Despite its size, London is in fact very walkable. Thanks to a wealth of parks and backstreets, there are plenty of places for a stroll where you’ll happily uncover some of London’s hidden treasures that you won’t find if you stay on the underground. Whether you’ve visiting London for a week or the weekend, these walks will help you squeeze the most out of your time here. We’ve rounded up 10 London walks that that take in some of the city’s most iconic sights and some of its less well-trodden paths.
The sights of South Bank
(London Bridge to the London Eye)
This iconic London walk takes in many of the city's main sights. Start at London Bridge and walk towards the London Eye. You’ll pass through Borough Market, see the Tate Modern in all it’s glory and have a beautiful view of St Paul’s Cathedral from Millennium Bridge. You’ll then come to The Royal Festival Hall and the Southbank Centre. Here you can watch people doing tricks in the famous skate park, or duck into one of the buildings to catch an exhibition. Have a browse of the book market underneath Waterloo Bridge, enjoy the street entertainers and continue West until you reach the London Eye. It’s not a long walk, but it certainly packs in the sights.
Way out west
At the far south west end of the District Line you’ll find Richmond. A royal borough with an affluent population and one of London’s wildest parks. The Tamsin Trail is one of the parks most popular walks, meandering all the way around the edge of the park. On a clear day you’ll see as far as the City of London to the east and Windsor Castle to the west. Have your camera ready because as well as beautiful nature and views, you’re likely to see lots of deer.
The East End
(St Paul’s to Bethnal Green)
Take in the City of London and the East End on foot on this atmospheric walk that the tourists probably don’t know about. Start at St Paul’s Cathedral and then weave through the narrow streets in the City of London including the historic Threadneedle Street. You’ll pass the old Bank of England as well as new buildings like Heron Tower. Walk up Bishopsgate past Liverpool Street Station and then head east towards Spitalfields Market. You’ve now left the city and entered the East End. Walk up Brick Lane and enjoy the sights and smells of the market then continue east after you reach Bethnal Green Road. Along Bethnal Green Road you’ll find a mix of hipster coffee shops and Bengali restaurants. Enjoy this unique community for the stretch of road until you reach Bethnal Green tube station.
The iconic London walk
This sprawling park with wild woodland and grand 18th century houses is one of London’s most iconic walks. Hiking through the park, it’s easy to forget you’re still in the city as it really does feel a million miles away. People from all over the capital come here to escape city living with running, walking and cycling all popular in the park. Head for Parliament Hill where you’ll have an interrupted view of the capital and then brave the wild swimming ponds and take a dip. People swim here all year round despite the freezing temperatures so you have no excuses.
Stand on the Meridian line
A spectacularly lovely park with views of Canary Wharf and the city in the distance, Greenwich Park is without a doubt one of London’s best walks. Within the park you’ll find the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House. The Royal Observatory is the home of Greenwich Meantime where you can stand on the meridian line, the dividing point between Earth’s east and west hemispheres. Just outside the park towards the river you’ll find the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark. A walk steeped in history.
The Thames Path
(Kingston to Hampton Court)
Kingston Upon Thames is often ignored by tourists visiting London because it’s quite a way from the action, but combining it with a scenic walk and a trip to Hampton Court will make the journey worth it. Cross Kingston Bridge so that you’re on the North side of the River Thames and start your walk here. It’s leafy and feels rural and you can just enjoy the riverbanks. You’ll soon reach the grounds of Hampton Court palace where you can explore gorgeous gardens and immaculate topiary. There’s even a maze to get lost in.
(St James’s park and Buckingham Palace)
St James’s Park is the oldest royal park in London and for that alone it deserves a visit. But it’s also surrounded by three palaces, including possibly the world’s most famous - Buckingham Palace. A stroll around here will take you past the Royal Court, Clarence House, the palace itself and then along the iconic Mall which is the coloured red road running alongside the park. Walk along the Mall and imagine being there during events such as royal weddings and the 2012 Olympics.
(Little Venice to Camden)
This Regent’s Canal walk will give you a glimpse of life on London’s ancient waterways. Start your walk at Warwick Avenue tube station, the perfect point to explore Little Venice from. The wide open space is lined with stunning Regency architecture and house boats and little bridges crossing the water. Head east along the canal towpath until you reach Regents Park. Take a brief diversion for a walk around the beautiful manicured gardens of one of London’s grandest parks. Go back onto the towpath and continue walking east. You’ll pass London Zoo and might even catch a glimpse of some of the animals. The walk ends at bustling Camden Lock. The ideal place to stop for well deserved lunch.
(Shoreditch to Stratford)
Take in some of Hackney’s hidden treasures with this cultural walk. Start in Shoreditch and enjoy the street art and general buzz before heading east along Hackney Road. Take a right onto Columbia Road and wonder up the market street. Sundays sees a flower market here but on any other day it’s just a pleasant cobbled street. Rejoin Hackney Road and then head north onto Broadway Market. You’ll pass Hackney City Farm and plenty of places to stop for refreshments. Walk through London Fields before heading east again and crossing Mare Street to walk towards Victoria Park Village. This quaint cluster of houses on the edge of the park is one of Hackney’s most charming areas. Continue through Victoria Park before reaching Hackney Wick. Here you’ll find artist’s studios and creative spaces before crossing the River Lea to the Stratford Olympic Park.
Source: Conde Nast Traveller
(Marble Arch to Kensington)
At the end of chaotic Oxford Street is Marble Arch which acts as a gateway to Central London’s largest park. Hyde park is a beautiful place to escape the city and walking through it will be different every time thanks to the constant calendar of events and open air exhibitions they have here. Cross the park to the Serpentine lake and walk along the edge watching the pedalos. Head for the far west corner of the lake where you’ll find the world-renowned Serpentine Gallery. Further west still you’ll come across the Princess Diana Memorial Garden and Kensington Palace. Exit the park at the Royal Albert Hall entrance and you’ll be perfectly placed to explore London’s museum district with the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A all right there.