Book Bench Challenge – City Trail

We love getting out and about as a family and having a challenge. In previous years, hubby and I have visited the seven wonders of the British waterways, and over the last couple of years, we have been travelling around the country to try and find all the Olympic and Paralympic gold post boxes. So far we have visited 63 of the 64 Olympic ones and 24 out of the 46 Paralympic ones. We are planning on trying to complete this challenge. However, the remaining postboxes are harder to visit without going on holiday. In the meantime, we have been looking for a summer challenge that we can do closer to home.


The National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art have come together to create “Books about Town”. These are 50 book bench sculptures which will have been placed across London and will be there throughout the summer. We’ve decided that we will try and find them all as our summer challenge for 2014.


Me, Jessica and Sophie at the Mary Poppins bench; hubby and Jessica at the That's Not My Meerkat book bench - "Book Bench Challenge - City Trail"


We decided to spend a day in London yesterday and make a start on the challenge by doing the City Trail – 15 book benches around the City of London. We chose this trail as our starting point as we’d heard that Mary Poppins would be visiting the Mary Poppins bench and giving out some free books. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get to the bench in time to see her. We enjoyed having a day out together, walking around London and finding the benches on our trail though.


Me, Jessica and Sophie at the first three book benches - #1 Katie in London, #2 Noughts and Crosses and #3 A Brief History of Time

Our starting point was at the Tower of London where we ticked off our first bench: Katie in London. We then headed north and found our second bench, Noughts and Crosses, in Fen Court – a little courtyard just off Fenchurch Street. We also discovered another sculpture there – Gilt of Cain – a memorial to the victims of the slave trade. Our third bench, just off Cornhill, was A Brief History of Time where we managed to find the answer to one of the City Trail quiz questions.


The Gilt of Cain memorial

Benches four and five – The Wind in the Willows and Stormbreaker – were situated very close to each other near Bank station. I particularly liked the illustrations on The Wind in the Willows bench. I loved the beautiful bright colours and wonderful pictures of scenes from the book. Jessica seemed to like this bench too judging from the big smile on her face in the photo!


Me, Jessica and Sophie at bench #4 The Wind in the Willows and bench #5 Stormbreaker; hubby and the girls at bench #6 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack; me and the girls at bench #7 The Laura Marlin Mysteries

We then walked to the Guildhall where we found the sixth bench – Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanac. Bench seven – The Laura Marlin Mysteries – was found in the pretty St Mary Aldermanbury’s Garden a short distance away from the Guildhall.


Jessica on hubby's shoulders looking at a section of the London Wall

This part of the trail brought us up to London Wall. We stopped here for a short break and a look at the section of the Roman wall. While Sophie had a feed, Jessica enjoyed sitting on one of the Boris bikes with Daddy. We also spotted a yellow Boris bike in honour of the Tour de France.


Hubby looking at a yellow 'Boris bike' and Jessica and hubby sitting on a 'Boris bike'

Bench eight – Brick Lane – was found in Postman’s Park. Jessica enjoyed being able to run around here for a while. We also discovered the memorial to heroic self-sacrifice in Postman’s Park. This was another memorial which we never knew existed before.

Jessica exploring Postman's Park

Me, Jessica and Sophie at benches #8 (Brick Lane), #9 (Bridget Jones), #10 (Jacqueline Wilson) and #11 (Mary Poppins)

The next few benches were all found very close to St Paul’s Cathedral – Bridget Jones, Jacqueline Wilson, Mary Poppins, Fever Pitch, Peter Pan and Dickens in Liverpool. Sophie had had enough of book bench hunting by the time we reached the Dickens in Liverpool bench. She was fast asleep in the sling. Jessica was still quite happy though to continue to the final bench which was the That’s Not My Meerkat bench.


Me, Jessica and Sophie at benches #12 (Fever Pitch) and #13 (Peter Pan); hubby and Jessica at benches #14 (Dickens in Liverpool) and #15 (That's Not My Meerkat)

All in all, we had a lovely day out searching for the benches. Despite thinking we were fairly familiar with this part of London, we also got to discover various little parks and courtyards in the City which we never knew existed before. Fifteen benches down, thirty-five left to go!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

10 thoughts on “Book Bench Challenge – City Trail

  1. What a fun trail to complete over the summer, this is the first I have heard about it – the benches look wonderful! You had a lovely sunny day out in London and did very well to find so many. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  2. Oh, I love this idea! If only in was in my nearest city, we’d definitely do it! Looks like loads of fun 🙂

    1. It’s a shame they’re not all over the country – it’s such a lovely thing to be able to do over the summer 🙂

  3. I love this! What a brilliant idea, if I was in the UK I’d be doing a weekend, at the very least, in London finding benches. What a great way to explore the city too x

    1. It’s fabulous – we’re discovering all sorts of new places as a result 🙂

  4. I am loving this honey! what a super idea this is!

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments .. and also being a little late to get to you x

    1. Thank you – it’s been a lot of fun so far, looking forward to hopefully doing another trail in the next couple of weeks 🙂

  5. I love this idea. Such fun. Hopefully it’ll still be there when we’re in London at the end of August, as if there’s one near where we’re going I’d love to spot our first one. #magicmoments #countrykids

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