West is best?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The suburban town of Uxbridge comes under the Just About Travel spotlight

So BoJo is headed to UB8. London’s mayor – the man born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – is one step closer to Whitehall having been selected as Tory candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 general election.

The blonde king, who “whacked” in his bid at the eleventh hour, declared himself “thrilled” to have pipped  deputy leader of the local council David Simmonds, the deputy leader of Windsor and Maidenhead council Simon Dudley (who was born in the constituency), and Harrow-born barrister Suella Fernandes to the post.

But will Boris be “thrilled” by the suburban town of Uxbridge? Situated in zone six at the arse end of the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines, Uxbridge – whose most famous daughter is Christine Keeler (the 1960s model who became involved in the Profumo Affair) – is a world away from Westminster.

Kaye Holland, who grew up in the London borough of Hillingdon of which Uxbridge is a part, has the low-down on life in UB8 to help make the Mayor’s new move that little bit more manageable…

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson


What to see and do
This won’t take long. There’s the Hillingdon Outdoor Pool (formerly known as the Uxbridge Lido) should Mr Johnson want to swap cycling (Boris is known for his love of bikes) for swimming. The Grade II-listed pool reopened in 2010 and has recaptured its 1930s gory: expect fountains and, for children, a heated shallow splash pool. The pool served as training ground for the South Korean Olympic team during the London 2012 Games.
If he’s a football fan, Boris can cheer on the mighty Uxbridge FC. The club could certainly do with the support – they currently languish in the Southern Football League Division One Central.
Alternatively Boris can play a round – of golf that is. (Just About Travel wouldn’t dream of referring to the Mayor’s three extramarital affairs, one of which resulted in him fathering a love child). Should he fancy himself as a swinger (wahey!), Boris can head to  Uxbridge Golf Club in The Drive.

Culture vulture
Erm… pass. Just kidding: Uxbridge isn’t completely devoid of culture. An architectural buff like Boris will love the Charles Holden designed tube station with its curved brick facade and cornucopia of concrete pillars. The Hillingdon Civic Centre  – constructed in the seventies using 2.8 million red bricks and 750,000 tiles – also has a certain appeal. For theatre (JAT knows that the mayor like his shows having bumped into him last October at the ill fated premier of From Here to Eternity at the Shaftesbury Theatre), Boris will need to make a beeline for the Beck Theatre in Hayes or else the Compass Theatre in Ickenham (two nearby towns).

Best bites
The chain gang are out in full force in UB8 : there’s plenty of pizza/pasta joints (here’s looking at you Pizza Express, Prezzo and Ask), a perennially popular Nandos (the queue to get in often snakes along the High Street) but, depressingly, independent restaurants are few and far between. The exception to the rule is Nonna Rossa – a much loved local Italian restaurant whose head chef, Brian Scully, once worked at  Daphne’s and The Ivy. Nonna Rosa regularly holds events such as a Sinatra night – the next one is on Wed 24 Sept.

Top shops
Uxbridge boasts two shopping centres. First up there’s the tired looking Pavilions that’s home to branches of TK Maxx, Marks and Spencer, Wilkinsons, Iceland et al. Then there’s the more modern Chimes whose tenants include Topshop, Next, BHS and Debenhams department store. The Chimes also houses an Odeon cinema showing all the latest blockbusters should the Mayor fancy a little light entertainment after a day at the office.

After dark
Boris will want to check out the Crown and Treaty – a great place for a pint (or two). The pub – once the Crown and Treaty House – was named after the attempt by Charles I and Parliament to reach an agreement to end the Civil War back in 1645. The talks weren’t successful and subsequently Charles lost his head. The historic drinking den is also serves as a fine live music venue.

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