Bright winter’s day – how nice; almost warm!
Walking gets you warm, so let’s kick off: the route from Maida Vale is almost entirely southerly.
Through an avenue of plane trees in Paddington Recreation Ground (nearest tube Maida Vale, Bakerloo line), along Elgin and Sutherland Avenues, across the canal on Harrow Road and drop down to a pedestrian-only path between Westminster Academy and Harbour Club,
The alley (Westbourne Park Passage) is on spiral, but a slight detour R is more interesting, past the shops on Westbourne Park Road.
Pick up the route again at St Stephen’s Church, down Kildare Terrace, jog left on Westbourne Grove and right up Garway Road. Continue past fine old plane trees, Greek Orthodox church, St Matthew’s Church and New West End synagogue further along, a bit of a holy street. Then cross busy Bayswater Road into Kensington Gardens. Detour with kids to Princess Diana Park with pirate ship and all, or press on past Kensington Palace, with its splendid and accessible flower gardens.
Photo of Kensington Palace sunken garden taken one year on, April 2017
At the bottom end of the park, cross Kensington Road and take Palace Gate (the road south, gate being the old word for road). As it turns in to Gloucester Road, turn left at any of the streets or mewses and wend through to Queen’s Gate by the Natural History Museum with it’s easter-egg-box building,
R onto Queensbury Road, by the French Institute, on to Bute Road then Sumner Place and Onslow Square. These are elegant parts of town.
At the Royal Marston Hospital on Fulham Road, L onto Dovehouse Street, little bend left all the way to the King’s Road. And while Oakley Street takes you straight to Albert Bridge, a little detour to Glebe Place is more interesting, where you find Turner’s studio, and an art deco building by the corner.
Wing right and left onto Cheyne Row and home of Thomas Carlyle (Scottish philosopher who no one really knows any more but was massively famous in his day).
At the embankment return to Albert Bridge which dramatically frames the Thames. Immediately on the south side of the river enter Battersea Park. The aim is to cross from the north west to the south east, which, given the lakes and gardens, is not a straight line, get off the broad roadways and you’ll find it’s an attractive park even in winter.
Battersea Park then is closer than you think – just over four miles through some attractive parts of town, including Westbourne, Bayswater, Kensington Palace, Chelsea, Turner’s studio, and the Thames – and it’s a pleasant park in winter with plenty of evergreens and sculptural aspects including man-made rockery around the pond.
At the far corner beyond the gates, you can see the platforms of the Battersea Park station but it’s still a walk to the entrance at the next road junction, alternatively jump on a bus back into town, or continue walking.
Sunset from Chelsea Bridge across the Thames to Battersea trees
Next stage, 2nd Sunday of February from Battersea through Camberwell to Rotherhithe. Look forward to it.