Cleopatra’s Needle: Egyptian Treasure


An understated bit of history sure to intrigue parents and kids alike, Cleopatra’s Needle is an unusual treat during family outings. Right on the quay of the Victoria Embankment, the needle just barely rises above the oriental plane trees separating the roadway and strand, flanked on either side by impressive and ominous bronze sphinxes. Several black plaques tacked to all sides of the plinth allow you to explain the history of this massive spire to your kids, tracking its journey from Heliopolis to Alexandria to the sedimentary depths of the Bay of Biscay (it was quite a journey) and its final arrival at the embankment. Hoist your little one up on your shoulders and let them have a crack at deciphering the fading hieroglyphics inscribed at the behest of Ramsay II. When they’ve alighted on the ground once more, point out the pockmarked base of the monument. This was part of the result of the first German bomb dropped on London, although not during one of the historic blitzes, but rather, dropped from a balloon during World War I. As you continue down the embankment, keep your eye out for even more Egyptian décor lining the benches, as if history is rippling out from the red granite spire defying time as it continues to linger in the sky.

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Cleopatra's Needle

Victoria Embankment London

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