Marble Arch

Monument in The West End

Image by Will Jones Lonely Planet

Designed by John Nash in 1828, this huge white arch was moved here from its original spot in front of Buckingham Palace in 1851, when adjudged too unimposing an entrance to the royal manor. If you’re feeling anarchic, walk through the central portal, a privilege reserved by (unenforced) law for the Royal Family and the ceremonial King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Lending its name to the neighbourhood, the arch contains three rooms (inaccessible to the public) and was a police station from 1851 to 1968 (two doors access the interior), large enough to accommodate 100 policemen who could rush to nearby Speaker's Corner if trouble was a-brewing.

A ground plaque on the traffic island between Bayswater and Edgware Rds indicates the spot where the infamous Tyburn Tree, a three-legged gallows, once stood. An estimated 50,000 people were executed here between 1196 (the first recorded execution) and 1783, many having been dragged from the Tower of London. During the 16th century many Catholics were executed for their faith, and it later became a place of Catholic pilgrimage.

To the west of the arch stands a magnificent outsized bronze sculpture of a horse's head called Still Water, created by Nic Fiddian-Green in 2011.