Seeing London The "Monopoly" Way
Although an American invention, Monopoly is a popular board game the world over. In the United Kingdom there are a number of Monopoly games available, but easily the most popular version is the original set in the capital: London. The majority of properties represented on the Monopoly board are still in existence today and can be visited by the general public.
Visiting all the squares on the Monopoly board is a relatively common experience that many Londoners turn into an evening out, taking part in what they call a 'Monopoly Pub Crawl.' But with or without the drink, a journey across London's Monopoly Board is an interesting and unique way to visit London. From those who love to travel and for those who love the game, taking a trip around the Monopoly Board can be an entirely new way to experience London and see places you might never otherwise see.
When you play Monopoly you could be forgiven for thinking that each property is close to the next one and that the railway stations are in the same area as the properties that are located on the respective side of the board, but this is not the case. If you were to visit each property on foot, starting with Old Kent Road (the first property after "Go", and visit all 28 of them in the order in which they are placed on the Monopoly board, including railway stations, it would take around 13 hours, cover up to 28 kilometres and involve a lot of back tracking over ground you have already covered.
So what is the best way to complete a tour of all locations on the London Monopoly Board? That depends on how much time you have and what other mode of transport you would like to use to cut down the amount of walking you do. For some, starting at Old Kent Road and working their way around the board is the only way to do it. If that's you, all you'll need to do is set aside a full day, don a good pair of walking shoes and head for Old Kent Road. From there, then use Google Maps to find your way to each consecutive place, using public transport where you can.
If time is of the essence, or you want to minimise the amount of walking, you'd be best to use the Google Map on this page showing all the locations, and work out a strategy where you can visit all the locations in a particular area, then do the same for another area. The bulk of them are in groups so do one group at a time, then use public transport to get to the more outlying places. All of the locations are on bus routes or near Underground stations, so a combination of walking, with bus or underground trains to connect from one area to another works well.
View Monopoly walk in a larger map
London Monopoly - The Brown Squares
Statistically the least visited spaces on the Board, the Browns on the London Board represent areas outside central London.
Old Kent Road (£60)
One of the two cheapest properties on the Board, and the only one south of the Thames, the Old Kent Road lies partially along Watling Street, a Roman road which once connected Holyhead (Wales) to Dover (South Coast). A landmark pub along the road, The Thomas A'Becket, was the site of executions in this area of London from the mid 16th century. The pub also bears a small plaque marking the event in 1550 when the City of London's authority was bounded on the south at this location.
Whitechapel Road (£60)
One of the two cheapest properties on the Board, Whitechapel Road is named after the nearby church of St. Mary. Now home to one of the largest street markets in East London, Whitechapel Road also boasts the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, dating from 1670, where two of the most famous bells in the world - Big Ben and the Liberty Bell - were both cast. The Blind Beggar, a pub notable for a fatal shooting in 1966, stands nearby the site of the former toll gate to enter London from the east.
London Monopoly - The Light Blue Squares
Containing the property with the highest return on investment on the Board, Pentonville Road, the Light Blues border the north of London and are all connected to one another.
Top Tourist Tip: take a ride on the longest escalators in the country at the station with the widest platforms, Angel.
The Angel, Islington (£100)
Named after an Inn that was situated here, on the route of the Great North Road (connecting Edinburgh to London via York), Angel is part of the Borough of Islington in North London, which boasts the highest population density of any borough in England and Wales at 13,875 people per square km. The Angel itself operated as a tavern and inn until 1921 and is mentioned by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: "The coach rattled away and, turning when it reached the Angel at Islington, stopped at length before a neat house in Pentonville." Nearby Angel tube station is home to the longest escalators in the United Kingdom at a length of 60 metres and a vertical rise of 27 metres. Angel also became a place of note with Londoners in the late 2000's when Bob, and orange tabby cat, took up residence there with his owner, busker James Bowen (who can now both be found in Covent Garden and read about in their book, A Street Cat Named Bob).
Euston Road (£100)
Opened in 1756, the Euston Road was designed to be a thoroughfare through to Smithfield Meat Market. The road is now host to both Kings Cross (home to the largest single-span station structure in Europe) and St. Pancras International (newly opened in 2007 at a cost of £800 Million) stations, as well as The British Library (holding over 150 million items). Across the street from Euston Station is St. Pancras church, built in 1819 at a cost of £89,296.00, which made it the most expensive house of worship built in London since St. Paul's Cathedral. Also found on The Euston Road is the Wellcome Building, home to the Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Exhibition displays, 'ideas about the connections between medicine, life and art.' The Wellcome Trust is worth a visit simply to view Thomas Heatherwick's centrepiece design, 142,000 glass spheres threaded on wires and hung from the 30 metre high ceiling.
