In December, if you were in London and came across some Chinese kids standing under road signages having their pictures taken with no apparent tourist attractions in sight, that might have been us.
At our family holiday in the UK recently, we layered on a Monopoly challenge over the 8 days that we were spending in London: namely to get to all the places listed on the Monopoly board in the UK edition and take a picture with a road signage there (a friend whom I shared the holiday plans with said to me that was so absolute geek!).
If you counted only the property pieces (those coloured squares) and the 4 train stations, it would make for 26 stops. For good measure, we decided to also see if we might find Go, Chance, Community Chest, Go to Jail, Free Parking, Jail, Water Works, Electric Company, Income Tax and Super Tax which would bring us to total of 36 stops.
It proved to be at times good fun and kept the kids occupied looking out for road signs as we traversed the streets of London. On our walking tours, sometimes to the consternation and sometimes to the amusement of the various guides, we would run off on a tangent to get a picture as we spotted a road sign before running back to rejoin the group.
At other times, it was challenging and tiring – to get to all 26 stops at a minimum did require a fair amount of walking, including up and down the stairways of some of the older tube stations in London.
It took some creativity and courage on the kids (and my mom’s) part at times. For example, whilst sitting on the Original Open Top bus passing Knightsbridge, my mom came up with the inspired idea to take a picture in front of the Guess shop with their iconic question mark to capture our stop for Chance on the board. One of my kids approach a Policeman for a group shot complete with his London Police hat, thus ticking off the Go to Square corner on the board (without us thankfully having to do so).
Along the way, we got to learn about London in some very interesting ways that were thoroughly local and absolutely geek. For example:
- That this is apparently a very popular activity for stag nights with bachelor parties attempting to drink a pint (per person) at a pub at every stop on the board.
- There is actually no Bond Street in London. There was supposed to be one (and it was briefly called Bond Street) but it subsequently was renamed Old Bond Street when a New Bond Street was also laid. There is however a Bond Street in Stradtford (but this was not the street upon which the relatively upmarket green property square was based)
- Vine Street seemed initially to be a really odd property piece as it was a very short and narrow street with no establishments on it, making us ponder why it would be on the board. It once had a major Police station on it that was one of the busiest in the city, making it apt for the legal theme of the Orange set of properties.
- Whilst there is a Marlborough Street in London, given St James Palace being on it, this royal street was not the one referenced in the game. Instead, the street that it was based upon was Great Marlborough Street which had a Courthouse (again fitting the legal theme of the Orange set of properties).
- The Angel Islington was not a street but was an actual building called the Angel that was on the intersection of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road, And thank goodness when we went there, the building still exists. And it is the only building referenced on the board (and was where the deal to produce the UK edition of the game was discussed and agreed in the mid 1930s).
- Old Kent Road and Whitechapel Road were not ordinarily streets that tourists would visit and were a little off the beaten tourist path and gave us a local flavor of the city.
So did we succeed in becoming the Monopolist of London? We completed 29 stops including all the properties, all the train stations, Chance (Guess icon), Go to Jail (photo with a London police officer) and Jail (Tower of London and the Clinks). I think it’s game over and we are done! What do you think?