Trains from Blackheath to London next week – thank you helpful commuter

Next week commuters using Southeastern rail services from Blackheath station to London will find that none going to London Bridge, Waterloo East or Charing Cross. Trains are going to Cannon Street and Victoria.

Helpful hashtag is #southeastern, be nice to them on Twitter too @Se_Railway.

  • The 521 bus goes from Cannon Street (stop MB) to London Bridge – there are also lots of other nearby buses heading in that direction and it’s a 10-15min walk too.
  • Cannon Street or Victoria tube will take you to Embankment for Charing Cross [Tube map]
  • London Bridge is on the Jubilee Line from Canary Wharf (DLR) or Canada Water (Overground).

Don’t forget that the (always busy, mind) 53 bus goes to Elephant & Castle and Lower Marsh (Waterloo-ish) from Blackheath Standard, more links to transport alternatives below.

Live train departure information for local stations, from… Blackheath / Charlton / Kidbrooke / Lee / Lewisham / Maze Hill / Westcombe Park / Woolwich Arsenal / Woolwich Dockyard

1. Temporary new train times from Blackheath in August
I spotted this in Blackheath station yesterday, by the exit on Platform 1. This person is a kindred spirit, thank you whoever you are 🙂 See tweets below for more on the history behind this.

Train times from Blackheath next Tuesday to Friday (29 August to 1 September). I strongly recommend the CityMapper website (plus excellent and free app) – it’s really good for public transport.

photo 1.JPG

The text of the poster says ….

For those of you who missed
the South Eastern photo of the
handwritten time table (!!),
here it is typed up for ALL
to see clearly…






Brought to you by a commuter who could be bothered spending
10 mins typing this up


2 Alternative travel arrangements

Live train departure information for local stations, from… Blackheath / Charlton / Kidbrooke / Lee / Lewisham / Maze Hill / Westcombe Park / Woolwich Arsenal / Woolwich Dockyard

Thames Clippers ferries from Greenwich Pier or North Greenwich Pier (go to Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Bankside, Blackfriars, Charing Cross (Embankment Pier), Waterloo [‘London Eye’] and Westminster. The 108 or 422 buses will get you to North Greenwich, the 286 or 386 will get you to Greenwich by Cutty Sark for the Greenwich Pier. Greenwich Cutty Sark is also on the DLR line.
• ‘Next boat’ information from Greenwich Pier / North Greenwich Pier

Buses from Blackheath to Lewisham station take two routes in opposite directions. The 54 and 108 pick up at the bus stop next to Age Exchange / Shepherd’s Foods on the other side of the road from the station. The 380 picks up on the same side of the station – turn left out of the station, go past the barriered car park (there’s a Farmers’ Market there on Sundays) and past a 24 hour shop, Oddbins and a fruit / veg shop then up the hill past the shoe shop and the one selling electrical equipment. Keep going to The Crown pub from where the 380 will take you to Lewisham station.

From Lewisham station – walk there or bus. The route is prettier over the heath by Wat Tyler Road (the 380 bus route). DLR goes to Bank via Canary Wharf (also on the ferry route).

From New Cross (53 bus) or Denmark Hill (Blackheath train to Victoria stops here).





Pilot yourself around London’s canals with @GoBoatLDN

The tl;dr version:– GoBoat London will let you hire small boats, from Paddington basin, that you can ‘drive’ (yourself, with a quick bit of training) around London’s canals (£75 for 2 hours for up to 8 people, 6 hrs is £200). Boat has massive picnic table in it, can bring own food or order a picnic. Looks lovely. You can go West to Kensal Green, or East to Camden Lock. [Website] [About] [FAQ] [Routemap] [Twitter]

Earlier in the week, on something like Gardeners’ Question Time, I heard mention of the  new ‘Paddington Pocket Park’ which is a garden floating on a pontoon in the Paddington Basin at Merchant Square* and parked that in my mind as something to visit.

Yesterday, after another lovely visit to Lewisham Shopping Centre’s pop up maritime museum I decided to head into Camden and ‘do’ one of those water bus journeys from Camden Lock. Checking the details (where to pick up the boats, where they actually go and so on) while sitting on the 24 bus from Charing Cross to Camden Lock I realised that the boat goes to Little Venice which is conveniently close to Paddington Basin, so I ended up visiting the pocket park too.

