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Lauderdale House & Waterlow Park

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by Ren (subscribe)
I'm a London-based freelancer who writes about costume design, performance art, pop culture deconstructions, literary evaluations, reviews and bucket lists on my blog Diary of a Self-Confessed Nerd
Published August 4th 2012
For anyone that enjoys public spaces, picnic areas, playgrounds, rich greenery, diverse British wildlife and the arts, then there is a hidden gem in the middle of London.

Copyright to the and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

Lauderdale House is situated in the lush greenery of Waterlow Park, Highgate Hill, London. Waterlow Park has three ponds, tree and shrub lined walkways, lots of lawn space, 6 tennis courts and play areas which are a world away from the rush and stress of the London streets. The 20-acre green-sprawl is "garden for the gardenless" as Sir Sidney Waterlow once said when he gave the land over to the public in 1889. Yet the real gem of Waterlow is the historic Lauderdale House which not only homes a cafe, its own public gardens, but it is also a golden arts and exhibitions centre.

Being a 16th century piece of architecture (though later modernised), the building still keeps its stunning woodwork and fireplaces. The best features are the open rooms that stretch the length of the building while large windows give wonderful views of the surrounding park. It is possible to rent rooms for a variety of occasions; weddings, funerals, concerts and workshops, but the best use of Lauderdale has been for art exhibits.

Currently running is a photographic competition which boasts professional and recreational competitors; though it ends on Sunday the 5th so make sure to head down there soon! Another interesting project is the 'Mosaics-in-the-Garden' (which also will be finishing this Sunday,) but interestingly supports the local community best as the creators of the colourful, time-consuming and visually stunning pieces are Year 10 students a local school.

Personally I recommend them both; the walk around Waterlow Park is relaxing, it was almost too easy to forget that just past the trees London still existed and because of how undiscovered this public space is, it was very tranquil. Lauderdale House was something I discovered while there and the current exhibits were really nice surprises to come across, completely unexpected and accessible to a whole range of audiences.

Future exhibits include the exciting 'Pride in the House' running from the 22nd August to the 2nd September where gay and lesbian artists will be showcased from Lauderdale's national competition. Shortly after from the 5th to the 16th September is the 'Round the World in 90 Days' project where 5600kms and 3,500 photos will be shared publicly and I plan on going to both!
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Why? A hidden gem in the middle of London.
Where: Waterlow Park, Highgate Hill, Camden Town, Greater London N6 5HG, United Kingdom
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