Vine Street: smoke yourself to a dead end

I ride a pushbike. I don’t smoke. I failed my motorbike test the first time, mucking up the U-turn in a narrow road.
All these things conspire to limit the appeal of Vine Street in Westminster. And it’s not just me; local authorities concur. Between 1940 and 1972 it was wiped off the map.

Even if you are minted, you can forget any Monopoly-inspired dream of putting four compact but bijou townhouses on this 40m-long scrap of London W1 that’s barely wide enough for a three-point turn, never mind chucking a U-ie.

A single property actually fronts on to Vine Street – helpfully its office reception is prominently signed “one vine street” to avoid any confusion with, er, with…

Someone has however already got in with a hotel (albeit only the goods entrance to Le Meridien) so that Monopoly link is covered.
It’s appropriate therefore that stopping by here is costly. The entire street is a shrine to double yellows and – this being Westminster – there’s nowhere safe to leave a bike and precious little at ground level to attach one to.

As befits the former site of a slightly famous police station (hence its appearance on the Monopoly board), this is a street that shouts, “Move along, nothing to see.”
It’s a thoroughfare that would probably quite like you to go back to Old Kent Road. (Don’t try advancing to Mayfair – you’re already in it.)

Unless, that is, you are a smoker.

Surrounded by the back entrances of shops, offices and hotels, this is a corner of England that will forever be a foreign (tobacco) field, thanks to the cigarette butts and litter left by the constant stream of local workforce smokers getting their nicotine fix.

Getting there
Where: Grid reference TQ293806 or more usefully W1J 0AH, just west of Piccadilly Circus between Regent Street, Piccadilly and Swallow Street.
How: I’d walk if I were you.

What’s actually to do there
Get a parking ticket.
Wonder whether Coldplay’s Yellow was inspired by Vine Street.
Practise your smirting, your counting to 1 or your really difficult U-turns.

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2 Responses to Vine Street: smoke yourself to a dead end

  1. Now I feel I haven’t given Vine St the attention it deserves. Not even when playing Monopoly. Must make amends.

    • Ian says:

      I didn’t dwell on the Monopoly significance of Vine Street. If you’re interested, I highly recommend Tim Moore’s very funny book “Do Not Pass Go”. It’s full of laugh out loud trivia about all the London Monopoly locations: how and why they earned inclusion plus each place’s history. Oh and it turns out the orange set (including Vine St) is statistically the most profitable group to hold when playing the board game.

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