley’s Chapel and House and the Museum of Methodism are open Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm, but closed on Thursdays between 12.45 & 1.30p for a service. Admission is free, with donations welcomed.