MAY 04,2017 - MAY 04,2017 (1 DAYS)
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.
Tip 2: Victoria Tower Gardens to One New Change Shopping Centre.
Tip 2 Main Attractions: Victoria Tower Gardens South, Parliament Square, the Supreme Court, Westminster Bridge, Victoria Embankment, Cleopatra's Needle, Temple Pier, Blackfriar Pub, Carter Lane Gardens, St. Paul Cathedral Churchyard, St. Paul Cathedral.
Start: Victoria Tower Gardens. End: St. Paul Church and One New Change Shopping Centre.
We took the stairs from the Millbank and Lambeth Bridge down to Victoria Tower Gardens South. and, further north, the Victoria Tower Gardens. The Lambeth Bridge cuts these gardens into two parts: south and north. They, actually, reside in the '' back '' of the Houses of Parliament. It is in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster and the Victoria Tower. Their tranquility is their best asset ,more than anything to see here. Victoria Tower Gardens cannot be approached from the more northern Westminster Bridge along the Thames River bank. There is a large open grassed area, nice trees, plenty of park benches and abundant statuary. There are also lovely views of parts of the Houses of Parliament and nice views across the River Thames. There are good views of the Shard and the London Eye along the southern wall. There is also a coffee shop and public toilets:
Inside the park or gardens there is a number of memorials celebrating freedom. The Buxton Memorial marks the abolition of slavery. Ordered by Charles Buxton MP, it was dedicated to his father, Thomas Buxton who, along with William Wilberforce and many others, was instrumental in helping to bring about an end to the slave trade in the British Colonies. Originally sited in the Parliament Square, it was taken away in 1949 due to post-war redevelopment - but found a new home in these gardens 8 years later:
and French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais in the north part of the gardens. It tells the story of the siege of Calais in 1347, during the Hundred Years War. Calais had been surrounded for a year by English soldiers under King Edward III. Six leading citizens of Calais, the Burghers, offered to die if Edward spared the rest of the town's people. Edward's wife, Queen Philippa, heard about the Burgher's offer and asked if they could also be spared if the town surrendered. Edward agreed and all the people of Calais were allowed to leave. Rodin made his original sculpture in 1889 to stand outside Calais town hall and later made four casts, of which this is one. It was bought by National Art Collection Fund in 1911. Rodin came to London to give advice on where to put it:
At the gardens' northern entrance (opposite Victoria Tower) is a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst (Monument to Emmeline Pankhurst) of the Suffragette Movement:
We continue further north to the Westminster Palace and Houses of Parliament (see Tipter blog: http://tipter.com/trips/london-houses-of-parliament):
From the main entrance to the Parliament Square - we see the Big Ben:
More north-west - the Parliament Square, a square at the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster. It features a large open green area in the centre with trees to its west, and it contains eleven statues of statesmen and other world notable individuals:
tThe west side of the Parliament Square is its judiciary side - here stands the Supreme Court. The building features distinct and fascinating exterior architecture with the main feature of its facade being a high bell tower. Security controls are VERY strict like in London airports.
Sip a cup of tea for 2 pounds in its elegant cafe':
The secondr highlight in the Supreme Court is the excellent museum (and library) in the basement which has many great interactive displays:
The southern side of the Parliament Square is the Religious side - the Winchester cathedral:
We change direction and move WESTWARD. From the Parliament Square we head to the Thames River and approach Westminster Bridge. WE DO NOT CROSS IT. We continue NORTHWARD (turning LEFT) along Victoria Embankment.
