You get to know cities best on foot. Go at your own pace from one attraction to another or follow a mapped route from the booklets. Go spontaneous and see where the bone cart brings you or follow a geocaches-inspired route, nothing is strange to us. The weather often affects our choice. In London we have occasionally used public transport before we went of for a walk, because the distances are very large if you want to see more than just the city center with the world-famous attractions. Below are 5 walks that we have made.
5 hiking trails
(distances are indicative)
1. Camden lock, Little Venice, Bayswater, Kensington Gardens 9km
By bus we went to Camden Lock. The locks and the adjacent Camden Lock Market, with food stalls and shops, were a nice start of the walk. Following the Regent ‘s Canal,we walked along hunting paths westward. The typical narrow boats were showing off here and there. We saw beautiful big country houses and on the north side of Regent’s park, where the London Zoo is situated, we almost ran through a gigantic aviary.
Suddenly the Regent’s Canal disappeared in a long tunnel and we continued our route a few hundred meters without water as a guideline, but the Regent’s Canal was quickly in sight again. Once we arrived in Little Venice, which meant the end of the Regent’s Canal and the start of the Grand Union Canal, we paused in the park for a moment and then walked on to the footbridge near Saint Mary Magdalene Church. There we left the canals and went in a southerly direction. After crossing Westbourne green open space, we ended up at Kensington Gardens through the cozy Bayswater. On the south side of the gardens we got on the bus back to the city center.
2. Lambeth Place, Elephant & Castle, Towerbridge, Canada Water 10km
This is a route that runs all the way south of the Thames. We started at Lambeth Place and first passed the Imperial War Museum with a gigantic double barrel cannon at the door. Via Elephant & Castle, walking through the streets, the Tower Bridge appeared in sight. After extensive study we left this beautiful characteristic bridge over the Thames behind us to walk under the bridges between the modernized warehouses along the Thames to the east. After a while we arrived at King’s Garden and the Brunel museum. There we left the river and wafted to Canada Water with some shops and a station, where we got on the bus.
3. Lambeth Place, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Lambeth Place 12km
In the morning we walked from Lambeth Place towards Buckingham Palace. After we passed Lambeth Bridge and in the meantime enjoyed the view of the Houses of Parliament, the Thames and the London Eye, we passed the building of Channel 4, one of the British television channels. We reached St. James’s Park through busy streets with beautiful buildings. A reasonably tame squirrel stole the show there. You just have to see the palace of Queen Elizabeth when you visit London.
From the palace we walked through the parks and streets to Oxford Street. After having followed this street window shopping for a while, we descended towards Covent Garden. There we enjoyed the atmosphere and wiggled through the center with Leicester Square with the TKTS for cheap theater tickets, Piccadilly Circus with the big illuminated signs and surrounding streets with theaters and entertainment. After we had a delicious meal, we went to Trafalgar Square. Via Whitehall, where the Horse Guards and Downingstreet 10 are located, we reached the Big Ben, which is in the midst of a thorough restoration. Now it was only a short distance to the starting point of this route.
4. Richmond 6km
In the morning we had driven to Kingston by train. When we arrived there, we went to Richmond by bus and walked along the Thames. The river is much narrower and quieter here than in London. It became a relaxing trip during which we walked through a considerable stretch between the river and the world-famous Kew Gardens. We also passed a lock with a retaining level, which we probably would not have noticed.
5. Woolwich, Thames Barrier, Greenwich 10km
Op een regenachtige ochtend gingen we met de DLR naar Woolwich. Toen we uitstapte druppelde het nog een beetje, maar zo nu en dan een winkeltje in zorgde ervoor dat we niet te nat werden. Eenmaal de winkels voorbij werd het droog en kregen we zicht op het overzetveer. Langs de Thames vervolgden we onze weg in westelijke richting. Plots was het pad opgebroken, waardoor we een flinke lus moesten maken richting de Thames Barrier, een imposante waterkering. We vervolgden onze route langs de rivier, tot we vonden dat helemaal het schiereiland naar de Milennium Dome rond lopen toch wat te veel zou worden op deze dag. Zodoende kwamen door wat minder gezellige straten uiteindelijk Greenwich binnen. Greenwich is echt de moeite waard. We hebben na een hapje eten daar nog wat rond gekeken alvorens we de bus pakten richting hotel.