Category Archives: parks

Cable Bakery & Roastery

Cable Bakery & Roastery is a very exciting new arrival from the couple behind the Cable Bar & Cafe and Waterloo’s Scootercaffe. It’s situated at 82 Bolton Crescent, a street that runs along the side of Kennington Park and was previously most notable for an adventure playground and a bondage shop (Fetish Freak – “your fetish is our business”, but not if, like us, your fetish is for four coloured pens, although to be fair, we haven’t enquired so we can’t be sure).

Cable Bakery & Roastery exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The decor is every bit as stylish as their other two establishments, with vintage coffee machines scattered around the place.

Cable Bakery & Roastery shelving - kenningtonrunoff.com

As well as these stools, there are a couple of small tables. The establishment is already proving popular so you may not get a seat at busy times, but you can always head around the corner to Cable Bar instead.

Cable Bakery & Roastery seating area - kenningtonrunoff.com

They bake sourdough bread and roast coffee on site, all organic:

Cable Bakery & Roastery bread - kenningtonrunoff.com

As well as the expected hot drinks, they serve smoothies, sandwiches, chicken and beef broth and other lunch options with plans to add more. They also have a good selection of cakes – we had an excellent slice of apple pie.

Cable Bakery & Roastery cakes - kenningtonrunoff.com

They’re open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 7pm and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, although hours may increase in the future. Let’s hope so – this place is great.

Address: 82 Bolton Crescent, SE5 0SE.

The Old Dairy at Vauxhall City Farm

We think we may have identified the most child-friendly corner of Greater Kennington, with the opening of the new extension to Vauxhall City Farm, and its star attraction, The Old Dairy Cafe.

Vauxhall City Farm extension - kenningtonrunoff.com

A slick building with clean, minimal lines, it is at odds with the crafty, homespun aesthetic of the original farm buildings, which started life as a squat, and a neat visual metaphor for the area it sits in. It’s been busy on both occasions that we have visited, but there is plenty of seating both inside and out, with picnic tables around the duck pond for finer days.

The Old Dairy Dining Room - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Old Dairy dresser - kenningtonrunoff.com

They offer superior sandwiches and cakes – including gluten and dairy free options – and simple, homespun food, with a soup, salad, quiche, open sandwich and hot dish of the day in smaller and larger portion sizes, mostly vegetarian. We ordered the white bean “risotto” with asparagus, spinach and onion broth, and understood why quotation marks had been inserted once it arrived without a grain in sight. The leek and feta tart with olives and capers, and sun-dried tomato Spanish omelette were more satisfying and accurately described.

White bean risotto with aspargus, spinach and onion broth at The Old Dairy - kenningtonrunoff.comLeek & feta puff pastry tart with olives and capers at The Old Dairy - kenningtonrunoff.com

The cake stand:

The Old Dairy cake stand - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

For their core customer, they also provide a wide variety of Ella’s Kitchen products, a hot kids’ meal of the day (again in smaller and larger portion sizes), as well as a selection of mini sandwiches for smaller hands, and a pile of the iconic Ikea Antelop highchairs stacked in one corner, all in immaculate condition. There is a children’s play area in one corner of the cafe, and when we visited during their ‘Spring Spectacular’ there was a charming and well-attended story and rhyme time with an animal theme, complete with props. Watch out Tea House Theatre, pay attention NCT groups, there’s a new destination in Kennington’s own Nappy Valley.

Walworth Garden Farm

You probably know about Vauxhall City Farm, on Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. You may know about the newish Oasis Farm Waterloo, something of a work in progress on Carlisle Lane (Sadiq Khan visited there the other day). But did you know there’s rather a lovely Garden Farm just yards from Kennington tube?

Walworth Garden Farm entrance - kenningtonrunoff.com

Walworth Garden Farm is a charity and social enterprise which has been going for nearly 30 years (presumably they used to be based in Walworth).

Walworth Garden Farm exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

They have very frequent events and courses, about gardening, beekeeping, herbal medicine and such like, or you can just pop in if the gate on Manor Place is open (that’s what we did).