Walking from south to north along Victoria Embankment - we see, on the southern bank (opposite side of the Thames) the London Eye and The Aquarium:
1 km. walk northward from Westminster Bridge - we hit the Cleopatra Needle. Cleopatra's Needle is close to the Embankment underground station. It was presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by the ruler of Egypt and Sudan Muhammad Ali, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Although the British government welcomed the gesture, it declined to fund the expense of transporting it to London. Made of red granite, the obelisk stands about 21 metres high, it weighs about 224 tons and is inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is probably the oldest attraction in London. There are sister Obelisks in New York Central Park and in Paris. The sphinxes on the base are Victorian versions of the originals. Obelisks were prominent in the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, who placed them in pairs at the entrance of their temples. The two obelisks were originally erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis on the orders of Thutmose III, around 1450 BC. The obelisks were moved to Alexandria and set up in a temple built by Cleopatra in honor of Mark Anthony or Julius Caesar - by the Romans in 12 BC. Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for this pair of obelisks from the same original site - one re-erected in London in 1878 and the other in New York City in 1881. You'll also notice that the benches along the Embankment have sphinxes on them too (and some have cute camels). One of the Sphinxes (the right one) has been damage from a bomb detonation. On 4 September 1917, during World War I, a bomb from a German air raid landed near the needle. In commemoration of this event, the damage remains un-repaired to this day and is clearly visible in the form of holes on the right-hand sphinx. It is a nice place to stroll. Cleopatra's Needle is interesting when you pass by it.
We continue walking along the river (the direction is north-east) and approx. 480 m. beyond Cleopatra Needle we arrive to the Temple Pier (if not blocked by construction works). Temple Pier is the home pier of London Pleasure Boats and is where embark and disembark most of these pleasure boats. It is located opposite Temple tube station and the Walkabout pub on Victoria Embankment. Temple is named after the Knights Templar's Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Today it is best known as the legal district of London, and is home to many barristers and solicitors, as well as the famous Royal Courts of Justice.
The Thames southern bank from the Temple Pier:
Continuing walking east - we meet an office worker hails a cab on John Carpenter Street, just off Embankment:
It is quite probable that you would be hindered near the Blackfriars tube station, and, you'll be forced to leave your route along the river, and, surround the underground station, continuing eastward along Queen Victoria Street. In case there are no construction works - you can continue walking along the Thames - using the Blackfriars underpass. BUT, we do recommend using the bypass via Queen Victoria Street ! DO NOT MISS the Blackfriar Pub, a public house on 174 Queen Victoria Street in Blackfriars district of London. It was built in about 1875, and remodeled in about 1905 by the architect Herbert Fuller-Clark. Much of the internal decoration was done by the sculptors Frederick T. Callcott and Henry Poole. It looks Great on the outside and fantastic on the inside, a one off. The extraordinary interior is filled with marble sculptures, mosaics, paintings and resembles a church. Arched ceilings and fireplaces make it very dense and welcoming. The interiors are, frequently, packed, busy and full with cheerful people. it's built on the foundations of 13th century friary. It is NOT the oldest pub or bar in London. it only opened in 1875. BUT this is an exceptional, wonderful pub. A dark, deceptively roomy pub with walls depicting medieval life in distinctive, simplistic Edwardian style. The Blackfriar is a perfect architectural encapsulation of how London has continuously called on its rich history to inspire its cultural advancement. The legends say that part of Henry VIII's divorce proceedings from Catherine of Aragon took place here. A unique place !!!
