riverside trees

My Walk this Week 136 – London Embankment

My walk this week is along the London Embankment from Tate Britain to Tate Modern. The route is a melting pot of people from everywhere and a multitude of sounds ranging from the lapping of the River Thames following the passage of river boats, to music and talking and footsteps and skateboards and birds and more and more.

disappearing steps

But the soundscape was not cacophonous, the streets and walk-ways were (mostly) not overcrowded. While I was amazed at the place, the people, the buildings, the river activity, I was not overwhelmed or oppressed by them. Thinking about the bigger picture and the numbers of . . . of everything, can be overwhelming, but I thoroughly enjoyed this walk. Perhaps that is because it was so different to what I am used to and, maybe more importantly, I was going to be able to leave it behind me at the end of my visit.

Embankment Walk Soundscape

London is full of nature as well as concrete, as proved by my walk last week in St James’s Park and by the trees lining the river embankment. This is also reflected in the complex aural jigsaw of the soundscape for the walk.

Click the play button above and then the first image to listen and look through the features of my walk this week.

Posted in Architecture, My Walk this Week, Photography, Soundscape, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. A fine gallery of photos, and all very familiar as we’ve done this walk (or sometimes just bits of it) several times over the years. Always something new to look at!

    • Thanks you Chris, I’m glad you liked it. Was the sound familiar too – I guess so. Even though it is unique to the moment, the same kinds of sounds are repeated from day to day. I just hope that it helps people to imagine the visual content.

      • It’s odd, having lived in cities for most of my life (though now the town I live in is pretty sleepy) I’ve always shut out ambient street sounds, just using them as clues to what might directly affect me (a car with a throbbing sound system, a skateboarder approaching down the pavement behind me, the drunken altercation I need to cross the street to avoid etc). Your sound clip was well edited, especially all the noises by the South Bank Centre, all very familiar. Weirdly, I’ve recently been wandering what the sounds in 1830s London would have sounded like while I’ve been ‘exploring’ Wapping in Joan Aiken’s alternative world of Dido Twite.

        • I know what you mean and I think we probably all do the same as a means of reading the essential elements of our local environment. I suspect there may have been many similarities in my soundscape to that of the 1830s though perhaps a different backdrop of horses hooves and carriage wheels rather than our modern day traffic. I wonder what range of languages there might have been? Thanks for listening

  2. I heard one of my favorite songs — Rolling on the River (also known as Proud Mary) — near the end of your walk. Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded that song in 1968. John Fogarty and his brothers grew up in the San Francisco East Bay not far from where I live.

    • Well caught! I stopped recording just before the busker really got going with it and fading out cut it shorter again. It’s cool that we can recognise so many musical works from such short phrases, just a not or two. Thanks for listening and looking

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