My husband suggested that my Mum and I had a mother-and-daughter weekend away whilst he looked after our two-year-old son, Harry. Having had only one night away from Harry since he was born, I leapt at the opportunity, and so I text Mum and asked her what she would like to do. She has a list of 50 things to do in her 50s, so I thought we could try to tick something off while we were at it. She came back to me with the idea of doing a walk around London visiting all the places on the Monopoly Board. I loved the idea as it was something I had always wanted to do too (for longer than I remember as it happens – a friend from high school commented that I had even talked about doing it then, which I cannot recall, but then I had a lot of ideas back then).
It surprised me when we were doing our research that, despite the numerous blogs all over the internet, very little came up when we did a search for ‘London Monopoly Board Walk’. A couple of blog posts and a pub crawl. And our local Girl Guides did it once too. I was surprised that it wasn’t more popular an idea. Especially as, whenever we told people what we were doing, they all loved the sound of it. But, I will say this now: It is well worth doing. Not only do you get to see parts of London that you would not usually visit – some a bit dodgy or boring, but others extremely beautiful – but you also visit all the usual tourist haunts too.
How you do the route is completely up to you. (And squares like community chest, jail, waterworks, etc. are also open to interpretation.) Plot all the places on a map and if you were to do them in order you’d probably need a week (or would succumb to public transport). We originally decided that our route would be more logical, but we would start in Old Kent Road, and finish at Mayfair. However, upon meeting at Euston station, we decided this was a ridiculous idea as we would pass nine places just to get to Old Kent Road. Not that it matters. It occurred to me later, while I was drifting off to sleep, that in a game of Monopoly the chance of visiting each square in turn is very unlikely (and most probably, unlucky).
Our route was as follows:
I have a particular connection with this part of London as when my husband and I first met we lived on opposite sides of the country. Every week we would take 3-4 trains, a bus or taxi, and the tube each way. The tube journey took us between Liverpool Street and Euston Square, from which we would then walk along Euston Road to the mainline station. On the rare occasion when our days off overlapped, we would meet in London and stay at YHA St Pancras, overlooking St Pancras station. This part of our walk sparked up lots of great memories as we walked along Euston Road, past the lovely red brick and white stone building that is inscribed with ‘L.C.C. Fire Brigade Station Euston 1902’, the British Library and the incredible building that is St Pancras International, quite possible one of the most amazing buildings in the world (cue lots of photo taking).
King’s Cross station
Having snapped a weekend’s worth of photos, we move onto King’s Cross station, St Pancras’ not-so-impressive neighbour. However, once inside, things are much improved with a smart concourse of bars and restaurants, and a lovely arched ceiling over the tracks, which is very stereotypical of big train stations. And, of course, it has Harry Potter fame. Naturally, we paid a visit to Platform 9 ¾ where there was a queue of 11-year-old boys trying to push the half-trolley through the wall as their parents took their photos.
We continued up Pentonville Road, passed Sadler’s Wells where my sister used to take extra ballet lessons (despite having been there before, neither Mum nor I realised it was so close to King’s Cross). It was a lovely walk along this stretch of road – lots of grand white houses set back off the road and lush green trees.
The Angel, Islington
Here we found two pubs called The Angel, one of which had fully on its sign ‘The Angel, Islington’ so we chose this as our photo for this stop. We spent a long time trying to take a suitable shot: the road was very busy with big red buses and there was a scruffy man with a pint who kept standing right in front of the sign. As I was trying to take a photo of Mum, one bus stopped right behind her and the bus driver kept posing as though we were taking a photo of him too.
Liverpool Street station
En route to Liverpool Street we stopped in Finsbury Square to eat our lunch, which was a lovely place to stop. Despite the building work that was going on in one part of the square, it still managed to provide numerous benches for all the workers on their lunch breaks, and peace and tranquillity. The leafy trees all around, and the fact that it was set back from the busy road, blocked out the hustle and bustle that is London.
Of course, once at Liverpool Street, we were among the hustle and bustle again, and after taking a few photos we were on our way. Liverpool Street is the mainline station we usually get trains to and from, so we did not have much need to linger.
(This post will be continued over the next week or so, as it is going to be rather long.)