Walk no.: 5
Submitted by: Anna Daley
Title of walk: A Pigeon's Plod
Location of walk: Central London
How did the writer discover, or come to be walking in this area?: 'I used to live in London, but developed this walk for friends who were always asking me to show them around. '
What map will I need to do this walk: London A-Z / www.streetmap.co.uk
Is the walk linear or circular?: Linear
How many stopping-off points will there be?: 12 - and many more if you look and have time
Introduction: I think this isn't a bad introduction to London, because it takes in many of the things people want to see, whilst I hope showing them a few more obscure bits they may not have known about.
Click on each of the photographs to see the full-size image
Stopping-off point no. 1
Come out of the tube at Marble Arch. Visit Speakers' Corner, protected by an Act of Parliament dating from 1872.
Stopping-off point no. 2
Walk down Park Lane towards Buckingham Palace, the Monarch's official residence since 1837.
Stopping-off point no. 3
Up Petty France, past the Home Office, and arrive at New Scotland Yard. The current building dates from 1967. The famous revolving sign goes round 14 000 times in one day.
Stopping-off point no. 4
Head for the Palace of Westminster, via Westminster Abbey (where all English Monarchs have been crowned since William the Conqueror, on December 25th, 1066). There are 3 km of corridors in the Palace of Westminster, the best time to visit them is after 6 pm. Most of the buildings date from Sir Willaim Barry's reconstruction after the fire of 1834.
Stopping-off point no. 5
Go down Whitehall, past the Banqueting House where King Charles I was executed on January 30th, 1649. Worth a visit. Round the Cenotaph, and stop in front of the gates of Downing Street, built in 1684 by an American speculator, on not very solid foundations. The famous black door dates from 1760, and in fact there are two, so that the look of the house does not change while the door is being repainted or repaired.
Stopping-off point no. 6
Back to Horse Guards, opposite the Banqueting House, and watch the Changing of the Guard.
Stopping-off point no. 7
Arrive in Trafalgar Square, admire Admiralty Arch, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery (my favourite), and St Martin in the Fields. All distances from London are measured from the camera shop on one side of the square, look for the plaque.
Stopping-off point no. 8
Along Pall Mall and the Haymarket, past Burlington's Arcade and Saville Row to Picadilly Circus: theatres, lights, Eros....
Stopping-off point no. 9
Then down Shaftesbury Avenue (more theatres), cross the top of Charing Cross Road (or go down it if you are interested in 2nd hand books), through Leicester Square and up Long Acre into Covent Garden (revamped and reopened in 1980). Home of, amongst other things, the London Transport Museum.
Stopping-off point no. 10
Down Bow Street, beat of the first London policemen, up the Strand (or down it, if you remember the song), and along Fleet Street to St. Paul's Cathedral. There has been a church on this site since 604, but Christopher Wren's design was built in 1710.
Stopping-off point no. 11
Up Cheapside and East Cheapside (passing the Bank of England and the Mansion House on your way) to Tower Hill and the Tower of London. This fortress dating from the 11th century, has been open to the public since 1660. And there's still a queue to see the Crown Jewels...
Stopping-off point no. 12
And finally, because I was born south of the river, Tower Bridge, built from 1886 to 1894 by Sir Horace Jones (well, and a few construction workers I suppose). The catwalks between the tops of the towers were intended for pedestrians, to avoid their having to wait when the bridge was open, but as they always preferred to watch the bridge, they were closed in 1910. In 1952, a bus jumped between the two halves, it had already started to cross when they began to open. In 1977, it was painted red white and blue to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee. You can go back into the tube at Tower Hill, or cross the bridge and visit the rest of London.