Royal London walk 8th October 2012

This is a circular walk starting and ending at Westminster station.
On 8th October 2012 I set off for a short walk around London. I didn't have much time so this made a pleasant break from my London Loop walks.
Again it was another wet day,so sorry for some of the pictures that have raindrops spoiling them,I did try my best to keep the lens free from rain.

I arrived at Westminster Station and left the station,walking towards Westminster bridge, stopped at the first traffic lights on the corner (at the junction of Victoria Embankment and Bridge Street). Behind me is Portcullis House, and in front of you, Victoria Embankment.

Portcullis House
 Portcullis House was opened in 2000, it hosts the offices for British Members of Parliament. There is an underground walkway leading from the building through to the Palace of Westminster.
 Victoria Embankment was completed in 1870 and is a classic example of Victorian construction and design. It was the first electrically illuminated street in London.You can see many examples of Victorian England along the Embankment. These range from the granite blocks used to shore up the river walls through to the streetlamps with dolphins at their bases.
I cross the road and  go down the steps directly after the statue of Boadicea . Stop next to the green turret at the bottom of the steps, overlooking the Thames.


The Westminster  Tide Recorder

From here I had great views across to The County Hall on the The South Bank and The London Eye.


Westminster Bridge
 The turret in front of you is called the Westminster tide recorder. It measures the depth of the Thames at this point. You can climb up the rails on the side of the turret and look inside to see the computerized depth reading.




 I now walked across Westminster Bridge to get a better view of The Lions Head on the side of the river wall.


View from Westminster Bridge

Looking across the river to the wall I saw a number of lions' heads facing the river, with mooring rings hanging from their mouths. They are part of London's flood warning system.
Although the Thames Barrier has reduced the risk, the phrase "When the lions drink, London's in danger" is still true. If the water reaches the lions' mouths, the Thames is at danger level and the tube system and all Thames tunnels would be closed.

Now I walk back across Westminster Bridge towards The Houses Of Parliament.

 The correct name for the Houses of Parliament is the Palace of Westminster, which was built in 1040 by Edward the Confessor and was the main Royal residence in London until Henry VIII moved to Whitehall.
The present building dates from the 1800's and took 20 years to complete. It was built by Charles Barry, who is buried in Westminster Abbey.
It is the largest Gothic building in the world - there are over 1,000 rooms and two miles of corridors in it. In the centre stands Westminster Hall, the only part of the original building that survives.

Big Ben

Though many people think Big Ben is the name of the tower with the famous clock face, it is actually the name of the bell within it.
Big Ben is named after the Commissioner of Works, Sir Benjamin Hall, who was in charge of construction of the clock. He was heavily criticised by politicians over the problems he had in building it.
The bell's familiar ring is caused by a crack which appeared in 1859, within a few months of the bell being installed. The bell was re-cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry Company but soon cracked again. It has never been repaired.
When the light above Big Ben is illuminated, Parliament is sitting.


Now I walk down into Parliament Square.Parliament Square was built in 1868, and rebuilt in the 1940's.Directly in front of me is the Statue of  Sir Winston Churchill.


No pigeons ever land on the statue of Churchill. Why? Because a small electric current runs through it!
I walk around the square to Westminster Abbey.

 
I didn't go in,one there were long queues and secondly the admission charge.
The Abbey was built by Edward the Confessor, and William the Conqueror was crowned in it on Christmas Day 1066. Thousands of people are buried, or have their ashes interred, in it. Many others have plaques. Those buried in the Abbey include * Royalty - Henry III, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles II
* Politicians - Pitt the Younger, Pitt the Elder, Chamberlain, Gladstone
* Poets and Writers - Chaucer, Jonson, Browning, Tennyson


 The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster.

 I walk further around the square to The Supreme Courts. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases. It hears appeals in criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


 I walk a few back streets and out onto Queen Annes Gate.


The old headquarters of the Secret Service, where James Bond would have worked, used to be at no 21 and the buildings on either side of it.
 I walk out and cross Birdcage Walk and enter St James Park.


Water Fountain at the entrance of  St James Park.

St James Park.
View to Buckingham Palace from St James Park.

