My previous blog post was about my walk on the north bank of the River Thames from Southwark to Blackfriars. As promised, this blog post is about the second part of my walk that day. This post is about my walk from Blackfriars to Embarkment. I have explored that area again recently on a beautiful autumn day and I am going to include some pictures from that day here.
Every step I took on a late summer day, I came more and more under the spell of London! I had not visited the Temple area before. I had gotten off on the Temple Tube Station quite a few times but had always turned left towards Strand and onto Somerset House. I somehow never turned right towards Temple Church.
Today was the day to explore Temple Church and the surrounding area. I left Blackfriars behind and continued walking on the Victoria Embarkment. I reached the sidewalk outside the Inner Temple Garden and admired the beautiful avenue of massive trees. I entered the Temple area through the Middle Temple Gate House. Temple area is bordered on one side by Victoria Embarkment and on the other side by the Fleet Street and the Strand.
Temple is the area surrounding Temple Church. It encompasses the area of Middle Temple and Inner Temple. Inner Temple and Middle Temple are two of the professional societies, out of a total of four societies for law professionals. These societies are also known as Inns or ‘Inns of Court’. Inner and Middle Temple are where London’s lawyers and barristers have offices. Also, major legal institutions are located in this area. The High Court of Justice is nearby on Strand. The High Court of Justice is supposed to be beautiful inside. Once a year, in late summer or early fall, for one day they open it to general public for a visit. If you are in London that day, it’s a worth a visit. To my regret, I wasn’t in London to see it from inside.
The minute you enter the Temple area you realize that you are in a totally different world. The hustle and bustle of London is left behind. It becomes unusually quiet. You don’t see lot of people out on the streets or in the many courtyards. When you see people walking around, they are talking seriously with their companions or hurrying with a serious expression on their faces. There is hardly any vehicular traffic since the roads are narrow and excess to the multiple courtyards is by foot.
After entering the gate, I walked onto Middle Temple Lane. I turned towards the Inner Temple Garden. The gardens were beautiful with flowers, tall hedges, and green grass. On that summer day, the sun was shining and it was lunch time. The Inner Temple Garden was bustling with people. Give London a beautiful sunny day and all will make a beeline to a green space!
There are multiple courtyards in this area and leading into the courtyards are arches and gates. The cobblestoned streets add to the charm. I loved the architecture of the buildings. Some of the buildings were built with my favorite red bricks. I loved the charm of it. In the middle of it all sits the Temple Church. The Temple Church is a working church with a circular nave. It was built in the twelfth century by the Knights Templar. Now it’s a Royal Peculiar, which means it is directly under the jurisdiction of the monarchy. An interesting tit bit about this church: there is a mention of it in the famous book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. In the movie, one of the scenes was actually shot inside the Church. After a quick peek inside, I moved on.
I just wandered around this area, exploring every nook and cranny. I weaved through the arches into the courtyards and alleys admiring the historical charm. My excitement at discovering this area was palpable. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. I loved it so much that, I had to go back a few days ago to get some more pictures.
To be honest, the historical significance of the area or the law societies and the courts didn’t matter. To me, it was a simple pleasure of exploring a beautiful part of London. Please don’t misunderstand – it was interesting to learn about, but not its main draw for me. You should, however, familiarize yourselves with the history before you go.
I had hoped to grab a lunch in that area, but I couldn’t find any casual place to eat. There were couple of bars I came across, but I wasn’t in mood for a pub grub. So, with some regret I listened to my growling stomach and moved on to Somerset House. With lunch on my mind, I ended my walk there and sat down for a well-deserved rest and hearty cheese toasty.
PS. I saw this map on the notice board at the Temple Church. I am putting it here for your reference.
Map of my walk. Map courtesy Google