Blimey, my head is spinning. I might only have walked 11 miles today, but like all the other walks I've done across the centre of London, it took ages and I'm absolutely knackered. Walking through the City is like high-octane sightseeing; there's something stunning to see every few feet, and my camera is as exhausted as I am.
I've also had a bit of a revelation: I'm perhaps getting a little bored of places like Soho, which I've walked through so many times that doing it all over again for my tubewalk is proving less satisfying than the longer trudges through the suburbs (which, in the main, I love). I'm not saying that Soho is not interesting – that would be plain wrong – but familiarity does breed contempt, and it's hard to get excited about yet another walk along Greek Street, or the shopping chaos of Oxford Street.
Luckily I've never properly explored the likes of Mayfair or Lincoln's Inn before, and I doubt I'll ever tire of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, so despite my slight apathy at times, this is a brilliant walk, even if it is perhaps a couple of miles too long for a comfortable day walk.
Shepherd's Bush to Holland Park
There is some controversy about whether Shepherd's Bush station should be closed, but closed it is, so I hopped on the replacement bus service from White City, before hopping off again when it became apparent that it's quicker to walk through Shepherd's Bush than to drive around it. It must be annoying to have to commute this way, particularly if you don't like walking, but it must be even more annoying when the London Paper reports things like this (from today's paper):
Hundreds of thousands of commuters have been hit by the Shepherd's Bush station closure while the ticket office is expanded and escalators replaced. But documents uncovered under the Freedom of Information Act show that maintenance company Metronet told Tube chiefs that the station could remain open.
Whatever the truth, it's chaos round the station, and it's a relief to cross the busy roundabout and turn into Addison Road, which is in stark contrast to the modern construction zone of Shepherd's Bush. The mid-19th century townhouses along the road are deeply impressive and the place palpably drips with money, and it's easy to see why Edina from Absolutely Fabulous proudly says she lives in Holland Park and gets deeply irritated when people point out that she actually lives in Shepherd's Bush; Holland Park is in a completely different league to Shepherd's Bush, and it's best summed up by the Peacock House at number eight, a highly distinctive mansion dating from 1906. Designed by Halsey Ricardo for Ernest Debenham (of Debenham's fame), it's smothered in green and blue tiles that reflect the sky above and the green below. Whether it is beautiful is debatable, but it is certainly striking, and striking architecture is what Holland Park does best.
Stunning mansion blocks along Oakwood Close give way to neo-Georgian terraces along Ilchester Place, and it's hard to watch where your feet are landing with all this beauty high in the air. Gardeners tend the manicured front lawns while foreign accents fill the air, and it's a stone's throw to the entrance to Holland Park itself, just to the north. The southern part of the park is rather chaotic on a day like today, with push-chairs, nannies and screaming kids the order of the day, an effect that rather spoils the ornamental gardens around the ruins of Holland House (though there is a superb children's playground here, so I suppose that's fair enough). However, head north to the Kyoto Garden and you could be on another planet; children are banned from this peaceful oasis, and the resulting peace is amplified by the delights of this formal Japanese garden. There's a waterfall, a low stone bridge, huge fish in the lake and lots of luscious red and green foliage, and the effect is heavenly. The peace continues into the northern half of the park, which is mostly wooded and thankfully less popular with the yummy mummies and gossiping nannies. Holland Park is a great spot to wander round... just don't tell anyone else.
Holland Park station is back on the main road, after a short stroll through yet more imposing white stucco townhouses. The buiding is a typical Harry Bell Measures design, dating from 1900 when the Central London Railway opened its first line between Shepherd's Bush and Bank. There's a large UFO-shaped rotunda on the top of the station for housing the lift mechanism, and the outside is a strange light-brown colour that doesn't necessarily fit in with the stucco surroundings. Still, it's a period piece, so one shouldn't complain.
Holland Park to Notting Hill Gate
Southeast of the station is Campden Hill, and yet again the architecture is jaw-dropping. Walking up Aubrey Road is an excercise in picturesque terraces, and at the top is Aubrey House, named after one of Kensington's medieval Lords of the Manor, Aubrey de Vere. The house isn't visible from the street (though you can see how grand it is from the gate at the top of the hill), and a plaque tells you that the house stands on the site of Kensington Wells, an early 18th century spa. The houses continue to be lovely all along Aubrey Walk, where St George's Church towers over a more modern development on the southern side of the road, which was built on top of reservoirs put here in the 19th century by the Grand Junction Water Company.
