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Staines: not my most inspired day out

November 15th, 2009

Today I decided I would go for a walk down the Thames to Magna Carta island near Runnymede. For the location of such an important event in British history it’s surprisingly difficult to find. Perhaps part of the confusion stems from it not actually being an island, as a map shows. I had predictably left my map at home in the rush to catch a train to Windsor. The monument is also nowhere near it which doesn’t help (and donated by the American Bar Association – eh?).


This is Eton: nice place.


This is Datchet: also nice but somewhat spoiled by being right under the Heathrow flight path. It may not look it, but this is actually very close to where I work in Langley, Slough – head out of the village and you can see it peeking over the fields.


Here’s one of those planes. Unfortunately, there are many pleasant looking places south of the M4 that would be very nice to live in were it not for the planes. Doesn’t seem to do much to dent the property prices though.

I had originally planned to head back up to Windsor after visiting Magna Carta island but faced with my failure I determined to do something useful with my day. But where could I go now? Staines? With a name like that it’s bound to have something worth visiting…

Staines is an odd place. I think it doesn’t want to be called Staines for some reason and therefore refers to itself as Spelthorne. Dear Staines tourism board: this is very confusing for visitors without maps who may end up having a “help! where am I?” moment, and Staines is not a place you want to be lost in.

Staines is, however, a great place to spot shopping trolleys in the river:


A Thames Path information board alluded to the existence of a Staines museum. Rather excited I went on a hunt for it. It is not well signposted. Turns out it is actually hidden within Staines library. Although even the library is cunningly concealed as a car park:


Sadly both the museum and library are closed on Sundays.

Staines gave the world Lino, and for this we are all thankful. This statue in Staines town centre celebrates its greatest export:


Afterwards it’s a quick train ride back to Windsor.


Abandon all hope.


September 27th, 2009

Another week, another activity day! This week I walked along the section of the Thames Path from Maidenhead to Henley-on-Thames. Nice weather and very pretty countryside. Henley itself is incredibly posh, as you might expect from BoJo’s former constituency. I felt a bit out of place with my £3 off-the-tubes t-shirt and backpack. Won’t be moving there.

Total distance was about 15 miles, but it took me over 7 hours! Despite a break for lunch, do I really only walk at 2mph? Seems a bit slow.

Obligatory photos: