Saturday 23 September 2023

Let's draw Chiswick Riverside - Saturday 30 September 2023

Urban Sketchers London in Totally Thames 2022 
This will be the throwdown location for 2023 

Photo by Sam Mills 

In September we return to the Thames riverside around Chiswick Pier as part of Totally Thames 2023 organised by the Thames Festival Trust.

[Helen Hayhoe writes]

This month 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, which brings a bonus to both our organisations.

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

The Pier House, our meeting point
Photo by Sam Mills

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 that provides convenient seating.

The day is free of charge. You can book your free ticket here or here, which will allow you to receive urban sketching support information via email.

The day is led by Helen Hayhoe and Sasala Wickramasinghe.

If this is your first sketchwalk with us, welcome to Urban Sketchers London! 

Every sketchwalk has a leader, a meeting point at the beginning, a gathering place in the middle and another one at the end, when we ‘throw down’ our sketchbooks and pose for a group photo. Sketchwalk leaders know the area and are there to help you feel at ease and give you some ideas about what to sketch. Please note there is no tuition during the sketchwalks. We all draw what we wish, following the Urban Sketchers manifesto and sharing our drawings at the end.
We look forward to seeing you! 

Key times and meeting points

11 AM

We will meet at The Pier House, Corney Reach Way, Chiswick, London W4 2UG.

This is situated on the towpath next to Chiswick Pier. The Pier House is about 15 minutes' walk from Barnes Bridge and Chiswick Stations. A large room will be available to us, with light refreshments and loos available. 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.

Details of the location and how to get there are at the end of this post.

1 PM

Meet again at The Pier House for a group photo and throwdown. This year we will place our work on the steps by the pier, as seen in the group photo above. If wet, we can have our throwdown inside Pier House.

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 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 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. When you register for a free ticket, you will be sent resources to support you in joining the Urban Sketchers London group on a ‘sketchwalk’.

Options for drawing

The view from Chiswick Pier
Sketch by Joyce Smith

  • 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. 
Sketch by Sasala Wickramasinghe

  • Chiswick Church Street - A pretty village-like street with a few crooked old buildings. It's hard to imagine that the monstrous Hogarth Roundabout and the A4 are just one block north of that location! The original village of Chiswick grew around St Nicholas Church on the river, St Nicholas being the patron saint of sailors and fishermen.

Chiswick Church Street
Sketch by Jimmy Lu

  • Dukes MeadowsA 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 bio-diversity 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 that provides convenient seating overlooking the riverside.

Dukes Meadows
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

The Bandstand
Sketch and photo by Sam Mills

  • Barnes Bridge - 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 walk across the bridge provides you with another stunning perspective.

Graffiti on Barnes Bridge
Photo by Helen Hayhoe

Practical information

The location of this sketchwalk is Chiswick Pier Trust, The Pier House, Corney Reach Way, Chiswick, London W4 2UG -- away from the bustle, but not inaccessible. 

Getting there

By public transport

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

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 190 and E3

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 The Pier House, but there is free parking on Pumping Station Road, and some parking bays at Dukes Meadows on Riverside Drive. There are also parking bays opposite the riverfront on The Promenade.

Food and drink and conveniences

The splendid Coffee-bike has been invited to serve our needs. It is situated near the Pier House until 4pm, servin
g organic coffee specialties as well as tea, mocha and hot chocolate. 

On the riverside towards Dukes Meadows there is a little cafe, and the pubs and cafes of Barnes are over the railway bridge.

Toilets are available at The Pier House.

The Coffee-bike
Sketch by Helen Hayhoe


Please let us know if you will need accessibility support on the day. The area is flat and has good paths throughout. Barnes Rail Bridge is only accessible via steps, The Pie House is a 15 minute riverside walk downstream (towards Hammersmith Bridge) from here. 

For information on accessibility across London Underground, there is a downloadable Transport for London Step-free Tube Guide. 

Health and safety

Urban Sketchers London follow current health and safety guidelines, and we count on all our sketchers to do the same. As always, we keep an eye on developments concerning Covid, and even though restrictions have been lifted, we think it's sensible to do everything we can to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe when we're together. 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
  • Practise good hand hygiene. 


Remember to tag us when you post your sketches on social media! And do be polite when posting online. We may be biased, but we think kindness comes naturally to urban sketchers -- so don't be shy, show your social media politesse at its best.

#urbansketcherslondon #usklondon

Location map

See you at Chiswick Riverside!


Let's draw London in 2023 -- Find our full programme here

London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

Urban Sketchers London on social media

Join our mailing list

Sign up here to receive all the latest Urban Sketchers London news in your email Inbox.


Wednesday 20 September 2023

To remind: Let's draw Harrow-on-the-Hill on Saturday 23 September 2023


Harrow High Street meets West Street
Sketch by Madeleine Brennan

In September we will draw Harrow-on-the-Hill, a charming historic village in West London best known for the prestigious Harrow School.

The day is run by Madeleine Brennan, Sue Woodisse and Zane Karklina.

If you missed the original blog post, don't worry -- you'll find all the details here

And if  you follow Urban Sketchers London on Facebook, you might have noticed each of our sketchwalk events now has its own chat group. This helps us stay in touch with you on the day if for some reason there is a last minute change of plans. That can happen in locations like this one, where there is little rainy-day shelter for our group throwdowns. But urban sketchers are a hearty bunch, so join the chat and let's stay in touch!

See you at Harrow-on-the-Hill!


Let's draw London in 2023 -- Find our full programme here

London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

Urban Sketchers London on social media

Join our mailing list

Sign up here to receive all the latest Urban Sketchers London news in your email Inbox.