We mapped a route to make a lovely day out in London. There are many beautiful places which need to be visited; unfortunately this cannot all be done in one day. This is one of the best ways we could think of acquainting you with some sights of London which can be visited as a pedestrian in one day. We chose parts of the West End that are frequently visited by most tourists.
Preparation before starting is essential as we will be walking most of the day, with occasional breaks for a rest. So, let’s start at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington High Street. There just around the corner we find Kensington Palace Gardens with the Palace where Princess Diana had a home, around the back through a small entrance, there is a private garden with lots of squirrels, a large Conservatory and beautiful grounds with lovely trees. Finally, we cross over to the side of the Palace where the Princess Diana memorial pond is situated.
We then go through the park to an avenue with great trees and some of the friendliest squirrels you will ever meet. Regardless of many signs requesting you not to feed the animals, you had better have some nuts with you so you can experience these wonderful animals climbing all over you or following you along the road. I guarantee you will get some very memorable photos of you and your relatives and friends.
Walking eastwards, we exit past the Prince Albert memorial, erected by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband Prince Albert. It’s worth stopping here for a photo session as some of the statues depicting the British Empire are very remarkable.
Opposite the memorial you can see the Royal Albert Hall; this is a round concert hall built at the same time as the memorial opposite and normally has famous people performing there, from rocks stars to the annual classical promenades with great orchestras. Buying a ticket for any performance is not easy as you have to book months in advance since it is very popular. Shame you will not be able to enter the hall at this time but maybe another day.
Heading north back into Hyde Park, we come across a statue of Peter Pan. Let’s take a moment or two to indulge in children’s dreams and to remember the boy who according to J.M.Barry the novelist, flew and made friends with the fairies in Kensington gardens. A short distance away, we have a small lake at the end of the Serpentine and the beautiful Kensington fountains with some wonderful statues and vistas offering great opportunities for photos. Walking back towards the Serpentine, where punting and boating takes place almost all year round, you may be able to see the Hilton hotel and other famous landmarks in the distance, after a casual long walk we finally exit at Hyde Park corner where Wellington had his town house which is now a museum and you can also visit the recently installed memorial gates to the Queen mother.
We cross the square which has a wonderful statue on top of the Wellington arch and we head down towards Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch. Here fine photos can be had against a brilliant golden monument of Queen Victoria with lovely fountains, steps and statues. From here you get a wonderful view of the Mall with the Admiralty Arch at the end of it. The fluttering royal flag over the palace means that queen Elizabeth II is at home.
The residence is protected by the Guards infantry and the Royal horse Guards regiment. In the summer and in the spring at 11:30 we can see the ceremony “Changing of the guard” at close quarters with marching bands and lots of soldiers. So it is better to plan this time in advance should you wish to see or film this spectacle from a vantage point. That is why you have to begin the walk in Kensington Park early so as not to be late for this ceremony without which it would be difficult to appreciate the traditions of the English monarchy. This ceremony is performed every day in the summer and on alternate days in winter.
St James Park opposite Buckingham Palace and next to St James’s Palace the official English court of the Kings of England was once the hunting grounds of St James’s Palace. Here we can take some photos on the bridges over the lake, enjoy the many animals living there and admire the lovely gamekeeper’s cottage with its lovely display of flowers. Further along as we exit the park we can see Horse guard’s parade where, on the Queen’s birthday the guards hold a ceremony called “Trooping the Colour”. To the left of the parade ground we get a close view of the arched entrance to the Mall called “The Admiralty Arch” since it was built when Britain ruled the waves.
As we approach the official entrance of the Royal palace Whitehall, we have to stop and take lots of photos as we find Royal horse guards with their magnificent uniforms sitting on great big horses at the entrance with many more standing guards inside the gate. Turning right to the Whitehall street, we see lot of gates and police guarding the prime minister’s residence number 10 Downing street. Further down the road we pass the Cenotaph a War memorial where the Queen and government place poppies on Remembrance day. Down the road we enter Westminster square where can see Big Ben, the houses of Parliament and the House of Lords called Westminster Palace. Westminster Cathedral where many royals got married and lots of famous people are buried. Here is where we spend a lot of time taking photos against Big Ben from lots of different angles. Also we must never forget to go round the back of the palace to a small park where we can see a beautiful view of the Big wheel called the London Eye on the opposite side of the river Thames.
A short walk from Westminster Bridge with a statue of Bodecia on the corner standing in her chariot, we will find a monument called “Cleopatra’s Needle”, presented to England in 1819 by the governor of Egypt and two statues of Sphinxes which you can climb on and take photos.
Walking along the Northumberland Ave finally we head towards Trafalgar Square an obligatory site on our round. Only to be slightly disappointed as it is much smaller than most large squares in other main cities such as Moscow. But here we find beautiful statues of 4 lions at the base of Nelson’s column, which many tourists try to climb on and ride. There are also the two beautiful and famous identical fountains and a grand stairway leading to the National picture gallery. Most demonstrations and festivals such as Maslenitsa or the Chinese New Year are held here, it is also the square where a gift from Norway(a very big Christmas tree) is placed every Christmas and New Year.
As we climb the stairs we go past the church of St Martin’s in the field and on to The National portrait Gallery and the Coliseum theatre where Shakespeare plays are performed. Walking along St Martin’s lane we reach Convent Garden, once a vegetable and flower market but now houses a lot of restaurants and bars as well as mixed food markets, knick knacks and other useless and amusing subjects. This is also the place where the Royal Opera house is in London and has hosted the Bolshoi ballet many times in the past.
Leaving this area we head into Leicester Square which a few years ago was a very pleasant tourist area with an amusing monument to Charlie Chaplin and lots of seating inside a lovely park with a central fountain. Unfortunately, it is now being redeveloped and will be extremely modernized as the center of film premiers since there are lots of film theatre in the square. Also in this area there are a lot of fast food cafes and restaurants. The most acceptable on a ratio of quality, price and speed of service is KFC (Kentucky fried chicken).
Heading for Piccadilly Circus, along Coventry street we will see on the corner of the Haymarket, famous for many theatres, a very large fountain with some statues of 4 beautiful horses, and right in the midst of neon lights and flashing advertising there is a fountain with a statue of Cupid with bow and arrow standing on one foot right on top.
Here we will also visit a very large souvenir shop called “Cool Britannia” where you can buy anything from a hat to a car before moving on down Piccadilly Street where you will find Fortnum and Masons with its famous clock. Further down the road we pass some very famous Royal Arcades such as the Burlington, these are a Victorian version of our indoor shopping centers today. As we walk along let us admire some of the magnificent building’s architecture. Even enjoy finding a statue of the London Dandy! This was what most people called a well dressed man in the past. He is in a street specially catering just for the well dressed man, with shops selling everything a man could possibly wear.
Should you be feeling like a small rest and a drink on the way back towards Green park Opposite The Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly next to the Green Park metro station, we call the underground, you will find “Henry’s” a pleasant and cozy pub where you can have dinner, drink a glass of beer or have a cup of coffee.
There are still many other sites, such as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Greenwich Mean Time museum, which are on another day tour.
Finally, we also have lots of wonderful Museums such as the Natural History which house every animal species you can imagine, the Science which has early machine and moon rockets, the British with artifacts from world historical sites and the Victoria and Albert specializing in man made things, but they each require another whole day each.