Anne Anderson Walk
The Anne Anderson walk is a cherished annual social event for Cochrane, where attendees explore the Colloquium host city and make a donation to next year’s Anne Anderson Award. Join us for a scenic stroll through the sites around the conference centre and see sites from medical history along the way. This self-guided walk is a great opportunity to stretch your legs, enjoy the fresh air, and explore the local area.
Anne Anderson was a contributor to the stream of thinking and effort that gave birth to evidence-based health care and led to the development of Cochrane. The Anne Anderson Award recognizes and stimulates individuals contributing to the enhancement of women’s visibility and participation in Cochrane’s leadership. Those participating in the Anne Anderson walk make a donation to the Anne Anderson Award.
You can also get Anne Anderson merchandise from the Cochrane Store.
Joining this year's walk?
The Anne Anderson Walk is a gentle stroll on mostly flat surfaces. It is approximately 4.5 km long and can be completed at your own pace, but generally in just over an hour – if you are making stops and taking breaks, allow for more time. The walk takes you past some of the city's most iconic landmarks, provides opportunities to catch stunning views of London, and educates you about several medical points of interest.
We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes and a bottle of water, and don't forget your camera!
Make a donation: Please make a donation to support the award that recognizes individuals contributing to the enhancement of women’s visibility and participation in the Cochrane leadership.
Share your picture: Please share pictures of your walk on social media with the hashtag #AnneAnderson and/or email to Lydia Parsonson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The walk starts and ends at the conference centre, and maps and directions will be available for all participants. With three eventful days of Colloquium content, we encourage you to indulge in this self-guided tour, granting yourself the opportunity to relax and proceed at your own tempo. Whether you choose to meet colleagues before, during, or after the Colloquium or simply take an evening stroll, this experience is designed to accommodate your personal preferences.
On the walk, we recommend you use this route on Google Maps to orientate yourself alongside this map designed to help you spot the landmarks. If you would like a printed copy of the map, please print it at home and bring it with you.
Here, you can read an interview with Anna Doherty, the person behind the map artwork. Anna shares her inspiration for the art and provides insights into what participants can expect along the route.
Below, you can read about the route and details about each of the points of interest:
- QEII Centre – Our starting point is the #CochraneLondon conference centre.
The Centre has beehives with 10,000 bees on the 4th-floor courtyard and some great artwork inside! The most famous of these is a large-scale wooden sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi, considered to be a pioneer of pop art. His sculpture contains references to musical themes in general and the music of Benjamin Britten. Prior to being a conference centre, the site had many uses including being a hospital and medical school.
- United Nations Green – Exiting the QEII Centre you will see a grassy area out the front.
This is the only location in the United Kingdom to be named after the United Nations. This site was once known as Broad Sanctuary and was a place where refugees and debtors were protected by civil power. It later was part of the space that was a hospital and medical school.
- The Westminster Scholars War Memorial – cross Victoria Street/Broad Sanctuary at the pedestrian crossing to get to this tall marble and stone memorial.
This commemorates former Westminster pupils who died in two wars. Look up and see if you can spot St. George slaying a dragon! The buildings around the Memorial are Westminster Abbey and the Dean’s Yard gatehouse; both in Gothic style.
- Westminster Abbey – Continue around the Westminster Abbey building to get a closer look!
Benedictine monks founded Westminster Abbey in 960. Inside the Abbey, there are 17 monarchs buried and a Nurse's chapel in Florence Nightingale’s honour. If you’d like to go inside Westminster Abbey, check the entry times and prices.
- Parliament Square Garden – Cross at the pedestrian crossing to the green space in front of Westminster Abbey. Use the pavement by the trees and statues to walk across Parliament Square Garden.
This space was first laid out in 1868, redesigned several times, and was home to London’s first traffic signals. You’ll see 12 statutes here - mostly of statesmen and other notable individuals. Find the statue of Millicent Fawcett, who campaigned for women’s suffrage, in the northwest corner (Big Ben is east).
- Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster – Walk along the pavement in the square to the pedestrian crossing in the northeast corner – it’s easier to cross here! Walk towards Big Ben on the south side of the street towards the bridge.
You are now in front of the Palace of Westminster, informally known as the House of Parliament. The Great Fire of 1834 destroyed the original buildings and the present-day building was built in a Gothic style starting in the 1840s. Look for the tallest tower called the Victoria Tower; for many years this was the tallest and largest stone square tower in the world standing at 325 feet.
- Big Ben – Keep walking towards the bridge – you can’t miss this London icon!
The world’s most famous clock tower is 11 floors high and the clock was installed in 1859 after a competition to make sure the designs would yield the ‘most accurate turret clock in the world’. Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and not the tower? As you head towards Westminster Bridge, on your left is Portcullis House. Opened in 2001, it provides offices for Members of Parliament and their staff.
- Westminster Bridge – You will stroll across the bridge on the side closest to Big Ben. Enjoy the views!
Right before the start of the Bridge on the north side, there is a bronze sculpture of the Celtic queen Boadicea and her daughters riding a horse-drawn chariot – look above that busy tourist kiosk on the other side of the street! Adopted by the suffragettes as a symbol of the campaign, Boudicca is considered a British national heroine and represents the struggle for justice and independence. There have been several versions of Westminster Bridge over the years – this current one opened in 1862, making it the oldest surviving road bridge across the Thames in central London. As you walk over the bridge, pause and look back and enjoy the view of the Houses of Parliament from this angle.
- COVID Memorial Wall – Right after the bridge ends, there is a staircase on the right. Take a few steps down to see the public mural. There are benches here along the water to sit and reflect.
Right before you head down the stairs, look across the street. Can you spot the South Bank Lion? It was originally made for the Lion Brewery in 1837 and was saved when the building was demolished by the wishes of King George VI. When you go down the stairs, you’ll see the COVID-19 tribute on the left and will take in the impact of COVID as you walk along the wall. The public is welcome to write a lost loved one’s name and message in one of the hand-painted red and pink hearts. The wall is maintained by volunteers and as the hearts fade, they are repainted.
- St Thomas Hospital – Riverside Garden and Fountain – Go back up the stairs and turn right. Walk down and then turn into the green area to your right-hand side. This is another great place to take a break and rest your feet.
You are now on the grounds of St Thomas Hospital. It hosts one of the busiest emergency departments and maternity services in London; over 6,000 babies are born here each year! The garden is built on the site of the former house of the Treasurer of the hospital, which was destroyed by the World War II bombings. The ‘Revolving Torsion’ fountain is located in the middle of the gardens and is on loan from the Tate Galley.
- Mary Seacole Statue – From the garden you’ll be able to see the large Mary Seacole statue in bronze; walk over for a closer look!
Mary was a Scottish-Jamaican nurse who overcame racism and injustice to nurse soldiers during the Crimean War. In 2004, Mary was voted the Greatest Black Briton and in 2016 this statue was unveiled. Her legacy is continued by the Mary Seacole Trust which promotes fairness and equality, including diverse leadership in private and public services.
- Florence Nightingale Museum – From the statue, if you plan to visit the museum you can follow the signs to the right of the building behind it to the Florence Nightingale Museum.
The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-4:30pm. While not much to see when it’s not open, it’s worth coming back to later if closed while doing your walk! There is a great gift shop and lots of learning about Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole inside. If you plan to stop here, expect to take about an hour. If not stopping, simply move onto the next stop on the map.
- General Lying-In Hospital – Return back to Westminster Bridge Road in front of the garden. Use the pedestrian crossing to go to the other side and walk down Belvedere Road. On your right you’ll see a paved courtyard; across York Road, you can see the General Lying-In Hospital (now a hotel). You can walk over if you’d like a closer look.
On a corner and surrounded by modern buildings, you’ll find one of the first maternity hospitals in UK. ‘Lying-in’ was the old practice of a long period of bedrest for women before and after childbirth. At least 150,000 babies were born at the hospital and it is said that Florence Nightingale took a personal interest in the associated midwifery training school.