Pic credit: Me! @JoBrodie (boat in pic is unrelated to the boats mentioned in the post).

The Water Bus from Camden Lock to Little Venice was lovely and I’ll post up some pictures from that separately, but this post is about the little silver-grey ‘GoBoat’ boats I kept seeing in the canals. They’re small boats that seat eight and you and up to seven friends can hire one and pilot yourself around London’s waterways. I didn’t really know what I was seeing at first – it looked like a table boat, literally a boat with a table in it and I assumed it must be a quirky one-off miniature floating restaurant, then I saw another couple of them and realised it must be a ‘thing’.

Apparently these GoBoat boats launched in London in May, and their terminal is in Merchant Place… where the floating garden is!

I believe the company’s from Copenhagen (one tweeter described them rather nicely as a floating picnic table) and the aim is to make waterways accessible to more people – “The mission of GoBoat London is  to make the canal waters accessible to all, in a sociable and sustainable manner.  … Our boats allow guests to comfortably face each other, whilst enjoying food and drink on a large picnic table in the middle of the boat.

I’m now telling my friends about this so that I can try this out!

*One way to get to Paddington Basin is via an entrance just to the left of the Tesco Metro on South Wharf Road, which is near Edgware Road station and links to Praed Street and Paddington Station. As I was coming from Little Venice mooring point I walked up towards the blue bridge and turned left past the Waterside Cafe, down Westbourne Terrace Road and onto the A404, picked up the 18 bus (stop on the right hand side) and took it two stops to the Police station, then walked back a little to take the underpass to the other side. I used the Citymapper app to get me there.

A couple more pics from me below, including info about what’s happening



Some adverts below over which I have no control. I hope they’re not too wretched…



Lewisham Shopping Centre’s pop-up maritime museum

Note it’s CLOSED on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

This was a delightful thing to discover as I was leaving Lewisham Shopping Centre yesterday. Some genius (it turns out to be @museumsailor and colleagues) at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has come up with the brilliant idea to have a pop-up maritime museum in a vacant shop lot among the regular high street shops. I liked it a lot. It’s near what I think of as the main entrance to the Centre, near the Clock Tower (if you’re looking at the entrance TK Maxx is on the left hand side), apparently it’s been there since February.

There was a glass cabinet with decorated (shark’s teeth, feathers) Tahitian neckwear used to show off one’s higher status, and some stiff fabric made of woven grasses for the less exalted community-members. Also a Polynesian navigational aid with shells representing islands, and sticks representing the layout, directions and prevailing winds etc. Having no sense of direction I’d need a “You are here” shell or bead that would follow me around as I travelled among the Polynesian islands.

photo 4

Glass cabinet (picture above) with some wax stuff that I didn’t investigate (on upper shelf) and (on lower shelf) there’s the fancy neck decoration roughly in the middle of the shelf (the thing with the rows of black feathers with white shark teeth) and on the right (with the white parcel label on top) there’s a woven fabric. I think most of the items on display were modern recreations rather than originals as we were encouraged to handle them.

photo 3

Close-up (above) of a recreation of a Polynesian nav-aid which sailors would use to navigate the seas around their islands. I’m trying to imagine the smartphone version.

There was also a sextant, I didn’t get a chance to play with it, maybe next time. I don’t know how it works beyond you point it at stuff and use a book of astronomical stuff to work out where you are, in relation to the angle you’re at to various planets or stars. When I went on a cruise a couple of years ago I wanted to take one with me but thought better of it when I saw the book of tables I’d have to understand before I set off.

photo 1(1)

Here’s a handy video (below) showing how to use a home-made one. I’ve watched it so now I do know how a sextant works!

I felt the wonderful Tall Ships Festival in Greenwich and Woolwich needed more science talks about navigation (and lots of other topics), and I’d probably enjoy an evening class in that.

Shortly before the festival I wrote this post (on my main blog) about what I might put in an Imaginary Maritime Science Festival that might take place at the same time as the next Tall Ships festival.

The pop-up museum is open until 9 July 2017 and runs from Thur-Sun (Thur-Sat: 10-5, Sun: 11-4pm).


They’re looking for volunteers to help, and are having a recruitment session on 24 May (Wednesday) at 11am. Contact for more info.

