Despite the presents to be opened, dinner to be scoffed, gin cocktails to be slurped and Quality Street to be munched, Christmas Day can be a long one. Especially if you’ve got a full house of family members all inching their way towards tipsy cabin fever.
The answer, of course, is to break things up with a nice stretch of the legs. A scenic amble through London’s leafiest areas to split up the day and get a few lungfuls of fresh air.
It’s such a fabulous idea, in fact, that even the NHS recommends it.
So to help you get inspired for a Christmas or Boxing Day stroll, here a few of the best winter walks in and around London. Scarves and woolly hats at the ready...
Little Venice to Camden
This two-mile walk along the Jubilee Greenway from Little Venice (between Edgware Road and Warwick) to Camden, makes for an easy stroll alongside Regent’s Canal, taking in the picturesque waterfront in winter. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d escaped to the countryside.
The Charles Dickens Walk
Perfectly apt for Christmas, this route will take you on a tour of Dickensian landmarks. Starting at 48 Doughty St (now The Charles Dickens Museum, Dickens lived here from 1837 to 1839), you’ll pass Gray’s Inn, where the writer worked as a clerk, Saffron Hill and St Paul’s, ending in Borough at the Charles Dickens pub on Union Street.
Though already an immensely popular spot for a city walk, a stroll along the Southbank on Christmas Day is likely to be a far different experience. Free of the thronging crowds, you’ll have plenty more space to take in the views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from Westminster Bridge, before ambling your way along the river, past the London Eye and eventually ending up in Borough Market.
Hammersmith to Chiswick
Stroll along one of the prettiest slices of the Thames Path between Hammersmith Bridge and Chiswick, as the water takes you past historic pubs, leafy parks (although likely less so in December) and some of the loveliest houses in west London.
The Samuel Pepys Walk
Follow the Samuel Pepys trail on this guided walk taking place Christmas morning. Meet under Trafalgar Square’s great Christmas tree at 11am, before setting off on the diarist’s route, led by a tour guide armed with information about the restoration of the monarchy. Did you know that Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas between 1652 and 1660? Plenty more tidbits where that came from, see walks.com to book your place.