The delights continue along Kensington Place, where neo-Georgian terraces face modern tower blocks, and a little further on, in Hillgate Place, the locals have painted their terraces in all sorts of pastel shades – from orange and green to blue, purple and yellow – in a similar fashion to the terraces along Portobello Road, which is not far to the north. Enticing pubs complete the scene, and this really is a special part of the world; it's easy to see why Holland Park and Notting Hill are such expensive parts of town.
Notting Hill Gate station lives below the A40, the only signs of activity being the four stairwells leading down to the underground ticket hall.
Notting Hill Gate to Queensway
I couldn't work out a more interesting route from Notting Hill Gate to Queensway than walking along the A40, and it's a fairly uninspiring walk after the stunning architecture of Holland Park. Still, there are some worthy buildings along here, not least those on Kensington Palace Gardens which joins the A40 about halfway between the two stations (I visited here back on my District line walk from Wimbledon to Edgware Road). There are some notable architectural blips, too, including a grey concrete block on the corner with Palace Gardens Terrace that couldn't be more of a contrast, but Notting Hill Gate is a busy shopping street and a popular thoroughfare, so I suppose you have to take the rough with the smooth.
There are some attractive red-brick mansion houses along the north side of the road, all the way past Orme Square (home to the London headquarters of Opus Dei) and on to Queensway station, which has recently been renovated. Another Harry Measures station from 1900, the station has been built on, and the station is therefore a lot more integrated into its surroundings than the lonely edifice of Holland Park; indeed, the Hilton Hotel above the station leads to mobs of tourists milling around outside the station, making the station look more like a hotel foyer than a part of the Underground.
Queensway to Lancaster Gate
Kensington Gardens – which together with Hyde Park to the east forms London's very own Central Park – is just south of Queensway station, and as I stepped through the gates, the heavens opened, gearing up for a long session that would last well into Oxford Street. It's a bit of a shame, as Hyde Park is a delight in the sun, but there is plenty of tree cover, and I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone by sheltering under a broad oak tree while wolfing down my lunch.
Back on the trail and not far from the entrance, the Elfin Oak sits just to the west of Broad Walk and behind a small café; this long-dead stump of an oak tree is peppered with charming models of elves, fairies and animals, and it's a hoot. It was originally carved by the illustrator Ivor Innes in the late 1920s in Richmond Park, but it was moved to the current location in 1928, and it now has Grade II listed status.
The Round Pond is a little further down, though on a day like today the deck chairs are empty, the wind blowing them inside-out in a most uninviting way. There's a bit of a problem with green algae on the lake, which collects at one end of the pond on windy days like this, and it is starting to pong a little, but the geese and swans don't seem to mind, and it provides a pleasant backdrop to the graceful lines of Kensington Palace and the tall spire of St Mary Abbots Church to the west.
Heading west past Physical Energy by George Frederick Watts – a huge bronze sculpture of a naked man on horseback, shielding his eyes from the sun – you come to the Long Water, which separates Hyde Park from Kensington Gardens. Formed from the River Westbourne, which flows underground from the northeast, the Long Water refers to the western part of the lake in the centre of Hyde Park, while the eastern section, on the other side of the bridge, is called the Serpentine, taking its name from the snake-like shape of its curves. It makes for some enjoyable walking, though it's somewhat more enjoyable when the weather is smiling on you.
There's a statue of Peter Pan by the path on the way to Lancaster Gate, which was commissioned in 1912 by JM Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, who lived nearby and was a regular visitor to Kensington Gardens. Barrie, who wanted to provide a little magic in keeping with his story, commissioned the sculptor George Frampton in secret, and the statue was installed at night, so that it would appear to have arrived by the wave of a magic wand.
At the northern end of the Long Water are the Italian Gardens, where the River Westbourne feeds four fountains which in turn feed the lake (at times of low rainfall, therefore, the fountains do not operate). There's a cute sculpture of a couple of bears having a hug near the entrance, and Lancaster Gate station sits anonymously on the other side of Bayswater Road, having had all evidence of the original Measures-designed entrance scrapped during the construction of the large hotel above the station in the mid-1960s.
