London is certainly one of the world’s most exciting and diverse cities, and one of the most beautiful too. Shaftesbury Avenue is known for being the centre of Theatreland, but did you know that some of the most beautiful places in London are just a few minutes away?
Heart-stopping beautiful places in London
Don’t believe it? Just turn left into Haymarket from the south end of the Avenue, and a few minutes’ walk will bring you to the magnificent Admiralty Arch (see image above) — this is the ceremonial entrance to the iconic Mall, the tree-lined royal approach to Buckingham Palace, laid out like a red carpet. Watching state processions up the Mall in horse-drawn carriages is breathtaking enough, but to be there and just take in the view up the Mall through Admiralty Arch is truly heart-stopping.
Before you even get to Admiralty Arch, you pass by some of the most stunning architecture in this city of the world’s great architects. On your right, you pass the exclusive St James district, home to the supremely elegant Georgian St James Square. For the first 200 years of its history, this was one of London’s most fashionable residential addresses.
Then, just crossing over Pall Mall, you arrive at the astonishing Carlton House Terrace, where you behold the two incredible four-storey stucco terraces, created by the great John Nash. Designed in a classical style, they display a Corinthian-column facade to the upper floors, overlooking St James’ Park, and a series of Doric columns to the lower frontage. The two terraces are linked by the Duke of York’s steps, with the Duke of York’s Column at the top.
If you continue along Pall Mall for a just few minutes, you come to not one but two of the great Royal Parks. Of course London is famed world-wide for its Royal Parks, and Green Park and St James’ Park are up there with the loveliest. On the way you pass no fewer than three splendid royal palaces — Marlborough House, Clarence House and St James’ Palace.
Beautiful Green Park at Dusk
If you take the opposite direction along Shaftesbury Avenue, a few minutes’ walk from the north end brings you to what is surely one of London’s most attractive spots, the Covent Garden district. This famous market in the vibrantly coloured Central Square, was designed in Italian neo-classical style by the renowned 17th-century architect Inigo Jones, and its halls and arcades are filled with charming boutiques and speciality shops. The Piazza is a favourite spot for street performers, musicians and entertainers of all kinds and all nationalities.
Stop and Look
London is a place where everyone rushes along, and not many people stop to look at what’s around them. Most people know about the famous places, but London is full of secret gems, including charming little streets and squares, and splendid buildings like the West End theatres, which people walk past every day. Next time you are out and about, take time to look at London’s beauty, and it may surprise you.
Where is your most beautiful place in London? Leave a comment below.
Main Image Credit: Admirality Arch” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by Scorpions and Centaurs
Image Credit: Carlton House Terrace” (CC BY 2.0) by garryknight
Image Credit: London’s Green Park at Dusk” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by UGArdener