Which Monarch Has The Most Cool Stuff In London Named For Them?

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 43 months ago

Last Updated 14 December 2020

Which Monarch Has The Most Cool Stuff In London Named For Them?

On the streets of London, so many of the names you'll see hark back to a former British or English monarch. We decided to work out which monarch comes out on top with the most cool* stuff named after them.

This list is purely subjective in nature, we decide what's cool — and yes we've missed lots of stuff out, but if this was exhaustive we'd all be here all year.

Fit for a king? Ethelred Estate. Photo: Gary Kinsman

Æthelred the Unready

Perhaps the greatest epithet of any British monarch. Not exactly the greatest for him, obviously, but for everyone else it's absolutely hilarious. Apparently 'unready' had a different meaning back in the 10th Century, instead connoting 'ill-advised'.

So yeah, things didn't go too well for poor old Æthelred. He killed some Danish settlers, then became embroiled in a war with the Danes that led to him fleeing to Normandy. He returned for a short-lived second stint at ruling before his death.

Still, England's longest reigning Anglo-Saxon king can still be spotted in a few parts of London, most notably around Kennington. There, he has an estate and a nursery named after him.

Cool things: 2

King Charles I

There's little we love more at Londonist than a good old pub, and the King Charles I in King's Cross — we'll get to that area name later — is up there with the best. Lining the pub's walls are stuffed animal heads, which we hope aren't a reference to Charles' infamous beheading. We also once saw comedy legends Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker propping up the bar here.

Persistent rumours of the Nude Alpine Society meetings plague this particular pub. Apparently they clamber over chairs in the pub while in the buff. Actually, there's photo evidence. We're sure Charles himself would've approved.

Cool things: 1

King Charles II

King's Road in Chelsea

King's Road in Chelsea was originally Charles II's road — he used it to travel down to Kew. Lah de dah.

We're a bit unsure about dubbing King's Road as cool; we're not that into exorbitantly priced designer clothes. That said, it does have the Saatchi gallery, and there was a time, back in the 60s and 70s when everyone from the Stones to Mary Quant hung out here. For that, we'll give it half marks.

Cool things: 0.5

King's Cross which has the honour of being named after something named after a king. Does that count?

King George IV

King's Cross is named after King George IV. Well technically, it's named after a memorial named after him — and a much-loathed one at that — but close enough. The train station gets on this list, on merit of its stunning John McAslan + Partners ceiling alone. Waiting for your delayed train to Newcastle, it's soothing to stare up at that spun-sugar-esque thing in wonder.

Cool things: 1


Victoria Park. Photo: Simon

Queen Victoria's name is plastered all over the city, so we're going to be really picky with what we're classifying as cool, in an attempt to make this at least somewhat competitive. Sorry Queen's Park, Queensway and Victoria (both station and area), you're among the chaff.

Victoria Park, however, gets an in — Mecca for east London hipsters and dog walkers that it is. It also has a skatepark with something called a cradle, basically you go really fast and upside down. Raaaaaaaad.

The more niche counterpart to Victoria Park's massiveness is Queen's Wood — a verdant patch of woodland sat between Highgate and Muswell Hill. A community run cafe tucked away in there serves food sourced from the garden at the rear.

Of course, Queen Vic and her husband lend their name to the V&A; this was also the last place Victoria made a public appearance. That was to lay the foundation stone of the building in 1899.

Finally she's got the best — as proven by Geoff's highly scientific world cup — tube line named after her.

Cool things: 4

Elizabeth II

Elizabeth has some real big dogs named after her. The Elizabeth Line, the Elizabeth Tower, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Queen's Terminal and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Except all those things are more recognisable without dear Lizzie than with her. Look at this list another way: Crossrail (which, we will never ever call anything else), Big Ben, the Olympic Park, Heathrow Terminal 2 and the Dartford Crossing.

© Transport for London

So how to tally up our current monarch's score? Perhaps things will change after she dies, and we'll feel the need to memorialise her in every little place possible. For now though, no one really seems to acknowledge her name.

Cool things: 0

That leaves our winner of the inaugural Londonist cool things championship as Queen Victoria. Well done Vicky! What's that we're hearing? She's not amused? Bloody typical.

Know any other cool stuff named after British monarchs? Tell us about it — with a competent and totally serious demonstration of why they're cool — down in the comments.