Lancaster Gate to Marble Arch
The section of Hyde Park along the east bank of the Long Water is considerably more overgrown than the Kensington Gardens side, and it makes for a refreshing change. There are good views back to the palace across the water, and it's a quiet and uncrowded wander to the Serpentine Bridge, which was built in the 1820s by Sir John Rennie. Over the bridge is the Magazine, a gunpowder store that was built in 1805 but which is now a parks office, and from there it's a pleasant walk along straight paths to the northeast corner of the park. On the way, the paths are lined with streetlights that still use gas, and even though I walked through in the middle of the day, they were burning brightly; the sky was pretty black by this point and I was grateful for the company, especially as it lent a certain otherworldly atmosphere to proceedings.
At the northeast corner of Hyde Park lie Speaker's Corner and Marble Arch, but if this is the first time you've visited, be prepared to get hopelessly lost, because this is one of the most confusing places I've yet visited. Underneath the Marble Arch complex is a rabbit warren of tunnels that help you avoid the chaotic traffic of this busy corner of London's road network, but you have to know where you're heading.
Speaker's Corner is the paved area in the corner of the park that you can reach from this direction without going underground, and it's here that, every Sunday, anyone can turn up and air their opinions on any subject they see fit. It's a dull and desolate place on a rainy Thursday lunchtime, but this is where people like Lenin, Orwell and Marx have stood up and made themselves be heard, and even in the drizzle there's an air of history in the making.
From Speaker's Corner you can reach Marble Arch by taking staircase 4 down into the bowels of hell beneath the road, and popping up again in staircase 3, right outside the Arch, which is stranded on its own little island amid the traffic. This arch made from Carrara marble was designed by John Nash, the architect responsible for much of Regency London, and was originally erected in 1828 on the Mall as a gateway to Buckingham Palace. It was moved in 1851 to its present location when the east front of the palace was rebuilt, and it's been here ever since. There are three rooms in the arch that were used as a police station until 1950, and during the 1855 Hyde Park riots, police hid inside the rooms and sprang out on the rioters, snatching a number of the ringleaders. Apparently you're not supposed to walk through the central arch, as it's reserved for the Royal family and VIPs, but nobody seems to mind.
Marble Arch station is back down staircase 3, with a subterranean entrance at exit 1. For a view of the station from above ground, take staircase 2 up to the south side of Oxford Street, and the station is on the other side of the road, through some very persistent traffic. The original 1900 station was built a bit further east, where Quebec Street meets Oxford Street, but when the station's lifts were replaced by escalators in 1932, the station was moved to its current position; the original station frontage was destroyed in the Blitz in 1940, killing 20 people who were using it as an air-raid shelter at the time.
Marble Arch to Bond Street
Oxford Street is chaos at the best of times, but a quick right turn into Park Street avoids the shoppers and reveals a landscape of deeply impressive townhouses. This is Mayfair, the district named after the fortnight-long May fair which was held in Shepherd Market from 1686 to 1764 (I'll be visiting Shepherd Market on my Piccadilly walk from South Kensington to King's Cross St Pancras), Mayfair is the most expensive property on the Monopoly board, and quite rightly so. Mainly developed between the mid-17th and mid-18th centuries, the buildings here are quite staggering, and the number of blue plaques demonstrates what an influential area it has been throughout British history. I spent a lot of time looking up at the amazingly intricate mansion blocks throughout the area, and my neck is still feeling the effects; it's worth the pain, though.
Left along Upper Brook Street is Grosvenor Square, named after the Dukes of Westminster, who own an awful lot of the land around here. Sir Richard Grosvenor obtained a licence to develop Grosvenor Square and the surrounding streets in 1710, with development starting around 1721, but today the square is best known for being the home of the US Embassy, which takes up the western side of the square. It's an imposing building, topped with a large sculpture of an American eagle, and it doesn't really fit in with the Georgian and neo-Georgian architecture around the rest of the square, but then again, Grosvenor Square does rather feel like Little America, with statues of Eisenower and Roosevelt dominating the northwest corner and the middle of the square respectively.