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There’s something interesting going on at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, to do with the use of plants. Checking the QH website, or searching the title (‘Unearthing season at Queen’s House’) on Google didn’t bring up anything though. Since found it, but too late.

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Below are messages created from lollipop sticks, I’m not sure what the round things with feathers are.

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Visitors were also invited to suggest what explorers to Lewisham would take back with them. Lewisham has a very big fruit and veg market… this suggestion featured a few times.

photo 4(1)

Greenwich to Kew by boat

Thanks to Thames Clippers extending their ferry service to include a stop at Westminster Pier as of 1 August 2016 it’s now much easier to journey fairly directly from Greenwich to Kew. Directly-ish, but at least you can get off one boat and get on another at the same pier now (Westminster) though you will have to leave the pier to get a ticket for the second part of the journey. Note that this is  journey is only possible between April and October.

I did the whole trip in reverse last week and it took two hours (on an express clipper, I’d expect it to be 2.5hrs on a regular service but I’d allow three hours).

It’s a two-stage journey:

  1. Greenwich to Westminster (fast, frequent service with Thames Clippers)
  2. Westminster to Kew (fewer boats, more leisurely journey with Thames Cruises)

1. Greenwich to Westminster
(RB1 and RB1X [express] ferries with Thames Clippers)

Thames Clippers has a fairly frequent and fast service but you may have to queue for a boat. In fact at busy times you may end up queueing and not actually being able to get on the first boat, having to wait for a later one. At weekends some of the boats are express boats and will get you to Westminster more quickly, missing out some of the pier stops.

From 15 August 2016 the new times (PDF) will be as follows:

0853 (0934), 0923 (1004), 0938 (1015), 0953 (1034), 1008 (1045), 1023 (1104), 1038 (1115), 1053 (1134), 1108 (1145), 1123 (1204), 1138 (1215), 1153 (1234), 1208 (1245), 1223 (1304), 1238 (1315), 1253 (1334), 1308 (1345) – this one is cutting it a bit fine in terms of getting tickets for the Kew boat, 1323 (1404), 1338 (1415), 1353 (1434), 1408 (1445), 1423 (1504), 1438 (1515), 1453  (1534), 1508 (1545).

The ones in grey won’t get you to Kew, the ones in brackets are arrival time at Westminster, starting times are from Greenwich Pier next to Cutty Sark.

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 19.35.05

You cannot smoke or vape anywhere on Thames Clippers ferries. There are loos on board and a Costa with hot drinks, alcoholic drinks and sweets and biscuits.

Tip: Be sure to allow enough time at Westminster Pier to go to the booking office to get a ticket to Kew as it seems these cannot be bought in advance. They prefer you to be there 30 mins before the sailing.

2. Westminster to Kew
(Thames River Boats)

The rate-limiting-step will be getting a boat from Westminster to Kew because there are fewer boats and the take about one and a half hours. Because the journey involves going under Hammersmith Bridge if the tide is too high the journey will take longer (the boat has to wait for the waters to recede otherwise it’s all a bit scrape-y).

Once at Westminster you’ll need to exit the pier, collect a ticket, then return to the boarding point for the boat. An adult single is about £14 but it’s £8.65 if you have a travelcard (not Oystercard, they don’t seem to be geared up for that as far as I could tell).

Latest sailings and journey times can be found here.

Sailing times vary (check in advance) but generally there are four sailings between 10am and 2pm, for example –

  • 10.30am (arriving at midday)
  • 11.15am (12.45)
  • 12.00pm (1.30pm)
  • 2pm (3.30pm).

For the first half hour of the journey there’s a commentary over the public address system telling you about the local sites. On the boat I was on (Connaught) there was a bar downstairs serving alcoholic & hot and cold drinks and snacks. You can smoke or vape on the open upper decks. There are loos on board.

There are no stops on the way to Kew but the boat continues on to Richmond and Hampton Court.

When you arrive at Kew familiarise yourself with the chalkboard. The return journey is very tide-dependent so timings can change.

Return journey
The last boat from Kew Pier is likely to be between 5.30 and 6.30 and again it will take an hour and a half to get back to Westminster. There are plenty of boats from Westminster to Greenwich, even on a Sunday.