diamond geezer

 Sunday, June 03, 2012

London's newest strategic walk is the Jubilee Greenway, created specially to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. I say new, it was actually announced five years ago, but it wasn't until February this year that Her Maj laid the final special route-marker flagstone. The Jubilee Greenway is (deliberately) 60km long and links most of London's 2012 Olympic venues from Lord's in the west to Woolwich in the east. A lot of it follows pre-existing walks, like the Capital Ring and Thames Path, which saved a considerable chunk of cash when putting it together. There are more thrilling walks round London, to be honest, but fans of waterside walking will find much to enjoy. Here's a quick summary...

1) Buckingham Palace → Little Venice (via Hyde Park) [walked it]
2) 3) 10) The Regent's Canal (the entire length) [walked it]
4) 5) Victoria Park → N Woolwich (via the Greenway) (shadowing the Capital Ring) [walked it]
6) 7) 8) Woolwich → Westminster Bridge (shadowing the Thames Path) [walked it] [walked it]
9) Westminster Bridge → Buckingham Palace (see below)

» If you'd been on section 7 yesterday, just before Tower Bridge, you'd have been able to watch preparations for today's Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Many of the high masted boats are mooring up here because they can't get under London Bridge, so forming an "Avenue of Sail". It was a marvellously unusual sight, even in overcast gloom, with a motley collection of barges, galleons and warships clustered along both banks [photo] [photo] [photo]. Even better, the occasional flotilla of smaller boats chugged past on the rising tide, getting themselves in place for the start of the main event. Bodes well, although prime viewing spaces on the riverfront won't be quite so easy to grab today. [photo]

» Meanwhile, on the South Bank near the end of section 8, Jubilee Gardens have now reopened. Originally created for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, this grassy rectangle had grown threadbare and distinctly tatty, so the Diamond revamp is long overdue [photo]. As well as relaid turf and swirly flowerbeds, a series of stone paths wind across the park. Some paths' edges double as seating, in places, and were being well used yesterday by families, Shoreditch couples and an entire troop of Guides. Picknickers with weak bladders, be warned, it costs 50p to spend a penny in the state-of-the-art conveniences alongside.

WALK LONDON
Jubilee Greenway
[section 9]
Westminster Bridge to Buckingham Palace (2 miles)


In two miles flat, this final section of the Jubilee Greenway passes some of the most famous sites in London. Even on a good day it's a busy, but this weekend it's sheer madness (and today, sorry, probably entirely impossible). The walk starts on the eastern side of Westminster Bridge, the crowded stretch where only tourists go, where they can nosh McDonalds and play arcade games and queue for sharks. Most weren't heading through the subway yesterday, or at least no further than a photo opportunity (with flags) across to the Palace of Westminster [photo]. The Albert Embankment was rather quieter, looked over by a couple of medical staff from St Thomas's Hospital on a fag break. A few older visitors sat on the raised benches reading their commemorative Daily Mail, their view of the Mother of Parliaments part-blocked by a couple of manky barges.

Down to Lambeth Bridge and back, that's the Greenway's last Thames hurrah. The bridge currently has flags and metal barriers along its length, one for maritime decoration, the other for today's crowd control. There'll be viewing screens here, with bag searches and standing room rationed, although it's hard to imagine this being the ideal Pageant experience. Victoria Tower Gardens will be a more favoured viewing site, if you can see over the river wall, which is where those on the disabled viewing platform will have a head start. Here you'll find the ultimate royal pop-up, a Diamond Jubilee Shop, which is essentially a red trailer stocked with slightly dubious souvenirs [photo]. There's the official programme, and mugs, and teatowels, even a commemorative teaspoon should the fancy strike. But does anybody truly need an inflatable flag, or a tin of Jubilee teabags, or a Prince Philip mask, or an embroidered crown?... anybody except the Royal Parks' accountants, that is? Judging by the crowds jostling at the counter, sadly yes.

The path heads beneath the Victoria Tower and on towards the Elizabeth Tower, which is what the Clock Tower supporting Big Ben might be renamed if forelock-tugging MPs get their way. Watch out for the Golden Jubilee sundial near the Jewel Tower, and the Silver Jubilee Walkway explanatory panel near St Margaret's Church. It's Tourist Central round here, and the narrow pavement leading up towards Westminster Abbey barely copes. But rejoice, because someone's finally installed a pedestrian crossing to the centre of Parliament Square so you can cross to see Nelson Mandela without risking life and limb nipping through the traffic. The authorities have also removed all but one of the protesters who used to face the Palace, but Brian Haw's peace shack survives, now eleven years a thorn in the conscience of a nation. They'd rather you stared instead at the ring of giant Commonwealth flags flapping all around, which most visitors happily do.

The eastern edge of St James's Park is already sealed off, not especially securely, but with policemen patrolling the verge alongside Horseguards Parade. If you've chosen to walk the Greenway to see London 2012's Beach Volleyball venue, you're out of luck. On the bright side, The Mall is currently open to pedestrians only, so you can stride straight down the street (minding the manure) rather than having to walk along the pavement alongside. Huge Union Jacks hang at regular intervals, dressed with thick yellow tassels, in readiness for the Queen's carriage procession to ride this way on Tuesday [photo]. But it's Monday's concert that's having the greatest impact, taking place as it does on a special stage surrounding the Victoria Memorial [photo]. The entire front of Buckingham Palace has been sealed off while preparations continue, with security guards keeping non-ticketholders at a considerable distance [photo]. You can detour into the park to see the Diamond Jubilee Floral Crown, if 4m-high flower arrangements are your thing [photo]. But your chances of reaching the final Greenway stone outside the Queen's front gate? Sorry, the end of the route's uncompletable until the Diamond Jubilee's over.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Saturday 10 December (1-3pm)
Bow Church Christmas Fair
Festive fair with mulled wine & music at St Mary's in Bow.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv