Green Park to Covent Garden, featuring a cricket bat and Sherlock Holmes
This walk unearths the secrets of some of London's most famous streets, buildings and spaces:
Why are there no flowerbeds in Green Park?
Where did Queen Victoria go when she didn't want to be noticed?
How did Michael Portillo escape from the paparazzi?
Which American President had a wife with the middle name ‘Kermit'?
What did Kenneth Williams have in common with Sherlock Holmes?
How did an 18th century resident of Covent Garden blow himself up simply because his wife hadn't cooked his dinner?
The answers to all these questions and many more will be revealed as we walk the Piccadilly Line ...
There's no need to pre-book - just turn up. Meet by the statue of Diana (Goddess of the Hunt, not the other one), in Green Park. This is immediately outside the exit from Green Park Tube station marked ‘Green Park/Buckingham Palace'. (See the link on the right for a map.)
Calendar of Walks...
Walk the lines...
On a visit to Big Ben, I was told that if you stand at the bottom of the tower with a portable radio and listen to the chimes on Radio 4 (they still transmit them live), you hear them on the radio before you hear them ‘for real’. I couldn’t believe it – but was intrigued enough to try it for myself. And you know what? It’s absolutely true. The bongs come out of the radio a fraction of a second before they reach your ears from the top of the tower. It’s something so silly, so counter-intuitive, that you have to tell people. (Well, I did.) Researching the explanation, I found that it’s because radio waves travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) rather than the 700 or so miles per hour at which sound waves travel. The signal travelling down the wire from the microphone to the BBC goes at the speed of light too. Hence the radio version overtaking the real one.
I realised that this would be the perfect way to teach the principle in school physics lessons. Instead of a boring teacher droning on that ‘radio waves travel at the speed of light’, illustrate it with this beautiful and quirky little fact. The kids will remember it then. I certainly would have done if my physics teacher had taken this approach. As it was I had to wait until I heard a piece of so-called ‘trivia’ in my thirties.