Julia Bradbury, television presenter and walking enthusiast is happy to share her hidden gems close to the Ashburnham Mews development.
A good walk doesn’t have to be across rolling countryside or up rugged mountains. City walks can be exciting, inspirational and gratifying in a multitude of ways; and a location in Westminster, like this, is a gift for those with a sense of adventure and hint of curiosity. Westminster is renowned for its vast history and landmark buildings. This charming two and a half mile walk will lead you past many of the attractions that make it such a unique area and a great place to live.
Nietzsche may have said that ‘all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking’ but even he would agree that a decent coffee is essential to get you off to a good start, so begin your local jaunt in the Regency Café – a 1940s gem right on your doorstep.
After the café head up to the tranquil beauty of St James’s Park; the oldest of London’s eight Royal Parks, this beautiful green space is surrounded by some of the country’s most famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and St James’s Palace. Stroll past the lake, duck and pelican spotting (yes, pelicans – the birds were a gift from the Russian Ambassador to King Charles II nearly 400 years ago), or relax in a colourful deck chair designed by artists, local communities and the odd famous face including yours truly) to raise awareness and funds for the Royal Parks’ charity.
From St James’s Park it’s easy access to some of the world’s greatest shopping streets; Bond Street and Savile Row are a stone’s throw away, or make your way down to Parliament Square where Big Ben towers over you and the famous riverside vista, including the stunning Westminster Abbey.
While you are here, to help you interpret the view, look out for the Jubilee Walkway commemorative plaque which was recently unveiled by His Royal Highness Prince Harry. In 1977 The Outdoor Trust’s ‘Jubilee Walkway’, which you’re on at this point, was laid out as a permanent memorial to The Queen’s Silver Jubilee, so you’re walking on a little bit of history.
From here you can easily wander off in any direction but walk down Abingdon Street and you will come to the peaceful Victoria Tower Gardens, where one of the most famous sculptures by Auguste Rodin is located – a monument to an incident during the Hundred Years’ War.
As you hike down to Millbank you can’t miss the MI5 building (sshh, don’t tell anyone) or the Thames Clipper river taxis speeding up and down the Thames transporting commuters to the financial districts of the City and Canary Wharf.
You may need a little refreshment by now so make your way to Millbank Tower, home of the Altitude 360 Bar, and guzzle a well-earned cocktail overlooking the London Eye before heading for dinner; enjoy a combination of culture and cuisine at the Tate Britain Art Gallery (at the traditional Rex Whistler Restaurant) or, just around the corner from your new doorstep, on Marsham Street you’ll find Shepherds Bar and Bistro, a favoured haunt of politicians, journalists and lobbyists, serving traditional British dishes. Westminster’s quiet leafy residential streets blend seamlessly with iconic historic, commercial and governmental buildings. This is a truly exciting place to live where endless urban adventures await. Enjoy.