Oxford Street can be reached via more streets of astonishing mansion blocks, past the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile on Duke Street, an imposing building by Alfred Waterhouse, the same man who designed the layer-cake of the Natural History Museum. Bond Street station is back on Oxford Street, buried deep in the bowels of the West One shopping centre. Before the shopping centre was built in the 1980s, there was the original Measures-designed 1900 building, which was replaced by a 1926 Charles Holden redesign that coincided with the switch from lifts to escalators. Neither are visible these days; instead it's another fairly anonymous affair, hidden behind the insane shopping crowds.
Bond Street to Oxford Circus
Turning right out of the station, and right again, takes you to South Molton Street, which was built over the Tyburn River, as it flows south through Mayfair to meet the Thames near Vauxhall Bridge. It's a pleasantly pedestrianised shopping street with plenty of cafés with outdoor seating (though they're a bit empty when it's raining), and it soon leads to Brook Street, a continuation of the road that runs along the northern edge of Grosvenor Square. It's at this point that two neighbouring blue plaques stand out: the first, at number 25, is for Georg Frideric Handel, who lived here from 1723 until his death in 1759 (it is now the Handel House Museum); the second, a celebration of another musical genius, is at number 23, where Jimi Hendrix lived from 1968 to 1969.
Turning south down New Bond Street and east along Maddox Street takes you past Fenwick's to St George's Church, which dates from 1725; opposite the church is a building site, but it's interesting because it demonstrates the challenges of redeveloping listed buildings. At the moment there is little more than a frontage overlooking St George Street that's propped up by scaffolding with no building behind it; it looks just like a film set, and the new building will be built in behind, leaving the listed frontage intact.
Another John Nash creation, Regent Street, can be reached after a short wander through some winding backstreets, though most of the original buildings on the street have been rebuilt, as Nash's designs didn't prove resilient or suitable enough for modern retailers. The new frontages are made up of Portland stone creations that adhere to overall style guidelines, but which are all independently designed. The Apple Store just on your left is a good example of why this works in a modern world; the gracious arches make for an impressive shop front, making it a particularly expensive place to visit for technophiles like me.
Oxford Circus station is underneath the bustling road junction of Oxford Street and Regent Street, and the original entrances are to the east of the circus: the first one sports the distinctive ox-blood terracotta tiling of Leslie Green, and served the Bakerloo line when it was opened in 1906; and the second one is just over Argyll Street, with a classic Harry Bell Measures design for the Central London Railway, which opened in 1900. These days the original entrances are now exits, and you enter the station via the four stairways on each corner of the circus.
Oxford Circus to Tottenham Court Road
Turning out of the station and down Argyll Street, you pass the Palladium on your left; it's currently showing The Sound of Music, following on the hit TV talent show, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? – the theatre is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was a judge on the show. At the end of the road is the distinctive Mock Tudor of Liberty, which was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875 to sell various ornaments, fabrics and art nouveau objects. The wood for the building, which sports Tudor design inside as well as out, came from the British naval ships the HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.
Just down from Liberty is Carnaby Street, which became synonymous with 1960s fashion, and particularly the Mods and Mary Quant. These days it's still a fashion street, and the area around here has 168 fashion and lifestyle retailers plying their wares. Around the corner, past the tower blocks of Marshall Street, is Broadwick Street, which was the centre of an outbreak of cholera in 1854; Dr John Snow tracked down the cause of the disease to a water pump near the back of what is now the John Snow pub, and once he'd disabled it, the disease soon lifted, this proving that cholera was water-borne, rather than air-borne as was previously thought.
Berwick Street is a little to the east, and it still hosts a fruit and veg market (though on a gloomy, overcast Wednesday, I found it a little drab). To music afficionados like me, Berwick Street is famous for being the location of the cover shoot for Oasis's album (What's the Story) Morning Glory, though to be fair, it is a terrible cover. The street is also home to adult sex shows, including the Raymond Revue Bar, which doesn't help lift one's spirits.
Heading further into Soho, Wardour Street is known as the centre of the old British film industry (and still houses a lot of film production companies), but it's as the location for the famous Marquee Club that musos like me know the street name. I never went there, but number 90 hosted the Marquee through the rock era of the 1960s, the punk era of the 1970s, and the metal years of the 1980s. It left Wardour Street in 1988, leaving behind a lot of memories and seminal performances.