It’s a real oasis, and very lush:

Walworth Garden Farm tree - kenningtonrunoff.com

Walworth Garden Farm bench and bed - kenningtonrunoff.com

This bench is rather lovely:

Walworth Garden Farm butterfly bench - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also have some sizeable greenhouses:

Walworth Garden Farm greenhouse - kenningtonrunoff.com

Address: 206 Braganza St, London SE17 3BN.

Bee Urban

Bee Urban is a honeybee-centric social enterprise based in Kennington Park. They also sell the most delicious honey we’ve ever tasted. Beware – it’s so flavoursome that supermarket honey will never taste the same again. You can buy it from local fetes like the Kennington Fete and Pullens Yard Open Studios, or just pop in to Bee Urban and pick some up.

Bee Urban honey - kenningtonrunoff.com

They used to be based in the Old Keeper’s Lodge but since Northern Line extension works began they have moved to a spacious new site behind the cafe in Kennington Park:

Bee Urban sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

There are three great opportunities to visit Bee Urban this weekend as part of Find Your London festival. Tomorrow night, Friday, they’re having a cob oven pizza night from 5pm to 9pm.

Bee Urban new site in Kennington Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Then on Saturday March 19th there’s an open day from midday to 5pm with bees, habitats and cob oven breads.

Bee Urban gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com

And on Sunday they’re putting on tasters about honey bees and beekeeping from 11am to 1pm, 1pm to 3pm, and 3pm to 5pm.

Bee Urban cabinet - kenningtonrunoff.com

Address: Bee Urban, The Hive, Kennington Park, St Agnes Place, London SE11 4BE.

 

GROW ELEPHANT

Grow Elephant sofa - kenningtonrunoff.com

Today was our first visit to GROW ELEPHANT, a new community garden just off New Kent Road (enter by the red telephone box opposite Falmouth Road).

Grow Elephant welcome mural - kenningtonrunoff.com

They’re open until 10pm tonight as part of Open House London and there will be a BBQ and DJs.

Grow Elephant - kenningtonrunoff.com

Mobile Gardeners are behind the garden, as they are behind the Wansey St and Elliott’s Row Pocket Parks, but this venture is much bigger in scale and in an even more dramatic location, surrounded by the new and half built tower blocks of North Kennington.

Grow Elephant and Strata - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s free to join and one of these tubs could be yours to tend:

Grow Elephant tubs - kenningtonrunoff.com

Grow Elephant wheelbarrow and camping van - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 10 – Imperial War Museum café

Positives: The food, by Peyton & Byrne, is unusually good for a museum cafeteria. You can sit outside in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park when the weather is fine.

outside tables at the Imperial War Museum, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Hordes of tourists, especially during school holidays. Often a lengthy queue at lunchtime.

Imperial War Museum cafeteria - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: doesn’t seem to have one yet

Address: Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 9.

Kennington Park and its new Flower Garden

It’s all change in Kennington Park at the moment, and this weekend was a big one thanks to the reopening of the flower garden after a £500k makeover. We bring you photos, with apologies to the woman who we inadvertently followed around:

Kennington Park Flower Garden vista - kenningtonrunoff.com

The flower garden originally opened in 1931 and its layout has remained much the same since, including this water feature:

Kennington Park Flower Garden water feature - kenningtonrunoff.com

This new sundial was made from Welsh slate by Sam Flintham, a student of historic stone carving at Kennington’s own City & Guilds:

Kennington Park Flower Garden sundial - kenningtonrunoff.com

Get down there quick while the roses are still in season:

Kennington Park Flower Garden roses - kenningtonrunoff.com

Kennington Park Flower Garden flowers - kenningtonrunoff.com

Elsewhere in the park, the Kennington Park Centre on Bob Marley’s old hang out, St Agnes Place, is newish and features an arts and community centre, a stay and play club, and an adventure playground. Also newish is the exercise equipment just north of the cafe, which is proving very popular.

