London Parks & Gardens Trust

Self-guided Walks and Rides

The Jubilee Walkway - Western Loop


Directions

Photos

Background

This circular walk follows the Western Loop of the Jubilee Walkway, with deviations to visit gardens, many of which take part in Open Garden Squares Weekend. The complete walk is about 8.5 miles / 13.5KM long and should be followed in an anticlockwise direction. The Jubilee Walkway is marked by slabs set into the pavement.

The walk starts and finishes in Leicester Square; but it can also conveniently be joined at Waterloo and a number of other points.

Start Magnifier

There are cafés, pubs and restaurants in Leicester Square, around the Royal Festival Hall, in Isabella Street (at the back of Styles House) and in Covent Garden.

There are public toilets in Leicester Square, St James's Park, St Paul's Churchyard, Lincoln's Inn Fields and Covent Garden Piazza.

The Jubilee Walkway was originally opened as the Silver Jubilee Walkway to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession; the Queen herself opened it on 9 June 1977. On 24 October 2002, during the Queen's Golden Jubilee year, the renamed Jubilee Walkway was reopened after refurbishment.


If you are starting the walk from Leicester Square Underground station, take the exit for Charing Cross Road (west side) / Hippodrome. Turn right on leaving the exit and right again into Cranbourn Street to reach the Square.

Buses stop in Charing Cross Road, from where you can reach Leicester Square through Irving Street, Bear Street or Cranbourn Street on the west side.
Leicester Square
Leicester Square Magnifier
Leicester Fields (afterwards called Leicester Square) were first partially enclosed in 1616 by the Military Company for an exercise yard. In 1630 Lord Leicester negotiated the lease of the Fields, where he planned to build his own private house. The central areas of the Fields were enclosed with 'pallisadoes and fence', and planted in c.1720-25. In 1851 the square deteriorated in prestige, became the site of a temporary exhibition, 'The Great Globe' and was surrounded by advertising hoardings. In 1874 the square was purchased by Albert Grant MP, who laid out the gardens anew with a fountain surmounted by a statue of Shakespeare and busts of famous residents. The square was presented to the Board of Works by Grant in that year. In the C20th the square was progressively rebuilt and has been given over to cinemas and the entertainment industry.

From the panel in the centre of Leicester Square, exit the square in the south-west corner by the Odeon West End Cinema. Follow the pedestrianised area south, down St Martin's Street, passing the Westminster reference library on the left. Continue straight ahead, passing between the two parts of the National Gallery.

Cross Pall Mall East using the pedestrian crossing and go down the right-hand side of Trafalgar Square, with Canada House on your right. Cross Cockspur Street at the bottom and turn right, leaving the Jubilee Walkway. (If you cannot manage steps, turn left instead, turn right into the Mall and pass through Admiralty Arch into St James's Park.) Follow the road around a slight bend to the left into Pall Mall. Turn left at the far side of the next street on the left, Waterloo Place. The gardens of Carlton House Terrace are on both sides of the road. Those that open for Open Garden Squares Weekend are on the right. There is a raised stone threshold at the gate.
If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Carlton House Terrace
Carlton House Terrace Magnifier
Carlton House, the London residence of the Prince Regent, was built (at great expense) on part of the site of the former royal garden of St James’s Palace and remodelled in 1813 by the Regency architect John Nash.

After becoming George IV, the Prince Regent lost interest in the house and it was demolished in 1827. Nash replaced it with Carlton House Terrace (1827–32) and Carlton Gardens (1830–33), houses for ‘persons of the highest social rank’.

Waterloo Place was Nash’s southern terminus for Regent Street. The central space between the two blocks of nine houses was intended to have a domed fountain, but is now occupied by steps down to the Mall and a column surmounted by a statue of Frederick Augustus, the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’.

The gardens have retained much of their 19th-century character, with serpentine paths, trees and shrubs. Handsome railings and a number of good statues define the perimeters of the gardens.

In 2008 the gardens were restored. The original path network has been reinstated with a firm surface of self-binding gravel. Replanting has added a greater variety of shrubs and groundcover more suited to the shaded environment.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.

Continue up Waterloo Place towards the Duke of York column. Note the graves of the German Ambassador's dogs on the right just after crossing Carlton House Terrace. From the top of the steps beyond the column, there is a fine view of St James's Park.
St James's Park
St James's Park Magnifier
The marshy site was acquired in 1532 and drained for a deer park by Henry VIII, who built St James's Palace as a hunting lodge. In the C17th St James's Park was remodelled for James I and later for Charles II, who opened it to the public. Its formal layout had avenues of trees, lawns and a rectangular canal extending for c.900m. In 1828-9 it was drastically re-landscaped by John Nash, and his undulating landscape essentially remains, the lake the central feature with an island at each end, belts of trees along boundaries, extensive lawns and winding paths. Pulham & Co constructed various works in 1895 and 1899, including rockwork on the lake edge, 'Cormorant & Pelican islands' for the park's birdlife and a small rocky pool along the inner bank of the island.

From the Duke of York's column, go down the steps, cross the Mall at the pedestrian crossing and continue straight ahead along the path down the left-hand side of St James's Park, passing the public toilets on the right. After passing the end of the lake, you will come to Duck Island Cottage on the right.

Duck Island Cottage
Duck Island Cottage Magnifier

Duck Island Cottage, the picturesque lodge which serves as the offices of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust in St James's Park, is aptly named - it occupies a site which has long been the haunt of these aquatic birds. Birds of various kinds have been kept here since 1612, when James I began converting the swampy chase of the Tudor monarchs into a formal garden.

In 1837 the Ornithological Society of London was founded to protect the birds and undertook to 'form and maintain a complete collection of Water Fowl - Swimmers, Divers and Waders kept, as nearly as possible, in a natural state (the lake in St James's Park forming a great natural cage)'. In 1840 the Society submitted a 'Memorial' to the Commissioners seeking permission to build a house for a bird-keeper in St James's Park and a grant of £300 towards the cost of its construction. The petition was favourably received. The Commissioners agreed to pay for the erection of 'a cottage on the island ... according to the accompanying plans'.

The architect John Burges Watson had been engaged by the Society to design the Bird Keeper's Cottage. Watson (1803-1881), an obscure architect whose 'taste was for rural subjects', produced a small, irregular composition, comprising a cottage and clubroom for the Society, trimmed with ornamental barge-boards finials and ridge-tiles.

For a fuller account, please see www.londongardenstrust.org?features/dic.htm


After passing Duck Island Cottage, continue to the corner of the park, where there is a lodge housing a police station. Cross Birdcage Walk on a road table and turn left. Take the first right into Storey's Gate. After passing the Methodist Central Hall on the right and the QEII Conference Centre and (paying) public toilets on the left, cross Victoria Street at the traffic lights. Pass through the arch facing you slightly to the left into Dean's Yard.
Westminster Abbey - Dean's Yard
Westminster Abbey - Dean's Yard Magnifier
Dean's Yard is built on the site of The Elms and the former monastery farmyard. Since the 18th century there have been three rows of trees and a central green here, but the high railings surrounding it were removed in 1967.

The yard now features a number of large trees, including London planes, a red horse chestnut, a tulip tree, maple and sycamore. Smaller trees include silver birches and a medlar. The surrounding buildings are in an attractive ‘collegiate' style. The site is used by Westminster School as an occasional football pitch.

To reach College Garden from Dean's Yard, enter the cloisters from the corner of Dean's Yard on the left nearest the Abbey. The entrance to College Garden is at the far right corner of the cloisters, to the right of the Little Cloister.

Further information on the Abbey gardens, as well as opening times, is available from www.westminster-abbey.org.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Westminster Abbey - College Garden
Westminster Abbey - College Garden Magnifier
The College Garden was once the garden of the Infirmarer of the great medieval monastery, established in the 11th century. It is the largest and most important garden at the Abbey. 'College' here refers to the old meaning of the word: a community of clergy.

To the right of the entrance is the new Herb Garden, created to celebrate both the lives of the monks who used to live here and the founding of Westminster School in 1560 by Elizabeth I. The area is divided into four wicker-edged beds which contain dye plants, vegetables, medicinal and culinary herbs.

The garden is dominated by two plane trees at the centre, planted in 1850. Other trees of interest include quince trees, step-over apple trees at the entrance and a white mulberry by the fountain. The rose garden celebrates Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne in 1952.

The garden is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but OGSW is the only occasion when it can be seen at the weekend. During July and August there are free band concerts here on Wednesdays and in the summer holidays, children's workshops.

After visiting College Garden, retrace your steps into the Little Cloister. The entrance to St Catherine's Garden is on your right. There are steps down into the garden, but it can be seen from the Little Cloister.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Westminster Abbey - St Catherine's Garden
Westminster Abbey - St Catherine's Garden Magnifier
St Catherine's Garden has been created within the ruins of the old chapel, built 1154-61. The chapel was used by the monks as an infimary and was the only part of the monastery to have a fire, as only the sick really needed warmth! The raised bed now grows sun-loving plants such as cistus and genista, from which the Plantagenets took their name.

After the dissolution of the monastery in 1540, the chapel was allowed to fall into ruin and eventually pulled down. Besides its use as the infirmary chapel, many 12th- and 13th-century bishops were consecrated here, including Hugh of Lincoln (1186). It was here in 1253 that King Henry III swore to observe the privileges granted in Magna Carta.

Retrace your steps into Dean's Yard, turn left and leave the Abbey precincts through the arch at the end. (If the gate is closed, you will have to go out through the gate where you came in and turn left four times.) From the gate, turn left along Great College Street, following the wall of College Garden on your left. At the end, cross Millbank and enter Victoria Tower Gardens on the other side of the road.
Victoria Tower Gardens
Victoria Tower Gardens Magnifier
Victoria Tower Gardens were created in 1864-70, following the embankment of the Thames by MBW's Chief Engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette, although Sir Christopher Wren had conceived of a continuous embankment in 1666. The gardens run south from Black Rod Garden and the Houses of Parliament to Lambeth Bridge and were extended c.1914. The layout comprises a central lawn, with perimeter paths, mature trees and shrubberies. Within the gardens are a statue of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, Auguste Rodin's Burghers of Calais (to the left) and the Buxton Memorial Fountain (to the right).

Go towards the right from where you entered Victoria Tower Gardens. At the far end (the opposite end to the Palace of Westminster), go up the steps onto Lambeth Bridge and turn left. (You can avoid the steps by leaving the gardens, turning left and following the street.) At the other end of the bridge, cross the road. The Garden Museum is in a former church facing you.

Further information on the Garden Museum, including opening times, is available from www.gardenmuseum.org.uk.
The Garden Museum
The Garden Museum Magnifier
The museum garden is 17th-century-style knot garden, designed by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury, President of the Garden Museum. It was officially opened in 1983 by HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

The garden is set in the old graveyard surrounding the museum, which was formerly the parish church of St Mary-at-Lambeth. It features plants of the period and contains the tombs of the famous 17th-century gardeners and plant-hunters, the John Tradescants, father and son. There is a wild garden at the front of the museum, created in 2007.

As you crossed the road from Lambeth Bridge, the gateway to Lambeth Palace was to the left of the church housing the Garden Museum. When the garden is open, the entrance is usually through a side gate in Lambeth Palace Road, round the corner to the left of the main gateway.

Further information on this garden, including opening times, is available from www.archbishopofcanterbury.org.
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace Magnifier
Since the 13th century, Lambeth Palace has been the London home of the Archbishops of Canterbury and the building incorporates fabric from that time. The gardens and park of the medieval palace originally covered eight hectares, but more than half the land was given over to create Archbishop's Park in the 19th century. The remaining gardens were renovated by Archbishop Laing in the 1920s and a rose terrace was added in the 1930s. There are trees grown from fig cuttings planted in the mid-1550s.The gardens were restored again in 1986-88, largely at the instigation of Rosalind Runcie. The woodland was thinned, a pool created and new features added, including an Elizabethan-style herb and physic garden, a Palladian temple, a pleached lime hedge and a border by Beth Chatto. A Chinese feature by Faith and Geoff Whiten was relocated from the Chelsea Flower Show. More recently, Archbishop George Carey and his wife concentrated on developing the wildlife potential of the garden, planting some 300 native trees and renovating the pond to encourage biodiversity. Future plans include developing the old orchard next to the palace and a wild flower meadow. A number of sculptural works in the garden include 'Girl with Swallows' by David Norris, and 'Mother and Child' by Lesley Emma Pover.

