One Day in Central London - from Buckingham Palace to St. Paul Cathedral and Paternoster Square:
Tip 1: from Green Park to Lambeth Bridge.
Tip 2: Victoria Tower Gardens to One New Change Shopping Centre.
Tip 1 Main Attractions: Green Park, Canada Gate, Buckingham Palace, Victoria Memorial square, Wellington Arch, Apsley House, Hyde Park, statue of Achilles, Cavalry Memorial statue, Sloane Street, Chelsea Pensioners' Hospital, Chelsea Bridge, Grosvenor Road, Dolphin Square Building, Pimlico Gardens, Vauxhall Bridge, Riverside Walk Gardens, Lambeth Bridge.
Distance (Tip 1 and Tip 2): 15 km. Weather: avoid windy or rainy days. Orientation: a full, busy day of walk. Crossing Central London from north to south and, then, from west to east and, back, from south to north. Quick exploration of several districts in London with no in-depth visits.
Tip 1 - from Green Park to Lambeth Bridge.
Start: Green Park Metro Station. End: Lambeth Bridge
Public Transport to Buckingham Palace: By Underground: Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner. You can also walk to Buckingham Palace from Hyde Park Corner or Green Park Underground Stations (both Piccadilly Lines) in 5 to 10 minutes. By bus: Numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.
From Green Park Metro (underground) station to Buckingham Palace on foot: exit the Green park station through the southern exit (leading to the Green Park and Buckingham Palace). The Piccadilly Street is on your back (north). You face Diana fountain/ statue outside of Green Park station:
Green Park resides between Hyde Park and St. James's Park. The park is bounded on the north by the Green Park tube station, which is a major interchange located on Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee lines. From the station starts the Queen's Walk, which forms the east border of the park, leading to the south end of the park. In the south is the Constitution Hill. To the south is also the ceremonial avenue of the Mall, and the buildings of St James's Palace (more to the east) and Clarence House (bordering the park) overlook the park to the east. Clarence House was home to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother for almost 50 years prior to her passing in 2002. It is now the official residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. It is usually closed to the public through the year but every summer, it is open to visitors for around a month – usually August – with guided tours of the ground floor reception. St. James’s Palace was built in the 16th century. It is the UK’s most senior royal palace and contains the London residences of The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. Wellington Arch is in the south-west corner of Green Park. Many people will tell you that Green Park is so called because flowers don't grow there. Some more dubious types will even claim that the reason for the lack of flowers stems back to Charles II; his wife Catherine apparently caught him picking flowers for his mistress and ordered all flowers to be removed. The now-buried Tyburn stream, running from Hampstead to the Thames, runs under the park, coming in from Mayfair before heading off west underneath Buckingham Palace. The Broadwalk through the park roughly follows its path. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks was composed specifically for a fireworks celebration held in The Green Park in 1749. On 10 June 1840, it was the scene of Edward Oxford's assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, on Constitution Hill. No public toilets, but some in Green Park Underground station.
Our best advice to arrive to Buckingham Palace from the Metro station is taking the second from the left path. Or, look in the distance for big golden gates. These are the gates (Canada Gate) that separate the Green Park from Buckingham Palace grounds. The golden Canada Gates were a gift from Canada, celebrating its contribution to the then British Empire. The gate is in the same style as those of Buckingham Palace. The metalwork includes the crests of seven Canadian provinces. Canada Gate takes the form of a screen consisting of 5 portals of gilded wrought iron, the central section being the principal and largest gate; the double gates are supported on columns of iron. The gate stands at the junction with Constitution Hill; today, a congested roundabout, but occasionally closed to traffic when the famous Mall (Constitution Hill road continuation to the east) is required for state processions from the palace.
Canada Gate in May 2016:
You just cross the Green Park from north to south. You may take the pedestrian Queen's Walk, the Spencer House on your left,
and turn right and left to follow the paths southward until you arrive the Constitution Hill road. The path that crosses Green Park from north to south, leading to Canada Gate is a wide grass path lined with trees, known as The Broadwalk. It was planted in 1905 to create a good view of the Queen Victoria Memorial from Piccadilly. The Broadwalk also marks the approximate course of the ancient River Tyburn that now flows under the park on its course from Hampstead to the River Thames. The Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace can be seen in the distance:
Behind this road reside: Buckingham Palace Garden, the palace and Victoria Memorial Square. Just follow the paths with the signs pointing to Buckingham Palace. Other ones point to Hyde Park. There is a refreshment kiosk at the Buckingham Palace corner of the park. Best seen when the weather is nice and flowers in bloom. The park may get busy during summer sunny and warm afternoons/evenings. Then, you'll be surprised by the amount of deckchairs spread around. The noise always seems far away.
It is an almost necessary London tourist ritual of taking photos outside the palace’s iconic facade.
Buckingham Palace itself is rarely open to the public (usually only during August and September). On a gorgeous, sunny day join the masses to watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. There is an detailed blog (from May 2013) on this event in Tipter: http://tipter.com/trips/buckingham-palace-changing-of-the-guard. Allow one hour or more wait before everything begins. Add the lack of space to move around, and it is just long enough to begin losing feeling in your feet. From the first strains of music to the last piper leaving the palace, the whole ceremony lasts just under an hour. Be ready with your umbrella. The sky in London is changing in minutes. The ceremony takes place, weather permitting, at 11.00 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and daily in the summer. For detailed schedules see: http://www.householddivision.org.uk/changing-the-guard-calendar. Please note that the schedule is subject to change. To learn more on this ceremony - check this site: https://changing-guard.com/changing-guard-buckingham-palace.html. Bear in mind that the event might be so jammed packed that you might hardly see the red-uniformed guards from afar. During the formal ceremony, the ‘New Guard’ relieves the soldiers who have been on duty at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace. A military band plays music, which ranges from Abba’s greatest hits to more traditional songs:
Buckingham Palace actually started out as Buckingham House owned by the Duke of Buckingham. George III bought the original Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte and 14 of George III's 15 children were born there. Then, in 1826, £450,000 was spent on transforming the house into a palace. When George IV became king he began turning the house into a palace. He appointed the architect John Nash, who was later dismissed by Parliament for spending too much. The architect, Edward Blore was later employed to finish the palace for the new Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert moved to Buckingham Palace after they were married in 1840. They played an important role in transforming the palace for state functions and activities. Over the following years many changes and improvements have been made to the palace with the latest work being the completion of gates and railings in 1914. The palace’s state rooms have been open to the public since 1993, and since that time 519,000 people have taken the opportunity to visit. By the way, the Queen doesn’t even come to Buckingham during the summer. She lives in Scotland and Windsor Castle.
The State Rooms which are open to visitors for 10 weeks each summer and on selected dates during winter and spring. Tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace is open daily, during year 2018 from 21 July until 31 August 2018 during the hours 09.30-17.15 and from 1 September until 30 September 2018 during the hours 09.30-16.15. Prices: Adult £24.00, Over 60 / Student (with valid ID) £22.00, Under 17 / Disabled £13.50, Under 5 FREE, Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £61.50. At the end of your visit, don’t forget to ask a Warden to stamp your ticket to convert it into a 1- Year Pass. You should allow around 3-3.5 hours for the full experience at Buckingham Palace (the Garden tour lasts 45 minutes if you opt for it). Prices including the Palace gardens: Adult £33.00, Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £31.00, Under 17/ Disabled £19.70, Under 5 FREE, Family £85.70 (2 adults and 3 under 17s). I must advise that if you do want to visit the palace then you will have to book online far in advance. The tickets are sold out for several day/weekss beforehand and you will not be able to buy on the spot.
The tours are very popular due to its limited season and the hype of the royal family. Be prepared for a short half hour queue to get through the airport style security. NO PHOTOS ALLOWED INSIDE ! You cannot take pictures inside the palace. There are security people in every room and they are very quick at spotting visitors who are taking pictures.
It is one of the oldest working palaces in the world and the State Rooms are so beautiful and grand. With 775 rooms (including the 19 State Rooms and 78 bathrooms) and the largest private garden in London, it has been the official London residence of UK sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Queen. Be prepared to queue for the summer conducted tour. During August the queues are horrendous. You'll wait at least an hour before you get in. The queues might be slightly better if you go in September. No toilets in the beginning of the tour. The public toilets are in the garden, at the end of the tour. The conducted tour takes you round all the grandest rooms of the palace including the Throne Room, the Ballroom where State Banquets are held, and the lavishly decorated official drawing rooms. The audio tour guides you at leisure through the many different rooms, corridors and grand staircases. The tour takes you to nineteen of the State Rooms which the Queen uses for ceremonial occasions and entertains official visitors. The tour of the State Rooms begins at the Grand Entrance. This entrance is reserved for foreign ambassadors and diplomats. You’ll see the Quadrangle, the courtyard in the middle of the palace, where processions form for special occasions. On a state visit, the mounted band of the Household Division also plays here to welcome the visiting Head of State and their entourage. At the end of the Quadrangle looms the magnificence of the Grand Entrance, with its many columns and facades. Inside, it is even more magnificent with its red carpet and fireplace made from a single block of marble. Upstairs the Grand Staircase invites you up with its elegant curls.
Each room unveils its spectacular beauty, every piece of furniture is a piece of art. The art collections, including the marble sculptures, 350 clocks, chandeliers, paintings, and vases of all sizes, from China and Japan, overwhelm the visitors. Even the mirrors, trim, and carvings on each wall is different. It reveals the care, work, heart, and creativity of the designer in every inch of the space, striving for perfection.
The Throne Room was Initially designed for investitures and ceremonies. The Throne Room is now primarily used on important occasions for the reception of formal addresses, including last year’s Diamond Jubilee. The space also housed a significant number of concerts and balls before 1861. The Throne Room, sometimes used during Queen Victoria’s reign for Court gatherings and as a second dancing room, is dominated by a proscenium arch supported by a pair of winged figures of ‘victory’ holding garlands above the ‘chairs of state’. It is in the Throne Room that The Queen, on very special occasions like Jubilees, receives loyal addresses. Another use of the Throne Room has been for formal wedding photographs:
The Ballroom is the largest multi-purpose room in Buckingham Palace. The Ballroom was opened in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. Today, it’s used for State banquets, memorial concerts and artistic performances, as well as for Investitures. It was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. In the spectacular Palace Ballroom you’ll see the traditional horseshoe-shaped table lavishly decorated for a State Banquet, including the silver gilt from the Grand service, first used to celebrate the birthday of George III in 1811, as well as jeweled cups, ivory tankards, chased dishes, sconces, shields and basins:
Inside, you’ll find the Green Drawing Room with its green walls, green sofas and green curtains:
The White Drawing Room is the grandest of all 19 State Rooms. The White Drawing Room displays two fascinating pairs of ebony-veneered cabinets, built into the wall beneath tall mirrors, to provide members of the Royal Family a discreet means of entering the premises. The room has been used as a backdrop in many photographic portraits of the Royal Family and is currently the setting for a number of audiences and receptions:
Before the Ballroom was added to the Palace in the 1850s, the first State Ball was held in the Blue Drawing Room in May 1838 as part of the celebrations leading up to Queen Victoria’s Coronation. Note the thirty fake onyx columns and the Sevres porcelain table which was made for Napoleon:
The Music Room was originally known as the Bow Drawing Room. Four Royal babies – The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, The Duke of York and Prince William – were all christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Music Room:
The Marble Hall, clad in Italian marble, contains fine sculptures, including three groups by Antonio Canova:
Situated at the rear of the palace, the garden covers 40 acres, and includes a helicopter landing area, a tennis court, and a lake graced by a flock of flamingos. Home to more than 30 different species of birds and 350 wildflowers, the garden has hosted summer parties, charity tennis competitions, and pop and classical music concerts. The garden is open to walk through at the end of the tour during the summer in daylight. The Garden Café also provides beautiful views over the Palace lawns at the end of your visit:
London may be known as a museum city, but some of the city’s best art is housed in the Queen’s Gallery, which is a part of Buckingham Palace. That collection is one of the best (and most valuable) in the entire world, a result of multiple centuries of uninterrupted collecting by the country’s royal families. The gallery building itself sits on a site that formerly housed Queen Victoria’s chapel. Destroyed in a 1940 air raid, it was rebuilt after the war as a purpose-built art gallery and renovated and modernized in the 1990s. Because the museum can only display about 450 works from the vast collection, those chosen are quite special and quite spectacular. The Queen’s Gallery was reopened in May 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The Queen’s Gallery hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection. The building that initially stood on its site was originally used as a private chapel, but after being damaged by German bombs in the war, it was totally refurbished and expanded.
Photos below are from year 2013.
"An old Woman" called "The Artist's Mother"' c.1627-9 by Rembrandt:
Rembrandt (1606-1669) - Agatha Bas (1611-1658):
"A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman", known as "The Music Lesson" by Vermeer (from year 2013):
Every year, Buckingham Palace's summer opening also features a special exhibition. This temporary exhibition can only be seen during that year's summer opening. In 2018, the exhibition celebrates the 70th birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales.
