SWISS COTTAGE (Jubilee Line) A LONDON TUBE RAMBLE
The Freud Museum and, of course, the Swiss Cottage pub itself
To follow this short but interesting ramble, take the station exit marked 'Avenue Road West'. At the top of the subway steps turn left for the famous Swiss Cottage pub. It has had some sporting connections, as the first landlord in the 1840’s was a former pugilist. Later the pub became well-known as the starting point for pedestrianism (walking races) along the Finchley Road. The present wooden structure sits somewhat forlornly at the apex of a triangle of roads with traffic roaring on either side. It was rebuilt in the 1960’s and continues the style of a Swiss chalet, the original having been built during a craze for alpine designs following the success of the opera ‘Le Chalet’ in Paris in 1834. (Trivial Pursuit time!)
Continue down the crescent - at this point quite a steep hill. At the junction with Finchley Road is the large North Star pub, while facing you is an Edwardian parade of shops, clad in golden stone. Turn right to pass the pub with its entertaining sign of a Polar bear and star, then take a small path, Trinity Walk (another part of the hill you just walked down.) At the top is a primary school with bell tower.
Now turn left into Maresfield Gardens, full of enormous late Victorian houses. Note the blue plaque at No. 4 recording that the folk song collector Cecil Sharp, lived there (1918-24). The Freud Museum (entrance fee) is at No 20. Freud (’the father of psychoanalysis’) went to live there following his escape from Austria with his family in 1938, but died the following year. Turn round and once back at the primary school, follow Maresfield Gardens as it bends left.
Go past South Hampstead High School, an impressive brick building with a terracotta relief proclaiming that it was built in 1883. At Fitzjohn’s Avenue cross at the zebra. On the corner of Belsize Lane is the powerful bronze statue of Sigmund Freud by Oscar Nemon. Almost opposite at No. 101 Belsize Lane is a converted coach house topped by a weathervane with hunting scene. From here return to the Tube Station. (Near the end of College Crescent is a subway on the left which leads straight back to the concourse.)
Photos (click on image to enlarge)
Swiss Cottage pub
North Star pub sign - North Star pub
Houses in Maresfield Gardens - Weathervane, 101 Belsize Lane
Access note: owing to some steep slopes and awkward road crossings, this route is not recommended for wheelchair users.
Swiss Cottage is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the above link and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!