London may not strike as a city for walkers at first, but it is home to numerous green spaces and hidden gems that are best explored on foot. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. Fortunately, this article provides a comprehensive guide to the best walks in London, including the top spots in Central, South, East, North, and West London, as well as longer routes for those who are up for a challenge.
Whether you are a local or a tourist, this guide will help you discover London’s hidden treasures and explore the city’s verdant nooks. From scenic parks to historic landmarks, there is something for everyone on these walks. So put on your walking shoes, grab a map, and get ready to embark on an adventure through one of the world’s most vibrant cities.
- 1 Best Walks in Central London
- 1.1 Southbank
- 1.2 London Wall Walk, The City
- 1.3 Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
- 1.4 Jubilee Walkway
- 1.5 Westminster Walk
- 2 South London Walks
- 3 East London Walks
- 4 North London Walks
- 5 West London Walks
- 6 Long Walks in London
- London is a great city for walking, with numerous green spaces and hidden gems to discover.
- This article provides a comprehensive guide to the best walks in London, including routes in Central, South, East, North, and West London, as well as longer routes for those who are up for a challenge.
- Whether you are a local or a tourist, these walks offer a unique way to explore the city’s verdant nooks and discover its hidden treasures.
Best Walks in Central London
The South Bank Walk is one of the most popular walks in central London. The walk takes you along the south bank of the River Thames, from Tower Bridge to Lambeth Bridge, and provides a glimpse into the cultural hub of London. The walk offers stunning views of London’s skyline, including London Bridge, The Globe, The Millennium Bridge, The Tate Modern, National Theatre, BFI Southbank, Southbank Centre, and more. The walk also takes you through brutalist architecture, historical attractions, and offers some delicious street food. The walk is approximately 3.2 km or 2 miles long.
London Bridge / Lambeth North
3.2km / 2 miles
London Wall Walk, The City
The London Wall Walk is an interesting walk that takes you along the remains of London’s old city wall. The wall was started by the Romans and maintained until the 18th century. Today, the wall forms the backbone of one of the most interesting city walks in London. The walk starts at the Tower of London and finishes at the Museum of London, taking you through the London of times past as you follow in its steps. You can still see sections of the wall, many dating from different periods and echoing the length of London’s history. The walk is approximately 2.8 km or 1.7 miles long.
Tower Gateway / St Paul’s
2.8 km / 1.7 miles
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is a seven-mile walk created to commemorate Diana Princess of Wales. The walk winds through four royal parks, including St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens, showcasing the lush and verdant center of London at its very best. The walk takes you past many other places connected to the princess, including Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James’s Palace, and Spencer House. It’s a look at London’s regal legacy from a different point of view. The walk is approximately 11.2 km or 7 miles long.
11.2 km / 7 miles
The Jubilee Walkway is a 15-mile walk that takes you past some of London’s most iconic landmarks. The walking routes are comprised of five interconnected loops that are clearly signposted around London and link up into a total distance of 15 miles, easily coverable in an afternoon. The walk takes you past landmarks such as City Hall, the Tate Modern, St. Paul’s, Trafalgar Square, and many more. As it’s central London, you won’t be short of pubs, cafes, and restaurants to use as convenient rest spots along the way. The walk is approximately 24 km or 15 miles long.
24 km / 15 miles
The Westminster Walk is an all-encompassing walk that takes you past all the main tourist attractions. The walk begins and ends at Westminster tube station, taking you past sights such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Downing Street. If you time it just right, you might even catch The Changing of The Guard. The walk rewards you with pretty views as you pass Westminster Abbey and wander through St James’ Park, the perfect spot for a mid-walk picnic. For a 10-miler, this is a fairly easy walk, braced by the excitement of seeing iconic British landmarks. The walk is approximately 16 km or 10 miles long.
