As winter moves into spring, daffodils are blooming in London.  Here is an image from Regent’s Park, taken on 29th February in this Leap Year.

Regent's Park daffodil (1)To reach the park from my home, I need to cross the busy Marylebone Road.  I have a few options, above ground and below ground.  One of the subterranean routes became a little brighter this year.  The underpass near Baker Street station is now “The Wonderpass”.

Wonderpass welcome

It’s still just a subway connecting the north side of Marylebone Road with the south side, but it’s cleaner, brighter and safer.  If you’re running for a train at Baker Street station, then a safe crossing is all you need.

Baker Street stationBut if you have time to “Look Around You” as the signs say, you can get a little bit more from this curious cultural crossing.

Wonderpass steps

A miniature stage-set on one wall reminded me to book tickets for this summer’s plays at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.  Other wall panels give a timeline of Marylebone’s local history.   Did you know that Marylebone was the site of London’s first Indian restaurant, the Hindostanee Coffee House, which opened on George Street in 1810?

Wonderpass Hindostanee signThe Coffee House is long gone, so if you’re looking for a modern version of Indian vegetarian food, I recommend Woodlands Restaurant on Marylebone Lane.

What else is signposted from the Wonderpass?

Wonderpass signs SE

Paddington Street Gardens are not as vast as Regent’s Park, but they are still a precious “breathing space” in our densely-packed urban village.

Primula in Paddington St Gardens

If you want to read more about “The Wonderpass”, click here for the official announcement from the Baker Street Quarter Partnership, and click here for a more sceptical view from The New Statesman.

And wherever you are, Look Around You!

Wonderpass mirror


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