Pentonville Road (£120)
Named after a wealthy local, Henry Penton, Pentonville Road runs between Euston Road and up to The Angel, Islington. A 1756 clause stated that all houses on Pentonville Road (along with Euston Road) were not to be built within 15 metres of the road. Although largely ignored on Euston Road, this clause was adhered to along the Pentonville Road, giving the neighbourhood a unique atmosphere where homes boast large gardens that are quite uncommon in central London. As well as also being mentioned in Oliver Twist, Pentonville was home to Vladimir Lennon in 1902.
London Monopoly - The Pink Squares
Encompassing thoroughfares in Westminster, the Pinks represent an area once filled with expensive property and private clubs.
Top Tourist Tip: Stand at the southern end of Whitehall in Parliament Square and you will find yourself in the only space in London where all four arms of the state are recognised: Legislative (Houses of Parliament), Religious (Westminster Abbey), Judicial (The Supreme Court), and Executive (HM Treasury).
Pall Mall (£140)
Named after a lawn game (often seen as 'pelemele' or 'paille maille') popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, Pall Mall is a major thoroughfare in the St. James area of London. It is believed the current Pall Mall runs along a site that has had a road in place since the 12th century, or perhaps even earlier. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Pall Mall became home to numerous gentlemen's clubs and became the centre of the fine art movement in London when the road was home to the National Gallery, the Royal Academy and Christie's Auction House. Many famous residents called Pall Mall their home including the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos as well as Charles II's most well-known mistress, Nell Gwynne. Pall Mall is still owned by the Crown of State and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Court has headquarters at the westernmost part of the road at St. James's Palace.
The main thoroughfare from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, Whitehall is home to Her Majesty's Government and their offices. Downing Street, HM Treasury, the Ministry of Defence, The Horse Guards Building and the Houses of Parliament all line Whitehall. The name Whitehall comes from Whitehall Palace, a primary royal residence built in the 1530's, which was so called because of the white stone it was built from. The only part of the palace that still survives is Banqueting House which was built by Inigo Jones in 1622 and served as the setting for the execution of King Charles I in 1649. Whitehall is also home to a number of statues and war memorials and it is there that Britain's primary war memorial, the Cenotaph, is located.
Northumberland Avenue (£160)
Home to the wealthy Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family, the Avenue takes its name from their London home previously on this site. Built in 1608 the house was gargantuan and was not demolished in 1866. Northumberland Avenue now stands where the house would have been, running from Trafalgar Square to the Embankment of the Thames. Northumberland Avenue was also home to Thomas Edison whilst he was in London and now holds student accommodation for the LSE as well as the Sherlock Holmes pub which boasts a recreation of Holmes and Watson's sitting room and study. Behind Northumberland Avenue, on Craven Street, sits the London home of Benjamin Franklin, now open to the public as a museum.
London Monopoly - The Orange Squares
As a group, the most frequented spaces on the Board, the Oranges represent the old Legal and Police forces in London.
Top Tourist Tip: Nearby Bow Street lies Covent Garden, a popular spot to watch street performers and visit the market which has roots here that go back to the 1650's.
Bow Street (£180)
Now the site of the Royal Opera House, Bow Street runs through Covent Garden and was previously the home of the Lord Protector (and regicide) Oliver Cromwell in 1645. But Bow Street is truly well known in London for being the home of the Bow Street Runners - London's first professional police force, which was based here upon its creation in 1749 by Henry Fielding. The Bow Street Group, as they called themselves, disbanded in 1839, having set the president for the regularisation of police forces in the capital. In 1919, Bow Street was the site for a riot (sparked by issues over gambling) in Covent Garden involving over 2000 Australian, American, and Canadian) service men and 50 police officers known as the 'Battle of Bow Street.' Bow Street Magistrate's Court was also located here, from the early 18th century and it was here that Oscar Wilde, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, The Kray Twins, and even Casanova all stood trial before the Court was closed in July 2006. Bought by an Austrian company, it is rumoured to be set to re-open as a police museum in future.
