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London’s art goes alfresco – the Line Sculpture Trail is the capital’s first dedicated public artwork walk. This cultural trail was created in 2015 as an outdoor exhibition space to encourage Londoners and tourists to discover lesser well known parts of London and admire the artwork and outdoor nature together – the fact all the pieces are next to waterways is also an added bonus.
The Line Sculpture Trail London
The ‘Line Sculpture Trail’ name actually derives from the fact that it follows (approximately) the Greenwich* Meridian line, running from Greenwich all the way to Stratford, between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
*Incidentally, it is pronounced ‘Gren-itch’, not ‘Green-witch’ as we’ve heard some tourists say.
The 8km 5 mile route can either be started by going to Stratford High Street Station / Pudding Mill Lane DLR or North Greenwich Station, and then getting the Emirates Air Line between Royal Docks and the Greenwich Peninsula – we’d actually recommend starting it from Stratford as the first exhibits, the ArcelorMittal Orbit Accor by Anish Kapoor (unveiled as part of the London Olympics in 2012) and Carsten Höller’s The Slide are permanent, massive and above all, easy to find.
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This also means that once you’ve completed the trail at North Greenwich, you can then relax or cool off by visiting one of the many bars and restaurants in the O2 / former millennium dome after finishing at Alex Chinneck’s twisting tower sculpture, A Bullet from a Shooting Star.
Given the nature of the trail, most of the Line Sculpture Trail exhibits can be viewed up close – in fact, you add even take a ride on Carsten Höller’s The Slide, billed as the world’s tallest helter-skelter – you don’t normally get that sort of slip and slide outdoor fun in the capital’s museums and galleries.
So all in all, this is a gorgeous outdoor sculpture trail where you can get up close and personal with the exhibits in the great outdoors – what’s not to like? Well actually, the route itself isn’t that well signposted, save for a few faded blue signs – other than the interpretation panels at each of the outdoor exhibition pieces, it can be quite hard to follow, especially getting to and from the Bow Locks section. So if possible, bring along a phone with Google Maps (or similar) and a copy of the trail route is available here
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Based on our recommendation of starting in Stratford, we’ve listed the exhibits as they appear once you depart towards North Greenwich (so North to South).
Finally, if you want to see all the exhibits in one go and don’t want a repeated visit, please double check that all of the route is open as recent building work and construction along the Thames has caused part of the Thames Path to be diverted. When we completed the walk in May 2020, one section of the Line Sculpture Trail (near to the Blackwall Tunnel and Northern Ecology Area) wasn’t easily accessible (e.g Alex Chinneck’s ‘A Bullet from a Shooting Star’ was seemingly fenced in).
The Line Sculpture Trail London
A full list of exhibits as at May 2020 (please note this may change) :
1 & 2. Anish Kapoor – ArcelorMittal Orbit, 2012 and Carsten Höller – The Slide, 2016
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3. Abigail Fallis – DNA DL90 – 2003 (a helix of 22 supermarket trolleys)
4. Joanna Rajkowska – The Hatchling, 2019
5. Laura Bird – Bird Boy (without a tail) bronze statue – 2011
This can be hard to spot so look in the dock just next to the Emirates Air Line.
6. Antony Gormley – Quantum Cloud, 2000
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7. Gary Hume – Liberty Grip bronze sculpture, 2000
8. Richard Wilson – A Slice of Reality – 2000
Aa slice section of a sand dredger boat.
9. Thomson & Craighead – ‘Here’ signpost, 2013
Depicts the distance you’d need to travel all the way around the world to return to the exact same spot.
10. Alex Chinneck – A Bullet from a Shooting Star, 2015
Other London blog posts
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- Best walks in London – South Bank riverside walk (with map)
- Walthamstow Wetlands in north London
- Top things to do in Greenwich
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- Borough Market ultimate guide – London’s famous food market
- Guide to Maltby Street Market in London
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