Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another London Walkabout

As regular visitors to this blog know, I do like to walk. And as I hate the Tube and know London pretty well, I will always walk between appointments if time and weather permit.

On Friday I was at Scotland Yard in the morning but needed to be in Holborn for the afternoon. So I picked a route that would let me snap a couple of interesting things along the way.

I started off from Broadway SW1 and headed up through Tothill Street and then Dartmouth Street. This brought me to the deliciously named Old Queen Street and the even more deliciously named Cockpit Steps, a short flight that takes you down onto Birdcage Walk. From there I turned up Horseguards and then cut across St Jamess Park.

I think I'm right in saying that St Jamess Park has the UK's only resident population of pelicans. And here they are enjoying a crisp December noon. The park is also home to thousands of very tame grey squirrels who are completely acclimatised to humans and will happily take food from your hands.

From St Jamess Park, I crossed the red tarmac of the Mall and zipped up the Duke of York Steps into Pall Mall and then into Trafalgar Square where I could admire the Norwegian Christmas tree (an annual present to Britain to say thanks for our help during WWII) and the new statue on the fourth plinth.

The statue is of Sir Keith Park, the man who commanded the Royal Air Force 11 Group Fighter Command – the squadrons which bore the brunt of the Battle of Britain. His statue takes over from anthony Gormley's hugely enjoyable One and Other human exhibit. Next on the fourth plinth in 2010 will be the extraordinary Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare. You can see a preview here.

The final leg of my walk, if you'll excuse the pun was up Charing Cross Road, through Covent Garden to Shaftesbury Avenue and High Holborn. The weather was crisp but sunny. December is a lovely time to enjoy such a walk ... providing you don't mind the tourists and Christmas shoppers.

More walks soon.

1 comment:

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