For the best guides to Barnes, including interactive maps on eateries and amenities, try the Links and Hubs here.
For thumbnail highlights on the local nature reserves, cultural hotspots and sports hubs, scroll on.
To return to the main Barnes page, click here…
For the best maps and guides...
From Art to Tides...
Trail – Barnes Trail
BIRDS ON YOUR DOORSTEP
Long before Saxon farmers settled on Barnes’ fertile grasslands, a multitude of nesting birds, bugs and fish had sheltered in its tranquil ponds and marshes. The still-extensive commons and wetlands are now managed as local nature reserves where geese, swans, waders and even otters can thrive undisturbed. While some sanctuaries, such as the Leg O’Mutton on Lonsdale Road, lie off the beaten track, other reserves, such as Barnes Pond and the WWT London Wetland Centre, draw admiring crowds every season to watch goslings and cygnets take their first dips…
BOATS AND BOATING
Row, row your boat…
The soft creak of oars fills the air by day and night as rowers practise for seasonal races throughout the year. With the Thames looping Barnes on three sides, scullers, twos, fours and eights can be seen and heard at every turn. Rowers are not alone on their daily trips up- and downstream – colourful kayaks, houseboats, barges, canoes and sailing boats stream alongside. For upcoming boating events, check the boating calendar under the Links here.
BOWLS AND BALL GAMES
Games on the green…
The choice of grass games in Barnes seems almost as extensive as the greens themselves, where you can play village cricket, tennis, hockey, football and even Elizabethan bowls. Or, if you fancy some weekend rugby, cross the bridge to Chiswick’s sunny playing fields on the far bank.
For the main sports hubs – Barn Elms, Barnes Sports and Bowling Clubs – check the sports links here.
Jazz at the Bull
For a seemingly tranquil London suburb, Barnes has a surprisingly vibrant cultural heritage. The ‘cool Bull’, aka ‘the suburban Ronnie Scott’s’, made its name in the 1960s, drawing such celebrated talents as Colman Hawkins and Ronnie Scott. True to its swingin’ musical heritage, the Bull today holds weekly jazz gigs, while its function rooms overlooking the Thames provide atmospheric settings for local meetings.
Closeness to creative hubs, such as the Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes and TV Centre at White City, has drawn many creatives to Barnes, including Patricia Hodge, Niamh Cusack, Hollie Willoughby and Tim Rice. Closer to home, Dame Ninette de Valois lived at EBM for the last 11 years of her life.
Film at the restored Olympic
Now a restored cinema, the Olympic Studios became a household name in the 1960s when it was used as a recording venue by the Beetles, Rolling Stones, Who and other pop stars of the time. Even before its musical heyday, the Olympic had made its mark as a popular entertainment centre – first, as an Edwardian picture palace, then as a fashionable theatre showcasing the budding talents of John Gielgud, Robert Newton and Charles Laughton between the wars. After several further makeovers, the Olympic Sound Studios emerged in 1966 and soon made its name as a swingin’ recording studio. Today the restored Olympic Studios now functions as a cinema and shows an eclectic range of arts and general films.
Concerts, plays and exhibits
Another successful restoration, the renovated Old Sorting Office (OSO), overlooking the pond, hosts fringe theatre, topical musicals and contemporary art exhibitions.
For varied musical tastes, the Barnes Music Society organises year-round recitals, while the Barnes Music Festival stages a diverse programme every spring.
remainder: © ebm/private collection/bcw