Geo-Trips :: A walk across London

London

A walk from Tower Hill, London, Sat, 24 Feb 2024 by Philip Halling

A walk across London

On Saturday I travelled down to London on the train; I had booked a ticket to see the Holbein exhibition in the Queen’s Galley beside Buckingham Palace. My ticket was for entry at 3:15 in the afternoon. Arriving at Paddington Station with no plans for the morning and walking down into the underground to catch a tube train I was thinking of maybe going to Kensington and visiting one of the museums, but then I thought it is a reasonable day weather-wise, it’s not raining, which is a rarity this winter, it would be good to walk along the banks of the River Thames, so I took the tube to Tower Hill.

Emerging from the underground station, I walked around the corner passing the remains of London’s Roman wall and walked beside the Tower of London, recalling memories when I visited in 2014 on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War when the moat was filled with poppies for the fallen. Approaching Tower Bridge, I descended the steps taking me down to the riverbank. I walked along the riverbank in front of the Tower of London, taking in the views of the Shard, the tallest building in western Europe. When completed in 2012, it was the tallest building in Europe, now in 2024 it has slipped to seventh. On the opposite side of the river is the unusual City Hall, designed by Norman Foster and built about twenty years ago. Today, I thought it was beginning to look a little dull and shabby. Perhaps it was just the light. To my left was the iconic Tower Bridge, one of the best known buildings in London.

Approaching London Bridge, looking across the Thames, I could see what I thought to be a church tower, almost lost in the buildings surrounding it. I then realised it was the tower of Southwark Cathedral, somewhere I had not visited for about fifteen years. I walked across London Bridge and then under the railway viaduct near Borough Market. It was packed with people, many eating at the food stalls. I entered Southwark Cathedral, and exploring I particularly wanted to find the memorial stone to Edmund Shakespeare, William’s youngest brother, who was also an actor and like his famous brother came to London. Also, in the cathedral is a memorial and effigy of William Shakespeare. This is not far from the original Globe Theatre and he probably worshipped in this church as it was in Shakespeare’s day, it became a cathedral in 1905. Above the memorial is a Shakespeare memorial stained glass window in the form of a Jesse window, depicting many of Shakespeare’s famous characters.

Stepping back outside I was now following the route of the Thames Path on the southern side of the river. I last walked here in 2011, when I walked this long distance path in its entirety. I walked past the replica, Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake’s ship in which he circumnavigated the world in the 16th century. Along Clink Street, I pass the remains of the medieval Winchester Palace, the London home of the Bishops of Winchester. Today, it is in the care of English Heritage. Emerging beside the river the sun has now come out lighting the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and the glass towers of the city of London. Interesting to see how much this view has changed since I walked the Thames Path just over 12 years ago. From here I had a distant view of the BT Tower, which when built as the GPO Tower in the 1960s was the tallest building in London. This week it has been sold for a reported $347m and is to become a hotel.

Continuing along the riverbank, I pass the Globe Theatre. I really must attend a production there! Passing Tate Modern, the former Bankside Power Station, and the Millennium Bridge. The sunlight is highlighting St Paul’s Cathedral. I continue passing Blackfriars Bridge and walk by the Royal National Theatre. Here there is a Henry Moore-like sculpture by Frank Dobson called ‘London Pride’ and a statue of actor Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet. Beyond Waterloo Bridge I reached Hungerford Bridge, a railway bridge flanked by two footbridges named the Golden Jubilee Bridges. I cross the river here walking through Charing Cross Station and emerging by the 1860s replica Eleanor Cross. At Trafalgar Square I visit the National Portrait Gallery, probably my favourite gallery. When visiting London, I often visit it. I like wandering around looking at many familiar portraits. Today, I had a look at the Tudor portraits and having visited a memorial to Shakespeare in Southwark Cathedral I sought out the portrait of William Shakespeare. Known as the 'Chandos portrait', after a previous owner; it’s the first portrait to be acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, when it was founded in 1856. This portrait is one of three images thought to be reliably depicting Shakespeare, the other two being the Droeshout portrait which appears in the First Folio, published in 1623, and the bust of his wall memorial above his grave in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. A picture of a younger man has been identified as William Shakespeare in recent years. This is the Cobbe portrait which the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust identified in 2009, but this is disputed. There are so many questions about Shakespeare, there are the conspiracy theories that he never wrote the plays, and as I was looking at the painting I hear a young woman behind say, a friend of mine believes he never existed.

