Barnes lives up to its semi-rural, villagey reputation, isolated from the rest of South London by the huge sweep of the Thames. At its centre is a large duck pond and adjoining green (site of a popular annual midsummer fair), surrounded by a mix of independent shops, great pubs, like Ye White Hart and restaurants, such as Orange Pekoe and Annie's. To the south is the buffer zone of wild and wooded Barnes Common, while the London Wetland Centre (an expansive bird reserve converted from defunct reservoirs) sits to the east of Castelnau, the long spine that leads to Hammersmith Bridge. Enclosing it all is a sharp loop of the Thames, offering riverside walks, pubs and rowers aplenty.
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Restaurants in Barnes
Things to do in Barnes
Chiswick House & Gardens
Chiswick House is a neo-Palladial building found very close to Barnes. It's architecture is sleek and very aesthetically pleasing, and the gardens are perfect for a little wander, especially when the sun's out. Make sure you pay a visit, it's worthwhile anytime of the year. An oasis in suburban London.
Bars and pubs in Barnes
Masala Zone Camden
Branches of this smart, clever chain are popping up faster than mustard seeds in a hot pan of ghee. Each outlet is decorated with a different theme – on Parkway it’s advertising posters of the 1930s and ’40s; at Covent Garden Rajasthani puppets hang from the ceiling; in Soho, Islington and Earl’s Court the walls feature striking work by tribal artists. The mood is both vibrant and relaxed – as cheering to singletons having a thali for supper, as it is to family groups and couples. Conceived by the Panjabi sisters of Chutney Mary and Amaya fame, Masala Zone is not expensive, yet even so there’s a high rotation of attractive discount offers. The menu takes in street-food snacks (springy, grease-free onion bhaji; dahi poori), wraps, grills, curried noodles, curry and rice plates. There are also two sizes of thali; well-trained, multicultural staff describe the daily veg, dahl and raita on your arrival, and you choose which of the curries you would like included – slow cooked lamb Roghan Josh from a classic Kashmiri recipe, or a Paneer Lababdar. To drink, try the cola with mint and spices, or the delightful French rosé with lovely ripe red fruits. Great with fish and chicken dishes.
Venue says: “Light, quick and inexpensive lunches. Many dishes are lightly spiced. Specials include butter chicken bowl and mysore veg dosa from £10.”