by Harley Nott
Some London Walks
Sight-seeing tour buses are a familiar feature of all large cities and are a good way to quickly view the major landmarks and get orientated. But to really explore a city you need to be on foot.
This post is about London walks, guided or self-guided.
The company offering the largest selection is London Walks. Every day they have a wide variety of morning, afternoon and evening walking tours. No booking or pre-payment is needed, you just turn up and meet the guide just outside the exit of the designated Underground Station (Tube Stop) at the time stated. It’s £10 for an adult (£8 for over 65s) and children under 15 accompanied by a parent go free. Walks last for about 2 hours.
Rather more off-the-wall is Bowl of Chalk (Cockney rhyming slang for ‘walk’) run for the last 6 years by Jonnie. Walks are on Saturdays (Central London) and Sundays (East London), they last for about 3 hours and at the end you pay whatever you feel it was worth! Jonnie’s walks have been featured in the national press and on television.
A number of general self-guided London walks can be found at the London walks list of Walk In Britain.
Two organisations focus on walks and gardens/parks. City Garden Walks offer weekly walks such as Gardens of The Inns of Court – a walk through London’s historic legal quarter, exploring the glorious gardens and distinguished buildings, and The City’s Secret Gardens – historic gardens and churchyards nestled amongst old and new City buildings – horticulture and history combined. London Parks and Gardens Trust have a dozen or so self-guided walks with free down-loadable audio or pdf guides.
The Regent’s Canal is a key part of England’s canal network, linking the Grand Union Canal with the Thames. Running from Paddington to Limehouse, it’s some 9 miles long and, as the name suggests, dates from the early 19th century. The first section, from Paddington to Camden, opened 200 years ago, the rest of it opening in 1820.
For a short 2 mile walk along the canal the Little Venice to Camden stretch is ideal.
For a longer, weekend, walk try the 6 miles Regent’s Canal towpath from Camden to Limehouse.
And for a real workout walk or run the entire length of the canal.
After your exertions you might enjoy some quiet time in a hidden gem tucked away beside the Thames. The Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in London and houses around 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants. It’s well worth a visit.