Jubilee Walkway

England / Europe

The Jubilee Walkway was created by the environmentalist, Max Nicholson (1904-2003) as an urban trail through London and as a lasting memorial to the celebrations surrounding the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.  It was one of the initiatives of the London Celebrations Committee for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, spearheaded by their environmental sub-committee.  Max Nicholson outlined the idea in March 1976 with the following aims – To revive the paramount role of the Thames itself, as the spine and setting of London by means of a linking silver thread to draw together the long-divorced worlds of the West End, the South Bank, East London and the City. To display and relate many old landmarks and new improvements which few visitors or Londoners would otherwise come to appreciate as a whole, composing the symphony of London. To demonstrate and explain factually something of the essential nature, the geography and the history of London for students of all ages. To encourage the best way of getting to know London – on foot – and to reassert the full equality of the walker with others moving by other means. To focus the fast-growing interest in conserving and improving London’s environment, and to help bring together and stimulate those who share it. In creating the Jubilee Walkway Max Nicholson set in motion the formula which has been applied to all the other routes, in England and across the Commonwealth.  Having worked for the Festival of Britain in 1951, he was particularly interested in the possibilities of the South Bank.   The Queen unveiled a plaque on the South Bank lion on Westminster Bridge on the evening of 9 June 1977.  At that time the walk was far from complete, but as every organisation sprung up converting warehouses into other facilities along the River Thames, a prerequisite of planning permission was that they had to make their riparian stretch walkable.  It helped that Robert Shaw, the Chairman, was the Chief Planning officer at the Greater London Council.  Thus the route inched its way along, and finally, in 1994, it was ready to be unveiled by the Queen as The Queen’s Walk.   Various loops were added and a link was forged between the Tower of London and Leicester Square, the original starting point.  Panoramic panels were introduced at key points of the route and many of these were unveiled by the Queen, members of the Royal Family and other well-known figures. There are now 50 panels interpreting the skyline and London’s many points of interest that are connected by the 22km step-free walk. In 2003 the Walkway was extended up the Mall in honour of the Golden Jubilee of 2002 and a double panel unveiled by the Queen on 2 June 2003.  The Jubilee Walkway is thought to be the first city trail in the world and has been enjoyed by literally millions of people for more than 40 years. 

13.6 miles / 21.9 kilometres

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