There is no denying that London is packed with landmarks and activities – from the architectural brilliance of famous buildings and cobble-stoned streets, to Indian Afternoon Tea Park Grand and theatre performances on the West End. But enjoying what London has to offer is not limited to organised tours and structured activities within museums or behind a pay-wall – this tour of London’s statues, routes included from your door at Grand Park London Kensington and ending back at your Park Grand Kensington Accommodation, is the ultimate way to see London’s statues.
Start: Park Grand London Kensington Restaurant
Starting at your hotel’s restaurant with a hearty breakfast to energise you for the day of activity ahead, make your way to Earl’s Court station down the road from you and hop onto the Piccadilly line towards Cockfosters and ride until Piccadilly Circus Station.
Stop One: Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
To start your day of statue-hunting, you should start from within the nucleus of London – with Picadilly Circus forming part of that history-dense centre. Here, you will find the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, which is commonly known as Eros – though this is based on a mistake that has persevered through the years. It is a statue of Anteros, the brother of Eros, also known as the Angel of Christian Charity, and sits atop the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. Albert Gilbert was commissioned to design it to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury, known as a Victorian philanthropist, politician and social reformer.
Stop Two: Statue of William Shakespeare
Just a short walk down the road from Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, in the middle of Leicester Square Gardens, is a statue of the old bard William Shakespeare. Not only is Shakespeare a beacon of British playwriting and an inspiration to the world of literature, but his presence in Leicester Square, the heart of theatre in London, is particularly significant. It was sculpted by Giovanni Fontana after an original by Peter Scheemakers. The scroll held by the statue reads: “There is no darkness but ignorance”, an important reminder of the value of exploration and retrospection – two things readily available when touring London.
Stop Three: Trafalgar Square
Completing the central-trifecta of squares in London: Trafalgar Square is your last statue-stop before heading north. It is a total hotspot, too, as it is home to a number of London’s fantastic statue variety. First up is the bronze equestrian statue of George IV by Sir Francis Chantrey, which was, by architect John Nash’s design, meant to be mounted on the Marble Arch. However, the road to the completion of the Marble Arch was bumpy and nuanced, and so it was decided that the statue would instead be an inhabitant of Trafalgar Square. Then there is the statue most visitors have probably been waiting to see: Nelson’s Column. This 52m high monument commemorates Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Other statues within this brimful area are: General Sir Charles James Napier by George Cannon Adams, Major-General Sir Henry Havelock by William Behnes, Lord Jellicoe by Sir Charles Wheeler, Lord Beatty by William MacMillan, a bronze equestrian statue of Charles I by Hubert Le Sueur, and more.
Stop Four: Statue of Amy Winehouse
On getting this far in the tour of London’s best statues, one may be inclined to think that London’s statues are only of long-dead people. However, this is not the case, and in 2014 a statue of Amy Winehouse was erected in Camden Market – so take the Northern line towards High Barnet from Charing Cross to Camden Town. Walk from Camden Town to Camden’s iconic market, which has been a bustling hub of diversity and home to thousands of shops since the 1970’s. The area of Camden has been known for its influence on London’s music scene, with 1960s gigs at Dingwalls and the Roundhouse making an indelible mark on the history of the UK music industry. The bronze statue of the British singer was sculpted by Scott Eaton, and unveiled in 2014 – three years after she died.
Stop Five: Regent’s Park
By taking a short walk from Camden Market to Regent’s Park, you are now in sculpture-central. There are a number of statues throughout Regent’s Park and just taking a casual stroll will see you finding a fair few. There is The Triton Fountain, which can be found opposite the Jubilee Gates. It is a collection of bronze sculptures of either a sea god or triton blowing on a conch shell, with two mermaids at his feet. Then there is Hylas and the Nymph in St. John’s Lodge Garden, northeast of the Inner Circle. It is a bronze statue of a boy and a mermaid on a stone pedestal. More include: the Grade II listed Boy and Frog Statue in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Ready Money Drinking Fountain on the north end of Broad Walk, as well as The Griffin Tazza (or Lion Vase) in Avenue Gardens.
Stop Six: Hyde Park
To finish off a successful day of statue-admiration, and to ensure you do a loop back down towards Kensington, head to Hyde Park once you have explored all there is to see in Regent’s Park. The walk takes around 25 minutes, but if you would prefer to use the underground, your quickest route is to take the Bakerloo line towards Elephant & Castle back to Piccadilly Circus and then the Piccadilly line in the opposite direction you originally came in – towards Northfields, getting off at Knightsbridge. There are so many statues within Hyde Park, that you are best choosing which you want to see specifically (or else you could end up spending an entire day walking the 142 hectares of park that is Hyde Park. Some gems include the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens by George Frampton, which was commissioned by J.M Barrie, the creator of the wonderful fictional boy who never grew up. Then you have Wellington Monument, a statue of Achilles which commemorates Arthur Wellesley, the first duke of Wellington, and his victories in the Peninsular War and near the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
From Hyde Park, you are just a hop and a skip from your bed at Grand Park London Kensington – and maybe a cocktail at the bar to unwind after a day full of exploration.