Winter walks in London
Pile on some warm layers, pull on your scarf, gloves and walking boots and head out to explore London on foot. What could be better than a winter walk?
However many times you’ve visited London, there’s always something new to explore. Whether you enjoy urban walking through the city, wandering through London’s pretty villages or simply taking to its parks and woodland, there’s no better way to see the city than on foot. And don’t forget to punctuate your walk with coffee and cake, or lunch in a London pub. Need inspiration? Try any of these walks either on your own or with a Lingua Holidays teacher so you can practise your English and learn about the location while you stroll.
In fact, you can take in many of London’s most iconic sights with a walk along the South Bank. Start the walk at Southwark Bridge, on the fringe of the South Bank. Then continue past Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern, and gaze across the Millennium Bridge to St. Pauls. Along the way, you’ll pass the Oxo Tower, riverside beaches and, of course, the superb cultural complex of the National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall. Look out for Somerset House across the Thames. Finally, at Waterloo Bridge, get ready to be wowed by the very best views London has to offer.
Top tip: The walk is even better in the evening. Marvel at the city lights and watch the skateboarders at the graffitied skate park near the National Theatre.
Head to the leafy north London suburb of Hampstead which also has a great selection of London walks. With nearly 800 acres of green open space, Hampstead Heath will leave you wondering if you’re still in London. Kenwood House is a good starting point and also a great vantage point for an overview of London’s skyline. From here, you can either head to Parliament Hill or go across the Vale of Health to Golders Hill Park. Back in Hampstead, you’ll find a pretty high street lined with boutiques and eateries, and some charming lanes and alleyways to explore.
Top tip: Leave Hampstead High Street behind and head to the café in Burgh House art gallery in Hampstead’s backstreets for a light lunch or tea.
Richmond to Ham House
The views from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond, and from Richmond Hill, are also memorable. Set off on the circular 4.5 mile walk from Richmond town centre and choose from a selection of routes. Our favourite is via Richmond Hill which will give you one of the best views of the Thames. From here, continue on to the park’s Richmond Gate entrance and to King Henry’s Mound, one of the highest places in London. After that, carry on past the Dysart Arms pub, and through the gatehouse leading into Ham Avenues. You will eventually come to the Ham Polo Club and the National Trust owned Ham House. The return leg of the walk follows a pretty riverside route along the Thames Path to Petersham Meadows and up Friars Lane to Richmond pier and station.
Top tip: If you have time, visit the opulent interiors of 17th century Ham House. And, of course, follow up with a classic cream tea overlooking the delightful vegetable garden!
City of London
While London’s Square Mile is literally just that – one square mile – it’s packed with fascinating sights. And although sore feet are unlikely, with the dizzy heights that characterise some of the buildings, there’s a good chance of getting a sore neck! Start at St Paul’s Cathedral and then wind your way through its street and alleyways, including Leadenhall Market. You’ll pass some truly iconic architecture, including the Walkie Talkie building, the Shard and the Monument to the Fire of London.
Top tip: Climb up the Monument’s 311 steps for extraordinary 360° views of the city.
Paddington to Camden via Little Venice
If you’re visiting London with teenagers, this walk will certainly keep everyone happy. A combination of the peaceful canal side walkway in Little Venice and heaving Camden market means there’s really something for everyone. Start in Paddington Central, an area that’s been transformed in recent years by the opening of restaurants and bars. After that, take a short stroll across to picturesque Little Venice where colourful houseboats and waterside cafés line the canal. From here, it’s around an hour’s walk along the canal to Camden. You’ll pass some gorgeous villas on Villa Row and London Zoo before reaching Camden Market.
Top tip: Start your day with brunch on a barge. The two restaurant barges, Darcie & May Green, on the Grand Union Canal in Paddington Central, offer an interesting Australian brunch menu.
Graffiti and Street Art in East London
Fancy some outdoor art? You’ll see some of London’s best in the East End and particularly in and around Brick Lane. From Brick Lane, venture up Hanbury Street, one of the top spots for street art, as far as Spelman Street. You’ll also find art in nearby Ely’s Yard where the street art forms a great backdrop to some street food trucks, and on the corner of Whitby Street. Nearby Fashion Street, connecting Brick Lane with Commercial Street also has some excellent street art and there’s plenty to see on Great Eastern Street and along Old Street too. On Rivington Street, near Old Street Station, there’s more to see, including the long standing ‘Scary’ mural by Ben Eine and a Banksy, just inside the Cargo beer garden.
Top tip: Pick up a smoked salmon bagel at the 24-hour Beigel Shop in Brick Lane which first opened in 1855 to cater for the Jewish community.
Crocuses and daffodils in London’s parks
Can’t wait for spring? London’s parks in February are just beginning to bloom. Green spaces are still carpeted by snowdrops, and crocuses and daffodils are starting to add a splash of colour. In central London, visit the carpet of yellow daffodils at St. James’s Park which gets the lion’s share of the one million daffodils planted by the Royal Parks. Kew Gardens is also a great place for a floral fix.