The A-Z of Quiet London

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  • X marks the spot

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    X marks the spot - Thames Barrier Park

    On the waterfront
    Get a taste of old nautical London by heading down to Docklands. It still astounds us how few people bother to come here. The Museum in Docklands is an obvious draw – you’ll may well have the big warehouse space entirely to yourself (which is probably why you get such a warm, personal welcome from the staff). The spooky recreated Sailortown might even seem a bit to quiet for comfort. For lunch, there’s The Gun, a winner of the Time Out Gastropub of the Year award. There’s even more to see if you go further out to Silvertown and Victoria dock. Victoria dock is huge, with an impressive industrial bridge across the middle. Thames Barrier park is also nearby (Pontoon Dock DLR), but avoid a time when there’s a big exhibition at ExCel. And because you are on a bend in the river (with views across to the Millennium Dome), you get a uniquely distorted view of the Thames.You’ll be surrounded by greenery and water for the entire day, and it’s just a gentle ride on the DLR to get there.
    Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 (0870 444 3851/www.museumindocklands.org.uk ) West India Quay DLR or Canary Wharf tube..The Gun, 27 Coldharbour, E14 (020 7515 5222) Canary Wharf tube.

    Y is for you do it!

    Make like Marcel MarceauMime – not so much quiet as completely silent – is a vastly underrated art form. The 90-minute evening classes every Tuesday and Thursday at this French mime school teach you how to express displacements in space, different styles of walks and the like. There are longer courses for the truely dedicated. Stripy top and white face paint not included. Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique and theatre del’ Ange Fou, Unit 207, Belgravia Workshop, 157-163 Marlborough Rd, N19 (020 7263 9339) Archway tube. Evening classes Tue, Thur 6.30-8pm. £8 per class.

    Z is for zzzzz

    Go meditate!
    Meditation has an uncertain image in this country, being viewed in some quarters as a hippy hangover and in others as suspiciously cultish. Richard Lawrence, director of the Inner Potential Centre in Fulham, is among those who begs to differ: ‘A lot of people are seeking spirituality, but not necessarily in a religious form. Meditation may be linked with Buddhism but it’s absolutely non-denominational.’

    Research has shown that just 20 minutes of meditation can lower your blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, slow your metabolism and reduce muscle tension. Sitting calmly and quietly can also help with problem solving, decision making, intuition, self-healing and stress relief. The following centres offer introductory meditation classes and courses:

    Inner Potential Centre, 36 Kelvedon Rd, SW6 (020 7736 4187/www.innerpotential.org) Parsons Green tube.
    Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Rd, SE11 (020 7820 8787/www.jamyang.co.uk) Elephant & Castle tube.
    London Buddhist Centre, 51 Roman Rd, E2 (0845 458 4716/www.lbc.org.uk) Bethnal Green tube.
    West London Buddhist Centre, 94 Westbourne Park Villas, W2 (020 7727 9382/www.westlondonbuddhistcentre.com) Royal Oak tube.
    North London Buddhist Centre, 72 Holloway Rd, N7 (020 7700 1177/www.northlondonbuddhistcentre.com) Highbury & Islington tube/rail.
    Heruka Buddhist Centre, 13 Woodstock Rd, NW11 (020 8455 7563/www.meditateinlondon.com) Golders Green tube.

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