Start at Westminster, Circle or District line
16 km / 10 miles
South London Walks
Crystal Palace Park to Nunhead Cemetery
For those looking for a long-distance walk, the Green Chain Walk is an 11-section trail that stretches from Thamesmead to Nunhead Cemetery. Although completing the entire trail would take several days, the section from Crystal Palace Park to Nunhead Cemetery is a must-do. Starting at Crystal Palace Park, visitors can explore the world’s first dinosaur park before heading to Sydenham Hill Park and One Tree Hill. The Horniman Museum gardens are also worth a visit before arriving at Nunhead Cemetery, one of London’s “great seven” cemeteries. Despite its status, it is the least visited of them all, making it a hidden gem. The total distance of this section is 8.7km or 5.4 miles.
Getting There: Crystal Palace / Nunhead
Distance: 8.7km / 5.4 miles
The Wandle Trail, Croydon to Wandsworth
The Wandle Trail is a 14-mile walk that follows the River Wandle from Wandsworth to Croydon. The trail passes through Merton Abbey Mills and Bell Lane Creek, offering opportunities for bird-watching and wildlife spotting. The distance of the walk is 20km or 14 miles.
Getting There: East Croydon / Wandsworth Town
Distance: 20km / 14 miles
Vanguard Way, Croydon
The Vanguard Way is a long-distance trail starting in Croydon and leading to Newhaven on the Sussex Coast. The entire trail can be completed in four to five days, but the first day’s section to Chelsham Common can be done in half a day. For those who want to continue, the second section to Limpsfield Chart can be completed on the same day if started early enough. The total distance of the first section is 11km or 6.9 miles.
Getting There: East Croydon
Distance: 11km / 6.9 miles
Sydenham Hill Wood, Sydenham
Sydenham Hill Woods is a chance to see the largest remaining section of the Great North Wood, which once covered much of South London. The woodland spans 11 hectares and is home to over 200 species of trees and plants, as well as a variety of animals, fungi, and birds. The formalized walk takes visitors from Sydenham Hill Station through the woods to the gardens of the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill and Dulwich Park. The total distance of the walk is 6.6km or 4.1 miles.
Getting There: Sydenham Hill
Distance: 6.6km / 4.1 miles
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Walks
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park offers two excellent walks. The first is an art walk that takes visitors past roughly thirty different pieces of public art in the Olympic Park, including a moving mural by New York artist Miya Ando that commemorates 9/11. The second walk tours the park’s 560 acres of beautiful nature, pointing out places to spot rare birds of prey, kingfishers, flowers, and more. The nature walk is about 3.2km or 2 miles, while the art walk is a little shorter.
Getting There: Stratford or Hackney Wick stations.
Distance: Nature walk – 3.2km / 2 miles; Art walk – shorter
The Line, Greenwich
East London Walks
Lea Valley Walk
The Lea Valley Walk is a 15.6 mile walk along the Lee Navigation Towpath from Waltham Abbey to Limehouse Basin. This walk is mostly rural and offers a glimpse of London’s marshlands and green spaces. The route is punctuated by modern architecture, most notably at Canary Wharf. TfL has designated this walk as one of the Mayor’s Strategic Walks in London, and there are maps and information available for each of the walk’s six sections. The suggested starting points for this walk are Waltham Cross or East India.
|25.10km / 15.6 miles
|Lea Valley Walk Map
Epping & Theydon Country Walk, Epping Forest
The Epping & Theydon Country Walk is a six-mile walk through Epping and Theydon. This walk is known for its archaeological finds, dating Epping’s earliest inhabitation as 7500 BC. The walk takes you through stretches of ancient woodland, with hornbeams overhead and leaf mulch underfoot. This walk is perfect for those who enjoy getting lost in nature. The suggested starting point for this walk is Epping.
