I’ve given up on planning my walks according to the weather forecast. It rains when the sun is meant to be out and pours down buckets of light on a day predicted to have a 100% chance of heavy rain with low visibility and winds. Lies. All lies. Just look these sun-drenched streets. Absolute bliss.
Today was one of the most all-around enjoyable wanders I’ve had. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Clerkenwell is immensely walkable. Though my walks don’t lend themselves entirely to aimless wandering (I’ve got an awful lot of streets to get to), this neighbourhood kept surprising me with new options for exploration, each one better than the last. If you are looking for somewhere to go for a weekend wander, this is the place for you.
And now for the highlights!
Best surprise view
Until you walk London, you don’t have a feel for how connected it all is. I’ve met many people shocked when they learn it is faster to walk between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square stations than to take the tube. Over the years I’ve experienced that penny-dropping moment many times myself. I kind of love it (in fact, I seem to seek it out with projects like this one).
I remember this particular view being the trigger for one of those moments for a friend and I on a walk about three years ago.
Did you know that if you walk ten minutes south of King’s Cross station, you’ll see St. Paul’s and the Shard? If you didn’t, I suggest giving it a try. You might be surprised how your mental map reorganises itself and shortens the distance between two places you never thought to connect.
Best freebie of the day
The Free Word Centre on Farringdon Road is generous enough to share a free word a day with passersby. How very kind!
This establishment is dedicated to the “transformative power of words” and shares that passion through events and workshops open to the public. It is also the home base for 6 resident organisations and 25 associates, all focused on literature in some form. On top of all that, it runs a cute cafe and quiet reading room where you can sit and ponder the power of language to your heart’s content.
Because I like words and I think they are important, I wanted to share a list of the fantastic organisations that are part of the Free Word world and a bit about their focus.
- Apples & Snakes – passionate about performance poetry and spoken word
- Article 19 – promotes the right to freedom of expression
- Arvon – hosts creative writing workshops
- English PEN – promotes the freedom to write and read
- The Literary Consultancy – provides manuscript assessment and editorial advice
- The Reading Agency – inspires confidence in reading to all ages
Best Pun of the Day
Just across the street from this fine word establishment is the winner for Best Pun. A custom bicycle shop named Bespoke. Brilliant.
Most Posh Building
This former bank has been converted into a SINGLE residence in the heart of Clerkenwell. It boasts 7 bedrooms, 8 reception rooms, 4 bathrooms (only four?) and, of course, an abundance of terraces.
Let’s go back to our school days and try a story problem, shall we? If Sally and Tommy bought it for its going price of £8 million in 2011 and London house prices have gone up 10% in the last YEAR alone, when Sally and Tommy’s grandchildren sell it in 2098, will they be able to buy a Lamborghini for each of their recently purchased islands or will they have to settle for Aston Martins?
I mean seriously. We get. You’re posh. Do you really have to say The Bank: Eighteen and a half Sekforde Street in an engraved plaque next to the door?
I hear you. And you’re probably right. I’m completely jealous.
Favourite secret to share
Back in the day when I worked in Angel, I frequently lunched at Exmouth Market. Like I said on Day 16, I love this place. As with all street markets though, it can be tricky to find a place to sit while you enjoy your delectable duck confit sandwich and fresh fruit shake. I was months into my Exmouth phase before a friend shared this great secret with me. I feel it my duty to make sure you all learn about it much sooner than I did.
The narrow passage along the west side of the big church doesn’t look like much, but it leads you into Spa Fields park where numerous benches, walls and rolling hills await you for your mid day picnic. It’s not the most gorgeous park ever, the most spacious or most interesting, but it is the perfect place to sit while you enjoy a moment of gastronomic zen.
Best Way to Finish a Post
Well, folks, that’s about it for today. I definitely recommend getting your walk on in this area. Here’s a link to the map if you want to know where I went.
And now I’ll leave you with the words of this brick wall.
See you next time!
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