(Great) Marlborough Street (£180)
Named after the Commander of the English Army, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, the Street is actually named Great Marlborough Street and why the 'Great' was omitted from the Monopoly Game is not entirely certain. Originally, Great Marlborough Street was a fashionable, high-society address, however nowadays it is almost entirely commercial with buildings dating no earlier than the Victorian era. Home to Liberty, one of London's oldest and most luxurious department stores, the famous mock-Tudor frontage of the property has been built from the timber of two ships that saw service with the Navy - The HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan.
Vine Street (£200)
One of the strangest locations on the Monopoly Board, Vine Street is actually not home to the frontage of any buildings whatsoever and, instead, is bordered by the back end of numerous offices and shops. Originally, this street was Little Vine Street, and outcropping of a longer previous Vine Street which was named after a pub located nearby in the 18th century. It was the creation of the police station in 1829 that brought Vine Street to public attention - and it was at this station that the Marquess of Queensberry was brought in to be charged with criminal libel against Oscar Wilde, which would eventually bring about the author's downfall. The police station closed in 1940 and now all that remains of Vine Street is a small alley, tucked away behind the bustling Regent Street. Those stopping by on a Monopoly Pub Crawl may be surprised to note that there are actually no pubs on this street!
London Monopoly - The Red Squares
Here you will find the single most landed on space in the game - Trafalgar Square - in a set that encompasses both Westminster and The City.
Top Tourist Tip: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. One of the oldest and most notable pubs in London and an absolute must on any visit to the capital.
Running from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar at the border with the City of London, the Strand gets its name from an old English word 'strand' meaning 'shore,' as the road ran along the original shallow shore of the (then wider) River Thames. The Strand has been in use since Roman times and for centuries was the primary route from the City of London to Westminster and the countryside. Large mansions and fine houses and palaces lined the Strand from the 12th century onwards - many with large gardens and gates along the river (one of which can still be seen in Embankment Gardens). The fine properties were slowly demolished as the area gained a reputation for brothels, coffee shops, and dangerous taverns. Today the Strand is home to a number of theatres, churches, and hotels, including The Savoy, as well as the Royal Courts of Justice. Eagle-eyed visitors may also spy the old Aldwych (previously Strand) Underground Station which has been closed since 1994 but is now used for filming (Atonement, V For Vendetta, and 28 Days Later just to name a few).
Fleet Street (£220)
Located inside the City of London and following the route of London's largest underground river, Fleet Street picks up where the Strand stops. Home to the nations' press from 1500 to the 1980's, 'Fleet Street' is a metonym that can be used to refer to the British Press even today. Large plaques line the street displaying notable headlines from various newsprints throughout history, even though today the street is a centre of finance and the legal system rather than journalism. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, one of the oldest and most famous pubs in London is located off Fleet Street where the public can enjoy a pint where notables such as Dickens, Conan Doyle, and Twain all drank.
Trafalgar Square (£240)
Built with an initial budget of £11,000 in the early 19th century and named after the Battle of Trafalgar - won by Admiral Nelson against the Napoleonic forces of the French - Trafalgar Square is a large public space in the middle of central London. The last stop on parade routes (such as the London Gay Pride Parade), a site for protest (Black Monday of 1886 and, more recently, student protests), a location for celebration (VE Day in 1945 and the yearly Christmas tree lighting), and home to the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square is a multi-functional landmark. Presided over by Nelson's Column, a stone column over 55 metres high depicting Lord Nelson himself at the top, the Square was once notable for its vast pigeon population which has been drastically reduced thanks to the introduction of harris hawks and the banning of feeding the birds! Large screens are occasionally set up in the Square to show live feed of Olympic games, Royal Opera or Royal Ballet performances. The Square is also home to the world's smallest police station (located in the south eastern most point of the Square).
London Monopoly - The Yellow Squares
The Yellows represent London's West End and Theatre District, occupying spaces where great mansions would have stood in what was, centuries ago, the countryside.
Top Tourist Tip: Visit the Royal Academy on Piccadilly to see London's first prototype design of the famous red telephone box, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in 1926 (Located just inside the entrance gates).
Leicester Square (£260)
Named after the 2nd Earl of Leicester, who bought property here in 1630, Leicester Square is an entirely pedestrianised square in the centre of the West End. The Square has been a popular site for tourists since the 19th century when many hotels were built there. Today it holds a number of restaurants and movie theatres and plays host to world premiers of many films, such as both the Harry Potter and James Bond franchises. The square is also currently home to the MTV UK studios, as well as broadcasting centres for numerous radio stations including Capital FM, Classic FM, LBC, and Heart. Read our full post on Leicester Square.