St James Park.

St James Park.
Pelican in St James Park.

St James Park.
St James Park.
 I walk through the park crossing a bridge over the lake along the lake to Buckingham Palace.


 The home of the Queen, Buckingham Palace was built in 1703. The present building is the third on the site. Around 300 people work there.

Look at the flag pole on top of the Palace. When the Queen is in residence, the Royal Standard flag is raised. A soldier is responsible for taking it down the moment the Queen leaves.

The Victoria Memorial was created by sculptor Sir Thomas Brock in 1911 and erected in front of the main gates at Buckingham Palace on a surround constructed by architect Sir Aston Webb.Made from a single block of marble.


I had missed the changing of the guard by half an hour that happens every day at 11.30am during summer and every second morning during winter. I leave and walk into Green park past the elaborate gates.

 I walk out of the park into The Mall and pass Lancaster House where there were soldiers posted outside in sentry boxes keeping guard.



 Lancaster House (previously known as York House and Stafford House) is a mansion in the St. James's district in the West End of London. It is close to St. James's Palace and much of the site was once part of the palace complex. This Grade I listed building is now managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Lancaster House


I now pass St James Palace.

 St James' Palace was built by Henry VIII and though it is no longer used for official royal purposes, it has had a long association with royalty throughout its history. Queen Elizabeth and her successor, James I, both held court here. Charles I also spent his last night here before his execution in Whitehall. And Queen Victoria was married here.
The only surviving part of the original building is the gatehouse

St James Palace Gatehouse
I walk along St James Street, and walk into a  small archway my your right, at the side of the Berry Bros and Rudd wine store (No. 3). This archway leads into Pickering Place, which was the location of the Texan Republic's embassy until the state joined the US union in 1845. It was also where the last duel in England was fought.

Pickering Place

Pickering Place

Pickering Place

Pickering Place
I walk back out onto St James Street as far as Jermyn Street,but just before on my right are some statues placed outside by what appears to be a office that deal in Statues.




 I now walk into Jermyn Street. It is widely known as a place where the shops are almost exclusively aimed at the gentlemen's clothing market and it is famous for its resident shirtmakers such as Turnbull & Asser, Charles Tyrwhitt, Thomas Pink and T. M. Lewin. Gentlemen's outfitters Hackett and Harvie & Hudson are also located on Jermyn Street, as well as shoe- and boot-makers John Lobb and Foster & Son.
 At Christmas time, the famous Jermyn Street lights attract people from all over the world.

 I walk past Piccadilly Arcade. The Piccadilly Arcade runs between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street in central London. It was opened in 1909, having been designed by Thrale Jell.

Piccadilly Arcade
 It contains sixteen high class shops, many of which sell clothing especially shirts (being close to many shirt makers on Jermyn Street). Also there was a showroom for Waterford Crystal and Wedgwood chinaware; now occupied by Kent & Curwen (Gentleman's Club Sports wear). Another unusual shop is "The Armoury of St James" a seller of World Orders and toy soldiers.

 I turn left onto Duke Street and walk into Fortnum and Mason and have a look about, but everything seems a little out of my price range.


 In 1761, William Fortnum's grandson Charles went into the service of Queen Charlotte and the Royal Court affiliation led to an increase in business. Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented the Scotch egg in 1738. The store began to stock speciality items, namely ready-to-eat luxury meals such as fresh poultry or game served in aspic jelly.

 Royal warrants, such as those held by Fortnum and Mason and displayed above their door or inside their store, are issued by the Royal Household to companies providing services and goods to the Royal family.


I walk back to Duke Street making my way to Piccadilly Circus.
An elaborate roof that seems out of place above a Tesco Metro store.
I walk out onto Piccadilly Circus and its famous sights.

Originally a crossroad of Piccadilly and Regent Street, the circus took on its present appearance in the late 1800's when Shaftesbury Avenue was connected to it.


