Open House Festival

Tour of Strand Aldwych

LDA Design - Landscape Architect, 2022

St Mary le Strand, Strand, WC2R 1ES

The creation of new public realm along Strand, south of Aldwych, has been described as the one of the best things to happen to London in years. It is an exemplar of what's possible when road space is reclaimed for people and for nature.

Getting there


Covent Garden, Holborn, Temple


Blackfriars, Charing Cross


1, 139, 15, 168, 172, 188, 243, 26, 341, 59, 68, 76, 87, 91


Accessibility notes

The tour is of a public space which is lined with cafes, so refreshments, toilets and baby changing facilities are within easy reach.


Strand Aldwych - a new piece of city

Strand Aldwych is a new kind of social city space, carved out from a heavily trafficked gyratory.

Strand has been an important east/west route in London since AD190 when it was called Strond, meaning edge of the river. It remains a key processional route between Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s. Completed in 1905, Aldwych is a younger part of the city, and inspired by Parisian boulevards.

In the 20th century, Strand and Aldwych formed a multi-lane, heavily trafficked one-way gyratory. Despite being lined with renowned institutions including Somerset House, the Courtauld Gallery (both Grade 1 listed), Store Studios and Bush House as well as universities King’s College and London School of Economics, the area became a hostile non-place, somewhere to pass through quickly, with pedestrians pinned back by traffic. The gyratory turned the Grade 1* St Mary Le Strand Church into a glorified traffic island known to bus drivers as St Mary in the Way.

LDA Design and Westminster City Council have worked to remove traffic along Strand, from Waterloo Bridge to St Clement Danes. Now, there is a generous performance space for the educational and cultural institutions along Strand to curate, and beautiful, tranquil gardens surround St Mary le Strand church. Aldwych has become two-way, and more pedestrian-friendly with new crossings.

Described as one of the best things to happen to London in years, this significant and complex project demonstrates a shift in how we view our city streets. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has described it as “the best and most enlightened example of good town planning since the creation of Covent Garden Piazza in the 1970s.”

The tour will be guided by the lead landscape architect and a director at LDA Design, Cannon Ivers.

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