Saturday 20 August 2022

Let's draw Chiswick Riverside - Saturday 24 September 2022

The Thames towards Hammersmith
Sketch by Helen Hayhoe

[Helen Hayhoe and Sam Mills write] 

In September we draw the Thames riverside around Chiswick Pier

This month's event is a collaboration between the Thames Festival Trust and Urban Sketchers London, hosted by the Chiswick Pier Trust. We are part of the Totally Thames Festival 2022, which brings a bonus to each organisation. 

The day is free of charge. You can book your free ticket as part of the Totally Thames Festival, or just turn up.

We have as our base Pier House, nestled on the towpath at Chiswick Pier. The Chiswick Pier Trust is generously providing a space with loos and access to a kettle, and a weatherproof space for each of our three throwdowns. Pier House itself has resources we can use, including some stools for sketching.

Pier House - Our meeting point

There are varied opportunities for sketching. Chiswick Pier is the location of several interesting houseboats. The view up and down the river is broad and breathtaking. A five minute walk takes you to Dukes Meadows, a bio-diverse mix of riverside towpath, woodland and open meadow. At its heart is The Dukes Meadows Bandstand, which provides both an interesting subject and shelter if needed. The whole area has terracing with convenient seating.

Key times and meeting points

11 AM

Meet at the Pier House, Corney Reach Way, Chiswick, London W4 2UG.

This is situated on the towpath next to Chiswick Pier. Pier House is about 15 minutes' walk from Barnes Bridge and from Chiswick Stations. A large room will be available to us, with light refreshments and loos. You will spot the RNLI lifeboat station above the building; our entrance is on the ground floor. We will meet outside if the weather is fine.

For details of the location and how to get there, see Practical Information below.

1 PM

Meet again inside Pier House for a spacious and weatherproof throwdown venue.

3.30 PM

Meet at the same place for the final throwdown.


For those who would like to stay on for a drink and chat (and to sketch!) the Barnes Riverside offers several pubs, including The White Hart, just over the railway bridge by Barnes Bridge Station.

Pre-visit activities

One of the aims of the collaboration with the Thames Festival Trust is to engage people with the riverside, and sketching is a wonderful way to do this. Together we aim to provide people with information about urban sketching and how to start. To this end, on Tuesday 6th September at 7pm, the Festival is featuring our very own Mike Whalley in a live Zoom session, explaining all about urban sketching and what we do.

Book your free ticket to Mike’s introduction to urban sketching.

Mike Whalley of Urban Sketchers London will give
a free talk on 6 September -- book your place now!

Share the love on social media!

Our hashtags for the day are
#urbansketcherslondon and #totallythames
and if you tag the Thames Festival Trust as well, you can share your sketches more widely
@thamesfestivaltrust on Facebook and Instagram
@thamesfesttrust on Twitter. 

Options for drawing

The riverside at Chiswick Pier

The location at Chiswick Pier provides a wealth of variety. The pier itself hosts colourful houseboats and from here you can see panoramic views of the river towards Hammersmith in one direction and Mortlake in the other. 

Boat at Chiswick Pier
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

Dukes Meadows

A five minute walk takes you to Dukes Meadows, a mix of riverside towpath, woodland and open meadow. The Dukes Meadows Trust led the regeneration of the meadows to create a beautiful riverside park. Starting in 2000 the trust has raised over £1 million to create fabulous play areas, and has planted hedgerows, wildflower meadows and an orchard to increase the biodiversity of the park. Hailed as a model of sustainability, the Trust has established successful social enterprises that generate revenue to maintain the improvements made. Volunteers run the Trust and help maintain the park. At its heart is the Dukes Meadow Bandstand, which provides both an interesting subject and shelter if needed. The whole area has terracing with convenient seating overlooking the riverside.

Dukes Meadows
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

The Bandstand
Photo and sketch by Sam Mills

Barnes Bridge

Barnes Bridge is a 15 minute walk away on the other side of Dukes Meadows. Architecturally splendid, it also boasts some great graffiti and a fabulous view. There are some distinctive houses across the river, and a stroll across the bridge reveals another stunning perspective.

Graffiti on Barnes Bridge
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

Practical information

By public transport

Chiswick and Barnes Bridge Railway stations are each about a 15 minute walk from Pier House. The stations are on the Hounslow/Weybridge to Waterloo line. For departure and arrival times, please visit Southwest Trains. 

The E3 and 190 buses stop close by on the A316. For their routes, locations of bus stops and real-time bus locations, please visit the E3 and 190 bus timetables on the Transport for London website.

By car

Chiswick Pier and The Pier House are in Corney Reach Way, off the roundabout at the end of Corney Road and Edensor Road, Chiswick. The Pier House entrance faces onto the riverside piazza. The site of what used to be Pissarro’s restaurant is immediately next door upstream along the riverside walkway.

There is little parking at Pier House, but there are parking bays at Dukes Meadows on Riverside Drive, and there are parking bays opposite the riverfront on The Promenade.

Facilities on site

There will be light refreshments (a kettle and some biscuits) available at Pier House itself. On the riverside towards Dukes Meadows there is a little cafe, and the pubs and cafes of Barnes are over the railway bridge.

The area is flat and has good paths throughout. Barnes Bridge is only accessible via steps, though a new walkway around the base of the bridge on the Chiswick side will extend the accessible path.

Toilets are available at Pier House.

COVID-19 visit information

We will remain alert to national guidance about COVID-19 and its variants. Even while restrictions have been lifted, it's sensible to take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe throughout the event. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies:

· Please do not attend if you feel unwell

· Wear a face covering when you're close to others

· Give people space, and 

· Practice good hand hygiene. 

Location Map 

Key locations of the day are shown on the map below.

See you at Chiswick Pier!

⧫ ⧫ 

Save the date! 8 - 16 October 
Urban Sketchers London 10 Year Anniversary Exhibition 

We're staging a 10-Year Anniversary Exhibition in October at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park. It will be free to the public and will feature activities for visitors, including demonstrations, sketchwalks and a large communal artwork that everyone can contribute to. The call for submissions will be announced closer to the time -- watch this blog and the Urban Sketchers London social media accounts for updates. Come join us at Mile End Park!

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