Coventry Street (£260)
It is estimated that up to 150,000 people walk along Coventry Street every weekend. This London thoroughfare links Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square in the West End. The Prince of Wales Theatre is located on the street, which connects The Haymarket, Shaftesbury Avenue and Regent Street.
Running from Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus, it is believed the street owes its name to a wealthy merchant who bought a house here in 1612 with the money he made selling Elizabethan and Jacobean ruffs called piccadills. For hundreds of years, the largest and grandest mansions in London were built on Piccadilly, including Apsley House, Burlington House, Clarendon House, and Berekely House (Now Devonshire House). Radical changes to street layouts in the early 20th century meant many of the homes were demolished and Apsley House (Home to the Duke of Wellington and his family) is no longer connected to Piccadilly itself. The Ritz Hotel can be found on Piccadilly as can Fortnum & Mason. The most famous feature of the street is likely The Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain topped by an angel designed by Alfred Gilbert, which was the first statue in history to be cast in aluminium.
London Monopoly - The Green Squares
The Greens play host to London's oldest and most luxurious shopping districts
Top Tourist Tip: On a small traffic island where Edgeware Road meets Oxford Street is a plaque marking the spot where gallows used to stand. This spot, from the 12th to the 18th centuries, was the primary location for executions in London: Tyburn - a notorious and feared location in the capital.
Regent Street (£300)
Famous for its sweeping curvature and classic design, Regent Street is so named after the Prince Regent (later King George IV), and was designed by the architect John Nash with the plan of connecting fashionable Regent's Park to the bustling Charing Cross area nearer the Thames. Despite its age, the majority of the buildings now on Regent Street date from a rebuilding project completed in the 1920's, however all buildings on the street are officially listed as being of Historical and Architectural Importance. Upper Regent Street is dominated by All Souls Church and the BBC headquarters, whilst the rest of the road is furnished with both fashionable and famous shops such as the Apple Store and Hamley's - the largest toy store in the world. On the first week of November every year, Regent Street becomes home to a large Christmas light display which changes design every year.
Oxford Street (£300)
Originally a roman road, Oxford Street was known as the Tyburn Road from the 12th to the 18th century after the Tyburn River which still flows underneath the street today. Oxford Street received its name in the early 1700's when the Earl of Oxford bought lands nearby. Today, Oxford Street is the worlds' busiest shopping street, playing host to the flagship stores of John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and House of Fraser. On the westernmost side is Marble Arch, a triumphal arch made of marble by John Nash in 1827 intended to remain in front of Buckingham Palace. Currently alone on a traffic island, Marble Arch remains a London landmark and its rooms inside previously acted as a police station until 1968. Near Marble Arch is the location of Tyburn - the primary place for executions for centuries in London. It was here that Henry VIII executed the ringleaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1537 and also where Charles II posthumously executed Oliver Cromwell in 1661. In the centre of Oxford Street is Oxford Circus which serves as the connection between Oxford Street and Regent Street and, since 2009, is home to a diagonal pedestrian crossing modelled after the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. Oxford Street operates as a bus lane only, with no private traffic allowed.
Bond Street (£320)
Bond Street, the most expensive of the 'greens', is a luxury shopping district named after Sir Thomas Bond who developed the area nearby in the 1600's. Previously known for art and antiques galleries, today Bond Street holds the London branches of many brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Prada, just to name a few! Bond Street also plays host to one of the most unusual statues in London; a depiction of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt deep in conversation on a bench. Bond Street is mentioned in novels by both Jane Austin (in Sense and Sensibility) and Virginia Woolf (in Mrs Dalloway).
London Monopoly - The Dark Blue Squares
The most expensive properties on the Board, the Dark Blues sit on the western edge of London, representing wealth, status, and notoriety.
Park Lane (£350)
Previously a country lane running through Hyde Park, with fashionable mansions on either side, Park Lane is now a 6 lane thoroughfare which connects Hyde Park Corner and the southwest to Marble Arch and routes going north. Although lined with some of the most exclusive and expensive properties in London during the 18th century, now Park Lane is host to a number of hotels, including the InterContinental (built on the site of HM Elizabeth II's childhood home), the Dorchester (boasting the deepest bath tubs in London) and the Grosvenor House Hotel (host to the worlds' oldest charitable ball, The Royal Caledonean Ball). Park Lane has a reputation of being home to some of the most recognisable names in the world such as Benjamin Disraeli, Mohammed Al-Fayed, and Fred Astaire.
