London is a fantastic city — you don’t need us to tell you that! With hundreds of tourist attractions to see and thousands of eateries to discover, you could spend a lifetime here and still never see them all. To make the most of your time in the capital, we recommend taking on one of the many walking routes and soaking up the sights along the way. Read on to find out about our five favourite walks through this great city.
One of the most iconic walking trails, the Thames Path stretches 184 miles along the River Thames, from its source in Gloucestershire all the way to the Thames Barrier in south east London. The beauty of this walk is that you can choose to start and finish wherever you like, and choose which sites you want to see. From incredible Tudor architecture to the beautiful Hampton Court Palace, and the natural wonders of Kew Gardens to the lush plains of Marble Hill House and Petersham Meadow, there’s something for everyone.
As this is a fairly central path through London, you’ll easily be able to link up with many other walks. To help ensure you get to see everything you want to, we suggest getting a map, choosing your top sites, and making your own path.
The Jubilee Walkway
Originally opened in 1977 as the Silver Jubilee Walkway in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne 25 years earlier, the goal of this route was to connect many of the capital’s top attractions. The whole route is about 15 miles long but is easily split up in to five main routes: the Western loop, the Eastern loop, the City loop, the Camden loop, and the Jubilee loop. If you want to pack as many major tourist spots as possible into a single day, you can’t go wrong with one of these walks.
There are simply too many attractions to list them all, but some of the sites you can see include, the National Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tower of London, the British Library, and Buckingham Palace.
Hampstead Heath Walk
In contrast to the other fantastic urban walks on this list, Hampstead Heath is a chance to explore nature, with wild, untamed fields and amazing views of the city. Covering an area of 320 hectares, you’ll find all sorts of fantastic sights in the Heath, from strings of ponds and ancient woodlands to huge bushes of flowers and a vast array of wildlife — including the largest pipistrelle bat roost in London. As one of the capital’s largest green areas, it offers a great chance to find some wilderness within the hustle and bustle of the big city.
There are plenty of self-guided walking opportunities through some of the prettiest areas of Hampstead, with plenty of great pubs and cafés along the way. For the best views, climb Parliament Hill and take in the iconic skyline.
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
This seven-mile circular walk is dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, with 90 plaques in the ground (pictured above) marking the route. This walk will take you through four of the eight Royal Parks: St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. You’ll also stroll past three palaces and two mansions, and be given the chance to see a selection of locations that were meaningful to the Princess. If you’ve got little ones with you, make a stop at the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, which has plenty of play equipment inspired by the adventures of Peter Pan.
What’s great about this walk is that it runs in almost circular loops, so it’s easy to join at any point and get back to where you began. Many walkers begin their journey at Hyde Park Corner, which acts as a kind of midpoint, allowing you to walk in a number of directions.
The Outer Orbital Path
Not quite as long as the full Thames Path, the London Outer Orbital Path — known as the London LOOP — stretches to a length of 150 miles. The route is the walking equivalent of the M25, circling the entire Greater London area and going through many of the city’s suburbs. There’s a lot of variety on this route, as you might imagine, with a mix of parkland, woodland, and farmland, as well as plenty of canals and rivers to take in. That said, you are in London, and parts of the trail will take you close to busy roads and urban areas.
The London LOOP is a fairly easy walk to follow, and it can be broken up in a variety of interesting ways, meaning you can create a walk to your own specifications and abilities, whichever part of London you are in.
There are so many great ways to explore the city of London. If you’re looking to spice up your walking tours of the city, you might be interested in the Foxtrail London treasure trail. Our unique take on sightseeing will allow you to explore the city on foot while taking on the cunning fox by cracking clues and deciphering codes.
For more great sightseeing ideas, as well as an in-depth look at some of London’s best locations, check out the Foxtrail blog. We’re constantly adding new and exciting ideas, so check back regularly and start planning your next adventure.