London, being the second largest metropolis in Western Europe, may not immediately come to mind when considering places to go for walks in nature or in the city. Green spaces, ranging from royal parks and old woodlands to lush-in-nature reclaimed industrial centers, make up more than a third of this culture-rich metropolis.
Regardless of the British weather, London is a beautiful city to stroll through, whether you have a specific destination in mind or are simply looking for a leisurely stroll. While we should all try to stay at home as much as possible during this difficult period, we can still enjoy winter in all its wintery splendor.
So, let’s see the best walks you can do in this vibrant city!
The Thames Path
You will enjoy walks on both the north and south banks of the Thames, from Richmond’s lost floodplains to the Dickensian eastern marshes. You won’t be short on sights either: Tower Bridge, Hampton Court Palace, Albert Bridge, The Royal Docks, Battersea Park, and Kew Gardens are just a few of the must-see attractions along the Thames Path. Of course, you could go all the way out to the Cotswolds and do it, but the whole walking trail covers a distance of 294km so it’s a long way to go!
The Jubilee Greenway, Central London
Beginning at Buckingham Palace and connecting Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens Royal Parks, and Little Venice, the Jubilee Greenway makes use of existing walking and cycling pathways. The Regent’s Canal is one of London’s most pleasant canal walks. Although it runs directly from London Zoo to Camden Lock, it is usually a quiet walk. On a sunny day, when the canal barges and boats are more active, it’s an especially delightful walk.
Note that Little Venice is located between Edgware Road and Warwick Avenue, thus starting in Camden may be more convenient. And, if you want to enjoy street cuisine, Camden is a better option for a bite to eat after your adventure. The total distance covered by this 37-mile walking and cycling route is exactly 60 kilometers. You can stash your bags with Stasher and enjoy this walk hassle-free, check our locations in Camden right here!
Southbank, Central London
Southbank is a nice spot to walk without the swarms of people. It’s actually more atmospheric in the evening, and it’s a relaxing walk with plenty of space. So, you’ll be able to appreciate just how many beautiful vistas are squeezed into such a small span which is about one-and-a-half miles tracing the Thames.
Take in the never-ending views of Big Ben and Westminster, best seen from Waterloo Bridge, as you stroll through cultural landmarks such as the National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall. In order to see more attractions, you can start at Southwark Bridge and travel south to Lambeth Bridge. And, if you don’t want to carry your bags around, you can check Stasher’s luggage storage services along Southbank right here.
Hampstead Heath Circular Walk, North London
The vast Hampstead Heath nature reserve, in contrast to the neatly groomed gardens of London’s palaces, offers a wild, untamed walking experience with fantastic views across the city. There are approximately 30 ponds on the Heath, as well as big colorful rhododendron bushes bursting with color and a diverse range of fauna.
Over 791 acres of woods and meadows make it one of London’s largest green spaces. There’s plenty of wildlife in the reserve, including London’s largest pipistrelle bat roost, muntjac deer, terrapins, and slow worms. You can return through the woods and down the hill to Hampstead Gate, where you will meander through parkland to East Heath Road to conclude this circular walk. Check our StashPoints in Hampstead Heath if you’re looking for a place to stash your bags and enjoy your walk!
The Parkland Walk, North London
The Parkland Walk is one of London’s best walks, taking you through north London neighborhoods like Crouch End, Highgate, and Muswell Hill. Along the trail, you’ll see lots of city views, but you’ll also get lost in nature and take a step back in time.
The four-and-a-half-mile stroll is shaded by trees and follows the green-covered lines of a former railway line. You’ll walk along the old lines, and you’ll find solitude and quiet amid the opposite of the noisy, high-pressured capital. On weekends, you can also check out the Wildlife Trail, a newly-added stretch of the walk that protects endangered flora and fauna species.
Sydenham Hill Wood, South London
If you’re looking for a bit of wilderness immersion when things become too much, there’s no better place to go than Sydenham Wood Hill, the London Wildlife Trust’s oldest nature reserve. It is home to 200 types of trees, plants, and forest wildlife, and is one of the few remaining swaths of the Great North Wood.
Follow the oak-lined Cox’s Walk after crossing an elegant footbridge over an old railway track. The Horniman Museum is also a short walk away from there. And, you can finish at the crest of the hill for spectacular views of South East London. If you’re looking for a safe place to store your bags then check our StashPoints in Crescent Wood Road, which is the closest bus stop there.
The Line, South London
This is London’s first contemporary art walk, The Line. However, it is a bit of a cheat because it requires public transportation if you walk from the beginning to the end. But, it does feature a nice promenade along London’s canals, beginning in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The 3-mile route is peppered with bold artworks and runs between the O2 in Greenwich and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. In other words, the Line allows keen-eyed visitors to view artworks and sculptures by numerous artists while enjoying a walk in nature.
The Wandle Trail, South London
From Croydon to Wandsworth, this 20-kilometer trail winds its way around the Wandle River. You will admire the vegetation and animals along this typical chalk creek, which contrasts yet complements some of south London’s most industrialized landscapes.
It allows you to appreciate the history, vegetation, and biodiversity of a typical chalk stream in the center of some of south London’s most industrialized terrain. Note that there are walking and cycling routes that parallel each other for the most part but diverge in places.
Richmond Park, West London
This 10-kilometer walk is a natural treasure, a circular track that takes you through London’s largest green space (2500 acres), with wandering deers, expansive grassland, and ancient oak trees.
Starting at Richmond Green, walk along Old Palace Lane to the riverfront towpath that runs beneath the beautiful Richmond Bridge. Then, head to the left of the church for the Capital Ring sign, and follow the short route through the graveyard to Petersham Road. Petersham Park is a great site to see the local ring-necked parakeet colony. To get to Isabella Plantation 40-acres woodland through High Wood, cross Queen’s Road and head uphill.
Hackney Marshes, East London
This round walk in Hackney, East London, takes you through rivers, woods, and nature reserves. Along the River Lea and the Lea Canal, there are some lovely waterside pathways to explore. At the northern end of Hackney Marshes, you’ll also visit the Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve. Moreover, you’ll enjoy wonderful views of the West End, City, and Canary Wharf along the route.
You can begin at Stoke Newington’s tranquil Abney Park Cemetery before heading east to Springfield Park, which offers spectacular views of the Walthamstow Marshes nature reserve. As you continue south across the marshes, you will pass along the River Lea which is also the exit from the park. And, if you want to stash your bags and enjoy your walk, you can check out our StashPoints near Hackney Marshes.
Epping Forest Centenary Walk, East London
Wanstead Flats, the first site of interest on the Epping Forest Centenary Walk towards London’s outskirts, combines swaying grassland, wildflowers, and a peaceful, duck-filled pond. Hollow Pond, a mile further on, has a name that belies the size of the site: 13 acres of waterways with islets, pedalos, and rowing boats.
This verdant stretch of Upper Walthamstow is well worth a stroll, with the option of stopping for a picnic before going up into Hingham’s Park. As you leave central London, the lush foliage gives way to dappled woods. Epping Forest, which is a stunning 6,000-acre wood, and London’s largest open space, is a must-see for keen walkers.