Walk indirectly to jail

Last Saturday, an important principle was established: using only public transport and a pair of stout walking shoes, it is possible to visit all the locations on a Monopoly board in a day, William Hartston passed Go but did not collect pounds 200.

You can make your way round all the real-life Monopoly sites - if the Northern Line does not break down, Chelsea are not at home, and nobody makes you do any belly-dancing. The Great British Monopoly Challenge began at King's Cross Station at 9.30 am, with more than 80 teams raising funds for the British Legion and other charities. I joined the Waddington's team which included the world Cluedo champion, Josef Kollar, and his wife Jill. He was dressed in a prison convict's outfit, complete with ball and chain. I didn't ask why.

We immediately adopted a cunning plan. Since all the other teams would surely dash from King's Cross to the sites in the light-blue set - Pentonville Road, Euston Road, and the Angel - we'd avoid the jams that were bound to occur at those locations and get some others visited first. So we set off on the Victoria Line to Oxford Circus, where the Argyll Street exit led us to Hamley's and a table set up to mark the Regent Street site. A sticker was added to our Monopoly board game card to go with the one for King's Cross Station. Back up to Oxford Circus, turn left, and we were soon at Debenham's, to have Oxford Street ticked off. Then a short walk down New Bond Street to Fenwick's to complete the green set.

We then walked along Brook Street to make our way to Park Lane. The trouble with the Monopoly board is that the distance between neighbouring properties tends to be just that sort of 15-minute walk for which it does not pay to wait for a bus even if there is one going the right way. This was clearly going to be a very long Saturday walk.

After Park Lane came a walk to Marble Arch and down Piccadilly for Mayfair - the Mayfair Inter-Continental Hotel - then across the road to polish off Piccadilly at the Ritz.

Hopping on a number 15 bus, we then quickly added Leicester Square and Coventry Street, then walked down the road to Trafalgar Square and picked up Whitehall, Pall Mall and Northumberland Avenue as well. We were doing well. It was not yet noon and we had notched up 13 properties, well on schedule to complete the course by teatime. Our itinerary had also left us close to Wellington Barracks, where we had been told the first Chance card had to be picked up.

On arrival at the barracks, there was the usual table manned by volunteers, but also several formidable looking soldiers ready to put us through an assault course. In our case, it was the "make a bed blindfolded" task. I thought that Jill and I, aided by Josef's instructions, coped magnificently. Our hospital corners were particularly sharp and any defect in the final product was the fault of the soldier who had ironed the blanket. Nevertheless, we were awarded only 6 out of 10 for our effort, which earned us one house.

The bed-making had slowed us down, so we went on the tube from St James's Park to Westminster, then walked over the bridge to the London Aquarium - the Water Works - where another task awaited us. This was a jet-ski simulator at which I was hopeless. I never got the hang of the steering, so no bonus houses there.

The plan was now clear: walk to Waterloo Station and take the Northern Line to pick up the three properties we had ignored at the start. A crowd on the platform indicated that there had been no train for some time, but the indicator announced that we had only one minute to wait. Three minutes later the train arrived, and five minutes after that we were still standing at Waterloo. A voice on the intercom then said: "A Parthenon intercalary in meringue Parmenides suppository. Nubile Ostrogoth anaesthetist." None of the other passengers understood it either, so we all waited. The next announcement was clearer: the train in front had broken down and the northbound service was suspended.

So we took the next train south and changed to the other branch of the Northern line, for Moorgate and the Community Chest at Whitbread's Brewery in Chiswell Street. Next stop would be the Angel, and we're back on course. But it was not to be; at the Community Chest, they sent us to Jail - at the Museum of London in the Barbican. The jailer made us wander through the museum in search of the answers to three obscure questions. By the time we had earned our release, we were not only running short of time, but were far from the madding Northern Line.

We fitted in Liverpool Street Station and Whitechapel Road (all the teams were allowed to give Old Kent Road a miss), thence to Tower Hill on the District Line for Fenchurch Street Station. A pleasant walk through the city - deserted as usual on Saturday - then led to Bank station, where a tube ride brought us to Holborn and the Electric Company - London Electricity - where we earned five more houses thanks to an exhausting pedal on a cycling machine. Wobbly legged, we staggered down Kingsway towards Covent Garden for the second Chance card, which took the form of a belly-dancing lesson. I hid behind a pillar.

From Covent Garden, Bow Street, Fleet Street and the Strand were all within walking distance, then the Bakerloo Line took us to Marylebone Station. We now had only Vine Street (missed earlier because we had confused Vine Street W1 with Vine Street EC3), Marlborough Street and that elusive light blue set. We had even earned our sticker for Free Parking in the Mall. But it was all getting too late. We abandoned the Angel, Euston Road and Pentonville Road, shot back to Piccadilly for Vine Street, then decided we didn't have time to take in Marlborough Street in Chelsea but should rush to the finishing post at Battersea Park to meet the 6pm deadline. Traffic disruption caused by Chelsea's home match made any other plan too risky. We arrived with two minutes to spare.

As we sat slumped on the grass, we took stock of our day's exertions. From start to finish had taken eight and a half hours. We had been on buses and tubes (or waiting for buses and tubes) for about three of them. The rest of the time we were walking at a steady 4mph. That's more than 20 miles round the Monopoly board. And we'd have done them all if it hadn't been for the Northern Line.

Total walked: about 20 miles.

Best-hidden site: Marlborough Street - off Elystan St, SW3.

More traditional weekend walks return next week.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 1 Primary teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: An excellent primary school based ...

AER Teachers: Cover Supervisor - Central London - September

£70 - £80 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: This outstanding school s...

AER Teachers: SEN Teaching Assistant - London - September

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: This central London prima...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary Teaching Assistant

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: A good primary school in ...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms