Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Must Do Walks in London

Not a lot of major North American cities can say that, as urban sprawl has spaced us out so much that cars and extensive transportation networks are required to get from one attraction to another.

Not only is London a walkable city, it loves a city walk. This is one of my most favourite things about London and one of the things I miss the most about living in this city. From the Capital Ring walk (bucket list!), or better yet the London LOOP (another bucket list item), to plotting London's green areas with a City of London Tree Trail, and of course a Royal London walk.

I'm a huge proponent of walking a city, especially one you aren't familiar with, as you can see, smell, and experience it so much more on foot engaging your senses, than you can stuck underground or behind an engine.

Here are some of my favourite walks of London, perfect for an afternoon amble with no structure or schedule.

Richmond Park
{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Richmond Park

Located south west of the City in the borough of Richmond upon Thames it was created in the 17th century by King Charles I. Today it is a nature reserve and the largest of the Royal Parks in London. This is a park that you can really experience the wildlife that roam freely within the high walls of the park there are 630 red and fallow deer on 2,360 acres of land. If you want more than just deer to look at, there are also several grade listed buildings within the premises. And not to be missed is King Henry's Mound, the highest point of the park with an unobstructed view of St. Paul's Cathedral 16 km away! Also, when you visit Richmond Park, Hampton Court Palace is near and worthy of a peek.

{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Richmond Park

East End Canals 
{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: East End Canal

I might be biased with this one, as I lived in the east-end of London (no, not the cool bits, I was east of that) but I loved taking every opportunity to head to the canal for a nice walk, for my run, or getting from place to place even if it meant going a little bit out of my way. Much of interest is connected through the canal system; parks, markets, restaurants and pubs. But really being by the calm water, saying hello to the people on houseboats and being away from the London traffic.

{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: East End Canal

Little Venice 
{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Little Venice

Also a canal walk, but a little more refined feeling than the graffiti lined canals found in East London. I started my walk at Edgeware Road tube station and had I not had plans to meet a friend in town I would have stopped at the adorable Waterside Cafe located right in the triangular basin. There's not much else going on in this neighbourhood, but the colourful moored houseboats, gorgeous buildings, and lovely tall trees make a stroll along this particular part of the canal worthy.

South bank 
{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: South Bank

The South Bank has always been one of my most loved areas of London to visit. Whenever I was at a loss of something to do (which is hard to happen in London) or had someone visiting, I'd head down to the South Bank for some entertainment. Whether it's people gawking, markets, food or culture, the between Southwark Bridge to Westminster Bridge, South Bank has enough going on any given day to fill your time.

Also, I love being reminded that London has beaches, proper sandy beaches, although you'd rarely see a bikini clad individual here, there are often artists at work making incredible sand sculptures.

{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: South Bank

Camden Lock and Market
{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Camden Market

{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Camden Market

Wandering along Camden High Street, through the lock, and around the market stalls of the Stables Market and Horse Tunnel Market. This area of London is eclectic and busy and a good way to spend weekend day. My preference is to head over early on a warm, sunny day and enjoy some cheap market lunch and a Pimm's.

Riverside pubs
{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Riverside Pubs

Rounding out my list of must do walks of London is of course a mini pub crawl of sorts. London has a great number of pubs to choose from. I'm a fan of a pub with a story or at the very least interesting decor. I've done this particular pub crawl several times and each time, with each passing drink I dream of being able to afford a flat in this adorably quiet neighbourhood, Wapping. Start your crawl with a tipple at Dickens Inn at St. Katherine's Dock. Be sure to get an outside seat in the summer to be able to appreciate the balcony views. Then head up Wapping High Street to Captain Kidd. This pub was named for the 17th century pirate, William Kidd, who had been hung nearby at the Execution Dock. The interior is to look like a ships hulk and there is a lovely patio facing the River Thames. Finishing at the Prospect of Whitby, which claims to be the oldest riverside tavern, dating 1520. A replica nose and gallows is visible outside the river side window. It was a favourite hanging spot for Judge Jefferys during the 17th century.

{Erin Out and About} Must do walk in London: Riverside Pubs

Three pubs not quite enough? Extend your tour by starting it at Wilton's Music Hall, located on Graces Alley, not explicitly a riverside pub, but it's super cool nonetheless. Originally built in c. 1743 and most likely served the sea captains that lived on neighbouring streets, it was turned into a music and concert hall in the 1800's. It went through a capital campaign and massive renovation which was completed in 2015.

Want one last drink after the Prospect of Whitby, continue on toward Limehouse at a leisurely rate to The Grapes. Sir Ian McKellen is a Leaseholder of this 500 year old establishment and not the only celebrity connection for this pub.

What are your thoughts on the walkability of a city?

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  1. I never saw Little Venice while we lived in London. No idea how I managed to miss that one since we were often right by it. :( The Thames Path was my favorite walking path in London. It starts in Richmond (at least the London part of the path anyway) and runs all the way to Greenwich. It's such a great way to see the famous parts of London plus the lesser known, more residential areas!

  2. These are definitely some of my favourites as well - there are so many things to see!


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