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Fairlop Waters Country Park, Barkingside

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by Peter Apps (subscribe)
An East London based journalist, seeking to describe some of my favourite parts of the city. Find me on twitter @peterdapps.
Published July 29th 2012
Forget the countryside, retreat to Zone 4
The boating lake by Ewan M

To get acres of uninterrupted countryside, an 18-hole golf course, sailing, fishing and rock climbing, some Londoners go on holiday.

Others buy a travel card to zone 4, and spend half an hour on the central line. Fairlop Waters has all of the above, and more, and despite being on the very borderline of East London and West Essex, it is available to any Londoner with an Oyster Card and an afternoon to spare.

The golf requires a membership fee, and doesn't come cheap, but boasts a 72-par 18 hole, a 27-par 9 and a 22 bay driving range.

Sailing, canoeing and windsurfing on the 38-acre lake is also not a budget afternoon, but it is open to non-members, and a stroll around the lake to watch the various craft in action is entirely free.

Angling offers the chance to pursue Tench, Bream and Carp of up to 30 pounds in a beautiful, tranquil environment across two lakes. Membership is required.

A popular lakeside bar and restaurant serve a range of beers, wines and spirits with gourmet Greek food in the Fiskardo Restaurant.

Even without paying, there is still a lot to enjoy in Fairlop Waters.

The bouldering (entirely free, although, ominously and clearly signposted as AT YOUR OWN RISK), provides enough of a range of difficulty for children, beginners and seasoned climbers to have an enjoyable work out.

The park is also a favourite spot for joggers, who enjoy not only the scenic surroundings and the fresh air, but the packed earth paths which provide tarmac damaged shins with much needed respite.

A current, unusual feature is artist Mira Carlix's work Nothing Is Set in Stone. A stone sculpture set on a mound by the lake, it houses a musical composition, playing for curious passers-by. Open until September 9th, it adds something different to a walk around the lake.

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Why? Countryside luxury on the tube map
When: Monday - Thursday: 7.00am - 11.00pm Friday & Saturday: 7.00am - Midnight Sunday: 7.00am - 10.30pm
Phone: 020 8500 9911
Where: Fairlop Waters, Forest Road, Barkingside, Essex, IG6 3HN
Cost: Entry is free, golf, sailing and angling will incur a cost
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