London Car-Free Day, 22 Sep 2019

Fun, inexpensive day out for children

Last Sunday was London Car-Free day. Many London boroughs took part, but by far the most ambitious event was in The City, centered at Bank Junction and streets within a 5-minute walk. About half of The City was made car-free for the day.

Roughly half of The City was car-free

The theme was ‘Reimagine’, whereby visitors were invited to imagine London car-free. On offer were:

  • Bike rides, yoga, and meditation on Tower Bridge
  • A hedge maze in Cheapside
  • Car parking spaces changed into ‘parklets’ filled with games, gardening and places to sit and relax with music
  • Pop-up playgrounds, guided walks and bike rides, street food stalls, art installations, and BMX rides
  • Mini comedy stages and dance classes

Bank Junction was turned into a festival space, with a picnic area and lively musical entertainment and hot food vendors. There was a re-enactment of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 close by the Tower. Children could build and race their own go-karts in Poultry. Santander Cycles offered free hires. 

Everything was free, except for the food stalls, so fantastic value for money.

The day was somewhat overcast, with some rain, and this no doubt contributed to a light visitor density. As a, ahem, vehicle to spread awareness of car alternatives, the event may have been preaching to the converted: many visitors, including your correspondent, showed up on bikes.

If it’s held in The City, I’d strongly recommend it as a fun, inexpensive outing for young children, up to to about 13 years of age, among some of London’s most notable buildings.

Cheapside; hedge maze to right, Bow church to left
Typical parklet, converted here to a play area
Poultry, looking toward Bank Junction
From Bank Junction along Cheapside
Bank Junction toward St Mary Woolnoth
Video games on Gresham Street; fewer people away from Bank Junction
Gresham Street, in the other direction, parklets in distance

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