Continuing the musical theme, just off Wardour Street, at 18 St Anne's Court, the Beatles recorded 'Hey Jude' at Trident Studios, because the studio had an 8-track machine while Abbey Road only had 4-track machines. They also recorded the White Album tracks 'Dear Prudence', 'Honey Pie', 'Savoy Truffle' and 'Martha My Dear' at Trident, and it's also seen action from artists such as David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, Marc Bolan, Lou Reed, Carly Simon, Genesis and Supertramp, among others. We are, indeed, not worthy.
Soho Square, home to MPL Music Publishing (Paul McCartney's publishing company), is just around the corner, and Tottenham Court Road station, another Harry Bell Measures station from 1900, is a little walk along Oxford Street. The station that remains is the original Central line building; the Northern line station was demolished to make way for the Centrepoint tower that looms over the junction today.
Tottenham Court Road to Holborn
After the hectic bustle of Soho and Oxford Street, it's a relief to go past the Dominion Theatre (currently home to the hit Queen musical We Will Rock You), and then turn down Great Russell Street and north into Bedford Square. Built between 1775 and 1783, this is a wonderful example of a classic Georgian square, and it was the original site of the first British higher education establishment for women, Bedford College (which merged into Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, otherwise known as Royal Holloway). The central garden is private and locked gates keep the public at arm's length, but there's plenty of space around the outside of the oval-shaped lawn for the three impressive sculptures that are currently on display as part of the London Architecture Festival.
Next up, past the back entrance to the British Museum on Montague Place, is Bloomsbury Square, one of the earliest London squares, dating from the early 17th century. This garden is open to the public, and it makes for a peaceful spot among all the handsome 18th and 19th century buildings. To the southwest of the square is the huge building of the British Museum, though the best aspect can be found back on Great Russell Street, where the main entrance dominates the view. The museum was originally opened in 1753 and was based on the collection amassed by Sir Hans Sloane, who gave his name to Sloane Square and, incidentally, invented milk chocolate; the modern neo-classical beast that we see today is the result of considerable extension work in the first half of the 19th century. The northern wing, which we passed on Montague Place, was built in the first few decades of the 20th century.
Holborn station is not far from the museum, back on High Holborn. Originally opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (which became the Piccadilly line) in 1906, the station wasn't immediately connected to the Central line, even though the line passed under the new station, because the Central line already had a perfectly serviceable station, British Museum, just 250m to the west. However, Holborn proved to be a better location for a station, sitting as it does on the junction of two major roads, so eventually Holborn became a junction station of the Central and Piccadilly, and British Museum station was closed in 1933.
Holborn to Chancery Lane
Easily the most pleasant route from Holborn to Chancery Lane is via Lincoln's Inn, one of the four Inns of Court (I visited two of the others, Middle Temple and Inner Temple, on my District line walk from Victoria to Bow Road, and the fourth one, Gray's Inn, is just to the north of Chancery Lane station). I wasn't as bowled over by the Temple inns as I thought I would have been, but Lincoln's Inn is fantastic; there are far fewer cars here than are rammed into Middle and Inner Temple, and the combination of buildings from various periods works well.
To get to Lincoln's Inn, you can cross Lincoln's Inn Fields, a relaxing park where I used to eat my sandwiches when working at the BBC down in Bush House on the Strand (I never could stomach the canteen food, especially after nearly breaking a tooth on a piece of grit in their lasagne). The Royal College of Surgeons is along the southern side of the square and the Sir John Soane's Museum is in the northwest corner, and although the central part is a little gloomy with a sad bandstand and too much concrete, the grassy parts around the edge catch the sun and make for a restful place to get away from the hassles of work.
Lincoln's Inn itself is to the east of the square, and as with the other Inns of Court, you can walk through it pretty freely. The magnificent Victorian gothic Great Hall and library take up the east end of the park, and through the main gate you can see the late-17th century New Square to your right. Opposite the library are the Stone Buildings, designed by Sir Robert Taylor in the late-18th century, and winding through towards Chancery Lane there's a medieval hall and gateway. It's really quite something to behold.