Note: your best way to taste something from the royal family is this web site: https://www.royal.uk/
We return to the Buckingham Palace main gate. Opposite the (closed) main entrance gate is the The Victoria Memorial square with the monument to Queen Victoria designed and executed by the sculptor Thomas Brock. Designed in 1901 and unveiled on 16 May 1911, though it was not completed until 1924. It was the centrepiece of an ambitious urban planning scheme, which included the creation of the Queen’s Gardens to a design by Sir Aston Webb, and the refacing of Buckingham Palace by the same architect. The square and the monument reside at the western end of The Mall and the eastern end of the Constitution Hill. At the top of the central pylon stands a gilded bronze Winged Victory, standing on a globe and with a victor's palm in one hand. Beneath her are personifications of Constancy, holding a compass with its needle pointing true north, and Courage, holding a club. Beneath these, on the eastern and western sides, are two eagles with wings outspread, representing Empire. Below these, statues of an enthroned Queen Victoria (facing The Mall) and of Motherhood (facing Buckingham Palace), with Justice (facing north-west towards Green Park) and Truth (facing south-east). At the four corners of the monument are massive bronze figures with lions, representing Peace (a female figure holding an olive branch), Progress (a nude youth holding a flaming torch), Agriculture (a woman in peasant dress with a sickle and a sheaf of corn) and Manufacture (a blacksmith in modern costume with a hammer and a scroll):
With our face to the Buckingham Palace and our back to Victoria Monument - we turn right (our face to the Green Park) and turn LEFT (WEST) along Constitution Hill (following the "Pedestrians Hyde Park" signpost). We follow the pedestrians' path along this road (800 m.) - leading to Wellington Arch:
Wellington Arch resides at Hyde Park Corner, at the western corner of Green Park, where Kensington Road meets Piccadilly near its junction with Park Lane. It was built in 1825–7 and was originally intended as an outer entrance to Buckingham Palace, later becoming a victory arch proclaiming Wellington's defeat of Napoleon. At first it stood facing the Hyde Park Screen, but it was moved to its present position in the 1880s. Its original design was never completed, and a controversial giant statue of the Duke of Wellington was placed on top of it in 1846. The quadriga sculpture that crowns the arch today was erected in 1912. Crowned by the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, it depicts the Angel of Peace descending on the 'Quadriga' - or four-horsed chariot - of War. In 1891 the sculptor Adrian Jones (1845–1938) exhibited a magnificent plaster group at the Royal Academy entitled ‘Triumph’, of a quadriga (a four-horse chariot). The Prince of Wales suggested that it would make a suitable adornment for the rebuilt Wellington Arch. Initially no funds were available, but eventually a banker, Sir Herbert Stern, made an anonymous donation of about £20,000, and from 1908 Jones set to work on a full-size plaster version of his quadriga in his Chelsea studio, with Edward VII taking a personal interest. The final bronze version was erected on top of the arch in January 1912. Between 1901 and 1912 the approaches to Buckingham Palace were redesigned, to create the magnificent ceremonial landscape we see today. Constitution Hill was widened and repaved, and the Wellington Arch was framed between fine new piers and gates, tying it into this composition. The arch’s setting was again altered in an attempt to relieve traffic congestion with the creation of the present Hyde Park Corner roundabout in 1960–62. The Edwardian gates to either side of the arch were removed, and it was cut off from Constitution Hill on the new traffic island. The southern pier of the arch was gutted to serve as a ventilation shaft for an underpass; the rest of the arch was left empty after this date. In 1999 the arch was transferred to the care of English Heritage. Major repairs and refurbishment were carried out, and in 2001 the arch was opened to the public. Nowadays, it is isolated on a traffic island. Opening hours: Winter (OCT-MAR): everyday 10.00-16.00, Summer: 10.00-17.00. Closed: 7-13 May, 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan. Prices: Adult £5.00, Child (5-15 years) £3.00, Concessions £4.50, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £13.00:
it is open to the public and contains three floors of exhibits detailing the history of the arch, and an Exhibition "Waterloo 1815; The Battle for Peace". At one time the arch was used as a local police station, and you can see the original police office during your visit. Visitors can also step onto terraces on both sides of the top of the arch, which give views of the surrounding area. You can visit this spectacular landmark and admire the glorious panoramas over London from its balconies. There is a lift as well as the STEEP spiral staircase - all leading to the top balconies. It is a strategic point to watch the Household Cavalry on their way to the Changing of the Guard. They leave the barracks and march underneath the arch. From the balconies, you can see right into the Buckingham Palace gardens ! Allow 30-45 minutes to visit this site:
The Duke of Wellington's former London home Apsley House is just across the road North to Wellington Arch). It stands alone at Hyde Park Corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park, facing south towards the busy traffic roundabout in the centre of which stands the Wellington Arch. its official address remains 149 Piccadilly, W1J 7NT. Where Wellington Arch tells the story of the Battle of Waterloo - Apsley House tells Wellington's story. It is sometimes referred to as the Wellington Museum. It is a museum and art gallery, exhibiting the Wellington Collection, a large collection of paintings, other artworks and memorabilia of the career of the 1st Duke. The practice has been to maintain the rooms as far as possible in the original style and decor. The 9th Duke of Wellington retains the use of part of the buildings but most of it is maintained by the English Heritage (FREE to holders of English Heritage Pass). It is perhaps the only preserved example of an English aristocratic town house from its period. A joint ticket for both locations costs about £10.00 for non-members of English Heritage. Opening hours: Winter (OCT-MAR): SAT-SUN 10.00-16.00. Closed: Christmas Eve 24 Dec, Christmas Day 25 Dec, Boxing Day 26 Dec, New Year’s Eve
31 Dec, New Year's Day 1 Jan. Prices: Adult £9.30, Child (5-15 years) £5.60, Concessions £8.40, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £24.20. NO PHOTOS INSIDE !
Nice decor inside, impressive pictures, elegant stately home, interesting history. Note, especially, the huge statue of Napoleon and the oldest surviving grand piano in the UK:
The house was originally built in red brick by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1778 for Lord Apsley, the Lord Chancellor, who gave the house its name. Some Adam interiors survive: the semi-circular Staircase, the Drawing Room with its apsidal end, and the Portico Room, behind the giant Corinthian portico added by Wellington. The house was given the popular nickname of "Number One, London", since it was the first house passed by visitors who travelled from the countryside after the toll gates at Knightsbridge. In 1807 the house was purchased by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, the elder brother of Sir Arthur Wellesley, but in 1817 financial difficulties forced him to sell it to his famous brother, by then the Duke of Wellington, who needed a London base from which to pursue his new career in politics. Wellington employed the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt to carry out renovations in his new property.
A Musician by Caravaggio, c. 1615, The Wellington Collection:
The Dissolute Household, Jan Steen (1625/1626–1679), The Wellington Collection:
The Drawing Room:
We continue north-west heading to Hyde Park. We cross the Piccadilly (near the Hyde Park Corner Tube station), cross the S Carriage Drive road and enter Hyde Park near the Queen Elizabeth Gate. Not far from this gate we meet the statue of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, commemorates the soldier and politician, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). It was installed by order of King George III and unveiled on 18 June 1822. The statue of Achilles was the first statue installed in Hyde Park and was commissioned by a patriotic, upper class society, known as Ladies of England. It was made by Sir Richard Westmacott cast from cannon taken in the victories of Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse and Waterloo. The statue head is based on the Duke himself. The statue was originally completely nude and caused outrage so a small fig leaf had to be added soon after it was installed...:
We take the Serpentine Road (2nd to the left), heading westward into Hyde Park. On our way to the lake we see, on our right, the Cavalry Memorial, a bronze sculpture, which represents St George on horseback stepping over a defeated dragon, with a frieze of galloping horsemen around the base. The memorial commemorates members of the Cavalry Regiments killed during World War I. The Cavalry Memorial also contains a bronze plaque which lists the cavalry of the Empire. The text has been updated to include later conflicts. Designed by Adrian Jones, the sculpture contains bronze which came from guns captured during WW1. The base was designed by Sir John Burnet. Originally installed in 1924 at Stanhope Gate, the Cavalry Memorial was moved to its present site near the bandstand in 1961, following the widening of Park Lane:
When we arrive to the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen and to the Serpentine lake
we turn LEFT and walk along an asphalted path (the lake is on our right). We cross a sand track for horses and head SOUTHWARD to Knightsbridge Tube Station. We cross the Knightsbridge Street - the tube station on our left and the Harvey Nichols store is on our right:
We continue in the same direction, southward onto Sloane Street. We shall walk the whole stretch from Knightsbridge to Sloane Square - approx. 1150 m. Sloane Street runs north to south, from Knightsbridge to Sloane Square, crossing Pont Street about halfway along. Sloane Street takes its name from Sir Hans Sloane, who purchased the surrounding area in 1712. Many of the properties in the street still belong to his descendants the Earls Cadogan, via their company Cadogan Estates. Sloane Street has long been a fashionable shopping street, especially the northern section closest to Knightsbridge, which is known informally as Upper Sloane Street. Many shops are concerned with top-notch fashion. In this sense, Sloane Street rivals Bond Street, which has been London's most exclusive shopping street for two centuries. The street has flagship stores for many of the world's most famous brands in fashion: Dolce & Gabanna, Dior, Gucci etc'. An amazing road:
When we cross Harriet Street on our left - we see the Millennium Hotel on our right. Further south - we pass Hans Cres. on our right (which leads to the famous Harrods mega-store). Note: all these name with Sloane and Hans are named after Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), whose estates owned the land at the time:
Further southward, we pass Hans Street. We pass through the Prada store:
We pass the Cadogan Place road and Jumeirah Carlton Tower 5-star hotel (with a wonderful park) on our left and Peru and Denmark embassies on our right.
We cross Pont Street on our right. We cross Cadogan Place and Cadogan Gardens on our right, further south - Sloane Terrace on our left. At last we arrive to Sloane Square with its nice fountain. The Venus Fountain in the centre of the square was constructed in 1953, designed by sculptor Gilbert Ledward. On the basin section of the fountain is a relief which depicts King Charles II and Nell Gwynn (one of the first English actresses and a mistress of King Charles II of England) by the Thames:
On the northern side of the square is the Sloane Square Hotel. Two other notable buildings in this square are: Peter Jones department store
and the Royal Court Theatre first opened in 1888.
Sloane Square Underground station (District and Circle lines) is at the south eastern corner of the square. We cross the square from north to south and continue south along the Lower Sloane Road that changes its name to Chelsea Bridge Road. It is, approx., 1 km. walk until we'll arrive to the River Thames. After walking 250-300 m.south from Sloane Square - you (hardly) can see the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, Chelsea on your right. Crossing the Chelsea Hospital Road we see the Home of Chelsea Pensioners on our right and the grandiose residence project "Chelsea Barracks" on our left:
See Tipter blog http://tipter.com/trips/chelsea - for more descriptions on Chelsea area. The museum (inside the Pensioners' village) is open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 10.00 to 16.00. Entry is free for groups under ten and is also included as part of the guided tour. Tour prices: 10 to 15 people £180, 16 to 30 people £330, 31 to 50 people £530.
Groups must be a minimum of 10 people. Tours must be booked a minimum of 4 weeks in advance. Tours take place as follows: Starting at 10.00 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Starting at 13.:30 – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. Payment must only be made once you have received an invoice from the Royal Hospital. You CAN visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea independently. You can drop in and visit the grounds, as well as access the Chapel, Great Hall, and Museum during normal opening hours (10.00 - 16.30). The Great Hall is closed between 12.00 and 14.00 for the Chelsea Pensioners’ lunch. Arriving to the Thames River we CROSS IT by walking along Chelsea Bridge from north to south. It connects Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea on the south bank. It was built in the 1840s as a suspension bridge intended to provide convenient access from the densely populated north bank to the new Battersea park. Although built and operated by the government, tolls were charged initially in an effort to recoup the cost of the bridge. The bridge was opened in 1858 and the tolls were abolished in 1879. In 1926 it was proposed that the old bridge be rebuilt or replaced, due to the increased volume of users from population growth, and the introduction of the automobile. It was demolished during 1934–1937, and replaced by the current structure, which opened in 1937. In 2004 a smaller bridge, Battersea Footbridge, was opened beneath the southern span, carrying the Thames Path beneath the main bridge. Chelsea Bridge is floodlit from below during the hours of darkness.
After crossing the river over the bridge - we descend the stairs to the river level and turn LEFT (EAST) on the southern bank of the Thames River. After walking 300 m. eastward along the river we see the Barkeley Battersea project and the old Battersea Power Station premises and chimneys. Note: in a gloomy day - it might be quite windy and/or freezing in this open district. Quite neglected and very few people around. Make sure you are not blocked and there is an access towards the east along the river. Otherwise, see the instructions below. In a bright day and with the constructions' obstacles around - it should be a nice and pleasant walk along the Thames with some of the most sophisticated, new and calm projects in southern London:
If you are blocked by the construction works and walls - return to the Chelsea Bridge and walk EASTWARD along Grosvenor Road (as we did...):
The view to the south of the former Battersea Power Station and the new residence projects from Grosvenor Road and the northern bank of the Thames is magnificent (in a bright day):
If we walk along Grosvenor Road - we cross Lupus Street on our left. The avenue is dotted with many nice chestnut trees:
At Grosvenor Road #111 stands the King William IV hotel and pub. An english and Thai pub with good food. One of the best in Pimlico district of London.
a bit further east - we see, through the southern bank of the Thames, the Nine Elms towers of a mixed-use skyscraper scheme:
Still along Grosvenor Road, the river is hidden from our eyes for a few hundreds metres. On our left is the huge red-bricked Dolphin Square building and, following it, the Pimlico Gardens. Dolphin Square is a block of 1250 private flats and business complex built in Pimlico, between 1935 and 1937. At one time, the huge development was home to more than 70 MPs, and at least 10 Lords and where Oswald Mosley, Harold Wilson, Christine Keeler, Charles de Gaulle, CP Snow, Donald Campbell, and Princess Anne once lived:
If you can sneak into the private premises of thsi complex - you won't regret it. Well maintained and manicured grounds with the Dolphin sculpture:
Pimlico Gardens is a small Thames-side park with river frontage along its whole length. It consists of Plane trees and statues. One of the most notable statues in the gardens commemorates "William Huskisson – Statesman, financier and member of parliament" by the artist John Gibson.
The London Boating Base (Eagle Wharf) is immediately adjacent to the Pimlico Gardens grounds. Opening hours: 8.00 – dusk. Disabled access.
The Huskisson statue:
Helmsman, , a bronze statue by Andre Wallace of 1996, in Pimlico Gardens:
The Thames River from Pimlico Gardens:
The Nine Elms project and tower(s) from Pimlico Ggardens:
We had our lunch at The Grosvenor Pub, 79 Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico - good (see Tip below). Walking further east along Grosvenor Road will bring us to Vauxhall Bridge. The bridge connects Vauxhall on the south bank and Pimlico on the north bank of the Thames. Built between 1809 and 1816 as part of a scheme for redeveloping the south bank of the Thames. Opened in 1906, it replaced an earlier bridge, originally known as Regent Bridge but later renamed Vauxhall Bridge. The design and appearance of the current bridge has remained almost unchanged since 1907. The bridge today is an important part of London's road system and carries the A202 road across the Thames:
Gorgeous view of Nine Elms project from Vauxhall Bridge:
We continue walking eastward.We cross the Vauxhall Bridge Road and start walking from west to east (no crossing of the bridge !) along the Millbank. The distance between Vauxhall Bridge to Lambeth Bridge is, approx. 1 km and our direction of walk changes to: SOUTH TO NORTH. Millbank is east of Pimlico and south of Westminster. Millbank is known as the location of major government offices and the main landmarks are: Riverside Walk Gardens, Millbank Tower and prominent art institutions such as Tate Britain and the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Millbank takes its name from Westminster Abbey's mill. The mill was replaced by Millbank Prison, from which convicts were deported to Australia. The Prison was replaced by the Tate Gallery in 1902. In the beginning of the Millbank, on our right, is the fantastic Riverside Walk Gardens. This splendid, green area creates a calmer area adjacent to the busy Millbank Road and a more pleasant green route for those walking to Tate Britain or the river-bus pier. It is completely open at all times and from all sides, and is particularly well used by nearby office workers to eat their lunches or take a breath of fresh air. It consists of a series of curving tiered grass terraces and informal seating looking towards the adjacent river.
the site includes a statue by Henry Moore entitled "Locking Piece":
Lorenzo Quinn sculpture "Love":
The view from Riverside Walk Gardens to the Nine Elms and Vauxhall Bridge is majestic:
The Riverwalk Condominium Complex, adjacent to Riverside Walk gardens:
Further east we see two other landmarks on our left. First, the old Tate Museum:
and, a bit further, the Millbank Tower: a 118-metre high skyscraper. The tower was constructed in 1963, and has been home to many high-profile political organisations, including the Labour and Conservative parties, and the United Nations. Other floors in the tower are occupied by various organisations and commercial companies:
The Albert Embankment on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames:
As we approach Lambeth Bridge the green area on our right is Victoria Tower Gardens South. Victoria Tower Gardens is a public park along the north bank of the River Thamesand, as its name suggests, it is adjacent , in its northern part, to the Victoria Tower, the south-western corner of the Palace of Westminster. The park, which extends southwards from the Palace of Westminster to Lambeth Bridge, sandwiched between Millbank and the river, also forms part of the Thames Embankment. Victoria Tower Gardens were created in 1864–1870 by Joseph Bazalgette, following the embankment of the Thames. It is in a Conservation Area, and is, partly, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Westminster.
