Tomorrow marks 50 years since the death of Winston Churchill. Voted the greatest Briton of all time, Churchill is a particular hero to Londoners for the role he played maintaining morale during the Blitz bombings of World War II. Strand Palace Hotel’s location in central London makes it an ideal base from which to walk in Churchill’s esteemed footsteps.
The Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms are just a 15-minute walk from Strand Palace Hotel and they are the best place to learn about Churchill and his greatest triumphs. This bunker, which sheltered Churchill’s government during the war, also holds the Churchill Museum. Here you can learn about Churchill’s early life in Ireland, Sudan, India and South Africa as well as hearing extracts from his speeches. Churchill’s rousing wartime oration was an inspiration for a beleaguered Britain and Churchill famously said, “It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.”
Whitehall to Parliament Square
Churchill once remarked, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” And walking down Whitehall from the Churchill War Rooms you can pass many of the buildings which shaped him, from Admiralty House (he was First Lord of the Admiralty), to the Old War Office Building (where he was Minister of Defence) to 11 Downing Street, where he lived in the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Next door to this is the house at 10 Downing Street, where he lived and worked during his two terms as Prime Minister.
At the end of Whitehall you’ll come face-to-face with great wartime leader in Parliament Square. Here stands an imposing 3.7-metre (12-foot) bronze of him in a military greatcoat staring doggedly towards the Houses of Parliament. Perhaps the site for the statue was also chosen considering its proximity to St. Margaret’s Church, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, which is where Churchill was married. The church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded in the 12th century and is the Anglican church of the House of Commons. Winston S. Churchill, who was also an author (he won the Nobel prize for literature), war correspondent and historian, no doubt appreciated that the first British printer, William Caxton, is buried here.
Churchill with FDR in Bond Street
A different, more affable view of Churchill can be seen in the double statue of him with Franklin D Roosevelt, of whom Churchill said, “Meeting him was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.” The two leaders are seated on a bench on Bond Street, just three stops on the Central Line from Holborn station, which is within walking distance of Strand Palace Hotel. The sculpture sums up the “special relationship”, which Churchill was the first to describe between Britain and the United States — a relationship that meant a lot to him personally since he was half American.
Looking for hotels near Parliament Square or the Churchill War Rooms? The centrally-located Strand Palace Hotel is an easy walk away and is well connected by underground and bus routes for exploring the rest of London.
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