- London Eye – Keeping walking on Belvedere Road and you won’t be able to miss the London Eye to your left! Take the tree-lined walkway to get a closer look.
The London Eye is Europe’s tallest observation wheel. It has 32 ‘pods’ each holding 25 guests for a 30-minute ride.
- London’s Super Sewer – Turn right at the London Eye and walk away from the Westminster bridge, with the Thames River on the left. You will see a construction site on the shore opposite of the London Eye.
A public health issue! Construction work has started on London’s Super Sewer; this is the Victoria Embankment Foreshore site and will be completed by 2025. The sewer will be 25km long and protect the river from sewage pollution. This is a much-needed replacement for Sir Joseph Balzalgette’s sewerage system created in response to the Great Stink of 1858 - key in reducing cholera epidemics and beginning to clean the River Thames!
- The Golden Carousel – Walk along the paved pathway here with the Thames River to your left. You’ll see the Carousel on your right along with lots of places to stop for shopping, to grab a drink, or stop to eat.
Welcome to South Bank! The Golden Carousel you see here is fun for children and adults. It replicates the fun of an English Carousel from the 1951 Festival of Britain at Battersea Park. There is lots to see as you walk along – there are many restaurants, shops, and even a skatepark. If you walk further along the embankment you can you explore this area more – or return when you have more time! Following the Embankment, you can get to the Tate Modern art gallery and the Shakespeare’s Globe. There is lots to explore along here, great views, and you won’t get lost!
- Waterloo Bridge – After the Carousel, you will see stairs up to the Golden Jubilee Pedestrian Bridge but if you have the time, we suggest going to the next bridge that you can see just ahead – Waterloo Bridge has much better views! Cross over the other side of River Thames and turn left.
At the Waterloo Bridge, you will see the Southbank Centre. Here there are free bathrooms and a café if you need a pitstop before heading back. The first Waterloo Bridge opened in 1817 but needed to be reinforced to allow for modern traffic. During the Second World War, women were employed to complete the construction, hence earning the nickname of the 'Ladies Bridge'. The bridge has been painted by Claude Monet more than 40 times and from both sides you can enjoy pretty views of London.
- Cleopatra’s Needle – Walk with the River Thames to your left. Between Waterloo Bridge and Jubilee Bridge you’ll see this large obelisk flanked by statues of two sphinxes.
Erected in 1878, this was a gift from the ruler of Egypt and Sudan. It was originally erected in Egypt in 1450 BC. Look closely for shrapnel holes and gouges on the right-hand sphinx – this is from an air raid bomb from World War I.
- The Women of World War II Monument - At Horse Guards Avenue use the pedestrian crossing to walk across and go down this street. At the end of the street, turn left onto Whitehall and walk down the street. Whitehall turns into Parliament Street.
As you move down Horse Guard Avenue you will see the Ministry of Defence on your left. This building was the inspiration for the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter books. Then on Whitehall, in the centre of the road is a large black-coloured bronze memorial with 17 helmets and uniforms sculpted as if hanging from pegs around the outside. These uniforms represent hundreds of vital jobs undertaken by over 7 million women during the Second World War. When the war ended, women were forced to quietly hang up their uniforms and resign.
- Downing Street – Just after the monument you will see Downing Street on your right.
This street was built in the 1680s by Sir George Downing. Downing Street is now the official residence and office of the UK Prime Minister.
- St James Park – Continue walking down Parliament Street and then turn right at King Charles Street. At the end is a set of stairs to St James Park. Turn left and continue down Stoney’s Gate to return to the conference centre.
There is a huge park just steps away from the conference centre! This is a great place to return to and explore! It was named after a leper hospital dedicated to St James the Less. It’s a great place to take in some pretty flower beds and take a walk by the lake. Look out for pelicans – they were first introduced to the park in 1664 as a gift to King Charles II from the Russian Ambassador.