The Albert Embankment on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames from the Victoria Tower Gardens South:
Lambeth Bridge is a road traffic and footbridge crossing the River Thames in an east-west direction. The next bridge (to the north) is Westminster Bridge. The most conspicuous colour in the bridge's paint scheme is red, the same colour as the dominant colour in the House of Lords, which is at the southern end of the Palace of Westminster nearest the bridge. This is in contrast to Westminster Bridge, which is predominantly green, the same colour as the dominant colour in the House of Commons at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament. On the east side of Lambeth Bridge are Lambeth Palace, the Albert Embankment, St. Thomas' Hospital, and the International Maritime Organization. On the west side, in Westminster, are Thames House (the headquarters of MI5), behind which is Horseferry House (the National Probation Service headquarters), and Clelland House and Abell House (the headquarters of HM Prison Service), and (more to the south) the Millbank Tower and Tate Britain. The Palace of Westminster is a short walk downstream to the north through the Victoria Tower Gardens.
Lambeth Bridge from Millbank, facing east towards Lambeth:
The Albert Embankment on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames from Lambeth Bridge:
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames from Lambeth Bridge:
We take the stairs down from Lambeth Bridge to Victoria Tower Gardens South. Skip to Tip 2 below.
Surrey Quays Circular Walk.
Start: Surrey Quays Station.
End : Surrey Quays Station.
Distance: 12 km.
Orientation: History, nice city views, pure nature, tranquility and striking docks and piers - all in one ticket. In a bright day - I promise you unforgettable places. Greenford Wharf in a clear day - one of the most unexpected gems of London ! The old Surrey Docks area has now been extensively regenerated brilliantly with new buildings, eateries and warehouses. The mix of water, remains of the docklands, boats, tree-lined avenues and walking promenades in these areas - is one of the most beautiful around the globe. The walk is quite long - but extremely pleasant in a clear day. A marvelous day, especially in a cloudless day !!!
Lunch: We recommend that you'll pack sandwiches and wait, patiently, until the end of this long trip. You'll find the Nando's restaurant in the second floor of the Surrey Quays Commercial /Shopping Centre. Otherwise find a bar or restaurant in Rotherhithe. Later, it might be difficult to find an established restaurant...
From Surrey Quays Station turn left and cross the junction continuing on the left-hand side of Lower Road for about 50 metres. Turn left through China Hall Gate into Southwark Park:
Take the left fork on a path that curves around a fenced running track. Swing right at the end of the fence and follow a path near the left edge of the park. Continue until you see a block of flats. Turn right to find a lake on your left. On front of the gallery turn left and continue to follow the lake edge. Continue to the end of the lake, then turn left into the Ada Salter Garden:
Ada Salter, after whom this garden is named, was Britain's first woman Labour mayor. Exit through the gate at the far end of the garden and turn right. Turn right again at the T-junction and cross internal park drive to go down the path opposite. Take the next right, then left to pass in front of a cricket green area. While arriving to a drinking fountain, fork left to arrive at the charming bandstand from the Great Exhibition of 1851:
Continue half-right to the corner of the park. Exit the park through the Paradise Gate and go across the pedestrian crossing. To your far right, at the far side of the roundabout, is the Norwegian Church of St Olav which is hidden behingd the trees (probably, you'll see only the Norwegian flag).
Go forward into King's Stairs Gardens and take the left fork. Facing the children's play area , turn left to take the curving path which joins Fulford Street. Continue to the end of the grassed area and turn left to find a somewhat unexpected view of Tower Bridge, The Shard and the City of London:
Keep close to the river as possible and then turn left along Rotherhithe Street, between refurbished old warehouses. The St Mary’s Church is on your right. You reach the Mayflower pub. The Mayflower was the Pilgrim ship that in 1620 made the historic voyage from England to the New World (America). The ship carried religious emigrants from Holland and a largely non-religious settlers group from London. The Mayflower started its voyage from Rotherhithe.:
Turn right down St Mary Church Street and go right around the front of the church to reach Hope Sufferance Wharf in the heart of Rotherhithe village. In Hope Sufferance Wharf cargoes had checked for duty when landed. Opposite Hope Sufferance Wharf is St Mary’s Burial Ground. Opposite are two buildings: the Engine House on the right and on the left is the Watch House. Next to the Watch House is an 18th century building which once housed a school founded for poor seamen's children. The boy and girl figures show school uniforms of over 200 years ago:
St Mary’s Church was rebuilt in 1714. The church is closed most of the time. When it is open it affords a good view of the handsome interior. Nonetheless interesting is th the church burial ground. The most remarkable grave is of Christopher Jones, the Rotherhithe sea-captain who took the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620:
From the church, turn back and walk down Tunnel Road for 50 metres to arrive at the Brunel Museum. The drum-shaped construction marks the position of the shaft for the world's first tunnel to be driven under a navigable river by Marc Brunel and his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The tunnel they built was converted to underground railway use in 1865-9 and now carries the East London Line. The project succeeded after many delays and disasters. It began in 1825. The tunnel was finally opened to pedestrian traffic only in 1843:
Turn left behind the museum, then right to continue along Rotherhithe Street, turning back to the river at Cumberland Wharf opposite Swan Road.On your right you'll see the Winchelsea Court. Do not skip it:
You face, now, the Thames river and the Thames Path. The sculpture here is titled the Sunshine Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket. It depicts the astonishment of a 17th century pilgrim at a boy reading a 1930’s comic, with a dog gazing at him. The pilgrim’s pocket contains an A-Z, dated 1620...:
Continue now between new housing, and the river as far as the circular brick building. This building marks ventilation shafts for the Rotherhithe Road Tunnel:
Return to Rotherhithe Street and cross a bridge, which raised the roadway to allow access to the main entrance of the Surrey Commercial Docks:
Go around a large inlet, still following the river:
The way forward is now blocked by the large bulk of Globe Wharf, a grain warehouse of 1863, which was later used as a rice mill:
Go around this housing project returning to Rotherhithe Street and walking up the other side of the building back to the river. Continue on, accompanied by a line of newly-planted plane trees:
As the Canary Wharf complex comes into view:
Look across the river for the entrance to Limehouse Marina and the Limehouse Basin. This is actually Regent’s Canal Dock and is one of the two exits of London’s canal system into the Thames:
The tower of St Anne Church in Limehouse soon comes into view:
As you cross another inlet, look over to the right for the Lavender Dock pumphouse which controlled the water levels in the Surrey Docks. It is now a museum. Behind this (not visible from here) is Lavender Pond Nature Park. Continue along the riverside, passing a tall obelisk:
Another former warehouse blocks the way. Descend steps to Rotherhithe Street again and turn left, soon arriving outside the Blacksmith’s Arms. 40-50 metres further on, cross to the corner of Acorn Walk. Nelson Engine House and Draw Dock opposite had a carriage by which ships could be drawn out of the Thames for repair. Next door is the elegant mid-18th century Nelson House. Go through the gate and take the forward path away from the river, taking the subway under Salter Road.
You are now in Russia Dock Woodland, formed by the infilling of one of the Surrey Docks. What a contrast to the former parts of our daily trip and other sights of Greater London ! Continue on the main path, and cross the stream and, after 80-100 metres, turn left, recrossing it again. Keep following the stream and bear right around the pond:
Go forward through a gate. Redriff Primary School is on your left. - Redriff being an old name for Rotherhithe. Go around the curve and, just before the bridge, turn right by some large granite blocks. In 40 metres, turn right again towards the mound of Stave Hill (Note: the directions to Stave Hill might be embarassing !). Stave Hill was created by re-excavated spoil from the surrounding area. At the summit, there is a bronze relief model of the Surrey Docks as they existed in 1896. The sights from the top of the mound or hill are impressive:
Avoid exploring the Ecology Park. It will be a long and exhausting walk. Too much for one day... This is a surprisingly extensive area of woodland. Better, continue on and turn right along the base of the hill before ascending steps to the viewpoint on top. Return down the steps and turn left, taking the second of two paths on the right, Stave Hill Path, passing a school on the right. On reaching the open, continue forward for 30 metres, pass through railings and turn left. Continue on a right curve along the main path and cross a bridge to an old quayside which still retains its granite edging blocks. Over the bridge, turn right.
As you approach Redriff Road, bear right through the underpass, then through the barrier to reach Greenland Dock. Turn left, then right by the Moby Dick pub to follow the water’s edge. This dock began life around 1695 as Howland Great Wet Dock, the first of London’s docks south of the river and was renamed Greenland Dock. Gradually, as the whaling trade subsided in the 19th century, general cargo, including timber and grain imports took their place. Timber especially was handled by the Surrey Docks, and four-fifths of London’s timber was unloaded here, coming mainly from Canada and the Baltic. Between the wars, Greenland Dock saw use by 'A' Class Cunard Liners, which plied between here and Canada. Surrey Commercial Docks finally closed in December 1970 and were sold to Southwark Council:
You are now walking back towards the Thames again. Cross over the repositioned Norway Cut Swing Bridge and continue on. Continue to the junction with the Thames, where Canary Wharf has now come back into view. Note the hydraulic capstan which enabled ships to make the tight turn into the lock:
Go back and cross the bridge. Turn right along the opposite side of the Dock for just 30 metres. Turn left through a short stretch of gardens by the Wibbly Wobbly floating pub to arrive opposite South Dock on Rope Street:
Turn right here and continue until Steel Yard Cut, the channel linking the two docks. Once over, turn right, then left, along Greenland Dock again. On reaching the compound, turn left, then right down Rope Street again. Go past the Watersports Centre, then turn right to reach the water again:
The slipway just past here marks the start of the Grand Surrey Canal. The Grand Surrey Canal was intended to link all the way to Portsmouth but only got as far as Peckham before the money ran out! Continue along the remainder of Greenland Dock, at the end turning right to pass under the bridge which carries Redriff Road:
Swing to the left of the end of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and continue on past bus stands. When the road bends right, go down the ramp and cross Lower Road back to the Surrey Quays Station.
Main Attractions: Lamb & Flag Pub, Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford University Parks, Wadham College, New College, Covered Market, Exeter College.
Start and End: Ashmolean Museum - City Centre. Circular Route discovering several green areas ans sites connected with nature. Distance: 3-4 km. Duration: 1 day. Weather: ideal route for days with rain in the 1st half of the day. Distance: 4 km.
Leave the museum by the main entrance. Head east on Beaumont St. toward St Giles. At the traffic lights you need to go straight
across to the opposite side of St Giles. Use the pedestrian crossings and take care. Once on the opposite side, turn left up (north) St. Giles. Outside the main entrance to St John’s College there is a raised area under several plane trees. The St John's college – is named after St. John the Baptist. The plane trees line this wide road (claimed to be the widest in the UK). The plane tree is very tolerant of urban pollution which is why it is found throughout central London and other cities in temperate regions.
Walk 160 m. north and turn right to the Lamb & Flag Passage. On your right is the Lamb & Flag Pub. The lamb (in the pub's name) represents the lambs which were highly-valued possessions in ancient, Biblical Judaism and were sacrificed to God in order to request forgiveness
of sins. The lamb and flag had therefore become the symbol of St John the Baptist. The Lamb and Flag was also the symbol of one of the orders of knights or crusaders - the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. This order of knights was formed after the capture of Jerusalem in 1099. The order
provided hospitals and shelter for pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, took care of knights who had been injured or were suffering from diseases and had military units who fought in almost every battle of the Crusades. St John's College took over the management of this pub in 1997, and now uses all pub profits to fund scholarships for graduate students. It is believed that Thomas Hardy wrote much of his novel Jude the Obscure in this pub. The pub also featured in the British TV detective drama series 'Inspector Morse'. Note the chestnut tree - immediately behind the pub, along Lamb & Flag Passage. The pub is recommended for its Beers:
Lamb & Flag Passage continues as the Museum Road. Cross the Parks Road (at the crosswalk), turn left - and on your right is the entrance to the Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum. These are two different museums in one visit. The entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum is through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH) on Parks Road. Visitors need to walk across the ground floor of the OUMNH to reach Pitt Rivers displays. Open: OUMNH - daily, 10.00 - 17.00, FREE. Pitt Rivers Museum: MON 12.00 (!!!) - 16.3, TUE-SUN 10.00 - 16.30 (annoyingly closings 30 minutes before the Natural History Museum), FREE. The two museums are located in an elongated Victorian Gothic building. The building itself is a gem. The Museum of Natural History houses the Oxford University's zoology, entomology, palaeontology, and mineral collections. It is a great learning experience for children and adults alike! The OUMNH is recommend especially if you have children with lots of activities provided to keep them interested. The exhibitions are well laid out and provide great opportunity to see and touch sciences.
The Pitt Rivers Museum, its counterpart next door, holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology from all the continents and from throughout human history. Both of the museums are fully wheelchair accessible and child friendly. Make sure that you have plenty of time (at least 3 hours) to see the contents of both of the museums. Loads to see for both adults and children - but, I am afraid, children might be bored with the Pitt Rivers Museum. Both museums are ideal for wet days.
In front of the OUMNH stands a memorial stone column commemorating the 'Great Debate', in Oxford, on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, between the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and the biologist, Thomas Huxley. They debated Darwin’s idea of evolution and natural selection in front of a vocal crowd of 500 people. Darwin’s idea of evolution went against the commonly-held view that God was in control of creation. Even today, 156 years later the debate between evolution and creation continues. You can also find a statue of Darwin inside the museum:
The main atrium of OUMNH is spectacular. Its main attraction are several dinosaur skeletons in the centre and is surrounded by cabinets full of curious artifacts (fossils, minerals, insects and animals) and packed with information. There is a balcony all around the central atrium that has more items of interest and also a small cafe. Note: It can get a bit hot inside during sunny days, due to the glass roof.
Edmontosaurus annectens, Dinosaur, S. Dakota:
Granite - 2,700,00,000 years old:
Humpback Whale Skull:
OUMNH 2nd floor. The Museum's striking glass and iron roof, soaring above the specimens, is a source of fascination to visitors:
Wandering Albatross - a legendary bird:
The remains of the Dodo at Oxford are one of the greatest treasures of the Museum:
Life cycle of Nezara Viridula:
Temporary exhibition: Upper East Gallery, from 18 March to 29 September 2016. Kurt Jackson: Bees (and the odd wasp) in my Bonnet. This exhibition brings together paintings, sculpture and Museum collections to explore the diverse and beautiful world of bees. Kurt Jackson's art is a celebration of the natural world. Recently he has been inspired by the bees he encounters at home in Cornwall and across the UK. Apis, Kurt Jackson, 2015:
Through the back of the hall is the Pitt Rivers Museum which is full of glass cabinets bursting and packed with curiosities from around the world that were, first, collected by the Lt. Pitt Rivers and extended after his donation of his private collection. OUMNH is nature, Pitt Rivers is Anthropological.
'Human Form in Art' Gallery. PRM dedicates an extensive gallery to Figurative Art. For thousands of years, the form and meaning of body decoration has been an expression of a particular culture – for aesthetic reasons, to identify kinship groups, for performance or for ceremony. Note: the lighting is a bit dim, even dark sometimes, but once you become used to it, it does rather add to the mysterious atmosphere. A bit tough to walk through and around the huge glass cabinets and observe in the darkness. The fact that the Pitt Rivers Museum is still laid out in its original Victorian pattern makes the museum an exhibit in itself and adds to its charm. The various collections are arranged by function or theme (food, clothes, toys, weaponry, medicine, religion) rather than geographically.