From the Garden Museum or Lambeth Palace, go back across the road to the river, turn right and follow the path along the river. Shortly before Westminster Bridge, there is an entrance into the gardens of St Thomas' Hospital.
St Thomas' Hospital
St Thomas' Hospital Magnifier
St Thomas' Hospital, originally in Southwark since the 13th century, was moved to its present site in the 1830s to make way for the construction of London Bridge Station. The northern end (nearer the river) was rebuilt after bomb damage in WWII. There are two connected gardens with steps between them. From the riverside you enter the lower garden, with a stainless steel fountain of 1929 by Naum Gabo. Rosa 'Best of Friends' has been planted.

From the gardens of St Thomas' Hospital, return to the riverside and turn right. Pass through the tunnel under Westminster Bridge and continue along the river, in front of the former County Hall. At the end, you come to the Jubilee Gardens, at the foot of the London Eye.
Jubilee Gardens
Jubilee Gardens Magnifier
This was a promenade for the 1951 Festival of Britain and was retained as public open space when the Festival finished. In the centre of the County Hall complex is a courtyard with ornamental planting by the Marriott Hotel entrance. Jubilee Gardens was the site of the Festival's main feature, the Dome of Discovery. Designed by Neville Conder and Stuart Taylor, the gardens were opened by the Queen in 1977. They were closed for five years in the 1990s while the Jubilee Line extension was being built and re-turfed prior to permanent new landscaping. In December 2010 Lambeth Council approved proposals for re-landscaping Jubilee Gardens, giving the green light to plans to transform this high-profile open space into a new green landmark for London. The planning approval keeps the project on schedule for delivery in time for both the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 2010 design was developed by landscape architects West 8 and is in essence a lush, green park, with flower beds of the highest quality and over 70 new trees. The overall mission is to create a park which is as soft and green as is sustainable.

Continue along the riverside, passing under the railway and in front of the Royal Festival Hall until you come to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This is a good point for joining or leaving the walk at Waterloo Station, which is signposted from here.
Queen Elizabeth Hall
Queen Elizabeth Hall Magnifier
A hidden garden amid the concrete landscape of the South Bank. The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden has been designed and built in partnership with the Eden Project, Grounded EcoTherapy, Providence Row Housing Association, St Mungo's and NOAH.

Explore the garden, meet the gardeners, take in the views across the city and enjoy a drink in the roof-top café.

Continue along the riverside, passing under Waterloo Bridge and in front of the National Film Theatre, the Royal National Theatre, the IBM offices and the television centre until you come to Bernie Spain Gardens.
Bernie Spain Gardens
Bernie Spain Gardens Magnifier
Named after local resident and campaigner Bernadette Spain, these gardens occupy the site of the Eldorado Ice Cream Company premises.

If you are visiting Styles House, go through the Bernie Spain Gardens, away from the river, crossing Upper Ground, until you come to Stamford Street at the back of the gardens. Cross Stamford Street, using the pedestrian crossing, and turn left. Turn right into Hatfields and pass under the railway. The back of Styles House - and its garden - are on your left.

Otherwise you can go directly along the river to Tate Modern.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Styles House
Styles House Magnifier
Styles House allotment has been developed on a piece of derelict Transport for London land above Southwark Tube station. With funding from Capital Growth and Southwark Council, residents have built raised beds for food growing.

We have tried to decorate the allotments in a unique way and welcome ideas visitors might have to make it even more unique! Our extensive main garden has been a silver and gold award winner in Southwark in Bloom for several years and has been done on a shoe-string budget.

We have a lot of keen gardeners in the block and will be selling plants we've grown.

After visiting us you might want to head for Isabella Street and sit in the lovely floral street café outside Ev, or stroll down the South Bank.

If you are coming from Styles House, turn left into Hatfields after leaving the garden at the back of the building and turn left again into the Cut, past the front of the building. This is a convenient point for joining or leaving the walk at Southwark Underground station.

Cross Blackfriars Road in front of the station and continue straight ahead along Union Street, past the side of Palestra House. Take the first left (Gambia Street), continuing through the pedestrianised section. At the end, turn right into Dolben Street, passing under the railway, and turn left at the end into Great Suffolk Street. Cross Southwark Street at the traffic lights and continue along Sumner Street, which bends to the right, passing the back of Tate Modern on the left. Where the road forks towards, take the left fork (Park Street) and then a path on the left, past the side of Tate Modern and towards the river. The Community Garden is behind a mesh fence on the right, backing onto some buildings.
Community Garden at Tate Modern
Community Garden at Tate Modern Magnifier
The community garden with its pond and wildflowers is enjoyed by local residents, including schoolchildren. The garden opened in 2006, thanks to a partnership between Bankside Open Spaces Trust and Tate Modern.

Planting days, pond-dipping, wildlife-spotting, events and gardening clubs all take place here. Local people can meet, dig, have fun and take pleasure in flowers, plants and animals, in what is otherwise a busy tourist thoroughfare.

If you are not visiting Red Cross Garden, go to the next section. Otherwise take the path leading away from the river back to Park Street and turn left. Follow Park Street under the approach to Southwark Bridge, turning right at the end, outside Vinopolis - the street is still called Park Street. Shortly before the railway bridge, turn right into Redcross Way. Cross Southwark Street and Union Street. The garden is then on the right. After visiting the garden, retrace your steps to Tate Modern.
Red Cross Garden
Red Cross Garden Magnifier
This small but delightful garden was originally laid out in 1887 on the site of a derelict paper factory by Octavia Hill, the Victorian philanthropist and co-founder of the National Trust as ‘an open-air sitting-room’ for the people of Southwark. In its heyday it was the scene of the annual Southwark flower show and many concerts and fêtes.

Bankside Open Spaces Trust worked with many supporters to restore the original layout of this delightful Victorian garden. The project included the re-creation of the pond with bridge and fountain, new flowerbeds, lawns and benches, and a small information centre and gardener’s office.

The garden is laid out in front of Octavia Hill's model dwellings and community hall (private), both integral to her vision for the local community.

The garden won a Gold Award in Southwark in Bloom 2010 and a Green Flag Community Award 2011-12.

Cross the Millennium Bridge to the north side of the Thames. At the first road crossing, turn right, up Queen Victoria Street. Cleary Garden is on the right at the top of the hill. The lower parts of the garden can be reached by steps or from a lower gate in the steep Huggin Hill at the side of the garden.
Cleary Garden
Cleary Garden Magnifier
Nestled in the heart of the City, the area originally housed Roman baths before vintners used the site for trading and growing vines in the Middle Ages. Today the garden has two terraces leading down to an intimate lawn – a haven for office workers and visitors escaping the City’s bustling crowds.

The garden is named after Fred Cleary (1905-1984), a great campaigner for increasing the City’s open spaces. In 2007 it underwent a major redevelopment as the Loire Valley Wines Legacy Garden, with vines and aromatic plants to evoke the flavours and bouquet of wines from the Loire region.

Turn left on leaving Cleary Garden through the top gate and cross Queen Victoria Street at the traffic lights into Friday Street. At the end, cross Cannon Street, where the garden of No. 2 is behind a hedge in front of an office building.
25 Cannon Street
25 Cannon Street Magnifier
This award-winning contemporary garden was designed by Elizabeth Banks Associates and completed in 2000. It is a public park in the garden square style, with an oval, slightly convex lawn surrounded by trees, shrubs and herbaceous planting. The attractive and carefully designed planting creates the feeling of a secluded garden in the midst of the City.

Leave the garden of 2 Cannon Street in the direction of St Paul's Cathedral and cross New Change. The Festival Gardens are on the corner of New Change and the street called St Paul's Churchyard.
Festival Gardens
Festival Gardens Magnifier
The Festival Gardens were laid out in 1951 by Sir Albert Richardson, following the ground plan of pre-war buildings. They were the Corporation of London's contribution to the Festival of Britain. The site was formerly that of Old Change, a street dating from 1293. The formal layout consists of a sunken lawn with wall fountain, which was a gift of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. This lawn is surrounded by a raised paved terrace with stone parapets and seating, planting in tubs and a number of trees including a pleached lime hedge and a fine catalpa. The gardens were extended westwards around the south side of the cathedral in April 2012, occupying the site of the former coach park. The garden offers an excellent view of St. Paul's Cathedral.

