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Art and about: three inspiring walks to take this autumn

Together with Transport for London, we’ve curated some off-beat art itineraries best explored on foot

Written by Time Out. Paid for by Transport for London
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Walking does wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing – and that’s before you factor in the striking sculptures, bold street art and intriguing photography you’ll discover…

Remember to check TfL Journey Planner before you travel. 
 

              

For more tips on making the most of everything London has to offer, visit our guide to the wonderful world of off-peak.

Shoreditch

1. Shoreditch

Getting there Northern line to Old Street (Exit 1 – Hoxton)
Length 1 mile


Camille Walala, Splice Post building, Singer Street

One thing about Shoreditch is that there’s a lot of art everywhere: in galleries, on walls and – in the case of media company Splice – across a whole building. Artist Camille Walala transformed the exterior of an ’80s office block with splashes of dynamic design.

Lina Iris Viktor, ‘Some Are Born to Endless Night’, Autograph gallery Photography gallery

Autograph has an important historical image archive and a great track record of contemporary shows. Its current show from British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor (until Jan 25) is a richly detailed collection of images focusing on the black body as cultural icon, overpainted with swirling foliage. The work questions colonial stereotypes while revelling in surface opulence.

Goshka Macuga, Kate McGarry

Goshka Macuga’s new show at Kate McGarry gallery (until Oct 19) is very intriguing. The Turner Prize-nominated artist is fascinated by ideas of intelligence, knowledge and human communication. Her intricate collages and computer-programme-influenced woven tapestries are visually stunning.

Ben Eine, ‘Love Love Love’, Ebor Street

Nothing says Shoreditch like street art, and Ben Eine has been one of its most visible exponents for years, thanks to his elegant and striking typography. This 45-metre long piece on Ebor Street has a simple message in three of his classic typefaces: a neon-y one, a fairground-y one and one called Keyline, which is sort of 3D-y.

Greenwich

2. Greenwich

Getting there DLR to Greenwich
Length 2.8 miles


General Wolfe statue, Greenwich Park

A gift from Canada back in 1930, Tait McKenzie’s statue of General Wolfe stares implacably across the Thames. From a distance, he looks a bit like a giant highwayman. In fact, Wolfe, whose parents lived beside the park, died in the battle of Quebec against the French in 1759. At twilight, the statue becomes a sinister, shiversome delight.

Henry Moore, ‘Large Standing Figure, Knife Edge’, Greenwich Park

Unlike the more touristy bottom part of Greenwich Park, the top of the hill has many secluded spots. Henry Moore’s angular sentinel stands quietly among the trees and bushes. In summer, it feels like a part of the green foliage. In winter, it’s starkly outlined against the bare branches and frosty ground.

Yinka Shonibare, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, National Maritime Museum

Head down from the park to the National Maritime Museum. Yinka Shonibara’s giant model ship in a bottle was a Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth commission before docking at Greenwich. Originally it was a response to Nelson’s Column: its batik-print sails suggesting that Nelson’s famous victory ensured Britain (and its empire) continued to rule the waves.

Richard Wilson, ‘A Slice of Reality’, Olympian Way

Follow the Thames Path east towards the O2, where you’ll find Richard Wilson’s sliced up ship, which sits on the Prime Meridian. It’s a strange, eerie work, left exposed like an animal skeleton to bleach and rust in the elements.

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Kingston

3. Kingston

Getting there 42 63, 136 or 343 bus
Length 2.7 miles


David Mach ‘Out of Order’, Old London Road

Refurbished this year to mark its thirtieth anniversary, David Mach’s ‘Out of Order’, a row of classic red phoneboxes collapsing in a domino-like row, must be one of the strangest public art commissions in the UK. In the era before mobiles, 12 defunct phoneboxes was quite the political statement.

Eadweard Muybridge photographs, Kingston Museum

Quite apart from his creative riff on the spelling of his first name, Kingstonian Eadweard Muybridge is a true pioneer of photography. He’s remembered most for his studies of animals in motion, especially his proof that a galloping horse took all four hooves off the ground simultaneously. Kingston Museum has images from his collection.

Diana Fountain, Bushy Park

For centuries, this super-weird piece of seventeenth century art was thought to be the Greek goddess Diana. These days, experts believe that she is Arethusa, a sea nymph. This explains the fish motifs and (to some extent) the other nymphs, which squirt water.

Step up with TfL

TfL is on a mission to help Londoners stay healthy – and that is as easy as walking for 10 minutes, twice a day as you get around the capital! They’ve got plenty of ways to make this possible, including these initiatives:


Go Jauntly

We bet there are walks in your local area you don’t know about. Download the Go Jauntly app for free and find step by step directions for London-wide walks, plus walking times to the nearest Tube and Overground stations and Santander Cycles docking stations.

 

Go Jauntly


Headspace and TfL

What if your trip to work was the most relaxing part of your day? TfL has teamed up with the Headspace mindfulness and meditation app to offer Londoners two months of free membership to Headspace Plus. You’ll find audio guides specifically designed for commuting, walking, and taking in your surroundings, plus mini-meditations to use any time and lots more. Redeem the offer by visiting headspace.com/tfl and entering the code TUBE.

Headspace logo


Legible London

Getting out and about on foot is easier than ever in London, thanks to the Legible London network. There are 1,800 of these pedestrian wayfinding signs, and they've got useful info including realistic walking times between places, great things to discover in the local area and nearby connecting transport.

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