Hindu deity: Janrath (right), his Sister, Sibhadra (centre), his brother Balabhadra (left), Orissa, India:
Dance Mask - Papua New Guinea:
Plaited raffia mat with Lizard design, Cameroon:
11 metres Haida Gwii Totem Pole, Canada, Queen Charlotte Islands:
The shrunken heads:
A bottle with a witch:
Exiting the couple of the museums - we turn right (north) and walk 200 m. along Parks Rd. On our left (west) is Keble College (under massive constructions). Keble is one of the larger colleges of the University of Oxford. Keble College was established in 1870, having been built as a monument to John Keble - an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement (a movement, which argued for the reinstatement of some older Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican theology). The main building of Keble College is the distinctive brick complex in Parks Rd. - designed by Butterfield:
After 200 m. we turn right and enter the Oxford University Parks. The University Parks are bordered in the east by River Cherwell, in the nort side by Norham Gardens, by the north-east with a small plot of land (Mesopotamia) sitting between the upper and lower levels of the river. Parks Road to the west and with the Science Area on South Parks Road to the south. The quite extensive space was originally owned by Merton College, was purchased by the University in the 1850s and was first laid out as a Park for sports and recreational purposes in 1864 - first, for university members and, later, for the public. The park is open to the public almost every day of the year from 07.45 until dusk (the only exception being Christmas Eve) and boasts a choice of walks, a large collection of trees and plants and space for sports and picnics:
Clifford Circus was stationed in the western entrance during June 2016:
Since, we entered the parks from the Parks Rd. - we start with the West Walk section of the parks. The west, north and Lucas sections contain, mainly, flowering perennial shrubs and distinctive, impressive trees. Diverse specimens of trees display gorgeous golden, purple, grey and green colours of foliage. There are also many many brightly coloured flowers. A must visit place for nature lovers. An absolute pastoral heaven. Note: you are not allowed to enter with a bike !! No cycling !! ALLOW, at least, TWO HOURS FOR WALKING AROUND THE PARKS: West Walk, North Walk, Riverside Walk, Lucas Walk and South Walk. Note: after completing the riverside (eastern side) walk - you arrive to a T junction. Take the RIGHT leg - leading to Lucas Walk and the southern section of the walk.
West and North Walks:
Cedars in the West Walk :
You find the Giant Sequoias (Wellingtonias) (which were very fashionable in the Victorian period) in the meeting point of the West and North Walks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and overseas trees: Aleppo Pine, American Smoke Tree, HimaItalian Maple, Oriental Plane, Serbian Spruce, Turkish hazel, Valonia Oak,
North Lodge of the University Parks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and
Pond with Ducks:
Most of the Parks area is along (east to) the Cherwell river. South to the cement bridge - there is a grassland area which lies between two branches of the Cherwell river. It is known as 'Mesopotamia' after the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers - the cradle of human civilization.
Riverside Walk (along river Cherwell:
Leave the Parks at South Lodge and turn right and walk WEST along South Park Rd crossing: St. Cross Rd., Sherard Rd.,(on your left the Plants Science buildings with green windows and, later, on your left the Chemistry buildings), Mansfield Rd. On your left also the Rhodes Building - a green-domed building. Built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university and founder of De Beers diamond Company in South Africa. In 1931, Albert Einstein delivered a series of three lectures at Rhodes House:
Arriving to the cross-lights - turn LEFT (south) to Parks Rd. After 70 m. walk in Parks Rd. yous see, on your left, the Wadham College. In term time the Wadham College is open to visitors from 13.00 to 16.15. Out of term the college is open from 10.30 to 11.45 and 13.00 to 16.15. FREE. Only the Front Quad, Fellows' Garden and the Chapel are open to the public. Wadham College was founded in 1610 by Dorothy Wadham, according to the will of her late husband Nicholas Wadham, a member of an ancient Somerset family.
Statues of the founders (Dorothy and Nicholas Wadham) above the main entrance to the College:
The Main Hall:
The gorgeous Wadham College Chapel:
Back Quad with its cute buildings around:
Continuing south along parks Road - you arrive to the junction of: Parks Rd., Holywell Street, Broad Street and Catte Street. Here you face the peculiar Indian Institute with the animals carvings on the walls. Some animals (elephants, monkeys, tigers) are important in the Hindu religion. The Indian Institute was established in year 1875 in purpose to promote Indian studies at the Oxford University - when India was the crown jewel in the British empire:
Continue south along Catte Street and passing through the Bridge of Sighs (See: "Oxford - Day 2 - Part 1" blog). Immediately, turn LEFT (east) to New College Lane. On your left take the St. Helen's Passgge (with 40 cm. width...). St. Helen's Passage continues as Bath Pl. Here I met graduates of one of the local colleges, celebrating completion of their exams and year of study, half-drunk and full with confetti:
Turn right onto and continue along Holywell St. and after 150 m. the entrance to the New College will be on your right. Open: From mid- March to mid-October 2016: from 11.00 to 17.00, price: £4 adult; £3 concessions. Admission includes free map and guide. Other dates: !4.00 -16.00, daily, FREE.
It is called New College from the time of its completion in 1379. This gives an indication of how old and how much history there is in Oxford.
Inner Quadrangle. This cloistered quad has remained unchanged for six hundred years:
The Cloisters are also very interesting with statues of a variety of Saints and plaques dedicated to former patrons and alumni of the New College:
St. Edward the Confessor:
Opposite the entrance gate, in the other side of the Main Quad - there stairs leading to the Main Hall. The dining hall is full of history and with many pictures of Bishophs and Alumni:
picture of Bishoph of Winchester:
The college has beautiful gardens and chapel. The Chapel is just superb. Such wonderful craftsmanship, all done by hand. A few windows, in the chapel, were designed by Joshua Reynolds. The gardens, dominated by the old city walls, are beautiful and would be a peaceful place to sit and read or walk around:
New College Canopies:
New College Chapel:
Several scenes of Harry Potter films took place here: inside the cloisters and around the giant oak tree.
It is time to eat. So, we head to the Covered Market, 650 m. from the New College. Head west on Holywell St toward Mansfield Rd, 160 m., turn left onto Catte Street, 10 m., turn right onto Broad Street, 70 m., slight left to stay on Broad Street, 105 m. Turn left onto Turl Street, 110m. Turn right onto Market St, 80 m. the The Covered Market of Oxford is on your left.
The building dates back to the 1770’s. Most of the shops or the businesses are, here, for generations. Open: MON-SAT: 8.00 – 17.30, SUN: 10.00 – 16.00. Part of the stalls are closed on Sundays. Sassi Thai offers a range of delicious Thai dishes and Thai ingredients. Its a small, simple eatery, with limited, but enough choices. Dishes are available to eat in or takeaway. It costs just £5-6 for rice and a choice of one Thai dish, or for £1 more you get the choice of an additional dish. Very few seats and it's almost always busy. Very popular with locals:
Another well-famed option is Ben's Cookies. This is THE place to get a sweet snack in oxford. Always delightful, delicious, fresh and... sweet. You are attracted by and cannot stand the smell of baking.
We continue walking north-east in the Market Street. Walk 80 m. and turn left onto Turl Street. Turn right onto Brasenose Ln and after 50 m. the Exeter College will be on your left. The Exeter College is one of three in Turl Street running between Broad Street and the High Street. The College is typical of the smaller Oxford Colleges. It has beautiful architecture. The first courtyard you enter has the Hall to the right and the chapel to the left:
The Exeter College Quad was where the fictional Detective Morse character suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the final episode of the series, while Requiem being sung in the chapel:
It has a charming Fellow's Garden to the back with a Mound, situated at the end of the Garden, which offers unobstructed views over Radcliffe Square, including All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera:
The chapel has a dramatic spire and the interior hall is very atmospheric and retains wonderful medieval feel:
Just inside it on the left is the bust of J.R. Tolkien. It is a little high up and easily missed:
This is one of the most famous tapestries produced by the influential William Morris workshop, depicting the Adoration of the Magi. The tapestry was commissioned in 1886 for the chapel of Exeter College, Oxford, and created to a design by Edward Burne-Jones. Morris and Burne-Jones were former students at Exeter College. The original tapestry was commissioned in 1886 by John Prideaux Lightfoot, rector of Exeter College, Oxford, for the Gothic revival chapel built for the college in the 1850s by George Gilbert Scott. The tapestry proved so popular that another nine versions were made, each with a different border design. The original tapestry still hangs in the college chapel:
Exeter College was originally founded in 1314 by Devon-born Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, as a school to educate clergymen. associated with a number of notable Alumni people, including the writer J. R. R. Tolkien. The Fellows' Garden (see above) is reputed to be where Tolkien first saw the Hobbit.
From Exeter College and Turl Street we turn left onto Broad St, 130 m. We turn right onto Magdalen St., 125 m. We are already in Oxford very centre. Turn left onto Beaumont St., 75 m. and we face the main entrance of the Ashmolean Museum.
South Bank - the section from London Bridge to north-west Bermondsey:
Start: London Bridge tube station.
End : Bermondsey tube station.
Weather: any weather.
Distance: 5-6 km.
Orientation: The route can be extremely busy, especially at weekends and during the summer months. Watch for cyclists, skateboarders and
rollerbladers. Please be aware of your valuables as pick-pockets,
unfortunately, operate in this area. Note: Bermondsey is quite extensive. A special trip is devoted to this quarter. You can combine this trip with the Rotherhithe section of the "Around Surrey Quays" trip.
From London Bridge station head southeast on London Bridge St. Turn right toward Joiner St and the Shard is on the left (150 m. walk).
The Shard: The Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station in West Yorkshire. The pyramidal tower has 72 accommodation floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244.3 m. It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced the Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwark in 1975. It is jointly owned by a British property company and the State of Qatar. 306 metres, 87-storey skyscraper in London. Part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The Shard's construction began in March 2009, it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. Its privately operated observation deck, the View from the Shard, opened to the public on 1 February 2013. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) in the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, architects and structural engineers worldwide began re-evaluating the design of tall structures. The Shard's early conceptual designs were among the first in the UK to be progressed following the publication of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology report into the collapse of the WTC.
Opening Times: Sunday to Wednesday 10.00 - 19.00 (last entry 17.30), Thursday to Saturday 10.00 - 22.00 (last entry 20.30). All tickets are dated and timed for your arrival, but once at the viewing platforms - no time restriction on your stay. Adult (16+) - Advance (must be booked the day before) 24.95 GBP, Child (4-15) - Advance 18.95 GBP, Adult (16 +) - On the day (subject to availability) 29.95 GBP, Child (4-15) - On the day 23.95 GBP, Infant (0-3) Free. Guests are allowed to bring handheld cameras to take photographs for personal use. It is not possible to bring tripods or other large items of photographic equipment into The View.
The Shard entrance is on Joiner Street which leads to: London Bridge Underground Station (Northern and Jubilee line lines), London Bridge Main Line Station, Tooley Street, St. Thomas Street. There is a bus station outside the main entrance to London Bridge Station. The buses that stop here include: 43, 48, 141, 149, 521.
The Shard offers spectacular views over London for up to 64 km.
In the unlikely event that you can't see at least three of the following landmarks - London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge and One Canada Square - on the day of your visit, The Shard authorities will issue you a ticket to return for free within three months.
Return to the Thames (north and then east). Head west toward London Bridge St and turn right onto London Bridge St. Turn right onto Borough High St. Turn right toward Battle Bridge Ln. Take the stairs. Turn right toward Battle Bridge Ln. Continue straight onto Battle Bridge Ln. The London Bridge City Pier is on your left. You pass the London Bridge Hospital and Hay's Wharf on your right. The Hay's Galleria will be, later, on the right.
BETTER OPTION: return to the Thames and walk along the Thames EASTWARD. Take photos of the north bank.
The skyline of London, along this bank (both of the banks) is changing every month. Pass the London Bridge City Pier on your left.
Walk eastward until you'll see the Hay's Galleria on your right and the H/M Belfast ship (a bit forward) on your left.
Hay's Galleria is named after its original owner, the merchant Alexander Hay, who acquired the property - then a brew house - in 1651. It was converted into a 'wharf', in fact an enclosed dock, in 1856 and it was renamed Hay's Wharf. During the nineteenth century, the wharf was one of the chief delivery points for ships bringing tea to London. In the 1980s, a decision was made to retain the dock and to restore its tea and produce warehouses surrounding it to provide office accommodation and shops. After completion of the plan and opening in 1987, Hays Galleria became the first new visitor attraction of that period on the south of the river. Due to its location on the southern Thames Path, its panoramic views over the City of London from the riverside, and the location between London City Hall and Southwark Cathedral, Hay's Galleria is visited by many tourists and local workers. For twenty years it housed a year-round market The Hays Galleria Market which operated seven days a week.
In a fountain at the centre of the Galleria is a 60 ft moving bronze sculpture of a ship, called 'The Navigators' by sculptor David Kemp, unveiled in 1987 to commemorate the Galleria's shipping heritage:
Almost opposite the Hay's Galleria, in the Thames, is the HMS Belfast. Open daily: 4 November to 20 February 10.00 – 17.00 (last admission 16.00), 21 February to October 10.00 – 18.00 (last admission 17.00). Adults 15.50 GBP, Child (under 16) Free, Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled) 12.40 GBP. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Built in Belfast in 1936. Anne Chamberlain, wife of the then Prime Minister launched Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 1938. HMS Belfast was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 5 August 1939. Designed for the protection of trade and offensive action she was immediately called into service patrolling the northern waters in efforts to impose a maritime blockade on Germany. However, disaster struck after only two months at sea when HMS Belfast hit a magnetic mine. There were few casualties but the damage to her hull was so severe she was out of action for three years. On rejoining the home fleet in 1942 she was still the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy and most importantly she was equipped with the most advanced radar systems. Most notably in her role during the Battle of North Cape which saw the sinking of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst and the loss of all but 36 of her 1,963 crew. HMS Belfast remained protecting the arctic convoys until 1944. In this year it took part also in supporting the D-Day landings and reportedly fired one of the first shots on D-Day itself. After the Second World War HMS Belfast played an active role in the Korean War from 1950-1952. Her final years were spent performing peace-keeping duties until she was retired from service in 1963:
Continue eastward along the Thames path and during the 3-5 following minutes you pass, on your right, near the impressive More London Riverside Development. It includes the City Hall, a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, office blocks, shops, restaurants, cafes, and a pedestrianized area containing open-air sculptures and water features, including fountains lit by colored lights. The Hilton London Tower Bridge hotel opened in September 2006 is nearby. The area contains many professional, global corporate firms, including Ernst & Young whose headquarters is 1 More London Place, PricewaterhouseCoopers(PWC) at 7 More London Riverside, Hewitt Associates whose European headquarters is 6 More London Place. THIS IS A VERY IMPRESSIVE AREA.
The Shard and 6 More London Place Tower:
More London Riverside Buildings:
The City Hall. Greater London Authority offices. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, is one of the contemporary buildings on the South Bank.The brand new headquarters for London's Mayor and Assembly, a radically-designed glass fronted and rounded building. Based in this building is the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, made up of 25 elected members. The GLA has powers over four strategic areas: transport, policing, economic development, and fire and emergency planning. Power over other areas such as housing and environment is shared with
The Scoop Amphitheatre in More London Riverside. Great place for free theatre and music events in the summer in glorious iconic surroundings:
There are frequently outdoor exhibitions and cultural events in More London, usually associated with City Hall:
The North Bank from Hay's Wharf (in the South Bank):
We recommend that you cross the Tower Bridge to watch its opening. Get to walk FREE along the bridge on both sides to see stunning views of the city. Tower Bridge itself is open for walking across the river at road level. If you check on line you can find out when the bridge is scheduled to be raised and it's worth timing your visit to coincide with it ("Bridge Lift Times"). http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/TBE/EN/.
