Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Victoria Embankment Gardens - London

Victoria  Embankment Gardens next to Embankment Tube Station

This photo of The Victoria Embankment Gardens is part of one of the panoramic images found on the PanoramicEarth.com Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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The Victoria Embankment Gardens are a lovely place to relax and have a picnic in the summer months when the sun is out and the plantations within the gardens are in bloom. This stretch of green nestled between Charring Cross and Embankment stations and running along the River Thames. The Gardens contain several notable statues and other features and also hosts free concerts, weather permitting, during the summer. The Victoria Embankment Gardens, being close to the aforementioned stations, are also close to the Strand, taking just a couple of minutes for a shopper to get to and escape the crowds.

The development of the Embankment was proposed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London, but took until 1862 for a scheme to be approved. At that time the embankment wall along the Thames was built, constructed of bricks and faced with granite the wall extends some 4m below the low water mark of the river and allowed for some mud flats to be reclaimed. The embankment wall also prevented flooding of the city.

The whole of the Victoria Embankment Gardens is broken into 3 sections covering 11 acres, with the one shown here being the largest. The main historical feature of the Gardens is the Water Gate, a triumphal entry to the Thames built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1626. The Gate used to access the Thames directly, but because of the construction of the Embankment, it now stands some 100m from the edge of the river.

The Victoria Embankment Gardens, like any well presented public park, also contains a number of statues of note worthies from times past. Included among the collection here are both statues of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns, and a statue of William Tyndale who first translated the Bible into English in 1484 and was promptly executed for doing so. This statue dates from 1884. Other little treats within the Embankment Gardens include a water fountain dedicated to Henry Fawcett by ‘his grateful country women’ and a soldier mounted on a camel next to the band stand dedicated to the Imperial Camel Corps.

Just on the opposite side of the River to the Embankment Gardens is the London Eye and London Aquarium (entrance free with The London Pass). The Embankment Gardens are also very close to Westminster Pier, a major departure point for ferries and tour boats on the Thames.

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The full panoramic image taken of the Victoria Embankment Gardens can be found on the London tour by PanoramicEarth.com. An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

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