Book Bench Challenge part 3 – Riverside Trail

Having completed the City trail and almost completed the Greenwich trail – it was time to set off on the Riverside Trail and find the book benches situated along the banks of the River Thames.

Country Kids 01

We started off at Southbank just near the London Eye as I’d thought there was a bench near Waterloo but when I consulted the printed out map from the Books About Town website, it seemed the first bench on our hunt was much further down the river than we’d anticipated. With the Festival of Love going on at the Southbank Centre, it still made for a very interesting walk along the river before we found our first book bench, the Shakespeare one, just outside the Globe theatre.

Country Kids 02

Continuing along the river, we passed the Golden Hinde II, a reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s ship in which he travelled around the world, and the site of The Clink prison (where there is now a museum).

Country Kids 04

Our next two benches, Great Expectations and Paddington Bear, were found very close together, near to Southwark Cathedral. We had to wait a little while to be able to take our photos as both benches were occupied by people relaxing and eating lunch. This was something that became a bit of a feature on this trail – the benches actually being mostly used as places to sit rather than as artworks to discover on a trail. We only came across a few other people who were trying to take photos of the benches rather than just wanting to sit down! I have to confess it got a bit frustrating at times, especially in areas where there were plenty of other seating options available!

Country Kids 05

On past London Bridge and to our next bench, War Horse. This was one of my favourites on the trail so far and the vivid red poppies against the black and white imagery of barbed wire and horses in battle was very striking and particularly moving with the centenary of the start of World War I being earlier this week.   The next five benches were very close together near Tower Bridge – the lovely bright and colourful Dr Seuss bench; Clarice Bean (which Jessica got very excited about – “Lola!” she kept saying, being more familiar with “Charlie and Lola” by the same author, Lauren Child); Through the Looking Glass; How to Train Your Dragon; and Discworld.

Country Kids 06

Our final bench in this area was the Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson bench near the London Bridge pier with its familiar images of the Gruffalo and the witch from Room on the Broom – characters that Jessica recognised from her bedtime stories. We took the river boat back to the London Eye, having realised that there was an extra bench on this trail not marked on the map downloaded from the website – the Jeremy Banx bench situated in Waterloo station which hubby noticed whilst checking the map on his phone. I knew there was a reason we had tried to park around that area! One last bench found before heading back to the car with two tired little girls who seemed to have both enjoyed their day out.

Country Kids 03

This trail takes the total number of book benches visited so far to 35 – just 15 left to go plus there is a 51st bench due to be unveiled somewhere in London at the end of August which we’ll hopefully manage to visit too.


Linking in with Coombe Mill for Country Kids:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

20 thoughts on “Book Bench Challenge part 3 – Riverside Trail

  1. This looks like a fab day out! I’m meeting friends at the Southbank in a few weeks so might suggest doing the trail. The festival of love looks interesting too 🙂 #CountryKids

  2. Oh wow – looks amazing!! What a great idea, lovely photos. Wish they did something like this closer to me! #CountryKids

  3. I so love this trail, and am sad it’s so far away from us! I love that War Horse one, too, and I know my kids would like the Julia Donaldson one! x

  4. We were in London this week and must have been right next to some of these benches – but I didn’t see them 🙁 I’ve had a look through your other posts about the book benches and think another visit to London is in order!

    1. Definitely worth having a look on the Books about Town website if you are planning another trip to London – there are maps online showing where the benches are if you’re trying to find them

  5. I do love this trail. Having done several other trails, which involved statues, I can see the disadvantage of the benches. Sitting on a painted swan or Gromit was not encouraged, so people did move on quickly. On the other hand, I love the idea that the art is practical as well. Probably due to be sold on for charity like the rest, but wouldn’t it be nice to find people still using these in years to come. #CountryKids

    1. It is lovely that the art is practical but does make it a bit more tricky if you’re trying to just take the photos of them all! They’re due to be sold for charity in the autumn.

  6. What a great day out, especially with the Festival of Love at the Southbank too! The girls look very happy to be having their photos taken on the beautiful benches. Thanks for linking up and sharing your family fun with Country Kids.

  7. We absolutely love these hunts and did the Wallace and Gromit one last year. This one looks amazing and we do love books. Well done on finding so many. Love how they are benches so you can sit and have a rest, whilst also making it easy to get a good photo.

    1. The Wallace and Gromit one looked like fun – one of my friends lives in Bristol so did that one. Love having a challenge to do – have heard that there will be 50 Paddington Bear statues appearing around London in the autumn so we’re hoping to try and find them too!

  8. I have enjoyed other friends who have been on trails in London, but never seen this one which looks great fun. I think I would have to hunt out how to train your dragon of course!

Comments are closed.