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Canal walk in London
Photograph: Magdanatka/ Shutterstock

London’s 7 prettiest walks

As the seasons change, grab your trainers, put on your coat and head out on one of these lovely walks in the capital

Rose Johnstone
Ed Cunningham
Written by
Rose Johnstone
Ed Cunningham

As a general rule, Londoners love walking. And for very good reason. While, sure, this city is vast and sprawling, plenty of it is also really walkable – and, thanks to its winding streets, historic buildings and verdant spaces, many of its walks are marvellous indeed.

There are plenty of truly beautiful London spots for a stroll. Whether you’d like to dive into the past with a historical hoof around town, zone-out in an area of blissful nature or check out some of the city’s biggest attractions, there’s a walk here for all occasions. Comfortable shoes are recommended, as is an umbrella. After all, nothing spoils a walk like getting drenched in a good old-fashioned Great British downpour.

If London’s not cutting it at the moment, why not check out our properly good list of walks near (but not in) the capital? And if trees are your thing, here’s a load of walk suggestions that take in some of the best woodland around the city.

📍 The best things to do in London

London’s prettiest walks

Best for those who like their exercise with a side of culture

When Johnny Cash sang ‘I walk the line’ he didn’t, to our knowledge, mean taking a Saturday stroll from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Greenwich Peninsula. But no worries, because this delightful walk around the further reaches of east London is deserving of a song even if it doesn’t have one – yet. Heralded as London’s first contemporary art walk, The Line gives you the chance to see installations and sculptures by contemporary artists.

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 club-footed 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 track in the form of tunnels and abandoned platforms along the way. It’s the perfect place for a weekend outing whether you’re a dog walker, runner or cyclist. Start at Finsbury Park and follow the route all the way to Alexandra Palace.

The Thames Path

Best for a day sightseeing

We’re not suggesting that you do the entire Thames Path in one go (at 184 miles, that’s impossible anyway). The whole path tracks the river from its source in the Cotswolds, but as it closes in on the capital, the path offers pretty routes that cross central London. Conveniently, the path is divided into more achievable sections. Putney to Tower Bridge is about 16.8km and, depending which of the two routes you choose, takes you through Battersea Park and then past all the big historical sights along the 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 awesome options.

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 bathing ponds (stop for a dip if you’re feeling brave) and admire the imposing white mansion Kenwood House. The walk takes you through some of the prettiest parts of Hampstead, too. Want to extend your walk? Visit Highgate Cemetery – atmospheric architecture surrounded by a peaceful wilderness that’s nowhere near as bleak as it sounds. Near Highgate Cemetery is a lesser-known green space called Waterlow Park. If it’s snowing, a visit to this 20-acre park is a must, as locals love using it for sledging. There are also three ponds for wildlife-spotting and gorgeous skyline views from the benches. 


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 her 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 ten sections cover much of the capital. The first section offers walkers a picturesque route between Buckingham Palace and the winding waterways of Maida Vale. You’ll head 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 where you might find some tasty takeaway food options, or mooch to Warwick Avenue to head back to the city.

Cox’s walk in Sydenham Hill Wood

Best for woodland wandering

If everything’s feeling a bit much and you’re craving some nature immersion, swap the tower blocks and busy streets for ancient oaks and leafy avenues. There’s no better place to get 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, 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. It's also a short walk to the Horniman Museum. While you might not be able to visit its famed walrus at the moment, you can explore the museum’s extensive and well-manicured gardens. End at the top of the hill for fabulous views of south-east London.


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 Princess Di. 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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