Fun London Walk From Tate Modern Across Westminster Bridge and Back Via St Pauls Cathedral

We took our London fun Thames walk in May. The River Thames can make an ideal walk as a first foray out into London for new visitors. Why is the River Thames embankment such a great choice?Well, it offers both the flavour of the real London atmosphere, and a high level of iconic architectural history in one short burst – Tate Modern, South Bank, Royal Festival Hall, Waterloo Station, London Eye, Thames Embankment, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, Downing Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge. These London landmarks combine history, beautiful architecture and riverscapes with certainty – that is, newly-arrived visitors cant get lost! They go down one side of the River Thames and up the other, taking in many of London’s most famous landmarks and attractions on the way. Those with time to unwind and enjoy London can stop to explore these sights and venues, others can bookmark them on their map for next time – or at least take a photo of the outside!Another great reason to choose a Thames River walk early on in a fun London trip is that, combined with a simple map, this walk really helps new London visitors to get their bearings for sightseeing during the rest of the trip. The River Thames is an easy delineator, neatly cutting, as it does, the two halves of the historic capital city of England in two halves.Starting at the Tate Modern art gallery for example, tourists have an ideal opportunity to walk and to view contemporary modern art for free and even those with not much time can pop in, perhaps just to see one or two favourite pieces and similar works nearby. Walking left out of the gallery, scenic views can be enjoyed (and photos taken) of the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral across the water – providing a good bench-mark for London walkers wanting to get their bearings about where they are headed.Continuing left, a pleasant riverside stroll towards the Royal Festival Hall takes visiting walkers past a quaint hidden-away shopping quarter where there is an opportunity to take refreshments such as coffee or ice creams. In summer a festive spirit is in evidence with events such as Street Art exhibitions or sand castle art sculpture taking shape on the ‘beach’ of the Thames.More fun, particularly for those with kids, can be enjoyed at the little playground to the front of Waterloo Station, and by watching the street entertainers in the gardens and ‘promenade’ adjacent to the London Eye. Alas, visitors who have not bought advance tickets for the latter London attraction may not have time to schedule a ride here as well as a walk.Before reaching the uber photo opportunity stop of Westminster Bridge, sculpture can be appreciated either by paying to visit the Dali museum on the left, or just by stopping to admire the free exhibits outside. The giraffe is always popular with children and makes another good holiday photo opportunity.Great views and fun London photos of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben can be enjoyed from Westminster Bridge, and the walk continues over it, taking visitng London walkers along past The Houses of Parliament and Parliament Square. Originally called The Palace of Westminster, this iconic building was built over the place where Edward the Confessor ordered the first palace to be constructed in the 11th century. This was the residence of English kings until 1512.Moving on, via Parliament Street and Whitehall, this fun London walk brings visitors to Downing Street. Number 10 was presented by King George 11 in 1732 to the then Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, who wanted it to be made available to subsequent first Lords of the Treasury, interestingly, the first role of English prime ministers to this day!Fit walkers who appreciate the fresh air, exercise and sightseeing can continue along Victoria Embankment towards Blackfriars, The City and their eventual destinations – St Paul’s Cathedral and back over The Millennium Bridge. Those whose tired legs need a little help by now have the options of an eight minute tube ride to Mansion House.Those who choose to walk may find the working London atmosphere of The City and Fleet St an interesting contemporary comparison, should they choose to take a detour from the river. The street furniture and greenery of the vintage lamps and the park, not to mention more photo opportunities at Cleopatra’s Needle are the alternative on the more river-hugging route closer to the Thames. Good shots of the London Eye (which walkers left a short while ago) can be taken here too.The present church of St Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and makes an atmospheric and peaceful place to sit and rest, either inside or outside, and for reflecting upon the architecture and the time it took to build – 33 years up to 1708. Originally, however, there had been a church on the spot in 608.From here it is thankfully just a short distance back to the Millennium Bridge and the start of the fun London walk.

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