On the way back to High Holborn, a private road (which is open to the public, but is not a right of way) takes you through Staples Inn, one of the old Chancery inns and a rare timber-framed survivor of the 1666 Great Fire of London. Chancery Lane station is out on the main road, hidden beneath the road, and for all you trivia fans out there, it's home to the shortest escalator on the whole Tube network. It also has a deep-level shelter below ground, which was converted into the Kingsway telephone exchange after World War II. It was here that the first transatlantic telephone cable terminated in 1956 and the site continued to serve as a telephone exchange until the 1980s, when large quantities of blue asbestos were discovered on site and the exchange was closed.
Chancery Lane to St Paul's
I weaved about quite a bit as I left Chancery Lane, as there's a lot of interesting things to visit around here, but I have to say I was slightly worn out by this stage, so I did rather shoot through. Heading along High Holborn and past Holborn Circus, I turned up Charterhouse Street and into Farringdon Street to check out the old buildings of Smithfield Market. The Central Market is still going strong, and I visited it on my very first tubewalk, but the buildings at the western end of the market – the old Fish Market, the Red House and the General Market – are dilapidated and slowly mouldering away. The future of these buildings is unclear, though the Red House is now listed, as it's the earliest existing example of a purpose-built cold store, so that seems to be safe. A public enquiry into the future of the site was held at the start of this year, but it remains to be seen what will happen. They are fascinating buildings, despite the greenery growing out of the top, and I hope they survive in one form or another.
Down Snow Hill you come to the Central Criminal Court, or the Old Bailey as it's more popularly known, and then down to Ludgate Hill, where the line of the old Roman City wall used to run. From this point on the most dominant feature is the unmistakable dome of St Paul's Cathedral, somewhere I haven't been for years, and I have to say the sheer bulk of the cathedral is breathtaking. It doesn't matter that the place is teeming with tourists, as they are dwarfed by Sir Christopher Wren's colossus; it manages to be beautiful and brutal at the same time, at least from the perspective of one of the ants crawling around its base. It's also worth visiting Paternoster Square on the way round the cathedral; recently redeveloped following severe bombing in the Blitz and decades of decay, it's now home to the London Stock Exchange. The square is dominated by the 23m-tall Paternoster Square Column, and I like it, though it does tend to polarise opinion.
St Paul's station is back on the main road, and is currently hidden beneath scaffolding. The original station entrance has now disappeared, having been moved below ground when escalators were added in the 1930s, and the modern entrance is not much to write home about.
St Paul's to Bank
It's a bit of a building site between St Paul's and Bank, as the New Change Buildings have been completely demolished and are currently being developed into a massive office complex, sitting right opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Until you reach Cheapside and St Mary-le-Bow Church, it's all drilling and rumbling trucks, but the church has a quiet little courtyard that you can reach by turning down a small passageway from Bread Street into Bow Church Yard. St Mary-le-Bow is famous because to be a true Cockney, you need to be born within the sound of the church's bells (Bow Bells, as they're known); the bells also appear in the myth of Dick Whittington, as the sound of the bells persuaded him to turn back to London from Highgate, after which he became mayor. The original church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the replacement was designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
Bank station is down Poultry underneath a busy road junction, just in front of the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. The Central line came through here in 1900, joining up with the Metropolitan, Waterloo & City and Northern lines that were already here. To the east of the station, the Central line tunnels make a very sharp curve, to avoid the vaults of the Bank of England.
Bank to Liverpool Street
The final stretch from Bank to Liverpool Street is short, which is rather welcome after this long day. Heading around the back of the Bank of England and past St Margaret Lothbury Church, you pass the old location of the Stock Exchange at 125 Old Broad Street before slipping between huge skyscrapers that are so close they seem to touch. Dominating the view to the front is the huge Tower 42, the tallest skyscraper in the City of London and the fifth tallest in London. It was the first skyscraper to be built in the City, and at the time it caused considerable controversy, breaking all previous building guidelines; these days, it's not considered that tall, though it's still an impressive sight as you walk underneath it on Old Broad Street.
Liverpool Street station is a little further along the road, and I'm glad to report that someone has added the 'Street' part back to the name above the Old Broad Street entrance, so it's no longer Liverpool station. And so ends a long trek through London, which in terms of sheer diversity of sights and sounds, is very hard to beat.