|Epping & Theydon Country Walk Map
Regent’s Canal, Little Venice to Limehouse
Regent’s Canal is an 8-mile walk that starts in Little Venice and ends in Limehouse. This walk used to be a hidden treasure, but it has become more popular over the years. The walk takes you through eclectic Camden before zigzagging its way through East London to the Thames. Regent’s Canal is about to celebrate its 200th birthday, and it has undergone significant changes over the years. The walk features museums of curiosities and hipster cafes, replacing the working barges that used to ferry goods into town. The suggested starting points for this walk are Warwick Avenue or Limehouse.
|13.8km / 8.6 miles
|Regent’s Canal Map
Art in the Park Trail, Stratford
The Art in the Park Trail is a 3-mile walk that starts in Hackney Wick and ends in Stratford. The trail leads you past Living Walls, a collection of urban street art murals, including pieces by well-known artist David Shillinglaw. The trail also features steel structures submerged into the river, poems, and other large-scale artworks, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit. This trail is much shorter and more compact than The Line, but you can combine the two for an epic day exploring east London’s public art. The suggested starting points for this walk are Hackney Wick or Stratford.
|4.8km / 3 miles
|Art in the Park Trail Map
North London Walks
Hampstead Heath Circular, Hampstead
The Hampstead Heath Circular walk is an 9.7km/6 miles walk through the sprawling 800-acre Hampstead Heath. This circular walk offers stunning views of Parliament Hill, a historical manor, and the much-talked-about ponds. As the destination where the monks of Westminster came to escape the Black Death so many centuries ago, it feels particularly poignant right now. The heath is large enough that walkers really do feel like they’ve escaped the city, making it one of the best walks in London. Along the way, walkers can pop into the delights of Pergola and Hill Garden, one of the contenders for the prettiest gardens in London, covered in plants and vines it’s still something of a hidden gem. The suggested starting point for the walk is Gospel Oak.
Alexandra Park Walk, Wood Green
The Alexandra Park Walk is a short but sweet 2km/1 mile walk that starts at Alexandra Palace Station and delivers walkers into the Victorian landscaping of the north London park itself. Framed by Alexandra Palace above and looking out to some stellar panoramic views of London below, walkers can spend much longer exploring the park’s environs than the mile-long distance would suggest. Keen to make it longer? Simply continue on to the Parkland Walk from its Alexandra Park entrance. The suggested starting point for the walk is Alexandra Palace.
Parkland Walk, Finsbury Park
The Parkland Walk is a 5.5km/3 miles trail following the course of an old railway line between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. It is one of the nicest walks in North London, cutting a swathe through the surrounding urban area, it’s a slice of countryside in the city – one brimming with a variety of habitats and wildlife you wouldn’t think to find in London. Walkers can spot birds, bats, even the odd Muntjac deer if they keep their eyes open. The suggested starting points for the walk are Finsbury Park or Alexandra Palace.
The Canonbury Walk is a 4.8km/3 miles walk that stretches from Canonbury to Newington Green. Walkers get to escape buzzy Islington through pretty, leafy suburbs and pass stops like Highbury New Park, St Stephen’s Church, and Canonbury House, while following the route of the New River. Once walkers arrive in Newington Green, there’s plenty of cafes and pubs nearby so they can grab a well-deserved bite to eat (and a pint, go for it!). This walk is one of the all-time favourites, it’s a great way to spend a few hours if walkers are looking to escape the hustle and bustle – it’s also pretty undiscovered, so they won’t be followed by throngs of tourists. The suggested starting point for the walk is Canonbury.
West London Walks
Tamsin Trail, Richmond Park
Richmond Park is a natural oasis in the heart of London, and the Tamsin Trail is a great way to explore the park’s periphery. This circular trail is a wonderful walk that offers glimpses of different parts of the park without getting lost. The trail is named after Tamsin, a young girl who loved the park and used to walk around it with her father. The trail is approximately 12 km (7.35 miles) long and takes around three hours to complete.