Tower Bridge Exhibition Opening times: Summer: April - September 10.00 - 18.00 (last admission 17.30), Winter: October - March 09.30 - 17.30 (last admission 17.00). Admission prices: Adults - 9.00 GBP, Child (aged 5-15) 3.90 GBP, Child (under 5) Free, Concessions 6.30 GBP, Family tickets from 14.10 GBP. You move from room to room on your own time. There are small sliding windows for clear picture taking. There is a short film that shows the inception, design, and building of the bridge structure and drawbridge features which are large enough to let cruise ships pass. You can go down into the engine rooms where you can walk around the drawbridge motors and see the mighty engine powered mechanisms that open and close the center spans. The Bridge Experience Tour is not all that great, but it's cheap. Free if you have the London Pass.
Iconic London at its best. It does offer spectacular views and get some great photos from both river banks or from over the bridge. This is a huge tourist attraction and a definite must see for anyone visiting London. The Tower Bridge will provide you with some of your favorite photos from your trip. The view walking across the walkway (glass walls) is unparalleled of the: river Thames, architecture and London's city skyline. It is very majestic close by or from a distance both by day or/and night.
Continue eastward along the Queen's Walk (Thames Path) along the Thames. Head north. Turn right toward Tower Bridge Rd. Turn right onto Tower Bridge Rd. Take the stairs. Turn right. Take the stairs.
The Tower Bridge opens. If you are lucky the bridge will be raised to allow a ship to sail underneath it. Wow, what an experience !
Costs nothing to do this - fabulous views:
City Hall and More London Riverside (South Bank) from the Tower Bridge:
The Shard and More London Riverside from the Tower Bridge:
North Bank from Tower Bridge:
The Tower from the Tower Bridge:
Butler's Wharf from the Tower Bridge:
Worth visiting at night time too when it is all lit up as it looks even better than in daylight:
Continue along the Thames Path, which goes underneath Tower Bridge. Continue eastward along the Queen's Walk (Thames Path) along the Thames. Two minutes further you arrive to Butler's Wharf. Butler's Wharf is used as a term for the surrounding area, now housing luxury flats and restaurants - lying between the picturesque street Shad Thames and the Thames Path. Butler's Wharf is also an English historic building on the south bank of the River Thames. The Butler's Wharf overlooks both the Tower Bridge (in the west) and St Katharine Docks (north) on the other side of the river - the North Bank. Butler's Wharf was built between 1871-73 as a shipping wharf and warehouse complex, accommodating goods unloaded from ships using the port of London. It contained what was reputedly the largest tea warehouse in the world. During the 20th century, Butler's Wharf and other warehouses in the area fell into disuse. Since the 1980s, Butler's Wharf has been transformed from a derelict site into luxury flats, with restaurants and shops. The surrounding area is also today called Shad Thames, or Butler's Wharf (after the largest of the riverside warehouses). Both names refer to a 350m × 250m rectangle of streets, converted warehouses and newer buildings, bounded by the River Thames, Tower Bridge Road, Tooley Street and St Saviour's Dock (or arguably Mill Street); it forms the most north-easterly corner of the SE1 postcode district.
Butler's Wharf, once a riverside warehouse and now luxury apartments:
Continue along the Thames Path, which goes underneath Tower Bridge. Stop on the cobbled street of Shad Thames (south to the Queen's walk), with brick warehouses on either side and small bridges overhead. Step back in time to the 1870s and we would have been in the centre of one of London’s busiest riverside wharves. The iron bridges above us were used for moving goods between warehouses. At its peak, this space would have employed thousands of dock workers like shipwrights, lightermen, riggers and lumpers – all handling untold wealth from every corner of the globe. By the 1960s, containerisation had completely changed the nature of shipping. Places such as Butler’s Wharf were completely unsuited to modern ships and the way that they carried goods. So in 1972 – exactly 99 years after it opened – Butler’s Wharf was closed and left derelict. But some people have an eye for a bargain. In the early 1970s, many of the buildings were bought by property speculators with a view to redevelopment. Their opportunity came in the 1980s when the Conservative government introduced a new form of ‘entrepreneurial urban policy’.
Sculpture and play yard in Shad Thames:
Tower Bridge raised - from Butler's Wharf:
Continue along Shad Thames between the warehouse buildings. When you reach the Design Museum bend right (south) with Shad Thames Street and follow the muddy section of the Thames, between the warehouse buildings (Knights Hose on your left, St. Andrews Wharf on your left, St. Saviours Wharf on your left, Dockhead Wharf on your left).
The Design Museum near the east end of Shad Thames, which houses frequently changing exhibitions of graphic and product design, and is a fairly well known haunt of designers and tourists. As well as an interesting shop and cafe, the museum features the "Design Museum Tank", a large outdoor glass box, which contains a selection of items from the current exhibition. The museum is also used as a venue for corporate events. Unlike most large London museums, the entrance is not free. OPENING HOURS: Daily 10.00 - 17.45, Last admission 17.15. 1 TICKET FOR 3 EXHIBITIONS: 12.40 GBP Adult, 9.30 GBP Student, 6.20 GBP Children under 16 (6-15 inclusive), free entrance to members and children under 6 years old.
Turn LEFT to Jamaica Road (Devon Houses on your right, the Coop store on your right) and then LEFT to Mill Street. (shortcut: continue along the Thames, the Tea Trade Wharf on your right and cross over the bridge/path to Bermondsey):
Walk the whole Mill Street (there is a Concordia Wharf signpost) from south to north (Lloyds Wharf and Unity Wharf on your left, then, again, St. Saviours Wharf on your left, and China Wharf almost in the north end).
The Windmill 6 - 8 Mill Street:
Turn right to Brmondsey Wall Way (Providence Square on your right). We are in the nort-west end of Bermondsey. To the west of Bermondsey lies Southwark, to the east Rotherhithe, and to the south, Walworth and Peckham. To the north is the River Thames. For many years the overground and underground connections of Bermondsey with the City of London were very poor. This was remedied in year 2000 with the opening of Bermondsey tube station on the London Underground's Jubilee Line Extension and the East London Line forms part of the new London Overground system reopening direct links with the City and north London. From Brmondsey Wall Way turn right to George Row and in its end turn left to Jamaica Rd. In the 2nd turn to the right is Bermondsey tube station.
Houses in Bermondsey:
North Bank and St. Katherine Docks from North-West Bermondsey:
The Thames and the City from Bermondsey:
City of London - Modern and Historical Architecture:
I recommend you to do what no guidebook, no other web site or normal person was daring to offer you: start at the Bank Square (see below: never in cold or windy days) and explore, in-depth, 3-4 streets, from the 9 streets that converge on the Bank junction area: Prince, Threadneedle, Cornhill, Lombard, Mansion House, King William, Walbrook, Queen Victoria and Poultry. From this selection - do not miss: Threadneedle (!), Cornhill, Lombard (!), Mansion House and Walbrook. I highly recommend to end with the Threadneedle / Cornhill / Lombard streets - continuing this itinerary to Bishophsgate and many other architectural masterpieces in the City of London. If you don't stick with our itinerary - end with King William Street and head to the Monument or the Thames. I suspect that our offer will consume half of your day.
Start: Bank tube / DLR stations.
End : Tower tube / National Rail / DLR stations.
Weather: Only in acceptable weather. Avoid this route in rainy, windy or cold days. The Bank environs and the southern parts of the City of London are very cold when the temperatures are low. We end our route in the St. Katherine Docks (a pure contrast to the urban City) - and, there, you must face a smiling sun.
Duration: one busy day.
Orientation: half-a-day for exploring the Bank and its adjoining streets, continuing northward into the heart of the City, exploring many famous, architectural monuments/buildings and heading southward to the Thames two banks. Prepare your camera - you'll shoot tens or, even, hundreds of photos.
Note or warning: The Bank underground station is such a maze. The worst designed station on the network with very poor crowd flows and very long walks to change lines. This is probably one of the most confusing stations as it has like 9 different exits. You have to walk long distances to find your line. Additionally, it's sort of a conjoined twin with the Monument station. Even though Monument is several streets away the connection is just a little stretched. Avoid interchanging at this station at all costs. A change from the Central line to the District line (which is really at Monument) actually involves a hike which has many a tourist wondering if they'll ever get out. Moreover, It's not even a flat route. There are stairs/escalators that go up and down several times. Get out from the underground station ASAP.
The junction itself is also a maze - but this trip blog (the only one that) will make order in what you'll see outside.
Another warning: Avoid coming to the Bank in a windy day. Very unpleasant to walk or stay in the Bank square when the wind blows. It is quite cold in the Bank square and the adjacent streets. Leave this itinerary to warmer days.
Tip: The best time to go through the Bank is at the weekend. Take the time to walk around what now becomes an almost ghost town, while the markets sleep for the weekend. The buildings old and new are fascinating.The City itself is another story. Explore it only during weekdays.
Bank Station numbered Exits:
These are numbered clockwise around the Bank Concourse.
1. Poultry, Cheapside and Guild Hall, 2. Princes Street, Threadneedle Street and Bank of England, 3. Royal Exchange, Stock Exchange and toilets, 4. Cornhill, Leadenhall Market and Lloyds, 5.King William Street and Lombard Street, 6. King William Street, Lombard Street, Fenchurch Street, The Monument and London Bridge 7. Mansion House, 8. Cheapside, Queen Victoria Street, 9. Walbrook.
The City is the oldest part of London and was already 1,000 years old when the Tower of London was built. It is uniquely independent from both Westminster and the Crown, has its own local government, the Corporation of London, and today is mainly a financial centre. It also has its own police force which is independent of the Metropolitan police, whose jurisdiction nevertheless surrounds the City.
Bank junction is also the location of one of London's busiest tube stations, Bank. Bank and Monument are interlinked London Underground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) stations that form a joint, public transport complex (under the length of King William Street). The stations have been linked as an interchange since 1933. Bank station, opened in 1900 at Bank junction, named after the Bank of England, opened in 1900. Monument station, named after the Monument to the Great Fire of London, opened in 1884.
The Bank junction from the 2nd floor of the Royal Exchange:
Bank junction is a major road junction in the City of London. Today, it is, mainly, the historic and financial centre of London. Traffic is controlled by traffic lights and give-way lines. The majority of people passing through the junction are doing so on foot.
Eight or nine streets converge on the Bank junction area. (clockwise from the North):
Prince's Street (northwest, towards Moorgate), (the picture below: NatWest building, 1 Prince Street, built at 1932):
Threadneedle Street (northeast, towards Bishopsgate),
On the left side of Threadneedle Street is the Bank of England. Founded in 1694, the first purpose-built building on Threadneedle Street, completed in 1734 to the design of George Sampson, was first extended by Sir Robert Taylor and then rebuilt by Sir John Soane behind massive screen walls in his masterpiece of 1788–1827. Soane’s work was swept away in Sir Herbert Baker’s bombastic rebuilding of 1921–39, in which he raised seven storeys of offices behind Soane’s perimeter walls. At the north-west corner of this large site, Soane’s elegantly arranged Tivoli Corner columns survived Baker’s onslaught. There is public access on the east side from Bartholomew Lane to the Bank of England Museum (free admission), where Higgins Gardner in 1986–8 reconstructed Soane’s top-lit Bank Stock Office of 1792–3:
On the right side of Threadneedle Street is the Royal Exchange. Sited at the physical and functional heart of the City with the Bank of England across Threadneedle street and the Mansion House opposite. This is the greatest of the City’s nineteenth- century exchanges, built to the designs of Sir William Tite (1841–4). This is the third exchange on the site, following previous halls of 1566–70 and 1667–71. Originally open, the arcaded central courtyard was roofed in 1883. General trading stopped in 1939, replaced by specialist exchanges elsewhere. It was converted by Fitzroy Robinson in the 1990s into an upmarket shopping centre with some interiors preserved together with an important group of paintings of 1895–1922 around the walls of the ground-floor courtyard. These are largely obscured by the shops. We recommend entering the building and climbing to the 2nd floor (see later) The intrusive security tends to inhibit investigation. The sculpture (1842–4) in the west front is by Richard Westmacott Junior: Commerce holding the Exchange Charter. In front, Aston Webb’s Great War (WW1 - not WW2 !) memorial was unveiled in 1920. About the statue of the Duke of Wellington - see later when we browase, again, quickly the main buildings around the Bank junction.
Tower 42 and on its left the NEW Stock Exchange:
Threadneedle Street, back side of the Royal Excange:
Cornhill Street (east, towards Leadenhall Street),
The St. Michael church, with the exception of the tower, was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. The present Church was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren between 1669 and 1672. Interior of St.Michael:
Do not miss the Gilbert wooden carved doors at 32 Cornhill (Cornhill Insurance):
The Jamaica Wine House, St Michaels Alley, Cornhill. Excellent interior, good service and the beer is well looked after. One of London’s oldest pubs, the Jamaica Wine House - known locally as The Jampot - has a fiery history. Literally. Indeed, the coffee house that originally stood here was damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the current building is a 19th century public house. On the wall of the current building of the Jamaica Wine House visitors can read the memorial plaque attesting that “Here stood the first London Coffee house at the sign of the Pasqual Rosee’s Head 1652.”:
Lombard Street (southeast, towards Gracechurch Street, leading to King William Street),
View of Lombard Street from the Bank. On the left - St. Mary Woolnoth Church:
St. Mary Woolnoth is an Anglican church in the City of London, located on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street. The present building was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, built 1716–27:
Lombard Street from the glass doors of St. Mary Woolnoth Church. Open: Mon - Fri: 09.30-16.30 (but, quite frequently, it is closed without explicit note):
Trade coronation in the front of a building from the period of Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, 1902, in Lombard Street - which was the financial centre of London before opening of the Royal Exchange in the Bank junction:
This sign of the grasshopper appears at 68 Lombard St and marks the site where Sir Thomas Gresham (c1519 -1579) lived. He was an English merchant and financier who was a trusted agent of Queen Elizabeth I and founder of the Royal Exchange. Gresham's original building was destroyed in the Fire of London:
Walk until the end of Lombard Street. You won't regret it. View southward from the end of Lombard Street (junction with Gracechurch Street) to the Monument and the Shard:
Mansion House Street (south, runs to the east of Mansion House. Mansion House Street is the short street at the front of Mansion House (which connects Poultry, Queen Victoria Street and the Bank junction). The Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, built in the 18thC in Palladian style. Superb reception rooms and banqueting hall. Large gold and silver vaults. Note: don't mix it with the Mansion House tube station which further to the west (on Queen Victoria Street).
In-house guides only permitted to conduct tours around the house. Only groups admitted, no individuals. Guided tours information: when: every Tuesday at 14.00 (Lord Mayor's Diary permitting). How long: one hour. Meeting point: the A-board near the porch entrance to Mansion House (this is in Walbrook, exit 8 from Bank tube station). Cost: 7 GBP adults, 5 GBP concessions. You pay the guide in cash. How to book: arrive at the meeting point by 13.45 for a 14.00 start. Visitors are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours cannot be booked in advance. The maximum number for the tour is 40 persons. It is well worth the time if one can fit it in your schedule. Remember that this building is only open for an excellent hour tour on Tuesdays. One can view five or six beautiful rooms used for government functions and enjoy many fine paintings (see "Art Collections" below).
The first floor had a roofless courtyard (later covered to form the Salon, the entertainment space) and the great Egyptian Hall. The second floor has a ballroom and private apartments of the Lord Mayor and family. The third and fourth floors contain meeting rooms and staff rooms. The cellars have storage space and once held prisoners' cells, reflecting the former use of the Mansion House as the Lord Mayor's Court.
