Speaking of escaping the diplomatic quarter, why not break out of the Belgravia Bubble and head east to Deptford – site of London’s old Royal Dockyards where Peter the Great worked incognito a shipbuilder and Shakespeare’s rival playwright Christopher Marlowe was knifed when he quibbled over a bar tab. In addition to a statue of the Russian Tsar, you will also be able to haggle with some Cockney market traders see some engaging street art and experience a bit of the real London.
In the autumn, a group of ambassadors’ spouses joined Argentine-born local street artist Patricio Forrester for a stroll through this slightly edgy and vibrant part of Southeast London to check out his quirky and engaging street murals.
As an immigrant and outsider arriving in London as an art student back in 1995, Patricio used his art as a way to integrate and give back to his adopted community. His murals randomly scattered throughout Deptford, Brockley and New Cross start conversations and are a playful provocation for passers-by.
He is also the creative director of Artmongers, an artist collective that creates art in places of adversity. Artmongers have produced murals in hospitals, centres for care of those with dementia or mental health problems. Beyond London Artmongers has worked with Syrian refugee communities at the Azraq camp in Jordan and a special needs centre for Saharawi refugees.
Take a few selfies with Patricio’s murals, then head for Deptford Market on the High Street, an authentic London market experience, with a mix of fishmongers, cheap kitschy tat and bric-a-brack.
After a good haggle, take a quiet stroll through Nunhead Cemetery and then finish your tour with a coffee and bite to eat in the Hill Station community café on Telegraph Hill in Kitto Road – a community initiative that hosts a pop-up restaurants, including Syrian refugees, who cook to raise funds for the Azraq camp.
For opening times and events on at the Hill Station visit www.hillstation.org.uk
For information about Artmongers projects, visit artmongersaction.org