Continuing my walk, I crossed Trafalgar Square and passed under Admiralty Arch which is currently shrouded in scaffolding and sheeting as it undergoes a major multi-million-pound refurbishment and conversion into a hotel. Walking along The Mall, passing familiar sites I turn right into Marlborough Road and have a closer look St James’s Palace. It was here that in September 2022 King Charles III was proclaimed King. Opposite is the Queen’s Chapel, originally built in the 1620s. Whilst standing there a London Green Badge guide arrived with a family he was guiding. Listening to him from a discreet distance I learn that it was in this chapel that Princess Diana’s coffin rested on the night before her funeral back in 1997.

Just a short distance now, I walked into St James’s Park and around to the left of Buckingham Palace and into Buckingham Gate where I visited the Holbein exhibition in the Queen’s Gallery. After my visit I walked down to Victoria, I took the tube train back to Paddington, concluding an interesting day.

Click the blue circles to see a photograph taken from that spot and read further information about the location. The blue lines indicate the direction of view. There is also a slideshow of this trip. ( )

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TQ3380 : Remains of London's Roman Wall by Philip Halling
Remains of London's Roman Wall
A small section surviving of London's Roman Wall, this can be found over the road... more

TQ3380 : The Tower and the Shard by Philip Halling
The Tower and the Shard
The old and new side by side. In the foreground is the roof line of the Tower of... more

TQ3380 : The Tower of London by Philip Halling
The Tower of London
The Tower of London viewed from the road leading to Tower Bridge. The Tower of... more

TQ3380 : The Tower of London by Philip Halling
The Tower of London
The Tower of London viewed from the road approaching Tower Bridge.

TQ3380 : Cannons beside the River Thames by Philip Halling
Cannons beside the River Thames
Cannons on the bank of the River Thames in front of the Tower of London. Across... more

TQ3380 : Cannons in front of the Tower of London by Philip Halling
Cannons in front of the Tower of London
Cannons overlooking the River Thames with the Tower of London in the background.

TQ3380 : View to The Shard by Philip Halling
View to The Shard
View to The Shard across the River Thames from in front of the Tower of London.

TQ3380 : Traitors' Gate, Tower of London by Philip Halling
Traitors' Gate, Tower of London
This water gate entrance to the Tower of London is known as the Traitors' Gate;... more

TQ3380 : City Hall, London by Philip Halling
City Hall, London
Designed by Norman Foster, City Hall is an unusual design. Maybe it is the light,... more

TQ3380 : Tower Bridge by Philip Halling
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge spanning the River Thames near the Tower of London, probably one of... more

TQ3380 : City Hall, London by Philip Halling
City Hall, London
Designed by Norman Foster, City Hall is an unusual design. Maybe it is the light,... more

TQ3380 : The Tower of London by Philip Halling
The Tower of London
The Byward Tower of the Tower of London. This tower was built in 1238 and 1272 by... more

TQ3380 : A reflection of The Shard by Philip Halling
A reflection of The Shard

TQ3380 : London Bridge Hospital by Philip Halling
London Bridge Hospital
London Bridge Hospital viewed from across the River Thames.

TQ3380 : The Shard by Philip Halling
The Shard
London Bridge Hospital being dwarfed by The Shard. Viewed here from across the... more

TQ3380 : The River Thames and Tower Bridge by Philip Halling
The River Thames and Tower Bridge
The River Thames and Tower Bridge viewed from London Bridge. HMS Belfast can be... more

TQ3380 : Tower Bridge by Philip Halling
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge spanning the River Thames, viewed here from London Bridge.

TQ3380 : The River Thames by Philip Halling
The River Thames
The River Thames, HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge and the towers of Canary Wharf viewed... more

TQ3280 : Southwark Cathedral by Philip Halling
Southwark Cathedral
The High Altar and Choir of Southwark Cathedral.

TQ3280 : Tomb of John Gower by Philip Halling
Tomb of John Gower
Tomb of 14th century poet John Gower in Southwark Cathedral. He was a... more

TQ3280 : Effigy of poet John  Gower by Philip Halling
Effigy of poet John Gower
Effigy on the tomb of John Gower in Southwark Cathedral [[7716136]]. He was a... more

TQ3280 : Shakespeare Memorial Window, Southwark Cathedral by Philip Halling
Shakespeare Memorial Window, Southwark Cathedral
The stained glass Shakespeare Memorial window depicts many of Shakespeare’s most... more

TQ3280 : Shakespeare Memorial Southwark Cathedral by Philip Halling
Shakespeare Memorial Southwark Cathedral
The effigy of William Shakespeare on the Shakespeare Memorial in Southwark... more

TQ3280 : Shakespeare Memorial in Southwark Cathedral by Philip Halling
Shakespeare Memorial in Southwark Cathedral
The Shakespeare Memorial in Southwark Cathedral. The cathedral is near the Globe... more

TQ3280 : Memorial stone to Edmond Shakespeare by Philip Halling
Memorial stone to Edmond Shakespeare
William Shakespeare's younger brother Edmond (or Edmund) followed his sibling into... more

TQ3280 : The nave of Southwark Cathedral by Philip Halling
The nave of Southwark Cathedral
View from the choir along the nave of Southward Cathedral.

TQ3280 : The Reredos of Southwark Cathedral by Philip Halling
The Reredos of Southwark Cathedral
The stunning reredos of Southwark Cathedral was given by Bishop Fox of Winchester... more

TQ3280 : The Thames by London Bridge by Philip Halling
The Thames by London Bridge
View across the River Thames by London Bridge dwarfed by London's changing skyline.

TQ3280 : The Fishmonger's Hall by Philip Halling
The Fishmonger's Hall
The Fishmonger's Hall beside London Bridge, dwarfed by the surrounding buildings.... more

TQ3280 : Golden Hinde by Philip Halling
Golden Hinde
A 1973 replica of the Golden Hinde, Francis Drake's ship, in St Mary's Overie's... more

TQ3280 : Remains of Winchester Palace by Philip Halling
Remains of Winchester Palace
Remains of Winchester Hall part of Winchester Palace, the home of the Bishops of... more

TQ3281 : The Dome of St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
The Dome of St Paul's Cathedral
The Dome of St Paul's Cathedral viewed from Southwark.

TQ3280 : Southwark Bridge and St Paul's by Philip Halling
Southwark Bridge and St Paul's
View Southwark Bridge crossing the River Thames with the Dome of St Paul's... more

TQ3280 : Cannon Street Station by Philip Halling
Cannon Street Station
Cannon Street Station viewed from across the River Thames and the ever changing... more

TQ3280 : The River Thames by Philip Halling
The River Thames
The River Thames viewed below Southwark Bridge.

TQ3280 : The River Thames and St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
The River Thames and St Paul's Cathedral
The River Thames and St Paul's Cathedral viewed from Southwark.

TQ3280 : The Swan at Shakespeare's Globe Swan Restaurant by Philip Halling
The Swan at Shakespeare's Globe Swan Restaurant
The Swan at Shakespeare's Globe Swan Restaurant overlooks the River Thames and is... more

TQ3280 : Shakespeare's Globe Swan Restaurant by Philip Halling
Shakespeare's Globe Swan Restaurant
The Swan at Shakespeare's Globe Swan Restaurant overlooks the River Thames and is... more

TQ3280 : The Globe Theatre by Philip Halling
The Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre stands near the site of the original theatre; it... more

TQ3280 : View to St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
View to St Paul's Cathedral
View across the River Thames to St Paul's Cathedral. The Millennium Bridge can be... more

TQ3280 : Bankside Pier  by Philip Halling
Bankside Pier
Bankside Pier with the ever changing London city skyline in the background.

TQ3280 : Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral
View of the Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral.

TQ3280 : Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral

TQ3280 : St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral viewed from a crowded Millennium Bridge.

TQ3281 : The Dome of St Paul's Cathedral by Philip Halling
The Dome of St Paul's Cathedral
The Dome of St Paul's Cathedral viewed from the southern end of the Millennium Bridge.

TQ3280 : Millennium Bridge by Philip Halling
Millennium Bridge
Pedestrians on Millennium Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral in the background.

TQ2981 : The BT Tower by Philip Halling
The BT Tower
The BT Tower viewed from the southern end of the Millennium Bridge below Tate... more

TQ3280 : The City of London by Philip Halling
The City of London
The City of London skyline viewed from the South Bank. The Millennium Bridge can... more

TQ3180 : St Paul's Cathedral and Faraday House by Philip Halling
St Paul's Cathedral and Faraday House
View across the River Thames with the sun catching Faraday House and the dome of... more

TQ3180 : Blackfriars Bridges by Philip Halling
Blackfriars Bridges
Blackfriars road bridge on the left and the Blackfriars railway bridge on the... more

TQ3180 : Coat of arms on Blackfriars Bridge by Philip Halling
Coat of arms on Blackfriars Bridge
Coat of arms on Blackfriars Railway Bridge.

TQ3180 : River Thames and Blackfriars Bridge by Philip Halling
River Thames and Blackfriars Bridge
View across the River Thames beside Brackfriars Bridge. The City of London Boys... more

TQ3180 : View across the Thames from Blackfriars by Philip Halling
View across the Thames from Blackfriars
The City of London Boys School and Unilever House are on the right.

TQ3180 : The River Thames and City of London by Philip Halling
The River Thames and City of London
St Paul's Cathedral on the left is now dwarfed by the glass towers of the City of... more

TQ3080 : London Pride sculpture by Philip Halling
London Pride sculpture
The London Pride sculpture on Queen's Walk on London's South Bank in front of the... more

TQ3080 : Sculpture of Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet by Philip Halling
Sculpture of Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet
Sculpture of Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet on the South Bank near Waterloo... more

TQ3080 : View across the River Thames by Philip Halling
View across the River Thames
The large building in the centre is the Shell Mex House which was built in the... more

TQ3080 : Waterloo Bridge by Philip Halling
Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo Bridge crossing the River Thames.

TQ3080 : Golden Jubilee Bridges by Philip Halling
Golden Jubilee Bridges
This is one of a pair of bridges which flank Hungerford Bridge providing a... more

TQ3080 : The River Thames by Philip Halling
The River Thames
The River Thames viewed from Golden Jubilee Bridge. The dome of St Paul's... more

TQ3080 : Hungerford Bridge by Philip Halling
Hungerford Bridge
Hungerford Bridge viewed from the Golden Jubilee Bridge, one of a pair of... more

TQ3080 : Charing Cross by Philip Halling
Charing Cross
The Queen Eleanor Memorial Cross at Charing Cross is a Victorian replica designed... more

TQ2980 : Fountain in Trafalgar Square by Philip Halling
Fountain in Trafalgar Square
Fountain in Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery in the background. The... more

TQ2980 : Statue of Charles James Napier by Philip Halling
Statue of Charles James Napier
Statue of Charles James Napier in Trafalgar Square. St Martin's in the Field can... more

TQ2980 : Statue of Charles James Napier by Philip Halling
Statue of Charles James Napier
Statue of Charles James Napier in Trafalgar Square.

TQ2980 : Statue of Captain James Cook by Philip Halling
Statue of Captain James Cook
Statue of Captain James Cook on The Mall near Admiralty Arch.

TQ2980 : Admiralty Arch under wraps by Philip Halling
Admiralty Arch under wraps
Admiralty Arch under scaffolding and wraps. This building is being redeveloped... more

TQ2979 : Daffodils in St James's Park by Philip Halling
Daffodils in St James's Park
Daffodils beside The Mall in St James's Park.

TQ2980 : St James's Palace by Philip Halling
St James's Palace
Friary Court and St James' Palace viewed from Marlborough Road. It was from here... more

TQ2980 : St James's Palace by Philip Halling
St James's Palace
St James's Palace viewed from Marlborough Road.

TQ2980 : St James's Palace by Philip Halling
St James's Palace
The gatehouse to St James's Palace.

TQ2980 : Memorial to Queen Alexandra by Philip Halling
Memorial to Queen Alexandra
Memorial to Queen Alexandra opposite St James's Palace on Marlborough Road. The... more

TQ2980 : St James's Palace by Philip Halling
St James's Palace

TQ2980 : Redevelopment of Pall Mall by Philip Halling
Redevelopment of Pall Mall
This building appears to have been gutted with part of the facade being maintained.

TQ2980 : 1 and 2 St James's Street by Philip Halling
1 and 2 St James's Street
A 'blood and bandage' architecture building on the corner of St James's Street and... more

TQ2980 : The Queens Chapel by Philip Halling
The Queens Chapel
The Queens Chapel is on Marlborough Road opposite St James's Palace. Building... more

TQ2979 : Buckingham Palace by Philip Halling
Buckingham Palace

TQ2979 : View from the entrance to the Queen's Gallery by Philip Halling
View from the entrance to the Queen's Gallery
Buckingham Gate viewed between the fluted columns of the entrance to the Queen's Gallery.

TQ2979 : Cupola on Victoria Palace by Philip Halling
Cupola on Victoria Palace
The cupola on the Victoria Palace theatre topped with a gilded statue of ballerina... more

TQ2979 : Victoria Street, Victoria by Philip Halling
Victoria Street, Victoria

All images © Philip Halling and available under a Creative Commons licence external link.

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