Exploring the wetlands

Basking cormorants
Basking cormorants (London Wetland Centre)

Yesterday (Saturday), we went with friends to the London Wetland Centre. If you are interested in birds, nature, environment or just a very pleasant outdoor ramble in beautiful surroundings, I am sure you would like this wonderful place.

Speedy's Cafe, Euston
Speedy’s Cafe, Euston

We started with breakfast at Speedy’s1, down in Euston. We had been here before and, though it is small, Speedy’s is a very nice little cafe and I enjoyed my omelette.

London morning
Strangely beautiful London morning

The day had started grey and chilly but by the time we had finished breakfast, the sun was emerging from the clouds and together with the haze changing the scene into a strangely beautiful London morning.

Our first destination was Hammersmith and on such a morning it was appropriate to travel there by bus to have the full benefit of the scenery. London contains many interesting and beautiful sights and travelling through the city on the upper deck of a bus is a good way to see them.

Model dragonfly
Model dragonfly

Real dragonfly
Real dragonfly

Having met our friends we again took to the bus and were carried to the London Wetland Centre. There is an entrance fee, of course, because it costs money to maintain this beautiful and scientifically important project. You know your money is going to a good and worthy cause. You can pay each time you go or take out a membership, which works out cheaper if you visit often.


For their part the organizers have worked hard and intelligently to make the site pleasant and informative. You can follow the paths (a map is provided) which take you around the the whole site, enabling you to visit the various environments that have been fashioned to attract the species that need them, and you can visit the hides.

Black swan

These are substantial structures with easy access sited at good viewing points. With stools and small windows that can be opened (and powerful monoculars in one case) they afford excellent views over the sanctuary without disturbing the birds.


You can take photographs or simply watch the birds (and some Highland cattle) going about their business. It’s a good idea to take binoculars if you have them but you can also see a lot with the naked eye.


While the hides provide an overview of the site (and you will probably want to take pictures from here because of the beauty of the landscape) the paths bring you close up to certain species. In fact, close enough to touch in some instances: I saw a young boy with a dragonfly perched on his hand!

It was a beautiful and sunny day, perfect for the visit. Below are a few more of the sights we saw.

Ducks in repose Berries Toad

1187 North Gower Street, London NW1 2NJ, Tel 020 7383 3485.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Exploring the wetlands

  1. I was going to chastise you when I saw your post title as I thought you had been to Norfolk without telling me!

    I think my sons would like this Centre although of course they do spend quite a bit of time out on the broads in the summer. But it is one to add to my list of places to visit.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    I have never been to the Norfolk Broads so I cannot compare them with the London Wetland Centre. I think what is remarkable about the latter is the way it has been designed to allow maximum access to human visitors while protecting the birds from interference. I am sure they are aware of the people but have learned that these do not disturb them.

  3. I’m a hydrologist with the National Park Service, in Florida, at the edge of the Everglades. And I am also a blogger … my topic is scientific: south Florida’s water cycle. I’ve never been to London, but have been to the Haute Fagnes of Belgium. I’d love to visit the moores of England. Where’s the best place to access them, and are they like the Haute Fagnes?

  4. SilverTiger says:

    I’ve never been to the Haute Fagnes so I cannot compare them with anything. When you say moors, I assume that, as you are an hydrologist, you would be looking for watery ones. Maybe the Norfolk Broads fill the bill? I have never been there myself so cannot compare them.

    Your best bet might be to get in touch with British institutions similar to your own or maybe the parent organization of the London Wetland Centre could help. This is the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

    Also, perhaps you might be able to link up with a British university with a view to an exchange visit or a secondment?

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