The statue of Eros has pointed in three different directions since being erected, but never in the direction to which it was intended : facing Shaftesbury Avenue It was erected in 1892 to commemorate Anthony Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose tireless work for the poor and mentally ill led to calls for a memorial. - from www.londondrum.com/cityguide/eros-statue.php. It was erected in 1892 to commemorate Anthony Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose tireless work for the poor and mentally ill led to calls for a memorial. - from www.londondrum.com/cityguide/eros-statue.php t was erected in 1892 to commemorate Anthony Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose tireless work for the poor and mentally ill led to calls for a memorial. - from www.londondrum.com/cityguide/eros-statue.php
t was erected in 1892 to commemorate Anthony Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose tireless work for the poor and mentally ill led to calls for a memorial. - from www.londondrum.com/cityguide/eros-statue.php
It was erected in 1892 to commemorate Anthony Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose tireless work for the poor and mentally ill led to calls for a memorial. - from www.londondrum.com/cityguide/eros-statue.ph
Lilywhite's sports store, on the corner behind Eros, was established by James Lilywhite, who captained the English cricket team against Australia in 1876.
I now walk past Criterion Hotel and Theatre. Marco Pierre White, has his restaurant inside the Criterion Hotel, which is behind Eros.

Next to the Hotel is a store called Cool Britannia(formerly HMV)selling all kinds of British tourist gifts,inside a mini in the union flag colours.


I walk out of the store and turn right onto Haymarket and the fancy fountain.


I walk along Haymarket past the theatres,and turn onto Cockspur Street.

Her Majestys Theatre,Haymarket

A view down Cockspur Street to Trafalgar Square
I enter the National Gallery for a quick look about and to get out of the rain for a bit.

Inside The National Gallery. I thought Id sneak a photo,even though you're not allowed. You can see the guard coming to tell me so. I didn't see any signs though indicating you couldn't.
I left the gallery out onto the balcony outside with views across Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square



Trafalgar Square

 Trafalgar Square commemorates Britain's victory over France in 1805.
In the centre of the square stands Nelson's Column, at 170 feet tall. Buildings surrounding the Square include South Africa House, Canada House, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery (both FREE admission) and St Martin-in-the-Fields church.






In front of Nelson's Column, on a traffic island at the top of Whitehall, which also marks the site of the old Charing Cross, stands a statue of Charles I on horseback. It was deliberately positioned here by his son, Charles II, to look down Whitehall to the spot where his father had been executed (in front of Banqueting House.) 


The National gallery

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Nelsons Column looking across to St Martins In The Field Church

Entrance to The Mall
After walking through Trafalagar Square I cross over and walk down Whitehall.
Whitehall

The Old Shades PH

Prince George,Duke of Cambridge Statue




I pass by Horse Guards Parade,where the guards were in the process of being changed. It is the site of the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the monarch's official birthday, and Beating Retreat.

 It was once the Headquarters of the British Army. The Duke of Wellington was based in Horse Guards when he was Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. 

The Household Cavalry




 I walk down to Downing Street. Downing Street is named after Sir George Downing, the second graduate of Harvard College, who bought the land and built the houses in 1680.

Number 10 has been the official residence of the Prime Minister since 1732.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer traditionally lives next door, in number eleven.
However, when Labour came to power in 1997, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Chancellor, Gordon Brown (who became Prime Minister in 2007) swapped residences to enable the Blair family to have more room. This had never happened before.

 I continue along Whitehall past the cenotaph. The Cenotaph is a war memorial located in Whitehall, London.


 Now back to the start I take Westminster Station to return home.



Westminster Station (Jubilee Line Platform)





Comments

  1. Hi Chris
    I really enjoyed this report, it makes a nice change to see a walk in such a busy city and so much to to photograph as well, it must have took ages to post, I know it does for me, and I love the links btw, it makes it a lot easier.
    Cheers
    Rich

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an enjoyable article and photo's are lovely too!

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  3. Thank you for your kind comments

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  4. Absolutely brilliant report with some excellent photos, both in terms of interest and quality of the photos.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Steve,glad you enjoyed it !

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  6. This blog isn't having anything added to it s Ive used up all the space for pictures, please follow my other blogs at

    http://adventuresivebeenon2.blogspot.co.uk/

    http://thelondonloopwalk.blogspot.co.uk/

    http://placesivebeenonmybike.blogspot.co.uk/

    Thank you :)

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