Do the Strand

Recently I’ve been traipsing down by the Thames at lunchtime and found a great walk that starts at Charing Cross Station and ends with a cheap roll from Wright’s Bar in Houghton St. Here’s the route:

Walk down Villiers Street towards the river and turn left into Victoria Embankment Gardens. It’s a nice old park and walking through it you will pass a larger than life statue of Rabbie Burns, Robert Raikes who founded the Sunday School movement and a memorial to the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (as in Gilbert and Sullivan) who has a naked woman throwing herself at him (she supposedly represents Music.) Sullivan wrote “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “The Lost Chord” which was the first record made in the UK, how good is that? You will also pass council gardeners hard at work and the odd rough sleeper especially if it’s a nice day.

Come out of the park and cross over Savoy Place and Savoy Street and carry on walking up Victoria Embankment. As you pass under the bridge you’ll see a large door with some great handles in the shape of snakes or possibly dragons. Pass the rear of Somerset House and keep going until you see the alley, Strand Lane. Look out for a sign that directs you to “Kings College Postroom Services”.

Walk up Strand Lane past some king-sized rat traps (nice), the lane itself puts me in mind of locations for TV series like The Bill where a sheepskinned coated antagonist would be chased up an alley like this before being stopped in his tracks and nicked.

Before you come to the White house at the top you will pass an arch called Surrey Steps and then just past this on the right you will come to the so called Roman Bath which is more than likely of Tudor original and what’s even worse about it is you can’t see much of it through the dirty and steamed up viewing window. Great eh?,_Strand_Lane

Turn back on yourself and walk through the Surrey Steps, a tiled subway with nice cherub topped arches into Surrey street. Then turn left away from the river towards town. You will pass a large deserted office block on your right hand side and on the left some King’s College outbuildings.

Towards the top of the street on your left you will pass the non operational Aldwych/Strand tube station which is now used for TV location work and the odd rave until the police find out it’s not really a 21st Birthday party.

Come out of Surrey Street and navigate over The Strand then walk up Melbourne Street and cut across The Aldwych towards the London School of Economics at Houghton Street. To put the walk to rest, pop into the fantastic old school take-away and cafe called Wrights Bar (5 Houghton Street, Charing Cross, London WC2A 2AD) for a Bacon roll for the bargain price of £1.20 or a Cheese and Pickle version for less! P


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