To find the churchyard gardens, continue around the cathedral in an anticlockwise direction.
St Paul's Churchyard
St Paul's Churchyard Magnifier
The present cathedral is the fifth on the site. The first was erected in AD604 by St Ethelbert. In 1712 completion of Sir Christopher Wren's cathedral was marked by a statue of Queen Anne (the current statue is a marble copy of the original).

Remains of the earlier chapter house cloister are still visible in gardens to the south of the cathedral nave, where trees include mature plane, ginkgo, maple, lime, ash, mulberry and eucalyptus.

The north side of the garden is home to some of the oldest London plane trees in the City as well as the City's only giant fir tree. At the south gate is a beautiful rose garden.

Wren's Church of St Augustine was destroyed in 1941, but the remaining tower was restored and incorporated into St Paul’s Choir School.

Continue around the cathedral in an anticlockwise direction until you come back to the road. Cross, using the zebra crossing, and turn right, down Ludgate Hill. Turn left into Pilgrim Street and go down the steps at the end. (You can avoid the steps by continuing instead down Ludgate Hill and turning left at Ludgate Circus.) Turn left along New Bridge Street and cross the road at the traffic lights. Turn right into Bridewell Place and follow it round the bend to the end, where you turn right into Tudor Street. At the end of Tudor Street, continue straight ahead through the gate into the Inner Temple. Cross King's Bench Walk and continue straight ahead along Crown Office Row. The gardens are on the left.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Inner Temple
Inner Temple Magnifier

This little-known, peaceful 3-acre garden lies between the Thames and the cacophony of Fleet Street within the historic precincts of the Inner Temple.

Parts of the garden date back to the time of the Knights Templar, and there is a legend that the Wars of the Roses began after an encounter here. The High Border, on either side of the 18th-century gates, has attracted much attention with the use of succession planting and is notable for its innovative colour combinations, carefully chosen and placed so that each plant complements its neighbours.

Other features include a peony garden, a brass Queen Anne sundial, a statue by van Ost, extensive lawns, a broadwalk lined with mature plane trees along the Embankment boundary, and a constantly refreshed pot display.

The 12th Century Temple Church lies within the boundaries of the Inn. As well as notable lawyers and politicians, many writers have lived in the Temple, including Charles Lamb, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray and Harold Nicolson. The courtyards of the Temple, where barristers have their chambers, can be explored and where smaller pockets of greenery and plantings can be found.


Turn left on leaving the Inner Temple gardens and continue along Crown Office Row. At the end, turn left into Middle Temple Lane. The entrance to the gardens is on the right. Most of the garden accessible to wheelchairs, although paths are loose gravel. The raised section at the north end of the garden can only be reached via steps.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Middle Temple
Middle Temple Magnifier
An award-winning garden in one of the four Inns of Court.  The name derives from the 12th-century residence of the Knights Templar, which was built on the site and whose round church still survives. Their refectory and ancient buttery were adjacent.

Traditionally this was the scene of the plucking of the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York. In 1602 Shakespeare's first presentation of Twelfth Night was held in Middle Temple Hall.

Today the planting is a mixture of herbaceous borders, rosebeds, a lavendar walk and trees surrounded by lawyers' chambers and apartments. Elm Court is a charming, formal rectangular garden. The fountain in Fountain Court appears in Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens.

On weekdays, you can go up Middle Temple Lane and through the gate into Fleet Street. At weekends, this gate is likely to be locked and you will need to retrace your steps back through the Inner Temple to Tudor Street, turn left into Bouverie Street and left into Fleet Street. Cross the street at the traffic lights and walk up Chancery Lane. The Maughan Library is a large building on the right-hand side.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.

NB The garden of the Maughan Library will be closed till 2015 because of building works.
Maughan Library
Maughan Library Magnifier
Originally owned by Clifford's Inn, half the garden was acquired in 1912 by the Public Record Office. This re-opened in 2001 as The Maughan Library of King's College London. The Contemplative Garden was designed by George Carter and won the 2003 London Spade, awarded by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association.