Mansion House Art Collections: The guided tour of Mansion House, basically means a tour of the extensive 17th Century Flemish Art collection.
The Lute Player, Frans Hals, 1624-1628:
A Young Woman Sewing, Nicholaes Maes, 1655:
King William Street is a road in the City of London, the historic nucleus and modern financial centre of London. It runs from its northern end at a junction with Lombard Street by the church of St Mary Woolnoth, southeast to Monument junction, where it meets Gracechurch Street and Cannon Street.
North end of King William Street looking towards Monument station:
Rothschild Bank, 1 King William Street:
Offices Building, 33 King William Street:
Walbrook (south, towards Cannon Street), a narrow street just behind Mansion House.
St Stephen, Walbrook is a church erected to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren following the destruction of its medieval predecessor in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Opening Times: on weekdays only, from 10.00 until 16.00. It is usually closed at weekends. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1672. The first domed church in Britain. The plain exterior of the church hides a Classical interior. Surprisingly, a beautiful church interior. The white arc of the dome spins the viewer round:
Don't miss the Walbrook Building (seen also from Cannon Street):
Queen Victoria Street (southwest, towards Blackfriars), starts at the Mansion House Street at Bank junction and ends at the New Bridge Street and Victoria Embankment.
City Magistrate’s Court, No 1 Queen Victoria Street: A building designed by John Whichcord, built 1873–5 as the National Safe Deposit and including four storeys of armoured safe deposit vaults underneath, partly converted to cells for the new courtrooms (1988–91).
Poultry (west, towards Cheapside). Poultry is a short street, an eastern continuation of Cheapside, between Old Jewry and Mansion House Street, towards Bank junction.
No.1 Poultry: This wedge-shaped plot with fronts onto Poultry and Queen Victoria Street was the site of a major planning dispute – the highpoint of opposition to wholesale redevelopment. A group of High Victorian buildings were demolished to make way for a development instigated by Lord Palumbo, who wished to create a new square – Mansion House Square – with an eighteen-storey tower by the Architect Mies van der Rohe (designed 1962–8 but delayed by lease acquisitions). This scheme was rejected in 1985, and the strongly articulated, stridently postmodern, colourful, wedge-shaped building, with playfully arch detailing, by James Stirling, Michael Wilford and Associates, was erected 1986–98. There are good views of the City from the rooftop garden:
The main Buildings around the Bank Square:
The Royal Exchange - across the road from Bank tube station:
Also in front of the Royal Exchange is a memorial to those Londoners who served and died in World War I:
I recommend that you'll enter the Royal Exchange building and pave your way to the aristocratic cafe' in the 2nd Floor. Marvelous view over the Bank junction:
From the ground floor of the Royal Exchange, through the building pillars - you can also a nice view of the square:
Outside the main entrance to the Royal Exchange is a statue of the first Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley), on horseback and overlooking Bank junction. The statue was inaugurated in year 1844:
Standing on the northeast corner of Bank junction is the Bank of England, headquartered on Threadneedle Street since 1734:
(photo from 2010):
Behind the Bank of England is Tower 42 (the high, light blue, glass building). Behind the Royal Exchange is "the Gherkin" top edge:
Former Threadneedle Street head office of The American City Bank, which became London, City & Midland Bank:
On the south side of the junction is Mansion House. Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. It is a combination of palace, town hall and law court complete with its own lock-up. Its prime role is as the official residence of the City's Lord Mayor, who holds office for a one year term. The building was designed in the 1700's. It is used for some of the City of London's official functions, including an annual dinner, hosted by the Lord Mayor. The Guildhall (covered under another couple of trips around the City of London) is another venue used for important City functions.
Regus House, Poultry Rd #1:
After exploring the Bank Square and 4-5 adjecent streets - we return to the Bank square and head north-east along the Threadneedle street until its end.We are going to explore several famous architectural highlights in the City. A few (minor) sections of this route overlap sections of "A rainy day in the City and the Docklands" trip.
From there we slightly turn left to the Bishopsgate. We continue until No. 22-24 - where The Pinnacle tower is still in construction. The Pinnacle will be on your right and Tower 42 on your left. The Pinnacle is a skyscraper that was expected to become the tallest building in the City of London and the second-tallest in both the United Kingdom and the European Union, after The Shard (also in London). Its construction began in 2008 but is currently on hold subject to re-approval issues. Work started in September 2008 but has stalled since March 2012. It is planned to get height of 290 m.
From the north-west corner of The Pinnacle you can see an impressive view of the Gherkin. The Gherkin was designed by Norman Foster and built during the years 2001–2003. The building is one of the city's most widely recognized examples of contemporary architecture. Its formal address is: 30 St Mary Axe and was previously known as the Swiss Re Building. The Gherkin was completed in 2003 and opened in 2004. The Gherkin height is 180 m. It stands on the former site of the Baltic Exchange, which was extensively damaged in 1992 by the explosion of a bomb placed by the IRA:
Tower 42 is, presently, the second-tallest skyscraper in the City of London and the seventh tallest in Greater London. Its former name was the National Westminster (NatWest) Tower, having been built to house the National Westminster Bank's international division. Its formal address is 25 Old Broad Street - but its full grandeur can be clearly seen from Bishopsgate (near the junction with Undershaft). The Tower 42 was formally opened on 1981 by Queen Elizabeth II. Its height is 185 m. It was surpassed by two towers in Canary Wharf: One Canada and Heron Tower. In 2011 it was bought by a South African businessman. You'll admire its size and height from further places along our route.
Continue walking along Bishopsgate northward and cross the Camomile Street (on your right) and Wormwood Street (on your left).After 2-3 minutes walk you'll see, on your left, at Bishopsgate 121 the Saint Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Church and Gardens. St Botolph was the patron saint of the travelers. The building is Classical in style, of red brick with stone detailing;
Adjoining the church is a charming pub, The White Hart (actually, on the cross-roads with Liverpool Street:
Return southward along Bishopsgate and turn left onto Camomile Street and right onto St Mary Axe in order to approach and appreciate again, the Gherkin tower:
Walk along St Mary Axe, southward (The Gherkin on your left) until its end, until it meets the Leadenhall and Lime streets. This junction is marvelous, breath-taking and, here, you get one of the most iconic sights of London - the Lloyds TSB complex, The Gherkin, 52-54 Lime Street Building, Willis Building and 122 Leadehall Building - all around you (feeling like a grasshopper...). Several facts on the Lloyds TSB building. The building takes its name from one Edward Lloyd who founded a coffee shop on this site in 1688, from where maritime insurance was conducted. The building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on November 18th 1986. Address: 1 Lime St, London. Construction started: 1978. Opened: 1986. Floors: 14. Architects: Richard Rogers, Mike Davies. Architecturally, the Lloyd's Building draws heavily on architect Richard Rogers' earlier Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. The Lloyds TSB was the first in a trio of City office buildings designed by Richard Rogers; it was followed by 88 Wood Street in 1998, and the Lloyd's Register of Shipping Building in 2000 (The Strand). Architectural style: High-tech architecture. The building's extravagant design led to numerous awards. The Lloyd's Building is one of the finest examples of British High-Tech architecture and has been described as a 'mechanical cathedral':
At the heart of the building is a huge atrium, 14 floors and 76 meters tall. On the ground floor of the atrium sits the Lutine Bell, salvaged from the French frigate La Lutine which surrendered to the British in 1793. The bell is rung once for good news and twice for bad, and the expansive atrium carries the sound to everyone in the building.
On 122 Leadenhall Street stands the 225 m tall Leadenhall Building which is currently under construction and very close to its completion. It is designed (again) by Richard Rogers. The Leadenhall Building is adjacent to the Lloyd's building, also designed by Rogers. Let the sights, of this grandiose junction, talk for themselves:
52-54 Lime Street is a skyscraper on the corner of Lime Street and Leadenhall Street, opposite the Lloyd's building and adjacent to the Willis Building. Upon completion in 2017 the building will be 190 m. tall, with 38 storeys. It is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. The skyscraper is being built for the Berkley insurance company.
The Willis Building is in 51 Lime Street. It stands opposite the Lloyd's building and is 125 m. tall, with 26 storeys. The Willis Building was designed by architect Norman Foster. The skyscraper features a "stepped" design.Construction started 2004. Completed - 2008.
It is recommended to walk the Lime Street and soak its special, contemporary atmosphere (see "A rainy day in the City and the Docklands" trip). From Lime Street head BACK north (on Lime St) toward Leadenhall St. Turn left onto Leadenhall St. Turn left onto Gracechurch and Leadenhall Market will be on the left. Again, Leadenhall Market is covered in the "A rainy day in the City and the Docklands" trip. Leadenhall Market is one of London’s hidden gems. It is a beautiful covered Victorian market with elegant Victorian roof, colorful (a lot of red) stalls selling flowers and fresh food and covered cobbled streets. There are also shops, pubs and restaurants in this arcaded territory (open only during weekdays !). If you like photography, its a charming place to visit. Surrounded by modern high-rises, this indoor market looks more like a Dickensian film set.
Head southwest on Gracechurch St towards St. Peter's Alley. Turn left onto Eastcheap. Turn right onto Fish Street Hill and turn right onto Monument St. The Monument to the Great Fire of 1666 will be on the right. Opening Hours (Summer/Winter): 09:30 - 18.00/17.30 daily. Admission: Adults £3, Concessions £2. It stands on the point of where The Great Fire of London is believed to have started. Great for a rather different perspective of the city and for photos of St. Paul Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Shard if you have a good zoom camera. Only 310 steps of spiral staircase that lead the way to the top. It gets increasingly narrow towards the top so be careful ! The cheapest bird-eye view - you can purchase in London:
The 20 Fenchurch skycraper (10 minutes walk from Gracechurch Street - to the east, turn left) from the Monument:
Continue southward to the Thames - arriving to the Grant's Quay Wharf and London Bridge. Grants Quay has been recently improved (2009) with new trees, a lawn area, topiary hedges, granite planters and additional seating and planting improvements.
You get a wonderful view of The Shard from Grant's Quay Wharf:
Walk a bit to the west from the London Bridge to the west to watch the Fishmongers Hall. The Fishmongers company was established to provide regulation and quality to the selling of fish. Today the company is more involved with Fisheries and Fishing, as well as charitable work and education. The company is a "Livery Company": a special kind of trade association:
Return to the London Bridge and walk a bit to the east (with your face to the river - to the left) to see the Billingsgate Market. A Victorian building that was originally Billingsgate Fish Market, the world's past largest fish market (moved to the Isle of Dogs in the 1980s). Nowadays, an hospitality and events venue and it remains a major London landmark (private property):
From the Billingsgate Market you can a wonderful view of the Hays Gallery and HM Belfast on the southern bank opposite:
We stay on the northern bank of the Thames and continue eastward. It is 5 minutes walk to The Tower of London (covered in a special trip). From here, take another magical view of the City (20 Fenchurch skycraper):
But, more sensational are the close views to the Tower, the Tower Hill and the Traitors Gate from the Northern Bank. Do not miss this stretch of the Thames. Remember: we are outside of the The Tower premises:
The Tower Bridge and the Tower Cannons:
The Tower Bridge from St. Katherine Docks:
Our final destination is the very scenic St. Katharine Docks. It is a 5-10 minutes walk from the Tower Hill, further eastward, along the Thames, past the Tower Hotel. The presence of warm sun is mandatory to your visit here. Very surprisingly, unpopular touristic site, but, still, rated as one of the top 3% of the London sites - and still, very accessible and close to the central core of London. One of London's best kept secrets. Now in use as yachting marina. Restaurants, shops, wonderful heritage buildings along the harbor, and moored here 120-180 of yachts and boats (from all around the globe) in the heart of London (including: glorious cruisers like the British Royal Barge of Queen Elizabeth II, the boat that carried Winston Churchill's body down the Thames. Note: The Thames Clipper service also stops at St. Katharine Docks as well.
You can walk back to the Tower Hill complex of stations and catch even more photos of the Tower. Try to watch the Tower Hill from the south-west corner of it - In the afternoon hours, when the sun(...) is in the west. This one taken from the promenade south to the Tower Hill:
Paris - along the right bank of the river Seine: from Place de la Bastille to Pont de Bir-Hakeim.
Tip 1Main Attractions: Place de la Bastille, Bassin de l'Arsenal, Pont Morland, Pont de Sully, Pont Marie, Hôtel de Sens (detour), Pont Louis Philippe, Église Saint-Gervais (detour), Hôtel de Ville, Pont au Change, Place du Châtelet, Tour Saint-Jacques (detour), Pont d'Arcole, Pont Notre-Dame, Pont Neuf, Pont des Arts, Pont du Carrousel, Pont Royal, Pont de la Concorde, Pont Aleexandre III, Pont des Invalides, Pont de l'Alma,
Distance: approx. 14 km. Weather: Bright day ONLY. Duration: 6-8 hours. Our suggestion for lunch: quite late in this route - near Alma Bridge. Option for extension: continue southward from Bir-Hakeim bridge, along the Seine to Pont de Grenelle or Pont Mirabeau (additional 900 m. / 1.4 km..). Not included in this itinerary: all the iconic attraction near the Seine: the Louvre museum, Musée d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower etc'. They are all included in other Tipter blogs.
Start: Bastille Metro station. End: Bir-Hakeim metro station (or Javel metro station with the extension option).
General orientation: a brilliant idea for your last, concluding day in this wonderful city. It contains most of the famous, iconic sights and attractions in central Paris. Our suggestions: do this itinerary from east to west. The sun will be on your back. The photo ops are better - if you start at the morning and complete the route during the late afternoon hours. The major part is along the Seine river - but, we included several short detours - deviating from the water front. Many part are even shaded with linden and plane trees along the river banks. It is a flat, convenient roue for pedestrians. ONLY the last section, along New York avenue - just before approaching the Bir-Hekeim bridge (near Tour Eiffel) is under reconstructions. This section is unfriendly for walkers. Be careful when you cross one or two bustling roads leading (from the south) to Avenue New York. Anyway, your last spot would be, in this itinerary, the Eiffel Tower. The closest metro station, to the tower, is Bir-Hekeim (approx. 500 m. from the entrance (under strict security measures) to the famous tower. Most of the restaurants, along and close to tis route - are expensive and tourists traps. The only solution is to get off from the river promenades, into the city alleys, and find a cheaper one - probably near Alma bridge or, better, near Place du Châtelet, on the right bank of the river Seine, on the borderline between the 1st and 4th arrondissements, at the north end of the Pont au Change, a bridge that connects the Île de la Cité, near the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the right bank (the closest métro station is Châtelet).
Remember: there are many bridges over the Seine. One very good way to see them is to undertake a river cruise. This allows you to see the ornate stone work as well as ornamental work. Spring is the best time of the year. Late afternoon is the best time during the day.
We start at the Place de la Bastille. It is called the Bastille square - but, no vestige of the prison remains. It was destroyed during the French Revolution, between 14 July 1789 and 14 July 1790. The capture of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789, marks the start of the French Revolution. It is celebrated each year as the Bastille Day, which was also declared the French national holiday in 1860. Two days after the crowds had captured the Bastille - the fort or prison was demolished. As a consequence of its historical significance, the square is often the site or point of departure of political demonstrations.
The square borders 3 arrondissements of Paris, namely the 4th, 11th and 12th. Not so much to see around. The original outline of the fort is also marked on the pavement of streets and pathways that pass over its former location, in the form of special paving stones. Some stones of the former foundation are visible in the Bastille metro station, at line no. 5.
