River Westbourne and the Grosvenor Canal (taking in the Tyburn Brook along the way) Guided Walking Tour with Paul Talling (author of London's Lost Rivers)
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meeting on the pavement outside Lancaster Gate Tube station. Duration of Walk: Approx 4 to 4 1/2 hours
Tube: Lancaster Gate (Central Line) Bus routes: 46 (to the north), 274 (to the east), and 94, 148 and 390 (to east and west).
A guided walking tour of the lower reaches of one of London's major subterranean rivers. The walk starts off where the Westbourne was once known as Bayswater Brook . Bayswater is a shortened version of Bayard's Watering Place a place where bayards (horses) drank water from the river. We explore the alleyways and mews that once lined the river and the site of an ancient conduit which once supplied Central London with water. We then head off through Kensington Gardens and Hyde park where the River formed a series of natural ponds in the park later dammed to form the Serpentine. The River then follows the Kensington & Chelsea border with Westminster through Knightsbridge (named after a ruckus between knights on a bridge over the River) past Sloane Square where the encased river can be seen crossing the tube station and then down to the Thames where the sewer outfall empties out into the Thames beside Chelsea Bridge. The next leg of the tour takes us a few yards down the road to have a brief look at the entrance and basin of the former Grosvenor Canal and the old Chelsea Waterworks Company. This short canal was instrumental in supplying goods for the construction of Belgravia and recently the course of the canal has been made into an ornamental water feature for an expensive new residential development.
Many interesting points along the route of this walk include: the site of ancient tea gardens, a pub where the Great Train Robbery was allegedly planned, the fountains where Hugh Grant & Colin Firth had a fight in Bridget Jones Diary, the setting of a Peter Pan book, a pub which was the final drinking place for victims of the Tyburn Gallows, stories of second world war bombings, the site of the original Crystal Palace and Ranelagh Gardens where Mozart once played
Afterwards join Paul for a drink in a nearby pub or two in Pimlico. From there you can get home from Pimlico tube or plenty of trains and buses from nearby Victoria Station.
Below is a gallery of River Westbourne and Grosvenor Canal pics taken by Paul Talling: