Walks, routes and itineraries

Plan your route around London with our walks and itineraries, for good and bad weather. Our 'Grand Itinerary' comes in two parts, which you can do in any order or direction. They intersect at Big Ben. If you have one day only in London then do them both - start early in the morning, and they'll take about 7 hours, plus a break for lunch. If you have two days take our new city churches walk as well, and make sure you see a show on the night between! The main trouble with other guides' walks and tours is that you'll spend a lot of your time staring at a 1950s car park, which used to be, or on which site once stood.... we only feature extant buildings.

Vincent, a London visitor in 2005, did our walks and has produced a set of pictures of what to expect. It's a great website and they're cross-referenced to our maps, so you can do the walk virtually before, after, or instead of. Thanks very much Vincent. His pictures are HERE

Our 'Grand Itinerary' takes in all the major tourist sights, while our two City walks are ideal for discovering the history of the City, and discovering its secret alleyways - many of which are not on the map! You can also do a river trip that takes in most of the sights... And should the English weather fail you, take our rainy day tube tour.

If you just want to potter round a park, see our parks guide. If you want to run past the major tourist sites see "The British Golden Jubilee 10K open Road Race" - which is an annual open-entry race that goes past the main tourist monuments... The best walk? We like the Sunday Stroll, see below, we're there every other week and you might meet us.

The Grand Itinerary
(best in good weather)

Walk One -    Highlights: Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tate Gallery, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, The Thames. See below for how to do it partly by boat.

Walk two, part one -    Highlights: Trafalgar Square, Downing St, Westminster Abbey, Horseguards, St James' Park, St James' Palace, Clarence House, Pall Mall: Reform Club, Buckingham Palace.

Walk two, part two -     Highlights: Green Park, Shepherd's Market, Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Albert Hall & Memorial, Kensington Palace, Museum District.

Walk Three - Temple to Temple: Round the Saxon town of London, home to the Templars' Church, The Lawyers' Temple and the Freemasons Temple. Covent Garden, The John Soane Museum, Dr Johnson's House.

Walk four: The Squares of Islington: An architectural trip round some of London's most beautiful squares, home to George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh and the 'Nobodies' of diary fame. It's a long walk and we recommend you do part of it when you stumble across it. En route is London's best pub/restaurant and the innumerable eateries of Upper Street, as well as Camden Passage Antiques Market.

For walks further afield, accessible by tube, see   HERE

The city walks

Samuel Pepys, Dr Johnson and Dickens liked nothing better than strolling round the City and with good reason. Not only is London's history laid out to see, but there are hidden gems to discover, such as the Wardrobe, Simpson's Chop house, Daniel Defoe's grave, the church where Keats was christened, and a mosque that has been a synagogue, a catholic church, a protestant church and a methodist chapel. And you can;t go more than a mile in any direction!

Our favourite is the church walk. Our general city walk comes in two parts; part one looks at the north and east, part two centres on the old Roman town of Londinium and the area south of St Paul's Cathedral. Walk two features nooks and crannies not on the map, and not, to our knowledge, mentioned elsewhere in any other guide. They're walks we do ourselves over and over again and come highly recommended. You can also do similar walks with a guide - starting at the City of London Information centre opposide St Paul's Cathedral on St Paul's Churchyard - Weds 11am, Fridays 2pm Saturday 2pm, cost £6pp - children under 12 free.

Our route maps are schematic but easy to follow - they intersect on Bishopsgate, so you can mix and match them should you desire.

NEW for 2008 THE CITY CHURCH WALK - we've had so many requests for this ... includes 20 churches, 2 temples and one gaol. Links to Virginia, Pennsylvania, one (dubious) ghost and some TS Eliot.

CITY WALK ONE: - Diamonds to Dungeons.
Highlights: Hatton Garden, Smithfield, Charterhouse, Bunhill Fields, The Broadgate Centre, Spitalfields, The Hugenot Quarter, 'Little Bengal', St Bartholomews, Old Bailey.

CITY WALK TWO: - Secret London
Highlights: The Black Friar Pub, The Wardrobe, St Paul's Cathedral, Bow Bells, The Guildhall, Simpson's Chop House, The George & Vulture, The Bank of England, Leadenhall Market, Lloyd's of London, St Helen's Church, The Monument.

There are more walks on Richard Jones' comprehensive Walks site .


This is THE thing to do on Sundays. The attractions are: Columbia Road Flower Market, Brick Lane, Spitalfields Market and Hugenot (Huguenot) Area. Boho meets Bangla, lots of cafes artists studios and shops. Good for brunch and/or a late lunch: great vietnamese restaurants, curry houses, veggieboho restaurants, spanish restaurants. Also features Hoxton/Shoreditch and the Geffreye museum. CLICK HERE

The Canal

The Regent's Canal winds its way through some lovely parts of London. It connects Camden Market to Portobello Road via Regent's Park in one direction and Islington in another. A good walk would start (Saturday morning best for this) with breakfast at Camden Lock (Camden tube) and exploration of the market, then follow the canal to the west, towards Regents Park and the Zoo, to Little Venice, and thence continuing to the junction of the canal with Goldborne Road. This is the start of Portobello Road market - the famous Cafe Lisboa under the shadow of the Goldfinger-designed tower block (Trellick Tower) is a good (and cheap) place to refresh yourselves before heading down Portobello Road towards Notting Hill.

South of Notting Hill tube a selection of interesting roads - eg Campden Hill Road, (full of houses you can't afford) stretches down to Kensington High Street. If you have the cash then eating at Whole Foods is healthy and tasty, and then you can walk through the parks (Kensington Gardens and Hyde park) to Westminster.

Alternatively from Kensington High Street you can catch a Routemaster bus all the way through to the Tower, passing most of the landmarks on the way - though you'll need to change from bus #9 (Albert Hall to Aldwych) to a number 15 (Trafalgar Square to Tower) on the Strand, ask the conductor.

For further details on the canal system in London, and how to walk the bits we haven't mentioned here see Mike Stevens' Canal site.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper has been running a series of walks you can see one here and there are links to the others on the page...

The River

Well it's not walking, mainly, but we didn't know where else to put it. Take the  THAMES CLIPPER  service up and down the river and stop off at places of interest. There are a profusion of boat services on the river but we reccommend this one - it has the best service, in our opinion. Cost: Roamer tickets are £8 for the whole day, jump on, jump off. That's adults, pensioners and kids are less. Make sure you get the right ticket.

These fast catamarans run way up and down the river and you can spend the whole day going back and forth. As Ratty said "there is nothing - absolutely nothing, half so worth doing as - simply messing around in boats!" and on a fine day we're inclined to agree with him. You can start at Tate Britain, stop off at The London Eye (Houses of Parliament, Downing St etc), Shakespeare's Globe, London Bridge (eat at one of the many restaurants betweenthe 'Beehive' and the Design Museum (see Walk one), The Tower of London (and St Katherines'dock), Canary Wharf, Greenwich and the 02. Or, of course you can do any part of it in either direction. There's a useful 'virtual boat' which is a bit tricky but has all the details   HERE.

If we were doing it we'd start at Tate Britain and walk along the river, past the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and across Westminster Bridge and then get the boat at the Eye. From there go past Shakespeare's Globe and Tate Modern (see on the way back) but get off at London Bridge for lunch at one of the many restaurants between Tower Bridge and the Design museum on the South Bank. After Lunch we'd walk across Tower Bridge, see the Tower and then catch the boat to Greenwich. Mosey around there a bit (the observatory, Painted Hall etc), having a drink at the Trafalgar Tavern on the waterfront while you wait for a service on up the river to the O2. Don't get out unless you really want to but stay on the boat back to Canary Wharf and have a poke around there. Then back down to see anything you missed on the way up (as well as TATE MODERN and SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE). What a day out. You only have to pay for Westminster Abbey and the Tower (GET TICKETS IN ADVANCE TO AVOID QUEUING) on top of the river ticket, as everything else is free!


