Wellbeing

7 winter walk routes in London to inspire your daily exercise

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Hollie Richardson
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Regent's Canal

To help keep a healthy body and mind while living London during Lockdown 3.0, we’ve rounded up some of the best city walks that are easy to navigate. Just remember to wrap up warm, keep a two-metre distance from other people and take along a flask of tea or coffee.

Walking is very, very good for us. From the cardiovascular benefits to reducing feelings of stress and anger, there are so many benefits of walking for the body and mind. That’s why, according to the NHS, adults should be doing “at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week”. 

And, with gyms being closed during the third lockdown, many of us are taking long daily walks around our local areas to help keep us healthy through this particularly tough time. This also helps ensure we get some natural vitamin D for a healthy immune system during these short, dark winter days. 

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So we’ve rounded up seven walks in and around London that we think you’ll enjoy whatever the weather. 

Appreciate the capital’s architecture on the Jubilee Walkway

Barbican
The City Loop takes you around the cool architecture of London's Barbican building.

If you live in central London, you can play tourist by walking part of the 15-mile Jubilee Walkway without the stress of big tourist crowds. 

The route covers many of London’s most famous landmarks and is split into five sections: Western Loop (Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament); Eastern Loop (Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern), The City Loop (Barbican, St Paul’s Cathedral), The Camden Loop (The British Museum, The British Library); The Jubilee Loop (St James’s Park, Parliament Square).

The walkway is also well signposted, with various ‘discs’ giving directions at key junctions and marking nearby historical events along the way.

Find out more information on Jubilee Walkway.

Go green on the Crystal Palace to Nunhead Cemetery walk

Nunhead Cemetery
The Crystal Palace to Nunhead Cemetery trail is part of London's Green Chain Walk.

This south London route is going to make you feel so outdoorsy that you’ll forget you’re in London. 

Part of the Green Walk Chain, this five-mile route starts in Crystal Palace Park (home of the iconic dinosaur statues) and takes you through green spaces like Dulwich Park, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Camberwell Old Cemetery and Nunhead Cemetery. 

If anything, the cemeteries will be even more beautiful in the foggy, crisp wintry weather. 

Find out more information on the Crystal Palace to Nunhead Cemetery walk.

Watch the city lights twinkle on a riverside walk from Tower Bridge to Greenwich

Butler's Wharf
Take in the twinkling lights of the banks of the River Thames on an evening walk from Tower Bridge to Greenwich.

Let the Thames guide you on a scenic and tranquil tour of the city’s eastside, taking you from the iconic Tower Bridge to lovely Greenwich. 

The five-mile route includes St Katherine Docks, Wapping Dock, Canary Wharf and Masthouse Terrace. And you’ll be able to take in the views of the river’s southside, including Butler’s Wharf, Rotherhithe Village and Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College.

It’s all especially pretty when the city is lit up in the evening. 

Find out more information on the Tower Bridge to Greenwich walk.

Smell the burning log fires on Regent’s Canal from Little Venice to Limehouse

Little Venice
Walk from Little Venice to Limehouse via Regent's Canal and take in the smoky smell of log fires burning in the barges.

Nothing says winter quite like the smell of log fires being burned in the pretty barges that line Regent’s Canal. 

We’re obviously not suggesting that you walk the entirety of the canal’s nine-mile route from Little Venice in the west to Limehouse in the east. But if you can walk part of it, the route goes through beautiful Regent’s Park, London Zoo, Camden Town, King’s Cross, Angel, Haggerston, Mile End Park and, finally, Limehouse Basin.

You can swerve off the canal at any point and there are plenty of places to pick up a hot drink and takeaway food on the way.

Find out more information on the Little Venice to Limehouse walk.

Walk along a former railway line from Highgate to Stoke Newington

Parkland Walk in Wood Green.
The Highgate to Stoke Newington route takes you along the Parkland Walk (London's longest nature reserve).

Starting at Priory Gardens near Highgate station, this five-mile route is one of the greenest parts of the Capital Ring walk. 

It follows most of the Parkland Walk (London’s longest nature reserve) along a former railway line. After that, the route passes through Finsbury Park, along by the New River – created as a canal four hundred years ago – past Stoke Newington Reservoirs and onto Clissold Park. It finishes at Abney Park Cemetery.

Find more information on the Highgate to Stoke Newington walk.

Spot the windmill on a wander around south-west London’s commons 

The windmill on Wimbledon Common.
The windmill on Wimbledonand Putney Commons.

For those who live south-west of the river, there are 1,140 acres of glorious open green space through Wimbledon and Putney Commons and Putney Heath. With woodland, scrubland, heathland and mown recreation areas and nine ponds, there’s a huge range of habitats across this terrain, supporting all kinds of wildlife. 

While there is no specific route here, you can find something different in each area: the famous windmill is situated in Wimbledon Common; Putney Heath (which is northwards from the windmill) is home to Roehampton Hills; and Putney Lower Common is a grassy meadow half a mile west of Putney town centre.

Find more information on walks around Wimbledon and Putney Commons and Putney Heath.

Get creative with public art on east London’s The Line route

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium is the starting point on The Line public art trail.

The Line is London’s first dedicated public art walk. It connects three boroughs (Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich), running between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2. Due to lockdown restrictions, you won’t be able to complete the full route (which requires public transport to cross the Thames), but you can walk parts of it depending on which side of the river you live. 

The Line features an evolving programme of art installations (loans and commissioned works), projects and events, illuminating an inspiring landscape where everyone can explore art, nature and heritage for free. You can find a detailed map of the trail points and the current art on show here

Find more information on The Line.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…