Top things to do in Putney: from riverside pints to paddleboarding
Putney is a vibrant south west London hot spot bursting with arts, culture and excellent places to eat, drink and be merry. Whether you want to lap up the festival atmosphere on Boat Race day, have lunch or brunch by the river, catch some live music or discover contemporary theatre, this leafy enclave has much to offer.
lanked by beautiful commons and parkland and blessed with incredible river views, Putney is a bustling area packed with shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars. Our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Putney combines some of the capital’s best outdoor activities – including paddleboarding along the Thames – with Putney’s exciting art, history and theatre.
Want to know where U2’s first sell-out UK concert was or Kate Bush’s first public show, well, it was in the Half Moon in Putney. A south west London institution, this friendly traditional pub has a 220 capacity studio towards the back and has hosted music and comedy since 1963. Today, the Half Moon is one of Putney’s best bar and pubs and plays host to touring tribute acts, comedians and new bands and artists every week of the year and still has its finger firmly on the pulse.
Putney Arts Theatre
Putney Arts Theatre has a changing programme of events and productions throughout the year and is also home to two theatre companies, Putney Theatre Company and Group 64 Youth Theatre. Parents can enrol kids on to the varied and interactive theatre sessions that run during school holidays and weekends.
Hit the river
The annual Cambridge versus Oxford Boat Race flies past the Putney riverfront in spring and with it comes a carnival atmosphere not to be missed. Join the crowds that line the Thames from Putney Bridge through to Barnes and beyond. There are a host of great places to watch the Boat Race, and if all the paddle power and revelry inspires you to hit the water, there are some great ways to get involved. Active360 runs paddle boarding classes from Barn Elms and east along the river and under Putney Bridge.
Putt in Putney
Wandsworth Park, set right on south bank of the River Thames and a short stroll from the High Street is one of Putney’s most picturesque green spaces. Residents and visitors alike flock to the pretty eight-hectare space and on sunny days the park is abuzz with picnickers making the most of the beautiful river views. Putt in the Park provides lots of fun for families and friends with the mini golf circuit and the park also has tennis courts for hire.
Take a stroll across Putney Bridge where Fulham Palace and its walled garden sits on the north bank of the Thames. Relaunching in May 2019 with a new museum, restored rooms, new botanical features and a painstakingly restored Tudor courtyard following a £3.8 million restoration project, Fulham Palace is one of the area’s greatest historical treasures. The palace is free to visit and the restoration has doubled the size of the museum. Learn about the history of the palace’s most notable residents, the Bishops of London, who called the Palace home from AD 704 to 1973 and wander the restful gardens. With interactive displays and a programme of changing exhibitions, Fulham Palace is great for families and history buffs.
One of the oldest independent bookshops in London today, Hurlingham Books is a magnet for bookworms looking for everything from antique classics and rare gems to quirky paperbacks. The owner also has a warehouse near the charming bookstore that holds more than one million books, so if you’re looking for a rare find you’re in with a shot.
Putney Sculpture Trail
Follow the trail that showcases nine figurative sculptures by Alan Thornhill. The sculptures are dotted around the parks and riverfront of Putney, from Wandsworth Park to the Putney Embankment.
Parks and Commons
Putney is blessed with vast green expanses to enjoy all year round, including the Lower Common and Putney Heath where nature trails and paths crisscross through picturesque woodland, grassland and heath. Putney Common is a wonderful area for spotting wildlife and observing changing flora and fauna and there are nature trails to follow through Wimbledon and Putney Common. Keep an eye on the Wimbledon and Putney Commons organisation for regular seasonal walks and talks that are open to the public.