Along the way, visitors can spot the park’s famous deer and enjoy the view from King Henry’s Mound, which offers a stunning view of central London. Legend has it that King Henry VIII waited on this spot to confirm Anne Boleyn’s execution at the Tower. The trail also passes through the outrageously pretty Isabella Plantation, a 40-acre woodland in the center of the park that puts on a blooming azalea display each April and May.
- Getting There: Chiswick Station
- Distance: 12 km / 7.35 miles
- Suggested Map
Chiswick Riverside Walk
The Chiswick Riverside Walk is a picturesque walk that takes visitors along both sides of the River Thames, through Chiswick, Barnes, and Hammersmith. The walk starts at Chiswick Station and passes through several historical homes and gardens along the way.
One of the first stops on the walk is the 18th-century Chiswick House, one of the finest Palladian buildings still standing in the UK. The house is surrounded by superb gardens that are thought to be the earliest landscaped gardens in the country. The walk continues past Hogarth House, Hammersmith Terrace, and Kelmscott House, which was home to textile designer William Morris for almost 20 years.
Visitors can also peek at the wildlife in the Leg of Mutton Reservoir and walk through Mortlake back to Chiswick Bridge and the station.
- Getting There: Chiswick Station
- Distance: 11.5 km / 7 miles
- Suggested Map
Wimbledon Common, Wimbledon
Wimbledon Common is a beautiful green space that offers a rural feel in the heart of London. The walk through the common and Cannizaro Park is strewn with rhododendrons, walled gardens, and pleasant picnic spots. Visitors can enjoy muddy bridleway paths, which are perfect for hiking (wear boots if it’s been raining).
The walk also passes by Cannizaro House, an 18th-century manor turned luxury hotel that was historically frequented by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, and the Last Maharajah of the Punjab.
- Getting There: Wimbledon
- Distance: 6 km / 4 miles
- Suggested Map
Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park
The Isabella Plantation is a 40-acre woodland inside a Victorian garden planted in the 1830s. It is another gem nestled in Richmond Park and is heavily centered around the preservation of the garden. Visitors are encouraged to tread lightly and avoid trampling on the flower beds to protect the species.
This is one of the shorter walks, but it is definitely one of the most beautiful. Evergreen azaleas line the pond and bloom during early spring. There are also four routes to choose from, so visitors can try out a few of the walks if they fancy going a bit further.
- Getting There: Richmond
- Distance: Various
- Suggested Map
Long Walks in London
The Thames Path
The Thames Path is a popular long-distance walk in London that spans from the Thames Barrier in the east to Hampton Court in the west, covering a distance of 128km or 79.5 miles. The walk offers two options, the north bank or the south bank, each providing a unique perspective of the city. Along the way, walkers can expect to see a diverse mix of architecture, famous bridges, and even some rural sections on the outskirts of the city.
The suggested starting points for the Thames Path are Hampton Court or Slade Green.
A map of the Thames Path can be found here.
The Jubilee Greenway is a 37-mile walk that begins at Buckingham Palace and ends at Limehouse Basin. Created in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, the walk passes by several royal attractions and Olympic sites. The route includes stops at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Regent’s Park, and the Olympic Park.
The Jubilee Greenway can be accessed from various points.
A map of the Jubilee Greenway can be found here.
Capital Ring Walk
The Capital Ring Walk is a 70-mile walk that encircles a loop of London, passing through nature reserves and grand estates. The walk takes approximately 5 days to complete and offers the opportunity to see some of London’s lesser-known treasures. Walkers can visit Eltham Palace, the remaining parts of the Great North Wood, and Abney Park Cemetery, one of the magnificent seven.
The Capital Ring Walk can be accessed from various points.
A map of the Capital Ring Walk can be found here.
The London Loop is the longest and most comprehensive walk in London, spanning 150 miles around greater London. The walk offers the chance to experience nature on the outskirts of the city. The walk is divided into 24 shorter routes, each of which can be completed in a day.
The London Loop can be accessed from various points.
A map of the London Loop can be found here.