End of the line: Weird and wonderful places where the London Underground terminates

Epping – Getty

London has this week unveiled its first major extension to the London Underground this century, with the opening of the Battersea Power Station.

Located at a (new) end of the Northern Line south of the River Thames, it joins a host of other destinations you'll find if you take the Tube to the last stop of a line.

Here are some notable examples. Hop aboard for a tour…

1. Battersea Power Station

The Battersea Power Station, which opened on September 20, is part of a £1.1bn project to extend the Northern Line that began six years ago. It now offers access to the West End and City within 15 minutes, and is key to the regeneration of an area of southwest London that now houses the US Embassy.

At its peak, Battersea Power Station was integral, providing a fifth of London’s electricity needs as the UK’s third-largest power station, but has laid dormant since its furnaces were put out for the last time in 1983. It is now under redevelopment, but star residents already living in the new flat blocks include Sting and Bear Grylls. Shops and restaurants will also be housed in what were old turbine halls.

2. Richmond

Richmond – Getty

With its wonderful riverside location, grand historic buildings and nearby park, which has deer and royal (and rock) pedigree (Henry VIII was crowned at Richmond Palace; Elizabeth I died there; and rock royalty Mick Jagger has a home here), Richmond is an aristocrat among London enclaves.

Coming out of the station you enter a bustling, fashionable shopping street leading (on the right) to a classic village green and then on to the Thames itself and a row of scenically located watering holes including the White Cross, a popular venue for England rugby fans on match days at Twickenham. There’s even a German beer garden on the river serving authentic Nürnberger sausages and Paulaner beer from Munich. Prost!

3. Walthamstow

God’s Own Junkyard – Getty

“Awesomestow”, as it is evangelically known to residents, first made a name for itself in the Nineties thanks to the boy band East 17 (whose name is a reference to the area's postcode). Subsequent claims to fame have included the original “posh Spar”, a one-time vendor of seagull eggs in the yuppified Village. Around the corner from there is the wonderful ode to neon signage that is God’s Own Junkyard, and next to it, the Mother’s Ruin distillery and (of course) a craft brewery, all set on an old industrial estate.

The late poet, William Morris, was a former Walthamstow resident and his house is now a beautiful and interesting museum on the edge of Lloyd Park. Nearby, at the end of Hoe Street, are several good eating and drinking spots, including a branch of Yard Sale pizza and The Bell pub. Weekends on the nearby marshes are a delight; walk along the canal all the way to Hackney.

4. Epping

Epping – Getty

Epping is a contender for leafiest Tube terminus in the capital – it certainly trumps Walthamstow if you’re in search of fresh air. This wasn’t always the final stop on the Central Line; it once extended as far as Ongar (halfway between Epping to Chelmsford). Nevertheless, a trip here still feels like you’ve left the bustle of the capital a long way behind.

The big draw, of course, is Epping Forest. Once a favourite hunting spot for the Tudors, it is now a little haven of woodland trails, ideal for walkers and mountain bikers, with a couple of decent pubs scattered about.

5. Mill Hill East

Although it is the least-used station on the Northern Line, Mill Hill East – the end station of a single-track branch of the line – is well worth journeying to, principally because of the slice of traditional England onto which it provides a window. Turn left up the hill from the station and you soon come to Mill Hill itself, a quintessential English village complete with quaint, cosy cottages, a pond containing rare ducks and two welcoming pubs, the Adam & Eve and the Three Hammers.

There’s also the grand Mill Hill/Belmont school, complete with impressive buildings, vast grounds, a neighbouring farm and, from certain vantage points, great views west across to Wembley Stadium and Harrow. Also worth looking out for (though you can’t really miss it) to the right of the station is the Dollis Brook Viaduct, the highest point on the London Underground above ground level, reaching nearly 60 feet.

6. Aldgate

Wilton’s Music Hall – Ben Murphy

This is a curious corner of London – jam-packed with City boys during the week, and almost deserted at weekends. But it conceals a couple of gems, and is a stone’s throw from several more. Topping the bill is the Whitechapel Gallery, just yards from Aldgate East underground station, which showcases modern works – and is free to enter.

