Charing Cross to Tate Modern
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- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Another brilliant walk to explore Central London. This walk is great for those who want to explore the best of London’s culture, museums, and history. This walk starts at Charing Cross Station before heading to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Soho, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, The Strand, St Paul’s and Tate Modern.
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Route Description for Charing Cross to Tate Modern
This short walk shows off some of the best sites in Central London. This is also a good walk to do in reverse, starting early (or late) at Tate Modern and walking back into Central London. This walk is also short enough to do after dinner.
From the Charing Cross Underground Station, head into Trafalgar Square and check out Nelson’s Column before visiting The National Gallery. The National Gallery is an excellent art museum that features several famous works of art including Mars and Venus by Sandro Botticelli and the Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger. The museum is open 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Monday to Thursday and 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Friday. There is no admission fee to visit the National Gallery.
After visiting the gallery, walk out of the gallery and turn right and take your first right, going down Whitcomb Street for 75 m and take a right at St Martin's Street. Follow St Martin's Street for 150 m and turn left and then right to follow along Leicester Square for 100 m. Leicester Square is well-known as the prime location in London for movie premieres, look out for celebrities! It’s worth a look around Leicester Square, but at the end you’ll turn left onto Swiss Court.
Follow Swiss Court as it crosses over Wardour Street and changes to Coventry Street and then comes to Piccadilly Circus.
From Piccadilly Circus continue roughly ahead and into Regent Street. Architect John Nash designed Regent Street in the early nineteenth-century; some of its facades are considered among London's most distinguished architecture. The street was the first shopping street in the world and is still a premier shopping destination. Regent Street is also home to many businesses and pedestrianized food quarters. Every year the street is lit up with Christmas lights, there is a different theme each year.
Cross over Regents Street and turn right at Foubert's Place and continue for 100 m before turning right onto Carnaby Street. You may want to wander up and down Carnaby Street, however if you want to go direct, only follow Carnaby Street for about 75 m then take a left at Ganton Street. Walk down Ganton Street for 65 m and turn right onto Marshall Street. Continue on Marshall Street, and if you’re hungry stop for a pastry at Patisserie Valerie, a chain of very good French pastry shops.
After 45 m on Marshall Street take a left onto Broadwick Street. Follow Broadwick Street for 260 m and turn left onto Wardour Street. If you need a bite to eat, try The Ivy Soho Brasserie. Continue down Wardour Street for 220 m. Along here, you will pass St. Moritz, a fun Swiss restaurant. After 220 m, turn right at Oxford Street.
Continue on Oxford Street for another 220 m before taking a right onto Soho Street. Near the intersection of Oxford and Soho is a very small bar named Bradley's Spanish Bar, a hipster’s dream. To get there, walk just past Soho Street, turn left onto Hanway Street and walk a short distance.
Re-cross Oxford Street and continue straight on Soho Street for about 110 m to the center of Soho Square Gardens. Explore the Gardens and then exit the gardens going right and continue onto Carlisle Street. Just off Soho Square is the Toucan pub, best known for serving the greatest pint of Guinness in London.
Turn left at Dean Street and walk for 150 m before turning left onto Bateman Street. Follow Bateman Street for about 60 m, turn right at Frith Street. Continue along Frith Street for about 90 m and take a left onto Old Compton Street. Just before you reach Old Compton Street, you will pass Bar Italia, the original Italian coffee shop in London.
Walk down Old Compton Street for 75 m and take a right onto Moor Street. Follow Moor Street for 70 m until you reach Charing Cross Road and turn right. Continue on Charing Cross Road for 240 m before turning left onto Cranbourn Street, where the Leicester Square Tube Station is.
Follow Cranbourn Street for 100 m and come to a 6-way intersection. Cross to the opposite street and continue onto Long Acre. Walk down Long Acre, along the way look out for Stanford’s (on Mercer Walk, just off of Long Acre) as it is considered the best travel bookstore in the world.
Go right onto James Street and follow it to Covent Garden. You will often find street performers on James Street, an amusing way to spend your time. Covent Garden is filled with shops, pubs, cafes, a craft market, and much more. It has become a major tourist spot as well as a destination for those visiting the nearby theatre or opera houses. The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden offers some great performances and relatively quiet food and drink. If you are looking for a pub to visit in Covent Garden, try the Punch and Judy. The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden's southeast corner is also a fun place to visit, especially for children and adults that are interested in history.
After spending some time in Covent Garden, exit onto Russell Street and then turn right at Wellington Street. You will pass several major theatres as you walk down Wellington Street, including The Lyceum Theatre, which has housed The Lion King since 1999.
Turn left when you come to the Strand and continue along the Strand for 1.6 km. Starting at the Strand, you will pass Somerset House. There are lots of interesting things to do at Somerset House, and it is highly recommended for ice-skating in the winter months
Next, you will pass King's College London, one of the top universities in the United Kingdom. The street will eventually change to Fleet Street, the old home of newspapers. As you walk along Fleet Street, you will also pass the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, among many other great pubs. If coffee is more your thing, you can enjoy a cup at Press Coffee.
After passing over Farringdon Street, the street becomes Ludgate Hill and then St. Paul's Churchyard, which houses St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Paul's Cathedral is open for sightseeing from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm every day except Sunday. A discount on admission is available if you purchase online. There are also guided tours hourly from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. One highlight of the cathedral is the Whispering Gallery where you can whisper something next to a wall on one side and someone can hear it on the other.
Go around the southern side of St Paul’s and then go right, walking down Peter's Hill to the Thames, where you cross over the Millennium Bridge. When it first opened, the Millennium Bridge swayed dramatically, this has been rectified today. Just after Millennium Bridge, you will find Shakespeare's Globe and the Tate Modern.
Be sure to take some time to visit the Tate Modern and/or Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Tate Modern is an international modern and contemporary art museum featuring many interesting works of art. If you are hungry, you can also grab a bite at the Tate Modern Café. Alternatively, Shakespeare's Globe Theater provides many different performances; tours are also available daily from 9:30 am-5:00 pm.
Insider Hints for Charing Cross to Tate Modern
- Book your tickets to a show at Shakespeare’s Globe well in advance, especially on weekends and in the summer.
- This entire walk has enormous restaurants, pubs and cafes. Be sure to plan your day with a few stops for meals and snacks.
- Skating at Somerset House in winter is a joy, book your tickets in advance.
- You could walk back to Waterloo Station along the Thames for a wonderful walk and great views.
- If you have little ones accompanying you on your walk, motivate them with a stop at Hamley’s - the largest toy shop in the world, located near the top of Regent Street.
Getting to the Charing Cross to Tate Modern Trailhead
Take the tube to Charing Cross Station.
Charing Cross to Tate Modern Elevation Graph
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Charing Cross to Tate Modern Reviews
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