Tuesday 28th October – 33rd meeting of 2014
We met today at Charing Cross on a splendid sunny and warm day. With really no plan for the day we decided to do a walk from our trusty London Walking Book. We took Northern Line to Goodge Street turned left and looked to the beautiful blue sky with not a cloud in sight and saw GPO Tower looking down on us. We started the walk but had an early stop for a coffee before we got going on the two and half mile walk. We were determined this week to not get lost and to do the walk in about two and half hours!
The walk took us across Goodge Street to Whitfield Street and from there we wound our way through Newman Street, across Oxford Street, around Soho Square, Firth Street, Berwick Street, Broadwalk Street across Shaftesbury Avenue, Newport Place, Wardour Street, Haymarket, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. A really fabulous route taking us through some of the old streets in London. We went through Berwick Street market reputably the best fruit and vegetable market in London. Carnaby Street made famous in 1960 with the fashion boutiques such as Mary Quant and many bands The Who, Small Faces playing in the clubs making it one of the coolest destinations in the Swinging London of 1960s. Today it still has a great atmosphere. The infamous Chinatown is a fascinating area. Many many restaurants serving all types of Chinese dishes, Chinese Medicine shops and supermarkets. The Chinese architecture with all its red and gold is fabulous. We saw The Haymarket theatre the oldest theatre in London. In one of the alleyways we passed we saw some filming taking place. One actor walking through the alley and about six crew members. They took two takes then we could walk through the alley. Nobody famous there so cannot add it to the Celebs list!
We passed some really lovely old streets and buildings on this walk and again saw an area we have not visited before. In Meards Street we saw the oldest street name in London dating back to 1732! The French Huguenots arrived in the area in the 16th century and since then many migrants have settled here making it the vibrant cosmopolitan area it is today.
Our book told us that the area now known as Soho was originally land belonging to the King and Aristocrats and got its name from the cry SO HO used they started the hunt! Hence Haymarket got its name from the fact that it was originally a hay market and the area the King stored hay! How things have changed. This whole area was so busy. I think of all the walks we have done this one has the record for most building work and road works being carried out, most pubs, most cafes, most restaurants, most shops, most people and most theatres.
Trafalgar Square was awash with street artists and people. With children on half term it was so busy! We made our way home after a very good morning in brilliant sunshine and a fascinating part of London Town. We did not get lost and finished the walk in just over two and half hours, so all in all a very successful morning!