OTHER THEMED WALKS AND TRIPS AT OTHER SITES: (involving public transport and foot power)
Architecture trip.
Film Locations
East End Crime   (Ripper and Krays)
History   (somewhat duplicated above)
Fright Sites  (graveyards and things gothic)

Rainy Days

London's weather is unpredictable and it can suddenly turn cold or wet in the middle of 'Summer' - over the past few years a different weather pattern has emerged: hot in May, cold and wet in June and July, mixed in August, and hot and dry in September and October, warm weather has stayed into November.  However, it always pays checking the weather forecast: although there's less rain annually in London than Paris, it certainly doesn't feel that way. The BBC Meteorology department does an excellent 5 day forecast at their Weather site.

The Rainy Day Tube Tour For this you'll need a 1+2 Zone travelcard click here for details. Highlights: Canary Wharf, Cutty Sark, Monument, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Museum District

Free bus tour Why take an expensive bus tour when you can do it all for 'free' on public transport? See our free page for details.bustour

London's Parks

In addition to the routes listed above, you might want to just visit one of central London's many other parks and wander.  In virtually all areas, walking on the grass, picnicking and ball games are permitted.  However, some Royal Parks close at night and are patrolled by Parks Police.  Skating and bicycling are prohibited in most areas of most parks - unfortunately the councils operate a very backward and restrictive policy to alternative means of transportation.  Apart from a few parts of Kensington Gardens and Serpentine Road in Hyde Park there is virtually no place to skate in London. While you're there you might want to consider the vegetation, this guide to London's trees will help.

Regent's Park - because of an American University nearby this park is host to many games of softball as well as football and cricket.  There's a mosque on the park edges and Friday afternoon sees a very multi cultural edge. A beautiful rose garden and stunning terraces of houses round the outside.  London Zoo is at the top of the park and there's a boating lake.    Tube: Regent's Park (Bakerloo), Camden Town (Northern) or Baker Street (Jubilee, Circle)

Holland Park - used to be the haunt of spies due to the proximity of the old KGB headquarters, this most genteel of parks has an opera festival, one of London's most beautiful Youth Hostels, and plenty of wilderness, as well as immaculately manicured gardens.  Website.  Tube: Holland Park (Central) High Street Kensington (Circle)

Coram's Fields Provides a rare bit of green to King's Cross/Bloomsbury area.  Part of the grounds of the Foundling's Hospital, which was endowed by Handel (a nearby Street commemorates this) who donated the proceeds of several of his operas and oratorios.  An adjoining children's park has animals and play areas. Tube: Russell Square (Piccadilly)

Battersea Park large splendid park in this posh quarter, bordering the Thames, it has a pagoda, a boating lake, and good sports grounds as well as a zoo that's popular with children.  Walk across Chelsea Bridge from Sloane Square. Tube Sloane Square (Circle)

Hampstead Heath huge swathe of rolling countryside overlooking London - you'd not think you were in one of the world's largest cities.  Bathing area (nudist), and good sports facilities, including riding. Take a dog or a packed lunch.  After dark certain parts of this become a gay paradise, though this is not obvious to those not able to pick up the signals. Tube: Hampstead (Northern)

Blackheath and Greenwich Park we think a trip to Greenwich should be part of every visitor's itinerary. Greenwich Park, with its deer park, rose garden and ancient trees is a Royal Park and attached to the Queen's House where Queen Elizabeth grew up. A great place for Sundays, when Greenwich market is in full swing.  The Old Royal Observatory is at the top of the hill.  Website.  It rolls southward onto Blackheath, a table of green, sadly crossed by the main road to Dover (it was once a favourite of highwaymen). Tube: Cutty Sark (Docklands) Train to Greenwich or Blackheath (from Charing Cross, Waterloo or London Bridge) See also HERE for details of guided walks around gardens in the city. Guidebook to what to see and
                      do in London

Search this site:

Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase