COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may impact your travel plans. Wherever you're going, you'll find the latest advice here.

News Take a city walk: 9 of the best strolls and hikes in London

All articles

Take a city walk: 9 of the best strolls and hikes in London

Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we're here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure – whether that's a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we've got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates to keep you up to date and ready to go.

Nothing beats a good city walk. Now that lockdown is easing across England, strolling around London means grabbing a takeaway coffee and enjoying the bustle of the city coming back to life. Whether you fancy mixing up your lunchtime stroll or are looking for a strenuous weekend workout, we’ve chosen nine of the best walks in London. So lace up your trainers, put down your Oyster card and get ready to explore on foot.

Colourful Victorian buildings in London that you might see during a city walk.

The best walks in London

  1. The Jubilee Loop
  2. South Bank
  3. The Line
  4. Little Venice to Camden Lock
  5. Parkland Walk
  6. Wimbledon to Richmond
  7. Epping Forest
  8. The London Wall Walk
  9. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

Best city walk for sightseeing: The Jubilee Loop

The lake in St James Park, London, part of the Jubilee Loop. The image includes a palace in the background, a lake with a fountain and ducks in the foreground

Start and end point

The southern side of Trafalgar Square (look for the Jubilee Walkway panel).

Total distance

2 miles (3km)

What to expect

This short loop takes in some of London’s most iconic sights. Starting at buzzing Trafalgar Square, it heads south-west towards St James’s Park. The loop then follows the perimeter of the park, crossing under the massive Admiralty Arch and taking you along the big broad avenue of The Mall. A brief diversion takes you via Parliament Square, where you get a great view of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

Grab a coffee

There are a few coffee chains around the south side of Trafalgar Square, including Caffè Concerto, Pret a Manger and Caffè Nero. For a mid-point refreshment, nip into St James’s Café pavilion in the park. Take your coffee to go or sit al fresco for views of the lush gardens.

Best city walk for waterside views: South Bank

The South Bank on a foggy day, featuring the famous dolphin lampposts in the foreground and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background.

Start point

Tower Bridge

End point

Lambeth Bridge

Total distance

4 miles (6km)

What to expect

Also known as “The Queen’s Walk”, this riverside path takes you along the banks of the Thames. It’s popular with Londoners and tourists. During lunchtime you’ll often spot office workers enjoying sandwiches here while dodging human statues and street performers. As well as iconic buildings like the London Eye, Tate Modern and Oxo Tower, you’ll also spot charming details like the Victorian ‘dolphin lampposts’.

Grab a bite

If you’re feeling peckish, take a diversion near London Bridge to Borough Market. Get your caffeine hit at Monmouth Coffee, which has some of the best coffee in the city. If you need a sugar hit, pick up some of the famous filled doughnuts from Bread Ahead. For something more substantial, order a New York style sourdough pizza from ASAP Pizza, which is currently popping up at Flor.

Best city walk for art lovers: The Line

View of London from Greenwich, the start point of this city walk

Start point

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

End point

The O2 (Greenwich Peninsula)

Total distance

Roughly 3 miles (4.8km)

What to expect

London’s first dedicated art walk follows the Greenwich Meridian, and features a range of art installations. During your wander you’ll see freestanding sculptures like Abigail Fallis’ DNA DL90 – a double helix made from shopping trolleys – and Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud. Some of the pieces were specially commissioned for the pathway, while others have been sourced from private collections. The path itself is really pretty, lined with wildflowers and waterways.

Grab a bite

Before setting off, head to Craft London for a cup of coffee, roasted in house, and a freshly baked pastry. Or, if you’d rather wait until the end, head to View Tube Café on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The food menu includes South American classics like Açai bowls, Cubano sandwiches and tacos.

Best city walk for peace and quiet: Little Venice to Camden

Little Venice in London. Colourful houseboats lining the Regent's Canal with autumn trees in the background.

Start point

Little Venice

End point

Camden Lock

Total distance

2.3 miles (3.7km)

What to expect

Also known as the Jubilee Greenway, this soothing stroll takes you along the route of the Regent’s Canal. Stroll past colourful houseboats, elegant Victorian villas and floating restaurants as you move between towpath and pavement. This city walk has a couple of hills, notably at Aberdeen Place. It also brings you along the north side of Regent’s Park, one of England’s most beautiful stretches of water, and passes by London Zoo. You’ll end up at Camden Lock, which is home to a lively weekend market with stalls selling funky independent fashion and delicious street food.

Grab a bite

The street food stalls at Camden Market offer plenty of sweet and savoury options for refuelling. The Pakistani kebabs at Roti House are legendary, with flavoursome curries stuffed into pillowy naan and wrapped up for easy on-the-go eating.

Best city walk for nature lovers: Parkland Walk

The boating lake at Alexandra Park

Start point

Alexandra Palace

End point

Finsbury Park

Total distance

3.1 miles (4.9km)

What to expect

This leafy path follows the route of an old railway line, with stone tunnels and disused platforms offering hints at its past. Today it’s London’s longest Local Nature Reserve and is home to foxes, deer and hedgehogs – as well as cyclists, joggers and dog walkers. Take some time before setting off to enjoy the views from the palace, as well as its fragrant rose gardens. The Parkland Walk is split into two sections, and there are three options for navigating between the two stretches – one by pavement, and two through woodland.

Grab a bite

Once you reach Finsbury Park, head to Blighty Coffee Shop on Blackstock Road for a cup of organic coffee and an all-day breakfast. They’re famous for their full English, with vegetarian and vegan versions. Then there are the breakfasts inspired by the cuisines of India, Canada, Australia and Pakistan.

Best city walk for a challenge: Wimbledon Park to Richmond

Deer herd in Richmond Park with walkers strolling along a tree-lined path in the background

Start point

Wimbledon Park Station

End point

Friars Lane (Richmond)

Total distance

7 miles (11km)

What to expect

If you’re in the mood for something a little more vigorous, this section of the Capital Ring walking route will sort you out. As well as being a long walk, it’s also got quite a few long and steep sections. The scenery is very rewarding, as you pass through Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park and Petersham Meadow – a place immortalised by Turner in his paintings. Other things to look out for along the way include the Wimbledon windmill and Richmond’s herds of deer.

Grab a bite

There’s are lots of lunch places in Richmond, with upscale chains like Franco Manca, Gaucho and Côte Brasserie. For quaint country vibes, head to Petersham Nurseries Teahouse for a slice of homemade cake and a pot of loose leaf tea.

Best walk for a full day out: Epping Forest Centenary Walk

Forest path winding through trees surrounded by green grass

Start point

Manor Park Station

End point

Epping

Total distance

15 miles (24km)

What to expect

If you’re in the mood for a proper hike, this is it. Created in 1978, the route was written to celebrate 100 years since The Epping Forest Act protected this span of ancient woodland. The walk starts on the urban fringes before heading into the tranquillity of the deep forest. On the way you’ll pass the peaceful boating lake at Highams Park, Queen Elizabeth’s hunting lodge and the grasslands of Wanstead Flats. It should take around seven to eight hours to complete the full walk, so best set out early.

Grab a bite

Chingford is a convenient refuelling spot halfway along the trail. Pop into Helen’s Coffee on the Green for classic café food like full English breakfasts, panini and warm cinnamon buns.

Best walk for history buffs: the London Wall Walk

The Tower of London by evening, lit brightly against a cloudy backdrop

Start point

The Tower of London, Postern Gate (look for the plaque)

End point

The Museum of London

Total distance

1.75 miles (2.8km)

What to expect

This walk was established in 1984 by the Museum of London, and follows the route of the original wall which surrounded the Roman city of Londinium. You’ll see some remaining chunks of the wall as you follow the route, with 21 waymarker plaques telling the ancient story of The City. During the walk you’ll pass the site of the ancient city gates at Blackfriars, as well as the location of the first Roman Fort built in 120 AD. If you prefer circular walks, you can extend your stroll by following either the Thames Path or one that follows the Roman-era waterfront. Both add an extra 1.4 miles (2.3km).   

Grab a coffee

There’s no shortage of craft coffee shops in the City, and one of the best is Curator’s Coffee Studio. As well as a wide selection of perfectly poured espresso-based coffee they also serve up tasty treats, like croissants and carrot cake.

Best walk for fans of The Crown:  Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

The colourful sunken gardens at Kensington Palace

Start and end point

St James’s Park

Total distance

7 miles (11.2km)

What to expect

If you spent lockdown binge-watching The Crown, pay homage to Princess Diana with this long walk through four of London’s Royal parks. This circular route follows a figure-of-eight pattern, and was dedicated to the princess in 2000 to celebrate her love of the outdoors. Start in St James’s Park, keeping an eye out for its resident pelicans, and look out for the waymarkers set into the pavement. During the walk you’ll stroll along the grand avenue of The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, through the perfumed rose gardens in Hyde Park and along the banks of the Serpentine to the stately Albert Memorial.

Grab a coffee

There are refreshment points dotted throughout the Royal Parks where you can find bean-to-cup coffee, sandwiches and ice creams. One of the prettiest spots to stop off is the Serpentine Lido Café in Hyde Park. The large outdoor terrace has peaceful views across the water.

Are you ready for a city walk in London?

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend break or have lived in the city all your life, a good walk around London can help you to see a new side to the UK capital. All of the walks included here are editorially chosen, and based on our writer’s recommendations. So we apologise if we’ve missed out on your favourite stroll – there are so many great places to walk in London, we simply couldn’t fit them all.

Discover where you can go

Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

City walk in London FAQs

Traditional and modern buildings standing side by side on Market Place Great Titchfield Street, W1 London
Can I walk in Central London?

Central London is very pedestrian friendly. Plans were announced last year to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city, and many of London’s top walks take place right in the heart of the action. While the city has a fantastic public transport system, we recommend packing your trainers and exploring London on foot.

Can I walk around London during lockdown?

During lockdown, people are encouraged to stay at home and minimise travel as much as possible. Along with supermarket and pharmacy visits, daily walks are one of the exceptions to “Stay at Home” measures. As long as you choose a route near your home, you can walk around London.

Where can I walk at night in London?

London is relatively safe to walk around at night. Like all big cities, you should keep your wits about you and stick to well-lit paths. Some of the best night time walks in London are in the city centre. The South Bank walk is lovely at night as you can see the lights of London, while a stroll around Chinatown with its colourful paper lanterns is always lovely.

Can you walk along the Thames in London?

Yes, you can walk along the Thames in London. If you want to walk the full 180 mile stretch, follow The Thames Path National Trail. This flat path starts at the Thames Flood Barrier in South East London and ends at its source in Gloucestershire. It’s split into smaller segments, so you don’t have to tackle it all in one go. Notable London Thames walks include Greenwich to the London Eye (7.5 miles), Island Gardens to Embankment (7.5 miles) and The London Eye to Putney (8 miles).

Want to read more?

  • Coronavirus travel advice – the latest information about travel during the pandemic, from border restrictions to flight cancellation policies, all in one place.
  • 5 stunning cities with urban hiking trails – London isn’t the only city with great walks. Get your wanderlust going with our tips on strolls in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Barcelona and Sydney.
  • 10 spots for a British break – if you’d rather escape the city altogether, our spring holiday suggestions are perfect for a relaxing staycation.