Not a street but a locality, Mayfair is appropriately the most expensive space on the London Monopoly board. Property prices in this district are some of the most expensive, not only in London, but in the entire world. Mayfair gets its name from a fair that was previously held in the area during May of every year. Mayfair is home to exclusive shops (Burlington Arcade), luxury hotels (Claridges), The Royal academy of Arts, and the Handel Museum, as well as the American Embassy. Famous people who have called Mayfair home over the centuries include - but are definitely not limited to!: John Adams (2nd President of the United States), Tallulah Bankhead, Alexander McQueen, P.G. Woodhouse, Cass Elliot (From the Mamas & the Papas), Nancy Mitford, Ian Fleming (James Bond author), Horace Walpole, George Frederic Handel and Jimi Hendrix. Fans of The Beatles should note that the foursome lived in Mayfair together on Green Street in 1963 and also played their last ever live performance here on the roof of Number 3 Savile Row.
London Monopoly - The Railway Stations
Marylebone Station (£200)
Marylebone station is a Central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station in the Marylebone area of the City of Westminster. On the National Rail network it is also known as London Marylebone and is the southern terminus of the Chiltern Main Line to Birmingham. The station opened in 1899 as the London terminus of the Great Central Main Line, the last major railway to open in Britain in over 100 years, linking the capital to the cities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. Marylebone was the last of London's main line termini to be built, and is one of the smallest, having opened with half the number of platforms originally planned.
Fenchurch Street Station (£200)
Fenchurch Street railway station is a central London railway terminus in the southeastern corner of the City of London. It takes its name from its proximity to Fenchurch Street, a key thoroughfare in the City. Services run on lines to destinations in east London and south Essex, including Upminster, Grays, Basildon, Southend and Shoeburyness. The station opened in 1841.
Kings Cross Station (£200)
King's Cross railway station is a Central London railway terminus on the northern edge of the city. It is one of the busiest railway stations in the United Kingdom, being the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line to North East England and Scotland. The station was opened in 1852 by the Great Northern Railway in the Kings Cross area to accommodate the East Coast Main Line. It quickly grew to cater for suburban lines and was expanded several times in the 19th century.
Liverpool Street Station (£200)
Liverpool Street station is a central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station in the north-eastern corner of the inner city. The station opened in 1874 as a replacement for Bishopsgate station as the Great Eastern Railway's main London terminus. By 1895 it had the largest number of platforms on any terminal railway station in London. During the First World War, an air raid on the station in 1917 led to 162 deaths. In the build-up to the Second World War, the station served as the entry point for thousands of child refugees arriving in London as part of the Kindertransport rescue mission.
London Monopoly - Other localities
Go To Jail
There are nine prisons currently active in London - Belmarsh, Brixton, Feltham, Holloway, Isis, Pentonville, Thameside, Wandsworth, and Wormwood Scrubs. There are also another 22 inactive prisons in the London area, some of which would have been operational back when the UK edition of Monopoly was created. HMP Pentonville is the closest to another location on the Monopoly board, being not far from Pentonville Road.
Marble Plaque Salvaged From Hanworth Road Waterworks - London Museum Of Water And Steam
Electric Company and Water Works
The Monopoly game was originally created in the US in the early 1900's and it wasn't until the 1930's that the UK edition was created, and therefore the Electric Company and Water Works didn't actually relate to any particular location - they were just places on the monopoly board. If you want to include an Electric Company on your journey, you might try UK Power Networks 237 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, not far from Elephant & Castle station. For a Waterworks, visit The London Museum of Water & Steam, at Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, London, which documents the history of the Grand Junction Water Works Company, a pumping station opened in 1820 at Chelsea to take water from the Thames.
The first reaction to the thought of free parking in London is that there isn't any, but that is not strictly true if you go looking for it on the right day. There are in fact a few parking stations around Inner London where parking is free after 6.30pm and on bank holidays, public holidays and Christmas Day. Free parking appears between Vine Street and The Strand on a Monopoly board. Between the two in real life is the theatre district and there are a number of parking stations there that offer free parking outside of business hours.
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