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Top 12 Walking Routes in London - Essential Living

Top 12 Walking Routes in London

Blog London Lifestyle
05.08.22

Just because you’ve chosen city life, doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the great outdoors. London has some great walking routes to enjoy, whether you’re eager to get out and about in nature or explore some of the rich and complex history of the UK.

 

We wanted to show you some of our favourite walking routes in London that will not only help you take in some fresh air but also get your body moving and explore the hidden sights of London.

 

Where to walk in London? 

 

The Thames Path

London South Bank

This long-distance walking trail is very popular with keen hikers. The entire route stretches 294km and would take you around 14-days to complete the whole trail. Of course, we don’t expect you to be taking on the full trail but you can enjoy various sections on both the north and south banks. 

 

Transport for London has a great breakdown of all the different routes along The Thames Path that you can explore but some of the key highlights of this walk include: 

 

  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Canary Wharf
  • Houses of Parliament 
  • South Bank 
  • Battersea Park

 

Hampstead Circular Walk

A lush green walk that offers a relaxing walk in nature. The Hampstead circular walk is between 7.32 km and 10.59 km long, depending on whether you opt for the easier walk or the steeper walk. 

 

Along this walk, you’ll get to enjoy Preacher’s Hill and Hampstead Ponds. You’ll also be taken around the stunning Kenwood House, where you can choose to explore the grounds a little more, pop into the gift show or grab a refreshment in the on-site cafe. 

 

Plan your walk with the help of the London Ramblers Hampstead Heath Circular Walk guide

 

Parkland Walk

Parkland Walk, London

There are two sections to the Parkland Walk that you can enjoy, either the North walk which takes you from Cranley Gardens to Muswell Hill. Or, if you’d prefer the South walk, you can walk from Holmesdale Road in Highgate to Finsbury Park. 

 

With the northern section running at around 2km and the southern section stretching approximately 3km, you could combine the two and enjoy a full 5km walk through some of London’s woods and wildlife habitats. 

 

Green Chain Walk

 

Another walk that is conveniently split into two distinct sections. Green Chain Walk takes you all the way from the River Thames to Nunhead Cemetery and takes you through lush woodland and vast green fields and parks. 

 

This route is very well signposted so you’ll find it easy to navigate, plus you’ll be able to see some stunning sights along the way, such as: 

 

  • Eltham Palace
  • The Horniman Museum and Gardens
  • Oxleas Woods
  • Severndroog Castle

 

Oxleas Meadows and Wood

 

If you’d like to explore Oxleas Woods by itself, then there is a walk you can do that takes you solely through the woods and meadows. The woods are thought to be around 8,000 years old and cover 77 hectares. 

 

You’ll even find a delicious cafe at the top of the hill of the meadow, where you can grab a refreshment before carrying on your walk. Oxleas Woods are a very popular hiking spot with walkers and there are lots of different routes you can take around the area. Komoot has pulled together a great blog with 15 of the best walking routes around the woods and meadows which is worth checking out. 

 

London Wall Walk

 

For history lovers, you might want to immerse yourself in London’s rich history, in which case the London Wall Walk is a great way to spend some time outdoors. 

 

This route is signposted with various plaques that offer information about the history of the wall. You’ll start with the first plaque near the Tower of London called ‘Postern Gate at The Tower’. From here, you’ll carry on up to Tower Hill to find the second plaque. 

 

All the plaques are numbered allowing you to keep track of the direction you’re heading and the 2.8 km walk will lead you right up to the Museum of London.  

 

Abney Park to Hackney Marshes

Abney Park walk

A varied walk that comes in at around 5.2 km and shows you some of Hackney’s green open spaces and parks, as well as taking you through the historic Abney Park Cemetery. 

 

Abney Park is a 13-hectare park dating from around the 1700s and is filled with wildflowers, elm trees and cedars. For sports lovers, Hackney Marshes offers a slice of football history with pitches dating back to 1946 and is often known as the spiritual home of Sunday league football.  

 

The Wandle Trail

Wandle Trail, London

If you’re in need of a dose of uninterrupted wildlife and green spaces then The Wandle Trail is perfect for you. Situated in southwest London, this is a hub of natural beauty spanning 15 miles along the river Wandle. 

 

The whole trail is around 20km from East Croydon Station to the Thames Path however there are shorter walks within the main route that are better for a casual walk with friends and family. For example, heading out from Morden Hall to Colliers Wood Station will take only 30 minutes.  

 

Victoria Park

 

There are lots of circular walks around Victoria Park and one of our favourites is the Regent’s Canal and Victoria Park circular. This route takes you along an easy trail right in the heart of London. 

 

Not only will you enjoy everything that Victoria Park has to offer, but you’ll also follow the canal to see rows and rows of colourful canal boats. For those that love street art, this walk will take you past some amazing pieces of work before turning you around and leading you back to the green of the park.  

 

South Bank

London South Bank

London’s South Bank is steeped in history and a great place to take in some of the most popular sights. This South Bank Thames walk is a quick 5 km that is easy for all fitness levels, you’ll also be immersed into some of London’s more contemporary culture with the Tate Modern Gallery and the beautifully restored Globe Theatre. 

 

South Bank walk is also stunning during dusk or nighttime when the city is fully lit up. You’ll be able to avoid the busiest tourist crowds and get to see some of the most historic sights including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and a number of protected remnants from the Blitz.  

 

Sydenham Hill Wood

 

Nestled in the borough of Southwark lies Sydenham Hill Wood, one of London Wildlife Trust’s oldest nature reserves. 

 

This is a great loop walk that spans around 6.9 km, with a nice mix of history, nature and wildlife. It is particularly beautiful in the autumn months when the trees are just starting to turn, but the reserve is always open to visitors no matter the season.  

 

Hilly Fields and Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

This circular walk shows you the very best that Greenwich has to offer. It’s a relatively easy loop that is around 9.5 km, paved and dog friendly. 

 

Not only will you enjoy the vibrant flower beds of Greenwich park, but you’ll also get a taste of the area’s rich maritime history and its perfect mix of traditional and contemporary architecture. As this trail takes you through Greenwich, there are plenty of opportunities to stop at one of the area’s many cafes and restaurants for light refreshments, brunch or lunch. 

 

How safe is it to walk around London?

 

Like any big city, there will be areas that you’ll want to avoid and those that are perfectly safe to walk at any time of day. If you’re looking to catch the city at night then the central walks are fantastic because they’re always busy with tourists. 

 

All of the recommended walks above are perfectly safe and you’ll regularly pass other Londoners enjoying the wide-open spaces. 

 

If you’re looking for the best places in London for walking with your furry companions, then make sure to check out our guide on ‘London’s Best Parks for Dog Walking’. 

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