The design is based on the principle of creating ‘green rooms’ to complement the main features of the adjacent building. Carter has provided historic continuity in his use of hornbeam, lime and yew, with an emphasis on shades of green rather than colour planting. A sculpture by Dorothy Brook, a small water feature and a statue of Confucius complete the picture.

From the Maughan Library, cross Chancery Lane and turn into Carey Street, nearly opposite. Turn right into Serle Street at the end of which you find yourself in the corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields Magnifier
Lincoln's Inn Fields is London's largest garden square, but was once open fields and the site of duelling, jousting and occasional public execution. In the C17th building development began here, and part of the fields were built over, with part laid out with walks. In a bad state by early C18th, Lincoln's Inn Fields was formally laid out as a garden in 1735 and enclosed, ceasing to be publicly accessible. In 1894 the LCC took on responsibility through Act of Parliament and Lincoln's Inn Fields opened to the public, with provision for recreation such as tennis, golf and band concerts. The layout today is largely that of the early C19th with perimeter shrubbery and path, scattered trees, lawns, areas of bedding, and crossed by cruciform paths with an octagonal pavilion in the centre. There are a number of memorials and sculptures in and near the gardens.

The entrance to Lincoln's Inn is on your right as you enter Lincoln's Inn Fields.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.
Lincoln's Inn
Lincoln's Inn Magnifier
Lincoln's Inn was founded in or before 1422. Its magnificent lawns and trees make up six separate gardens, comprising the North Lawn, Benchers' Lawn, New Square, Gatehouse Court, Kitchen Garden and Stone Buildings. Heritage London planes and mulberries stand alongside two recently remodelled herbaceous borders.

The only British prime minister to be assassinated, Spencer Percival (1762–1812), lived at nos. 59–60 Lincoln's Inn Fields. He was one of 16 prime ministers to be a member of Lincoln's Inn. Others include Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

A modern fountain, designed by William Pye, was constructed on the New Square lawn in 2004.

Go round or through Lincoln's Inn Fields to the corner diagonally opposite the Inn, where you leave the Fields through Remnant Street, towards the left. Cross Kingsway into Great Queen Street and cross Drury Lane into Long Acre. Turn left at Covent Garden Underground station into the pedestrianised James Street. At the end, you enter the Covent Garden Piazza.
Covent Garden Piazza
Covent Garden Piazza Magnifier
The very first square built for people to live in was Covent Garden, completed in 1631. Commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bedford on land next to his mansion, the piazza was designed by the architect Inigo Jones, inspired by examples in France and Italy. The square had shops, a church and exclusive houses on three sides. It was paved, but featured a small tree surrounded by wooden benches at its centre.

St Paul's Church is at the SW end of the Piazza, to the right as you entered it. There is an entrance to the garden either side of the church.
St Paul's Covent Garden
St Paul's Covent Garden Magnifier
The burial ground of St. Paul's Covent Garden dates from 1633, and was laid out to gardens in the 1850s. The award-winning garden provides a calm and tranquil space in what can be a stressful part of the city. There is ample seating for informal picnics and a brilliant setting for Inigo Jones's masterpiece, St. Paul's Church.

Continue through the garden of St Paul's Church and through Inigo Place into Bedford Street, where you turn right. Follow the street half left into Garrick Street. At the junction of six streets, take the second left (Cranbourn Street). Continue across Charing Cross Road into the further section of Cranbourn Street, passing Leicester Square Underground station. You emerge into Leicester Square, where the walk began.
Leicester Square
Leicester Square Magnifier

Walk prepared by Colin Wing for the London Parks & Gardens Trust, 2012.

Please be aware of your personal safety when walking. Walking in pairs or groups is recommended. Use designated road crossings where possible. A detailed map should be used in conjunction with this walk.

Much of the historical information above comes from the London Parks & Gardens Trust's London Inventory of Historic Green Spaces, a database of over 2,300 sites.

All due care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this walk, which is offered in good faith. Please advise us of any changes or inaccuracies you may encounter by writing to LPGT, Duck Island Cottage, St James's Park, London SW1A 2BJ, or email us.