Finally, one of the big concerns about Northern Line extension works in the park was that Bee Urban, those harvesters of the world’s tastiest honey, would have to be relocated. Well, they have been, and their new site next to the cafe looks mightily impressive:

Bee Urban new site in Kennington Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Join the Friends of Kennington Park here – they made all this happen.

Lambeth Palace Gardens

We finally visited Lambeth Palace Gardens for the North Lambeth Parish Mega-Fete.

This is a garden so big (over ten acres) that you can barely see from one end to the other!

Lambeth Palace Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com

We were promised morris dancing, and we got it:

Morris dancers at North Lambeth Parish Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

The North Lambeth Parish Fete was Kennington’s best publicised event since The Great Chartist Meeting of 1848. But if you somehow missed it then don’t despair – there’s another chance to visit the garden today, and the first Wednesday of every month – it’s the Lambeth Palace Garden Open Day from midday to 3pm. It’s £4 or free for children. The entrance is on Lambeth Palace Road. More info here.

This is the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London, having been a private garden since the 12th century. The big question is why isn’t this huge, lovely central London garden open to the public every day? Sort it out Archbishop Welby.

wooden chairs in Lambeth Palace Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.comLambeth Palace from the Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com

our North and East Kennington predictions for 2015

North Kennington (formerly known as Elephant & Castle) will be a messy snarl up from some time very soon for at least a year because of two massive Transport For London projects: the reconfiguration of the North roundabout, and the installation of the new cycle superhighway on St George’s Road. The number of cranes is expected to increase too, and associated construction beneath them, as Lend Lease commence work on the portion at the top of Walworth Road, including a 31 storey tower.

Ministry of Sound will get what they want in terms of planning approval, because they love to fight hard and win.

What will become of the shopping centre? Whatever it is, let’s hope it manages to keep the downtown Bogotá/magical realism vibe that makes it so vibrant at present. Likewise the Coronet and the bowling alley – North Kennington needs these!

The good news is the new Castle Leisure Centre will open in the heart of North Kennington with its two lovely pools (one of them 25m long), sports hall, gym, crèche, café, and a wooden ceiling for those doing back stroke to admire.

The Castle Leisure Centre

The Castle Leisure Centre

There will continue to be havens of green space in the area, including a new Mobile Gardeners event and gardening space opening on New Kent Road called Grow Elephant.

The modernist Perronet House (between St George’s Road and London Road on the North roundabout) will join Metro Central Heights in being listed. See this article about one of the top floor flats.

Like The Duchy Arms, North Kennington’s Marcel & Sons will cease to be a best-kept secret and become a destination eatery.

As for East Kennington, Walworth Road could become a foodie haven if some of the establishments would just sort out their Food Standards ratings.

our West and North West Kennington predictions for 2015

2015 will put North West Kennington on the map. This is the area south of Westminster Bridge Road and west of Kennington Road, and it is arguably the least visited, least known part of central London, despite some lovely buildings and smaller parks, Lambeth Palace, and Beaconsfield. Plus it’s yards from Parliament and it has the Thames running down one side.

Old Paradise Gardens, North West Kennington

Old Paradise Gardens, North West Kennington

2014 was already a big year for North West Kennington with tonnes of new riverside developments plus the new look Duchy Arms. 2015 will be even bigger thanks to the opening (finally) of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery. The gallery will feature works from Damien’s collection including artists such as Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas and Pablo Picasso. Entry will be free of charge. More info here.

Newport Street Gallery

Under the leadership of the entrepreneurial Justin Welby, surely this will be the year that Lambeth Palace opens to the public all year round.

West Kennington (previously known as Vauxhall) will also experience another year of change and growth. We are cautiously optimistic about the plans for the gyratory. New housing developments will lead to more scenes of sheikhs looking bemused as clubbers pass them on the way home.

Watch out Russell Norman – Counter – a new restaurant in the arches near Vauxhall station – will open soon and looks set to be a new entry in our Best Restaurants in Kennington list.

Come back tomorrow for our central Kennington predictions for 2015.