To help keep a healthy body and mind while living in London (using the experience we gathered during each UK coronavirus lockdown so far…) we’ve rounded up some of the best city walks that are easy to navigate. Just remember to wrap up warm, take a face mask with you just in case and take along a flask of tea or coffee.
And having gotten used to spending more time outside over the course of numerous lockdowns in the UK thanks to coronavirus, many of us are continuing to use 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.
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
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.
Go green on the Crystal Palace to Nunhead Cemetery 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.
Watch the city lights twinkle on a riverside 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.
Smell the burning log fires on Regent’s Canal from Little Venice to Limehouse
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.
Walk along a former railway line from Highgate to Stoke Newington
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.
Spot the windmill on a wander around south-west London’s 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.
Get creative with public art on east London’s The Line route
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.