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Little Venice, prettiest walks

London’s prettiest walks

Fancy stretching your legs and exploring the city at the same time? Grab your trainers and explore seven of the loveliest walks the capital has to offer

By Emma Vince

While the tube or bus can get you almost anywhere in London, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up and swap the crowds and traffic for a slower pace.

If you're looking for someting to occupy your time on a weekend or day off, why not walk the city’s streets, canal paths, and parks to appreciate the beauty London has to offer. Take in the city’s immense skyline, sights that you never had time to vist before, and secluded green spaces.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a nature lover or history buff, there’s something for everyone in our round-up of pretty city walks.

RECOMMENDED: 101 best things to do in London

7 of London’s prettiest walks

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Simon Keats

1. The Line

Best for art lovers

Combine a mooch around East London with a healthy dose of culture and walk ‘The Line’ – a route that runs from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Greenwich Peninsula. As London’s first contemporary art walk, you’ll spot all kinds of installations and sculptures along the way. Start your amble south of the river at North Greenwich where you'll see Alex Chinneck's upside down electricity pylon sculpture and Thomson and Craig's Here signpost. 

Then take the Emirates Air Line to the Royal Docks and the DLR from Royal Victoria to Star Lane (changing at Canning Town), where the walk picks up again. You'll pass Joanna Rajkowska's wonderous Hatchling sculpure before up towards Stratford.

2. Parkland Walk

Attractions Parks and gardens Finsbury Park

Best for getting back to nature

The Parkland Walk is officially London’s longest Local Nature Reserve, which makes it one of the best walks to spot wildlife – and we’re not just talking about stumpy-legged city pigeons. Depending on the time of year, you’ll share your walk with hedgehogs, foxes or dinky muntjac deer. The leafy 4km route follows a disused railway line that used to connect Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace and you can still spot echoes of the old line in the form of tunnels and disused platforms along the way. It’s the perfect place for a weekend outing whether you’re a dog walker, runner or cyclist – or a tourist who wants to escape the bustle of the city for a few hours. Start at Finsbury Park tube and follow the route all the way to Alexandra Palace.


3. The Thames Path

Best for a day sightseeing

The whole Thames path is 184 miles long, so we’re not suggesting you do the entire thing (unless you have the urge to track the river from its source in the Cotswolds). However, as you might expect of a route that follows the Thames, the last few miles offer pretty, riverside walks that cross through central London. The Putney to Tower Bridge section is around 16.5km and offers two walking routes that end at the bridge. The South Bank route starts in Wandsworth and diverts from the river through Battersea Park and the old power station before taking in all of the big hitters along London’s South Bank, including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, theatres, galleries and restaurants. The north route takes you through Hurlingham Park, Chelsea and, finally, Westminster and Embankment to reach the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge finish. Two pretty awesome options.

4. Hampstead circular walk

Best for city views

This self-guided circular walk explores the highlights of Hampstead Heath, one of London’s wildest and most precious green spaces. Climb Parliament Hill for panoramic views of the city’s skyline, pass by the ponds (stop for a dip if you’re feeling brave) and refuel with tea and cake at Kenwood House. Entry is free, and the large white country mansion houses a fine art collection too. The walk takes you through some of the prettiest parts of Hampstead, including several pubs, so you don’t need to go out of your way for a quick refreshment pit-stop. Want to extend your walk? Visit Highgate Cemetery – atmospheric architecture surrounded by a peaceful wilderness that’s nowhere near as bleak as it sounds.

Little Venice
Little Venice
© Will Rodrigues /

5. The Jubilee Greenway

Best for seeing everything

The Jubilee Greenway is a 60km route created in 2012 for (as its name suggests) the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to mark 60 years on the throne. The whopping loop offers 1 kilometre for each year of her reign. Well sign-posted with glass paving slabs throughout, the walk’s 10 sections cover much of the capital. The first section offers walkers a picturesque route between iconic Buckingham Palace and the winding waterways of Little Venice. You’ll walk up Constitution Hill, through Hyde Park, past Kensington Palace and Paddington before ending up among the picturesque canals and boats of Little Venice. Continue the walk to Camden for street food and shopping or mooch to Warwick Avenue to head back to the city.

6. Cox’s walk in Sydenham Hill Wood

Best for woodland wandering

When everything in the city gets overwhelming, swap the tower blocks and busy streets for ancient oaks and leafy avenues. There’s no better place to get those forest feels than Sydenham Wood Hill, the London Wildlife’s Trust’s oldest nature reserve. One of the last remaining swathes of the Great North Wood, it’s home to 200 species of trees and plants and woodland fauna, such as bats, woodpeckers and tawny owls. Cross an ornamental footbridge over an old railway track and follow the oak-lined Cox’s Walk. The closest bus stop is Crescent Wood Road, or it’s a 25-minute walk from Sydenham Overground.


7. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial walk

Best for seeing parks and palaces

Ninety plaques in the ground mark this memorial walk, which covers four parks, three palaces, two mansions and lots of meaningful locations associated with the Princess. Check off four of eight royal parks as you wander through St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. If you’ve got restless little ones on your hands, stop at the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. Kids love the pirate ship, teepees and sculptures, all inspired by the magical adventures of Peter Pan. The route runs in a sweeping figure of eight, so join the walk anywhere along the way and end up back where you began – Hyde Park Corner is roughly at the midpoint making it a good starting point to pick up either side of the loop.

On two wheels instead?


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