Just off Cable Street, home to a mural recalling the 1936 march against Oswald Mosley's fascists, lies Wilton’s Music Hall, built in the 1850s, which hosts live shows and quirky events. For sustenance, eschew the tourist traps of Brick Lane in favour of the fiery flavours at Tayyabs, just behind The Royal London Hospital, or Lahore Kebab House, on Commercial Road (never mind the simple furnishings – the food is terrific, and cheap as chips). For more recommendations of fun things to do in East London, see our guide.

7. High Barnet

St John the Baptist Church – Getty

With its mix of banks and booksellers, locksmiths and luggage stores and the Eighties-built Spires Shopping Centre – plus great sausage rolls from Victoria Bakery – High Barnet high street is a useful hub for local residents, but not somewhere you’d necessarily make a beeline for. Unless you had an interest in history. Just a little way north of the high street is the site on which in April 1471 the Battle of Barnet, one of the key conflicts in the Wars of the Roses, took place – an obelisk at Hadley Highstone marks the spot where the Earl of Warwick allegedly fell.

History is revealed too in the string of low-level almshouses that continue to provide accommodation for the needy; in the Mitre Inn (the oldest remaining example of the coaching inns that used to line the high street); in the grandeur of St John the Baptist Church; and in the much commended Queen Elizabeth’s School for boys, founded in 1573. And here’s something else. Ever wondered why Barnet is Cockney rhyming slang for hair? Well, the town once held a twice-yearly jamboree known as Barnet Fair, which sounds like? You guessed it. The fair was located on the very spot where High Barnet station stands today.

8. Elephant & Castle

elephant castle – Getty

Though something of a building site in places, Elephant & Castle has become a destination for in-the-know foodies thanks largely to Mercato Metropolitano, a street food centre (with, as you may have guessed, an Italian emphasis) that serves anything from excellent pizza to delicious ice cream.

Mercato also boasts a quirky, beanbag-filled cinema that shows cult films – from Mrs Doubtfire to Pulp Fiction – which are just the thing if they’re your thing. It’s also a prime spot for after-work drinks and a great place for parents to bring children: they can run around in safety while you sip wine.

9. Brixton

Brixton Village – Getty

Once one of London’s most dangerous districts, the main threat in Brixton nowadays seems to come from gentrification, which many fear is eroding the local character. But a strong personality endures in the area, where the Brixton Pound, a local currency, has been flipping the finger to chain stores since 2009. A strong musical heritage also endures thanks to the multicultural makeup of the area and, of course, David Bowie, who once lived here (a mural pays homage to the late, great artist opposite the station).

Sticking with the music theme, the Effra Hall Tavern, Hootananny and the Prince of Wales put on regular gigs, as does, of course, the O2 Academy. Gentrification has brought with it a glut of new bars and restaurants – it’s now just as common to see people consuming walnut salads as it is weed. Most eateries are located in Brixton Village and Pop Brixton, the latter of which is made from shipping containers.

10. Amersham

Amersham – Getty

Amersham is in Zone 9 of London, which means it isn’t really in London at all. And that’s precisely why this bucolic outpost of the Metropolitan line is so appealing; it has a direct link to the capital without the drawbacks that come with living in the Big Smoke.

It really is beautiful. Located in the picturesque Chiltern Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – this old market town dates back to the Domesday book and has the crooked houses to prove it. The old town has plenty of timeworn pubs, independent shops and smart restaurants to keep visitors occupied, not to mention some great country walks should you fancy taking advantage of the open space and clean air. It’s London, yes, but not as you know it.

11. Chesham

Chesham – Getty

Like a split hair, the Metropolitan divides in two at the end, with one branch going to Amersham and the other to Chesham. The two market towns have much in common: they both have an olde worlde charm; they are both located in the Chilterns; and they are the only Tube stops in zone 9. But Chesham has a personality of its own and is known for its “four Bs”: boots, baptists, brushes and beer.

Chesham has a history of producing all of those things, but perhaps most interesting for visitors is its brewing heritage. There are ample opportunities to sample local beers – notable boozers include the George & Dragon and the Jolly Sportsman – but if you want to go straight to the source head to the Haresfoot Brewery, which produces a range of fine ales. Other attractions include a twice-weekly market, the Elgiva Theatre, Lowndes Park and an open-air swimming pool (heated, in case you wondered).

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