London Travel Guide

London Sights

The Mall

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Published 08/20/2030

Fodor's Review

This stately, 115-foot-wide processional route sweeping towards Trafalgar Square from the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace is an updated 1911 version of a promenade laid out around 1660 for the game of paille-maille (a type of croquet crossed with golf), which also gave the parallel road Pall Mall its name. (That's why Mall is pronounced to rhyme with "pal," not "ball.") The tarmac is colored red to represent a ceremonial red carpet. During state visits, several times a year, the Mall is traditionally bedecked with the flag of the visiting nation, alongside the Union Jack. The Duke of York Memorial up the steps toward Carlton House Terrace is a towering column dedicated to George III's second son, who was further immortalized in the English nursery rhyme "The Grand Old Duke of York." Be sure to stroll along the Mall on Sunday when the road is closed to traffic, or catch the bands and troops of the Household Division on their way from St. James's Palace to Buckingham

Palace for the Changing the Guard. At the northernmost end of the Mall is Admiralty Arch, a stately gateway named after the adjacent Royal Navy headquarters. It was designed by Sir Aston Webb and built in 1910 as a memorial to Queen Victoria. Actually comprising five arches—two for pedestrians, two for traffic, and the central arch, which is only opened for state occasions—it was a government building until 2012, and has even served as an alternative residence for the Prime Minister while Downing Street was under renovation. It is currently being transformed into a luxury hotel. Look out for the bronze nose grafted onto the inside wall of the right-hand traffic arch (when facing the Mall); it was placed there in secret by a mischievous artist in 1997 and has been allowed to remain.

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Sight Information

Address:

London, Greater London, SW1A 2WH, England

Published 08/20/2030

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