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Jubilee Walkway by Pub

Posted by: desdemoor 25/05/2012 @ 15:36
Subject: Pubs & Bars

Walking is the best way to get a close-up view of London and immerse yourself in its rich heritage and contemporary buzz. With so many fine parks and green spaces, watersides, heritage sites and hidden corners, walking in the big city is much more attractive than it might at first appear. And the capital’s rich stock of great pubs serving up excellent beer – increasingly from local brewers – provides plentiful opportunities to stop off and refresh yourself along the way.
 
Transport for London supports a network of seven city trails linking all 33 Boroughs, from central London with its world famous sights to patches of genuine countryside in the suburbs. Known as “strategic walking routes”, they are the Capital Ring, Green Chain Walk, Jubilee Greenway, Jubilee Walkway, Lee Valley Path, London Loop and Thames Path. All the routes are signed on the ground and documented on the walklondon.org.uk website, and some of them have detailed printed guidebooks.

Over the next few months, View London will be looking at these top London walks and the outstanding pubs and bars that lie close to them, helping you explore London’s heritage, green environment, contemporary attractions and pub culture at the same time.

The Jubilee Walkway, which links most of the key sights of central London, is now a veteran of three successive jubilees. The Queen herself originally suggested a walkway to commemorate her silver jubilee in 1977. Thanks mainly to the involvement of ornithologist and conservationist Max Nicholson, formerly one of the organisers of the 1951 Festival of Britain, the original plan for a modest riverside walkway expanded into a network of trails through the central area.

The route was originally known as the Silver Jubilee Walkway but in 2002 it was refurbished, expanded and renamed simply the Jubilee Walkway. In 2012, to commemorate both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s been connected to an even longer route, the Jubilee Greenway. Both routes are marked by plaques in the pavement – on the Walkway, look for round silver and gold discs with logo combining the dome of St Paul’s and a crown. The cross on the crown points the way.

The Walkway is actually a series of five interconnected circular routes, known as the Western, Eastern, City, Camden and Jubilee loops. You can therefore start or finish at any point but official descriptions start on the Western loop in the middle of Leicester Square. From here you walk to Trafalgar Square and pass close to one of London’s best Wetherspoon pubs, the Lord Moon of the Mall, in a former banking hall.

Entering St James’s Park, you have the option of picking up the Jubilee Loop, a short extension that takes you round the park via Buckingham Palace. Otherwise walk past the lake and Horse Guards Parade to reach Parliament Square. Just opposite is St Stephen's Tavern, impressively restored to its Victorian glory by Dorset brewer Hall & Woodhouse.

(Above: St Stephen's Tavern)

The Walkway runs past the Palace of Westminster, into Victoria Tower Gardens and across Lambeth Bridge by Lambeth Palace and the quirky Garden Museum. Not far from here is one of London’s best German beer bars, Zeitgeist.

Continue downstream along the south bank of the Thames on one of the most magnificent walks in London, passing a string of world famous sights. First there’s the iconic view of Westminster across the river, then the London Eye and the Southbank Centre, which occupies the former Festival of Britain site. This is the original core of the trail and still known as the Queen’s Walk. You could stop off for a Sharp’s or Duvel at the rather decent Riverfront bar at BFI Southbank under Waterloo Bridge.

Continue past Gabriel’s Wharf and the Oxo Tower. Just before you reach Blackfriars Bridge, you’ll find Doggetts Coat and Badge, a huge Nicholson’s pub with good beer selection.

(Above: Doggetts Coat and Badge)

Just after the bridge, the Founders Arms offers a good range of Wells & Young’s beer in a curious 1970s building with magnificent views of the river and St Paul’s Cathedral. You’re now right by the Tate Modern, where the route crosses the infamous ‘wobbly bridge’, more properly known as the Millennium Footbridge, towards the cathedral.

Westward from Wren’s masterpiece, you cross the valley of the now-buried river Fleet at Ludgate Circus. In an alley off Fleet Street is one of London’s most historic pubs, the cavernous Olde Cheshire Cheese, now run by Yorkshire brewer Samuel Smith. Turn up Chancery Lane into the heart of legal London, passing the Knights Templar, one of Wetherspoon’s most spectacular bank conversions and with a great range of beers too. Along Carey Street you pass the wonderfully quirky 17th century Seven Stars.

The Walkway runs through Lincolns Inn Fields and crosses Kingsway but don’t miss making a detour to the Princess Louise nearby – a spectacularly restored Victorian pub with wooden partitions, engraved glass and mosaic tiling. As you thread your way through Covent Garden there are other tempting detours to the massive post-industrial Porterhouse, owned by an Irish craft brewery, and one of London’s very best real ale pubs, the award winning Harp, before you find yourself back in Leicester Square.

(Above: The Harp)

The Eastern loop continues from the Tate Modern along another richly rewarding stretch of riverside path, passing Shakespeare’s Globe, the Clink, the Golden Hinde, London Bridge, Hay’s Wharf, HMS Belfast and City Hall, before arriving at Tower Bridge. Divert from the river just before Cannon Street rail bridge towards Borough Market and you’re a few steps away from two of London’s leading beer venues – the Rake with a top selection of imported and British craft beers and the Market Porter with a dazzling range of ever-changing cask ales.

Another good Nicholson’s, the Horniman at Hays, is right on the river at Hays Galleria, and on the southern approach to Tower Bridge you’ll find the Bridge House, the London showcase of Suffolk brewer Adnams, and the Draft House Tower Bridge, a lively contemporary beer bar with imaginative food.

(Above: The Horniman at Hays)

Crossing the bridge the Walkway circuits the Tower of London then heads into the city via Eastcheap. A short detour up Gracechurch Street will take you to elegant Leadenhall Market with its historic Young’s pub the Lamb, in the cellars of which is a new craft beer bar called Old Tom’s. Also on Gracechurch Street is Wetherspoon flagship the Crosse Keys, offering up to 25 cask beers in the cavernous and opulent surrounds of the former London HQ of HSBC.

The route now runs back to Bankside via the Bank of England and Mansion House, but before turning left towards the Millennium Bridge, it’s worth continuing along Queen Victoria Street to reach the Blackfriar with its unique and jaw dropping interior in British art nouveau/Arts and Crafts style. Now a Nicholson’s house, it happily offers a good choice of cask beers.

(Above: The Blackfriar)

The Jubilee Walkway’s Camden and City loops reach up into Bloomsbury and the Barbican respectively, with still more great pubs to be explored in a future post.

Des de Moor is one of Britain’s leading experts on bottled beer, contributing regularly to CAMRA’s BEER magazine and maintaining his own Beer Culture website at http://desdemoor.co.uk. If you’re visiting London this summer, his book The CAMRA Guide to London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars (CAMRA Books) is essential reading, and is kept thoroughly up to date online.

 

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