Admiralty Arch is a gorgeous Edwardian monument at the entrance of the Mall, the road that leads up to Buckingham Palace. Admire the graceful architecture of its three large stately arches and look for a quirky addition to the left of the central arch.
The landmark is linked to the Old Admiralty Building, hence its name. For centuries, this was the headquarters of the Royal Navy. The arch was commissioned in 1910 as a memorial to Queen Victoria. Look for the Latin inscription on top of the arch, which reads “Anno decimo Edwardi Septimi Regis Victoriæ Reginæ cives gratissimi MDCCCCX” (“In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910”).
Designed by Sir Aston Webb, the arch was part of a larger plan to transform the Mall into a majestic royal boulevard. In 2013, the U.K. government approved plans to restore the arch, converting it into residences and a luxury hotel.
Take a look at the arch’s imposing architecture, which features a middle section designed to look like a triumphal gate. The central arch can accommodate traffic, but it’s only opened for ceremonial occasions. The larger arches on either side of the middle arch are used for vehicles and the smaller outer archers are open for pedestrians.
While passing through the archway from Trafalgar Square, try to spot an unusual feature on the right arch. About 7 feet (2.1 meters) up the wall, you’ll see a protrusion about the size and shape of a human nose. There used to be a few different legends about its origin, with some saying it’s a tribute to the Duke of Wellington’s supposedly large proboscis. In 2011, artist Rick Buckley claimed to have added the nose in 1997 as a response to the “nosey” CCTVs being installed around the city.
Admiralty Arch is on the southwest corner of Trafalgar Square and can be reached by numerous bus routes and by taking the Underground to Charing Cross. Among the famous sights within walking distance are St. James’s Park and Buckingham Palace.