The July Column (Colonne de Juillet) stands at the center of the square and commemorates the 1830 revolution, during which king Charles X was replaced by king Louis-Philippe. The bottom half of the column is plastered in advertising billboards...:
Another notable attraction in the Bastille square is the imposing Bastille Opera. The Bastille Opera building was opened on July 14, 1989 during the bicentennial celebrations of the French revolution. It was part of the 'grand projects' initiated by the former French president François Mitterrand. The massive building was meant to be a modern and democratic opera building, as opposed to the aristocratic Palais Garnier. A metro exit as well as shops are integrated in the building, reinforcing the idea of a 'people's opera'. The Bastille Opera is by far the largest opera building of the two. Its auditorium seats 2700 people. The design by Carlos Ott, chosen from 750 entries in an international competition, contrasts starkly with its environment. The square is home to concerts and similar events. The north-eastern area of Bastille is busy at night with its many cafés, bars, night clubs, and concert halls.
Not much to see in this congested and polluted square. It is NOT one of Paris' most beautiful spots.In case you prefer to skip the Place de la Bastille and start our route with the Bassin de l'Arsenal - you can arrive to one of the following metro stations: Quai de la Rapée (50 m. walk to the southern end of the basin) or Sully – Morland (500 m. walk to the basin).
The large area behind the past fort has been transformed into a marina for pleasure boats, the Bassin de l'Arsenal or Port Arsenal, to the south, which is bordered by the Boulevard de la Bastille. Port Arsenal is the main reason for starting our route in the Bastille. It is a pleasant walk along its banks - until we arrive to the river Seine itself. To the north, a covered canal (and further north, an open one), the Canal Saint-Martin, extends north from the marina beneath the vehicular roundabout that borders the location of the fort, and then continues for about 4.4 kilometers to the Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad. Your best bets are Thursdays and Sundays (08:00-14:00): a large, open-air market occupies part of the park to the north of the Place de la Bastille, along the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Locals and tourists find fresh fruit, fish, meat, cheese and breads and, mainly, typical flea market items. Note the "crayons" (home-made saucisson/sausages' snacks) with different flavors. Many cafés and some other businesses largely occupy the close-by Rue de la Roquette and the Rue Saint-Antoine passes directly over it as it opens onto the roundabout of the Bastille.
From the Place de la Bastille - we head southward along Boulevard Bourdon (it deviates from Avenue Henri IV) along the Bassin de l'Arsenal. We walk 650 m. along the pleasant east bank of the Arsenal port until we meet Boulevard Morland. From here we get a nice view of the whole arsenal port/canal with the (remote) Colonne de Juillet in the Place de la Bastille:
No tourists around. Very calm and pretty place to relax from the hassle of Paris. The canal tour company Canauxrama (their centre is in the Bassin de la Villette - and they have a small stall also in the Arsenal port) runs a daily 2.5hr cruise (with possibility of lunch and dinner à la carte) along the Canal Saint-Martin which departs 09.45 and 14.30 from the charming Arsenal Marina to the Parc de la Villette or inversely. It costs €18. Bar on board:
The Bassin de l'Arsenal (Port de l'Arsenal) links the Seine river with the Canal Saint-Martin. It is bordered by the Boulevard Bourdon (4th arrondissement) on the westerly side (Where we walk) and the Boulevard de la Bastille (the 12th arrondissement) on the easterly side. The arsenal basin derives its name from the name of the neighborhood, Arsenal, bordering the westerly (4th arrondissement) side of the basin. The destruction of the Bastille created the fossé (ditch) in the foreground. This fossé was later converted into the Bassin de l'Arsenal. During the French Revolution, the Bassin de l'Arsenal was excavated to replace the ditch that had been in place to draw water from the Seine to fill the moat at the fortress. During the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth, the Bassin de l'Arsenal was a commercial port where goods were loaded and unloaded. The port was converted into a leisure port in 1983 by a decision of the Paris City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and it is now run by the Association for the Leisure Port of Paris-Arsenal. Since that time, it has been a marina (port de plaisance), for approximately 250 pleasure boats.
As we said before, we end our walk in the Arsenal Basin with facing the Pont Morland. We cross the Avenue Morland and Blvd. Henri IV and turn north-west along the Seine river. It is 550 m. walk, along Quai Henri IV, to the next bridge - Pont de Sully. The view of Notre-Dame Cathedral from Quai Henri IV:
When we approach Pont de Sully - we see the southern edge of Île Saint-Louis: one of two natural islands in the Seine river (the other natural island is Île de la Cité):
We see the Pont de Sully from the east. Actually, there are two separate bridges meeting on the south-eastern tip of the Île Saint-Louis. They link the 4th and 5th arrondissements of Paris along Boulevard Henri IV, and they connect, also, to the eastern end of the Boulevard Saint-Germain. it connects the Pavillon de l’Arsenal on the Right Bank to the Institut du Monde Arabe (Left Bank). Sully-Morland is, again, the nearest Metro station. The current bridge was constructed in 1876, as part of Haussmann's renovation of Paris, and opened on 25 August 1877. It is named in honour of Maximilien de Béthune, duke of Sully (1560-1641) and minister to Henry IV. The two bridges were built with an angle of about 45 degrees to the river banks. The view from the south (where we appreoach the bridge) is more beautiful since the southern section is comprised of three cast-iron arches. From the south-east - Pont de Sully offers one of the loveliest views of Ile Saint-Louis and Notre Dame Cathedral:
It is 500 m. walk to the next bridge - Pont Marie. We walk, now, along the Quai de Celestins. Leaving the Pont de Sully, we pass near Square Henri-Galli on our right. It is triangular in shape and is framed by boulevard Henri-IV , quai Henri-IV and Quai des Célestins. In the corner formed by Boulevard Henri IV and Quai Henri IV there are vestiges of one of the eight towers of the Bastille prison. Arriving to Pont Marie - we start walking along Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville. The bridge links the Île Saint-Louis to the Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville and is one of three bridges designed to allow traffic flow between the Île Saint-Louis and the Left and Right banks of Paris. The bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Paris. The Pont Marie links the Right Bank and is the counterpart of the Pont de la Tournelle which is hardly seen from the distance, on our left, and built along the same line but serves to connect the Île Saint-Louis with the Left Bank. The Pont Marie derives its name from the engineer Christophe Marie, who proposed its construction beginning in 1605. Actually, the bridge was approved for building by the king only on 1614, at which point Louis XIII laid the first stone as part of a formal bridge building ceremony. The Pont Marie's construction was spread out over 20 years, from 1614 to 1635. Around 50 houses lined the bridge in the 17th century, but were later demolished. Since the 18th century, the structure has seen little change. The Pont Marie connects the Marais with the Ile Saint-Louis. Closest Métro station: Pont Marie. Arriving to the Marie bridge is a good excuse to stop here and take lots of pictures of Île Saint-Louis and the river. It's just the right place for taking pictures for TV teams and romantic couples. You won't regret coming here during the sunset and night hours:
Allow time to make a short detour at the Gardens of Hôtel de Sens, 7 Rue des Nonnains d'Hyères, a superb 15th-century building, on the right (east) side of Pont Marie. Hotel de Sens is one of only three medieval residences remaining in all of Paris. It is a a stately medieval castle, complete with turrets, spires and grand stone arches. The castle was built between 1475 and 1507. The Hotel de Sens is most famous for having served for several months as the residence of Queen Margot who moved into the building in 1605 after her marriage to King Henri IV. The Hotel de Sens was confiscated during the French Revolution and began a long chapter of misuse and neglect. The City of Paris bought the building in 1911. In 1929 it was turned into the Bibliotheque Forney, a textile and graphic art library and museum, with an extensive collection including 230,000 prints and 48,000 museum catalogues. From 2011, the castle was once again cleaned and renovated. Nowadays, the hotel still houses the Forney art library:
The gardens are BEAUTIFUL with magnificent floral creations and very relaxing:
Our next bridge is Pont Louis Philippe - 330 m. walk from Pont Marie, along Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville. Pont Louis Philippe links the Quai de Bourbon on the Île Saint-Louis with the Saint-Gervais neighborhood on the right bank. King Louis-Philippe laid the first stone of a wooden suspension bridge on July 29, 1833 - marking his accession to the throne after the Revolution of 1830. This unnamed bridge was opened to traffic on July 26, 1834. It was burned during the Revolution of 1848, but was fully restored. It was eventually named Pont de la Réforme, a name it kept until 1852. The bridge was opened to traffic in August 1862. The bridge leads into the Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe. Closest Métro station: Pont Marie. One of the most sought-out spots in Paris, by the Seine river, to enjoy the sunset:
View to the Notre-Dame Cathedral from Pont Louis-Philippe:
Again, we make a break and spare 1 hour for visiting an overwhelming museum - The Shoah Memorial. Turn right to Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, turn left to Rue de l'Hôtel de ville and climb, immediately, to Rue des Barres - a charming small alley. On our left is the Église Saint-Gervais. Saint Gervais church, 13 rue Barres is the oldest church in the north of Paris. It is named for brothers and Roman officers who were martyred by Nero. The Saint-Gervais Church sheltered one of the most famous families of French musicians during more than two centuries since 1653: the Couperin family. On the side of the church still remains the house of these famous organists and composers as well as a plate commemorating their address. The prestigious organ of Louis and François Couperin exists still today inside the Church. It was rebuilt in 1212, in 1420 and in 1581. Its very high Gothic vaults are as bold as they are elegant. The church of Saint-Gervais possessed stained glass windows by Jean Cousin and Pinaigrier which still exist in part, paintings by Albrecht Dürer, Champaigne and Lesueur:
Inside, the building is richly decorated. A stone crown adorns the keystone of the chapel of the Virgin. The stained glass windows of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste chapel date back to 531 and illustrate the Wisdom of Solomon:
Leaving Église Saint-Gervais - we continue walking northward along Rue des Barres and turn, immediately, right to the Alee des Justifis (or: rue Grenier sur L'eau) to meet the secured yard and building of the Mémorial de la Shoah: a whole complex (multimedia center, library, reading room, memorial monuments, exhibitions and documents of the slaughtered French Jews during the Holocaust. For those who are remembered forever. The museum is mesmerizing, evocative and moving and totally in contrary to romantic and joyful Paris - particularly the crypt with the eternal flame. This location had been chosen since Le Marais had a large Jewish population before WW2. Be prepared for VERY tight security procedures and for unforgettable experience inside. A must. Amazing restraint and dignity in this sobering memorial. As you enter, you go through walls with the names and birth dates of the victims. Inside, the most bottom floor is dedicated to the permanent exhibition: the events that lead up to the holocaust. There is special room with photographs of the murdered children. On the middle floor - a temporary exhibit of the years after-war. On May 2017 - the trial against Klaus Barbie - the "Butcher of Lyon". We found the museum, during our unplanned visit - FULL with French young students and researchers. Please pay tribute to the murdered ! Free admission. NO photos inside:
We rturn via Rue Geoffroy l'Asnier to the Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville and continue walking along the Seine and Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville westward. We, quickly face, on our right, the Paris Hôtel de Ville. It has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also serves as a venue for large receptions. The northern (left) side of the building is located on the Rue de Rivoli. The nearby Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (BHV) is a department store named after the Hôtel de Ville. one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. There are numerous statues on and around the building. The architecture is grand and the interior is splendid. Note: in front of the Town Hall big courtyrad are TWO "Paris Water Springs" to refill bottles: the water is free, fresh and perfectly drinkable. What a treat ! Closest Metro station: Hôtel de Ville:
Continue walking north along Quai de l'Hôtel de ville. Cross Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. On our left is the Pont au Change. It connects the Île de la Cité from the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the Right Bank, at the Place du Châtelet. The current bridge was constructed from 1858 to 1860, during the reign of Napoleon III. The bridge bears the letter N which is the imperial insignia of Napoleon III. It owes its name to the goldsmiths and money changers who had installed their shops on the bridge in the 12th century. It provides a pretty view of the Seine on either side. This bridge was also featured in Les Miserables...
Our next attraction is the Place du Châtelet. The public square stands on the land that was once the site of the medieval fortress of Grand Châtelet. The fortress was built around 1130 by King Louis VI at the Pont au Change (a bridge) to defend the Île de la Cité, Paris's historic center. The area around the fortress was one of the city's most dangerous and criminal. During the rule of Napoleon, in the year 1808, the whole neighborhood including the Grand Châtelet was destroyed in an attempt to eradicate the criminality. After the area was cleared, the idea for a public square was carried out. The first thing we will notice, approaching Place du Châtelet, is the large fountain that stands in the center. Known as the Palmier Fountain, it was built in 1808 and erected to pay homage to Napoleon's victory in Egypt. A golden winged figure sits atop the column in the center of the fountain and a number of sphinxes surround it, each commemorating a famous battle, including the Siege of Danzig (1807, Prussia), the Battle of Ulm (1805, Austria), the Battle of Marengo (1800, Italy), the Battle of the Pyramids (1798, Egypt), and the Battle of Lodi (1796, Italy):
On either side of the Place du Châtelet stands a theatre. West to the square is Théâtre du Châtelet, is reserved for music and, more recently, hosted a number of popular Broadway-style musicals. The Théâtre de la Ville, which is situated on the east side of the square, is dedicated to theatrical performances, both classic and contemporary. This theatre was once owned by actress Sarah Bernhardt, who was born and died in Paris and lived much of her life there. The two theatres were designed by the French architect Jean- Antoine-Gabriel Davioud, and built around 1862 in an effort to attract more upper-class people to the area. The two buildings are almost mirror images of each other. Underneath this busy square lies one of the largest Metro stations in Paris, with five metro lines and three RER lines all converging under the square.
