Twickenham's Eel Pie Island is an enclave of west London enveloped in musical legend, artistic curios galore — and a good deal of secrecy.
Though you can cross the footbridge onto the piscatorially-monikered island anytime you like, you'll only get a tantalising whiff of the creative minds buzzing inside (think shrubbery-ensconced huts festooned with headless mannequins, skeletons in cages, and other forms of screwball sculpture).
But for two sets of weekends over the year, you can gain access into the Eel Pie Island's inner sanctum, thanks to its Open Studios series.
The next of these takes place on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December 2023, beckoning you into the creative hubs of the artists who live and work on the island. While enjoying a rare opportunity to hobnob with the locals, you can peruse handmade ceramics, oil paintings, jewellery, ceramic sculptures, and the like — there's even a resident cartoonist. And of course, if any particular treasure ruffles your truffles, you can take it back to the mainland with you.
Refreshments are available on the island (we once had a Pimm's surrounded by some VERY interesting sculptures). While you're in Twickenham, we recommend a trip to Eel Pie Island Museum. It's a tiny temple detailing the island's rock n' roll roots — including The Who, the Stones and Pink Floyd, to name a few — as well as famous residents, including the late Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio. The museum's on the Twickenham mainland, and you can visit any time of year, Thursday-Sunday.
Eel Pie Island Artists Winter Open Studios, Twickenham, free entry, 2-3 December 2023, 11am-5pm both days.