Continue walking east along Queen Victoria Street. Pass Blackfriars Lane, St. Andrew's Hill on your left. Pass the Church of Scientology London and Godliman Street on your left andturn LEFT (NORTH) onto St. Peter's Hill (changes to Sermon Lane further north). Cross the Carter Lane Gardens, also known as Information Centre Garden (London Tourist Office on your left) from south to north - and you face the St. Paul Cathedral. These gardens extend on both sides of the wide paved path that forms the pedestrian route from St Paul's to the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern (on the southern bank of the Thames):
The St. Paul Cathedral Churchyard garden is part of the precincts of St Paul's and is an important part of its setting, as well as providing valuable open space for public use. The garden was laid out in 1879 by Edward Milner, designer of private gardens and public parks. The garden includes winding footpaths, fountains, sculpture and seating, and features lawns and mature trees and shrubs, as well as a lovely rose garden. The restored 1714 churchyard railings are important early examples of cast iron work:
St. Paul Cathedral stands at the highest point of the City of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding program in the City after the Great Fire of London. At 111 m. high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral. Its dome, framed by the sp ires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London. St Paul's Cathedral occupies a significant place in the national identity. Services held at St Paul's have included the funerals of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher; jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer and the thanksgiving services for the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees and the 80th and 90th birthdays of Elizabeth II. It was and is a central subject of much promotional material, as well as of images of the dome surrounded by the smoke and fire of the Blitz in WW2.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 8.30 doors open for sightseeing, 9.30 galleries open for access, 16.00 tickets office closed, 16.15 last entry to galleries, 16.30 cathedral closes for sightseeing. Prices: adults (18yrs+) £18,
concessions (Students & 60yrs+) £16, children (6-17yrs) £8, families (2 Adults + 2 Children) £44. These prices will allow you unlimited sightseeing visits to St Paul's over a 12 month period at no extra charge. No charge is made to worshipers. Free entry to St. Paul's Cathedral with the London Pass. Very severe and strict security procedures in entry. No large bags, large rucksacks or large suitcases may be brought into St Paul’s. Online tickets: https://www.stpauls.co.uk/tickets. Online tickets must be booked at least the day before a planned visit and can be booked for the current or following two months only. Please refer to the relevant Tipter blog for more in-depth descriptions: http://tipter.com/trips/st-paul-s-cathedral-tate-modern-globe-theatre-and-bankside
Paternoster Square resides NORTH to St. Paul Cathedral. The square itself is a privately owned public space. The area takes its name from Paternoster Row, once centre of the London publishing trade. It was devastated by aerial bombardment in The Blitz during the WW2. It is now the location of the London Stock Exchange which relocated there from Threadneedle Street in 2004. It is also the location of American, British and Japanese investment banks and securities banks or int'l funds. The main monument in the redeveloped square is 23 m. tall Paternoster Square Column It is a Corinthian column topped by a gold leaf covered flaming copper urn, which is illuminated by fibre-optic lighting at night. The column was designed by the architects Whitfield Partners and also serves as a ventilation shaft for a service road that runs beneath the square. It is sometimes referred to as the "pineapple":
At the north end of the square is the bronze Paternoster (also known as Shepherd and Sheep) by Dame Elisabeth Frink. The statue was commissioned for the previous Paternoster Square complex in 1975 and was replaced on a new plinth following the redevelopment:
Another sculpture in the square is Paternoster Vents by Thomas Heatherwick:
The Temple Bar, a Wren designed stone archway that once stood on Fleet Street to mark the westernmost extent of the City's influence, was relocated to the cathedral northern side entrance to the Paternoster Square in 2004:
St. Paul Cathedral (northern wing) from Paternoster Square:
Our last destination in this busy day is the One New Change Shopping Centre. An unforgettable site. Your best route is through the east side of St. Paul Cathedral and the Festival Gardens. Head east on Paternoster Sq. toward Queens Head Passage. Turn right onto Queens Head Passage. Turn left, turn right, slight right, turn left, turn left and you face the impressive One New Change at 1 New Change. There is a large number of restaurants to choose from In here as well as a number of shops.
See more on this charming and stunning place at http://tipter.com/trips/a-rainy-day-in-central-london: Take the FREE elevator (GLASS LIFT) to the 6th floor, top roof / terrace to see breath-taking, fabulous views of the City of London. A stunning view of the dome and the nearby Old Bailey. You get views across to the Square Mile, St Paul, the Thames, South Bank and beyond. There's a bar up there too, on the roof, but also plenty of space if you just want to wonder around or take a seat in the sunshine and soak in the cityscape. It makes a good alternative to the viewing platform at St Paul:
St. Paul cathedral fro the top terrace of One New Change Shopping Centre: