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Blog: A Pavilion South Of The River

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After heading North for a day out on Saturday, on Sunday I headed SOUTH, this time in the company of The Days In My Week, to have a look around DULWICH. The aforementioned Doors In My Room had been handed a "What's On In Dulwich" booklet after an event a while ago, so we thought we'd have a look!

The first thing I discovered about Dulwich is that it is in SOUTH London, and thus much less easy to get to than anywhere in NORTH London. The original TfL Journey Planner-supplied plan was to get the Jubilee Line to Canada Water, an Overground to Peckham Rye, and then a Southern train to North Dulwich. It seemed simple enough but this turned out to be the NAIVE HOPES of a long-term North Londoner such as I, who expected these trains to a) TURN UP and b) OCCUR REGULARLY. When we got to Canada Water it gave us a SIXTEEN MINUTE wait for our next train which then got CANCELLED. I am, of course, aware that everybody OUTSIDE London is now going "Oh you are lucky to have trains, we have to wait three weeks for a broken wheelbarrow to get anywhere" and this is TRUE, but in my defense I had to stand on a smelly platform 18 miles beneath Canada Water trying to get enough signal on my phone to persuade TfL Journey Planner to give me a reasonable alternative route. Luckily The Stops On My Route looked at the map and pointed out that we could just go a couple more stops to London Bridge and get the Southern train directly from there. This was MUCH easier, also QUICKER than the original route, and it was only then that I remembered that Journey Planner is not the innocent route planner it pretends to be, but a devious MANIPULATOR that is forever trying to stop people going through Zone 1 and/or through busy stations. NAUGHTY Journey Planner!

Our handmade artisanal route was MUCH better, and we arrived in North Dulwich safe and sound ready to be WOWED by Dulwich Village, which a handy online guide had told us was "like a rural village in the middle of London". Obviously it wasn't in the middle of London AT ALL, but it was nothing like a rural village either - as my travelling companion suggested, it was more like the outskirts of Leicester, but I suppose "like Groby but near Peckham" isn't quite as sexy.

Our first port of call was Dulwich Picture Gallery, which I had promoted at home as having a big exhibition about REMBRANDT. Technically it DOES have one, but it turns out not to start for a couple of weeks - in my defence their website was, like most Arts websites, a bit confusing. It didn't really matter though as we didn't actually go INSIDE the gallery, instead having a good look at their PAVILION (which was on its last day). I do like a pavilion, and this one was not only COLOURFUL but also had a GANTRY halfway up that you could wander round which was full of tiny children making dinosaur noises, and thus ACE.

We then crossed the road and did a circumnavigation of Dulwich Park. The guide promised us "adorable dogs" which it definitely had a lot of, but surely missed a trick by not describing it as "like Central Park in Peterborough, but a bit bigger and near Peckham." It was dead nice and featured even more tiny children making dinosaur noises, especially outside the cafe where 17,000 toddlers took it in turns to be frightened of, and then harrass, an extremely dignified dog.

After that we crossed back over the road, took a shortcut through the gallery grounds again, and then hopped into Belair Park which, weirdly, did not remind us of ANY part of The Midlands. It was still pretty good though, especially an AMAZING Rose Garden which - ARF! - I had not - ROFLS! - promised anybody. We had a quick look inside the Manor House there too, although when we opened the doors we heard high pitched squealing, so assumed it had been booked for a function. As we left a young man came out and told us that it was a bridal shower, but that the building would be open as a restaurant next month. At first we thought he was just undertaking some excellent customer service, but later realised that he probably just wanted to get away from the Bridal Shower for a bit!

With that done we went to West Dulwich to wait for about 20 minutes for our next train, then got on a Thameslink back to St Pancras where we were reunited with the very fast, very regular, very handy high speed service home to Stratford International. It had been a lovely day out, but gor blimey guv'nor, it was good to be back in North London again!

posted 25/9/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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Inexplicably appear not to have mentioned (a) no overhead wires, just the magic third rail and (b) it's South London so it's just better
posted 25/9/2019 by Tim

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