We skip the Pont d'Arcole and Pont Notre-Dame. The Arcole bridge connects the Hotel de Ville on the right bank to the Hôtel Dieu on the Île de la Cité. The name comes from the battle of Pont d'Arcole won by Napoleon Bonaparte on the Austrians in 1796. It was by the Pont d'Arcole that the first tanks of the 2nd Armored Division of General Leclerc arrived at the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville during the Liberation of Paris in August 1944:
Pont Notre-Dame links Quai de Gesvres on the right bank (Rive Droite) with Quai de la Corse on the Île de la Cité - one of the two natural islands on the Seine. The bridge is noted for being the "most ancient" in Paris - BUT, NOT keeping its original state. Each of the bridge's arches carries a head of Dionysus carved in stone. Its piles are decorated on each side with a ram's head. In the niches along the arches there are statues of Saint Louis, Henri IV, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV:
Our next detour and destination is the Tour Saint-Jacques. We turn right(north) to the Blvd. de Sebastopol. On our left we see the Chat Noir bar, 5, Blvd. de Sebastopol:
We cross Avenue Victoria and turn right (east) to the Tour Saint-Jacques. On summer 2017 the tower complex and the park around were surrounded by fences and ware under reconstruction. Wanting to have green spaces as in London, a park was made around the tower and a facing street was named in honor of Queen Victoria coinciding with her Paris visit. The tower is 52-metre high, Gothic tower, built between 1509 and 1523, and all that remains of the former 16th-century Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie ("Saint James of the butchery"), which was demolished in 1797, during the French Revolution, leaving only the tower. This sanctuary was the meeting point on the Via Toronensis (or Tours route) of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle). The closest métro station is Châtelet. In the mid-seventeenth century, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal chose to use Tour St-Jacques as his laboratory, where he conducted a variety of experiments on atmospheric pressure. In tribute to Pascal, a statue of the scientist stands at the base of the tower and a number of meteorological instruments were placed on the roof. Nice view from the top of the tower - when it is open. Three hundred steps lead to the summit of the former bell tower. Open: JUN-SEP only, WED-SUN, 10.00 - 17.00. Price: 10 € adult, youngsters under 18 - 8 €. It is possible to climb the tower in summer, but only with a guided tour. The stunning building is well preserved and a great site for taking some photos:
A stunning view of the tower from Rue Nicholas Flamel (the main entrance):
The statue of Blaise Pascal:
The Hotel de Ville from the Tour Saint Jacques:
View from the tower to the west towards Eiffel Tower:
View from the tower towards North East – From Beaubourg to Belleville:
View from the tower towards the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre:
We leave the Tour Saint Jacques and its gasrden\park from its north-east corner to connect with Rue Saint-Martin street and walking northward along this road. This is, mainly, pedestrianized road packed with restaurants and boutique shops. It is an old way and It takes its name from the former priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs , today assigned to the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM), to which it leads. We liked this atmospheric, typical-Parisien road. Rue Saint-Martin crosses Rue Rivoli and Rue Pernelle in its way from south to north and makes very long way to the north - until it ends in Blvd. Saint-Denis. It diverges (beyond rue Pernelle) to two interesting roads: rue de la Verrerie to the right (east) and rue des Lombards to the left (west). By the way - from the beginning of Saint-Martin road - you get another wonderful view of Tour Saint-Jacques. Turning right to rue de la Verrerie will bring you to an interesting road which is unique, mainly, after raising your head upward for catching its hidden gems. It dates from the 12th century and takes its name from the glass makers who were established there, according to the habits of the Middle Ages. The Rue de la Verrerie was, at the beginning of the 20th century, the street of merchants in grocery stores, or, as it was then called, in colonial goods:
The rue des Lombards is famous, above all, for hosting three of the main French jazz clubs : Le Baiser Salé, Le Duc des Lombards and the Sunset/Sunside. The Sunset/Sunside regularly welcomes world-class artists. Today, la rue des Lombards hosts a motley nightlife, mixing british pubs and gay bars, French restaurants and chicha bars, far from the financial turmoil of medieval times, except for the abusive prices of the drinks. It was originally a banking center in medieval Paris, a trade dominated by Lombard merchants from the 13th century and until the 18th century (as in the City of London).
We return to the Seine rive, but, now, we are in the Quai de Gesvres. We head to the Pont Neuf. It is 500 m. walk from Pont au Change to Pont Neuf along the Quai de la Mégisserie. The Pont Neuf ("New Bridge") is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, Along with the Pont Alexandre III, it is one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris. The Pont Neuf actually consists of two different bridge spans, one on each side of the Île de la Cité, where the Place du Pont Neuf connects the two spans. The bridge has a total of twelve arches, with one span of seven arches joining the right bank and another span of five arches connecting Île de la Cité with the left bank. The other, near our route, is another of seven joining the island to the right bank. The Pont Neuf meets Île de la Cité near the most northern tip of the island south to the Square du Vert-Galant -, a small public park named in honour of Henry IV, nicknamed the "Green Gallant". In the middle of the bridge stands the bronze statue of Henry IV on his horse. The statue, installed in 1818, faces the left bank. The bridge is full with couples' love PADLOCKS (padlocks on Pont Des Arts have been removed !). Breathtaking views all around. Be aware of pickpocketers. From the Vedettes du Pont Neuf,
1 Square du Vert Galant - departs, every half an hour, a 1-hour cruise along the Seine. The cruise passes through various spots along the Seine - EXACTLY in par with our Tipter route ! Internet prices (http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/home/): Adult : 10,00 € "open" ticket (12 € for fixed-time departure), Child : 5,00 €:
350 m. further walking to the north-west along the Quai de Conti brings us to the Pont des Arts.This section is packed with books' stalls along the Seine:
Some of them with iconic vinyl records:
The Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts links the Institut de France on the left bank and the central square (cour carrée) of the Palais du Louvre on the right bank. This bridge was built etween 1802 and 1804, under the reign of Napoleon I, as the first metal bridge in Paris. The bridge is, today, an open-air studio for painters, artists and photographers who are drawn to its unique point of view. From 2015 all padlocks had been avoided and torn-off from the bridge panels. Thousands of padlocks (with total weight of 50 tons) had been removed from the bridge. Metal panels of this bridge had been replaced with special glass panels, where locks cannot be attached to. The Arts bridge is not anymore serving as a repository for love padlocks. There is permanent presence of street artists or performers. We felt romantic without the mighty weight of the locks and their glittering from the metal locks. Closest Métro station: Pont Neuf:
Most of the next 450 m. from Pont des Arts to Pont du Carrousel is along Quai Malaquais. king Louis-Philippe named it Pont du Carrousel in 1834, because it opened on the Right Bank river frontage of the Palais du Louvre near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in front of the Tuileries Gardens. The bridge is situated so as to make it in line with The Louvre Museum. The one you can see today was constructed between 1935 and 1939. Its unique feature are the four stone statues, which were designed by Louis Petitot as allegorical statues depicting Industry, Abundance, The City of Paris and The River Seine, which originate from the original bridge back in 1847, although the bases they sit on are more recent. Pont du Carrousel linking the Quai des Tuileries on the Right Bank to the Quai Voltaire on the Left Bank. The nearest Métro station is Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre. The bridge carries a huge volume of traffic back and forth across the river from the archway entrance to the Louvre, to the Quai Voltaire. The views, from the Carrousel bridge, are breathtaking with the tremendous Louvre on one side of the river (and the Musee d’ Orsay on the other side, on the left bank):
The next bridge downstream is the Pont Royal. Beyond Pont du Carrousel starts Quai François Mitterrand. We walk 300 m. to Pont Royal. The third oldest bridge in Paris, after the Pont Neuf and the Pont Marie. The Pont Royal meets the left bank of the Seine in Avenue du Général Lemonnier. The bridge is constructed with five elliptical arches. The construction of a new bridge was ordered by Louis XIV. Jules Hardouin was instructed to build a bridge in stone. The five-arch bridge was built between 1685 and 1689 using the best materials and finest stone. Since its construction, it has only been slightly modified. It is a listed historical monument.
Note the impressive building on the right bank - just before arriving to the bridge:
From the Pont Royal - you see, very clearly, from the right bank the impressive complex of Musée d'Orsay:
From Pont Royal starts Quai des Tuileries and extends until the Pont de la Concorde. Our next bridge is far less known and it is the passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor or pont de Solférino. The former cast iron bridge inaugurated by Napoleon III in 1861, which allowed vehicles to cross between quai Anatole-France and quai des Tuileries. The new passerelle de Solférino linking the Musée d'Orsay and the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Gardens) was built between 1997 and 1999. Crossing the Seine with a single span and no piers, this metallic bridge is architecturally unique and covered in exotic woods. Its materials give the bridge a light and warm appearance. Its innovative designe brought Marc Mimram, its designer, the award "Prix de l'Équerre d'Argent" for the year 1999. It is a "passerelle" and not a "pont" because there is only pedestrian traffic. The bridge was renamed after Léopold Sédar Senghor, past president of Senegal (1960-1980) (and also former French minister), on 9 October 2006 on the centenary of his birth. This is a PRETTY bridge and ROMANTIC. Don't rush over this bridge and allow time to walk on this masterpiece of engineering and design. Closest Metro station: Assemblée Nationale:
Before approaching our next bridge, Pont de la Concorde- we (hardly) see and pass (on our right, in the most western edge of Jardin des Tuileries) the Musee de l'Orangerie:
Before approaching the Pont de la Concorde - we take another phote of our last stop, in this itinerary, the Eiffel Tower:
Pont de la Concorde links the Quai des Tuileries at the Place de la Concorde (on the Right Bank) and the Quai d'Orsay (on the Left Bank). It has formerly been known as the Pont Louis XVI, Pont de la Révolution, Pont de la Concorde, Pont Louis XVI again during the Bourbon Restoration (1814), and again in 1830, Pont de la Concorde, the name it has retained to this day. It had been planned since 1755, when construction of place Louis XV (now place de la Concorde) began, to replace the ferry that crossed the river at that point. A masterpiece of Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, conceived in 1772, The demolition of the Bastille offered the perfect opportunity to finish the bridge and build one of the first monuments of the new republic. Abolishing its original name of Pont Louis XVI, the Pont de la Révolution was completed in 1791. Traffic across the bridge became very congested and the bridge had to be widened on both sides between 1930 and 1932. Today, the Concorde square is one of the busiest spots in Paris. The bridge itself is nothing special. But, you can get nice views of the Seine from this bridge. Closest Metro stations Assemblée nationale and Concorde:
View of Pont Alexandre III from Pont de la Concorde:
550 m. seperate between Pont de la Concorde and Pont Alexandre III. But, this section is one of the most beautiful parts of the Seine banks - mainly, thanks to the magnificent Pont Alexandre III. First, we pass through the Port de la Concorde (on our left) and, while approaching Pont Alexandre III - we pass north to the Port des Champs-Élysées:
The more we approach the Pont Alexandre III - the more impressive are the sights on our left:
The last 200 m. before arriving to Pont Alexandre III from east to west, along the Port des Champs-Élysées - is not less than spectacular:
The Pont Alexandre III connects the Champs-Élysées quarter in the right bank with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower in the left bank. The bridge is the most ornate, grandiose bridge in the city. It was built between 1896 and 1900. this historical monument was constructed for the 1900 Universal Exposition in the French capital. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. The Pont Alexandre III opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900 together with several structures that still stand today like the Gare d'Orsay, the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. The exposition would attract an impressive 50 million visitors. This bridge is very unique in Paris with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses on its both ends. The style of the bridge reflects that of the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais , to which it leads on the right bank. The top design, by the architects Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin, was constrained by the need to keep the bridge from obstructing the views from Les Invalides to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The closest metro station to here is Champs-Élysées - Clemenseau or Invalides.
Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge. The gilded statues of the fames (representing the illustrious Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Industry) are eye-catching when looking up at them against the blue sky. This is the north side of the bridge, and, from here we start the Cours la Reine section promenade - along Port des Champs-Élysées:
The Nymph reliefs are at the centres of the arches over the Seine. On each side of the Pont Alexandre III at the centre of the curved arch, there is an angular stone, which on one side shows a hammered copper sculpture of the Nymphs of Neva displaying the arms of Imperial Russia. On the opposite side sits a sculpture of the Nymphs of the Seine, showing the arms of France. Both sculptures were produced by Georges Recipon, who also worked on the construction of the Grand Palais, in preparation for the 1900 World Fair in Paris:
There are also two statues of lions designed by the French sculptors Jules Dalou and Georges Gardet:
Here, we are 150 m. "deep" (west) in Port des Champs-Élysées:
A view back (east) to the Pont Alexandre III on our way to Pont des Invalides:
We walk only 250 m. further west to arrive to the Pont des Invalides. Again, heavy traffic will hamper your enthusiasm of this bridge. But, you get good views of Paris and the Seine from this busy bridge. This is the lowest bridge over Seine. You get amazing views of Eiffel Tower from both sides of the bridge:
You find two moving monuments in the north side of Pont des Invalides, along the right bank. The first, in Place du canada, is the Monument in Memory of the Russian Expeditionary Force 1916 - 1918 in Paris. The bronze statue shows an ordinary Russian soldier in uniform next to a horse that was designed to look like it was drinking water, and this was the vision of Vladimir Surovtsev who was the main Russian sculptor of this monument, which he gave it a name of The Spring, referring to the Russian Soldiers homeland. The statue was inaugurated on 21st June 2011. On 27th November 2009, the Russian Prime Minister / President Vladimir Putin and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon approved the idea of establishing a memorial dedicated to the officers and soldiers of the Russian Expeditionary Force and an international competition was launched with the renowned artist Vladimir Surovtev being the overall winner. During World War I the Allies asked for help from Russia, and the Russians responded by sending 750 officers and 45,000 soldiers from the Russian Expeditionary Force, with two of the brigades being sent to fight alongside French soldiers in Champagne, France. Unfortunately over 5,000 Russians were killed in battle, most notably defending Reims and on the Somme River:
The second monument, in Cours Albert 1, is the Armenian Genocide Memorial commemorating the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and honors the French-Armenians who died during the first and second World Wars. The monument is dedicated, especially to Father Komitas (real name:Soghomon Soghomonian), composer, and musicologist who collected the songs of oral tradition of the Armenian people. The closest métro stations are Invalides and Franklin D. Roosevelt:
With this monument starts Jardin d'Erevan - a very nice section with Linden trees, a gorgeous pocket of landscaped greenery. The relatively unknown garden was inaugurated on 12 March 2009 by French foreign affairs minister Edvard Nalbandian in the presence of legendary French singers Charles Aznavour and Helène Ségara, both Armenian in heritage. Erevan is the French name for Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Our way from Pont des Invalides to Pont de l'Alma is especially splendid. The Jardin d'Erevan on our right and the bateaux Mouches on our left. The Bateaux-Mouches pier is located very close to the Pont de l’Alma on the Port de la Conférence. Another cruise company with boats departing from their extensive basin near the Pont des Invalides. THey own 6 passenger-boats for a romantic commentated trip down the Seine. Boat tours depart daily, running in both the daytime and evening. Most of them serve meals and have interior restaurants. The boats depart from there and travel up the Seine towards Notre Dame de Paris, passing by the Louvre Museum, the Town Hall and the Conciergerie. The boat turns around near to the Arab World Institute. Passing via the Monnaie (Paris Mint), down a small arm of the Seine between the Ile de la Cité and the Left Bank, gives you a close-up view to admire the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The cruise continues alongside the Musée d’Orsay and the National Assembly towards the Eiffel Tower. Most of their clientele are tourists groups. Price: 13 euros. Be advised: young Parisians standing on the bridges and throwing their drinks on the boats passengers' heads as you pass by... Most of the cruises are quite packed. This company runs also late-evening and late-night cruises as well. The boats are huge, flat and long and the views are good regardless of where you sit. Best at the front on the open top if the weather's allows. Magical atmosphere ! A great way to see the highlights of Paris at night without trekking from one location to the next. http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr/en/cruise/boat_tour
View of Eiffel Tower and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Quai Branley from Jardin d'Erevan. Note the tiger sculpture on Bateaux Muches complex roof:
Coming close to Pont de l'Alma and Place de l'Alma we observe the Mickiewicz monument. Commissioned by a Franco-Polish committee , the monument to Mickiewicz is a sculpture by Antoine Bourdelle . The first model dates from 1909 but Antoine Bourdelle saw the inauguration of this project, in Place de l'Alma, twenty years later on 28 April 1929 a few months before his death. Thereafter, the monument was moved to the Cours Albert- Ier at the Jardin d'Erevan in March 2009. It was a gift from the Poland to France:
Our next stop is the Place de l'Alma. Place de l'Alma is a square at the intersection of New York Avenue , President Wilson , George V , Montaigne and the Albert I promenade. The square is famous for its Flame of Liberty , a replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty . This flame is overlooking the tunnel where Princess Diana died on 31 August 1997 in a car accident. It has since served as a monument to the memory of many admirers of the princess:
Pont de l'Alma (Alma Bridge) was named to commemorate the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, in which the Ottoman-Franco-British alliance achieved victory over the Russian army, on 20 September 1854. Construction of an arch bridge took place between 1854 and 1856. It was designed by Paul-Martin Gallocher de Lagalisserie and was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856.