Living the Monopoly Board with Best LDN Walks
Old Kent Road
The cheapest of the Monopoly squares, Old Kent Road in South London is home to the Thomas A Beckett Pub. A pub of sorts has stood here since the 14th century and is even mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Jack The Ripper fans (Rippologists, by their official name) can tell you that a suspect was arrested after leaving the pub with a sharp knife, two long scissors, and jars of preservers.
There are several interesting points of call in Euston. The Wellcome Collection, home to Charles Darwin’s Cane, a lock of King George 3rd’s hair, and the most stunning reading room in London. You’ll also find The British Library, which houses the original Magna Cartas along with every non-fiction book ever published. If you’re more of a drinker than a thinker, the Euston Tap and the Cider Tap will look after you. These independent pubs are very small and in the summer most people spill out on to the street. Both bars are inside the pillars, which used to make the grand entrance to Euston Station which, we hear is potentially being re-built.
Heading into The West End along Pall Mall you’ll find Club Land, The Royal Quarter, and home to Nell Gwynne, the mistress of King Charles 2nd. The Best LDN Walks Royal London Tarts and Tiara tour strolls through here on a daily basis chatting about the scandals of the Gentleman Clubs and the protocols for attracting a mistress or a husband. There is only one pub on Pall Mall; The Red Lion. A tunnel once linked St James Palace to the pub making a popular escape for Kings and their mistresses. The pub has the second oldest booze license in London and is one of the last village style pubs in the city.
Also linked to Whitehall, Northumberland Avenue is the connecting road to The Embankment. In summer the sun streams through the thick canopy of trees and set back from the road is The Sherlock Holmes pub. This pub is stuffed with Sherlock memorabilia and is the natural finale to our Sherlock Holmes walking tour.
Marlborough Street, on this occasion, is actually Great Marlborough Street, home to the iconic Liberty’s store. If you’re feeling peckish then you be making a very good decision by visiting Pizza Pilgrims or the other great food outlets in Kingly Court, just off Great Marlborough Street. There are several pubs and bars along here to keep you company. We recommend Zebrannos, which are amongst the best London happy hours.
Strand is one of the main arteries of London running connecting The West End with the older City of London. This road was once directly on the bank of the River Thames and the word Strand comes from the Saxon word for Shore. The Savoy Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in London, also sits in the place of an old 15th century palace.
Pub wise, the there are lots to choose from but The Coal Hole, half way along is best choice. The Coal Hole was once an unofficial gentleman’s club set up by a man who had been banned from singing in the bath by his wife and was seeking somewhere to drink, womanise, gamble, and sing without prejudice. When the popularity of the club increased, the rule was that any man could join, providing he’d been banned from singing in the bath! The Best LDN Walks Hidden London Tour visits the Coal Hole and also introduces you to a fart-powered lamppost, which is very close by.
Train stations are not exactly the most exciting stops on a Monopoly tour, which is why for this location we suggest something a little different. We point you in the direction of the Fenchurch Building, aka The Walkie Talkie, more specifically, The Sky Garden. This is the highest public garden in London and is simply one of the most stunning spaces in the whole city. Go for the views, stay for the cocktails, or go for the cocktails and stay for the views; both compliment each other in a very enticing way.
Coventry Street and Piccadilly Circus
This short stubby street connects Piccadilly Circus with Leicester Square. People flock to Piccadilly Circus to see the blaring advertising boards which somehow seem more impressive on a rainy evening, with the light bouncing off the puddles making the whole place shimmer with excitement. There are handfuls of pubs and restaurants to pick from here. Our recommendation would be adding some elegance into your day and stopping inside the Criterion Restaurant paying particular notice the Sherlock Holmes plaque on the right side of the entrance. This is where, in the first Sherlock novel, A Study in Scarlet where Doctor Watson bumps into his friend Stamford and introduces him to Sherlock Holmes. The rest, they say, is history!
Once called Tyburn Road, Oxford Street was the long road prisoners would walk on their way to the Tyburn Gallows, which once stood on the location at Marble Arch. Oxford Street has the largest concentration of shops anywhere else in Europe, but the Queen of Oxford Street has to be Selfridges. Yellow bags cover London, with people flocking to the food hall, the make-up and fragrance floor, or to drool over high-end fashion. If you are still hanging on to the Monopoly pub Crawl then Harry Gordon’s Bar is a perfect choice. Those of you who are totally obsessed with the ITV series will be excited to find a mixture of prohibition and Hollywood glamour, rum, champagne, and British glamour.
Class, sophistication, and finery await you in Mayfair. The area is named after the weeklong May Fair from 1686 until 1764, and Cadburys had their head office here till 2007. In East Mayfair you’ll come across The Burlington Arcade built just “for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles of fashionable demand, for the gratification of the public”. The entrance is monitored by the Burlington Beadles, hired to make sure no pregnant ladies are carry shopping, to squash runners, and to ensure that no umbrellas are open inside. When in Mayfair you can of course stop in the many high-end cocktail bars but you would be missing The Grenadier, considered to be the most haunted pub in London. The ghost of a gambling cheat still haunts the pub prompting people to stick money to the ceiling to appease the ghost.
Anyone who gets through the real life Monopoly board deserves a BIG high five, and those who complete the pub crawl version deserve a Big Mac and a glass of water! If you are obsessively curious like Best LDN Walks then join a London walking tour now! Those without a sense of humour should probably stay at home.
What is your favourite Monopoly Street? Let us know at @LDNWalks.