Awesome things to do and see around Putney Bridge
Everything you need to know about what’s going on, where to eat and what to do around Putney Bridge
Putney Bridge is one of the most attractive and bustling parts of Putney. Spanning the River Thames, Putney Bridge links Putney’s pubs, bars and restaurants with Fulham across on the north bank. The story goes that in 1720 Sir Robert Walpole was returning to the House of Commons after visiting George I in Kingston upon Thames and was in a hurry to take the ferry across the river to Fulham. Alas, the ferry was on the opposite side of the river and the waterman was drinking at a nearby hostelry. Frustrated Sir Robert vowed to build a bridge that would replace the ferry, and the bridge planning was approved in 1726.
Row your boat
Putney is blessed with beautiful river walks, and the changing flora of fauna is spectacular whatever the season. On the north bank of Putney Bridge, visitors can wander westward flanked by the verdant greenery of Bishop’s Park and The Thames, visiting Fulham Palace and its newly restored museum and ancient courtyard. On the southern Putney embankment, Putney institutions including the Duke’s Head dot the riverbank. The walkways wind all the way to Barnes and beyond and make a perfect river pub hopping circuit, should you be so inclined. If you want to keep things local, just a 10-minute walk west from Putney Bridge will bring visitors to the London Rowing Club where you can really soak up the river life. Every weekend, the slip is busy with avid rowers and it’s a great spot to watch all the activity taking place. Come Boat Race day, throngs of people line the whole embankment, but if you want some great tips and insider knowledge head over for a shandy at one of the rowing clubs on the big day.
Putney’s best afternoon tea
The Putney embankment is mere footsteps from Putney Bridge and boasts some of the best restaurants in Putney. A local favourite and well known for its excellent Asian cuisine and enviable location is Thai Square, which boasts views across to Bishops Park and Putney Bridge. The restaurant’s outdoor seating and patio make it one of the best spots for Boat Race day and the light-filled dining room is also fantastic for special occasions. On weekends, Thai Square serves up a mouth-watering array of sweet and savoury platters for its river-view afternoon teas. Available Saturday and Sunday between 2pm and 5pm, its a feast for the eyes and the tummy!
Putney Bridge galleries
Attracting the cool and contemporary, it’s little surprise Putney has a host of independent galleries and little-known art spaces. The Political Cartoon Gallery and Cafe is located by the River Thames and showcases the best in original cartoon artwork. With regular exhibitions, it’s a great place to discover historic and present cartoon art – the gallery also sells original gag and strip cartoons by the likes of Martin Honeysett, Fougasse, H. M. Bateman, Reg Smythe (Andy Capp), Alex Graham (Fred Bassett) and Barry Appleby (The Gambols). The gallery has some of the most famous, original and iconic political cartoons in British history on permanent display. The gallery is open year round but call ahead in January when opening times can vary. Another art space close to the river, the small Russell Gallery showcases modern British and has a mixed exhibition show every Christmas and summer, which usually displays some 70 artists. Step into the past at Kings Court Galleries just moments from Putney Bridge tube station, where the gallery has one of London’s most extensive range of antique maps and prints. The antique maps cover every part of the world, dating in some cases back to the 16th century.
Catch a riverboat
Fortunately today, Putney Bridge hasn’t completely replaced all the river action. Of course, Putney Bridge is one of the finest places to enjoy the competition and festival atmosphere of the Boat Race, which is held every spring and sees revelers flock to both sides of the riverbank to cheers the competing university teams. On Putney Embankment, visitors wanting to enjoy the sights of south west London can catch a Thames Clipper ferry. The route takes passengers along the water, with stops in Wandsworth, Chelsea Harbour, Battersea Power Station, Westminster and all the way east to Canary Wharf. On a balmy day there is simply no better way to savour this part of the river.
Wander the wetlands
Beyond the London Rowing Club, the marshes and colourful wetlands of the WTT Wetlands Centre come into view and are a magnet for bird lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers big and small. The centre runs a plethora of fun activities for kids all year round, including tours, wetland walks, bird spotting adventures and all manner of show and tells. Whatever the season, this natural haven feels a million miles from city life and is a restful enclave to explore time and time again.
Bricks, Botany and Bishops
Reopening at the end of May 2019, Fulham Palace is a short walk from Putney Bridge tube station (District line) and is one of the best family and historical days out in the area. Following a major restoration project, Fulham Palace reopens with a brand new museum, a painstakingly restored Tudor courtyard and expanded collection of historically significant plants. The newly restored Palace is the result of a £3.8 million project, including £1.9m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and is free to visit. Its museum It provides charts the long history of the palace, including the Bishops of London, who called the Palace home from AD 704 to 1973. Check online for regular workshops, activities and news.
Grab a pie
Putney Pies is just across Putney Bridge on the Lower Richmond Road and is a small independent trader making its name in the pie world! From classic short crust, steak and ale pies to pot pies and vegan varieties, this is a Putney favourite where you can enjoy good, hearty fare right in the hubbub of some of Putney’s best bars and cocktail lounges. After dinner head across the road and discover The Vault, a hip young hangout under the arches of Putney Bridge.