We love the increased energy that comes with the first few weeks of spring - the weather finally starts to get milder, it’s much easier to get out of bed in the mornings, and even the daily nine to five office grind feels more manageable. To celebrate the new season and further boost those endorphins, here are 10 city walks guaranteed to lift your mood and invigorate your spirit.
To get the most out of a stroll in the largest of London’s four Royal Parks, head for the picturesque avenue of sweet chestnut trees which runs between the sandy Rotten Row path and the Serpentine. This isn’t a long walk, so if you work nearby it’s a good one to fit into your lunch break.
The Jubilee Greenway
If you have a little more time, head to north London for the peaceful two mile canalside walk which runs between Little Venice and Camden. Either start to the west at Little Venice (a short walk from Edgware Road or Warwick Avenue) or head straight to Camden and make your waterside wander in the other direction. Experts say this walk is best on a sunny day, when the canal boats and barges are more active.
The South Bank
Whether you’ve walked it a hundred times before or it’s your first time, there’s always something interesting to see while strolling along the South Bank. The short walk from Tate Modern to Jubilee Gardens (next to the London Eye) should take you around 20 minutes, depending on tourist traffic. For a quieter walk, head to the South Bank just after sundown, when most of the attractions have closed but the iconic London skyline is just as breathtaking.
St James’s Park
As London’s oldest Royal Park, this grand open space situated between Westminster, St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace is famous for its gigantic weeping willow trees and long established wildlife. It’s even home to a few pelicans! If you’re in central London and feel the urge to spend some time in nature, this is probably your closest opportunity - and if you want to extend your wander, it’s adjacent to Green Park, too.
One of the biggest green areas in London, Hampstead Heath boasts 800 acres of woodland and meadows, not to mention more than 30 ponds. With endless wild, untrimmed foliage and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at, this is the untamed alternative to London’s Royal Parks. For a refreshing weekend stroll, weave your way through the Heath’s many winding woodland paths, then follow your nose to The Brew House Café at Kenwood House where both lunch and afternoon tea are served in atmospheric surroundings.
Thames Path – Hampton Court to Albert Bridge
A wander along the Thames is usually enjoyable and interesting whatever section you happen to choose, but the section between Hampton Court Palace and Albert Bridge is especially picturesque. At an almost marathon-length of 23 miles, you probably won’t decide to walk it in its entirety, but you’re likely to enjoy the sights – both along the path and on the river itself, which ever subsection you choose.
Morden Hall Park
For those based in south London, The National Trust owned Morden Hall Park is worth strolling through for its interesting bird population alone. It’s located along the River Wandle, and home to over 100 species of birds – including cormorants, herons, redwings, little egrets and firecrests. The flora is impressive too, and the gardens featuring over 2,000 roses – which means you might want to save your visit for the summer flowering season.
Inner Temple Garden
For a real secret garden experience in the heart of the city, Inner Temple Garden (located between Temple and Blackfriars) is probably your best bet. The garden has a long history – it dates all the way back to the 14th century, when it started its life as an orchard. These days it covers three-acres, and features tree-lined paths and lots of lush, picnic-friendly lawns.
City Tree Trail
You might think that the best way to see London’s greenery is to venture into one of London’s famous parks, but you’d be mistaken. The little-known City of London Tree Trail involves a picturesque meander through the streets immediately surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral, and passes some of London’s oldest and rarest tree species. It takes one hour and 40 minutes to complete the two mile trail, and for those who want to walk a little further, there’s a riverside alternative which takes two hours to complete.
Lights, Camera, Action
For those who like to see a bit more architecture while they walk, another pavement-pounding alternative is the starry-eyed Lights, Camera, Action walk. It starts at Millennium Bridge, a popular filming location featured in everything from Harry Potter to Bridget Jones, then takes in a variety of popular London sight-seeing spots that can be recognised from film and TV. From start to finish it will take around two hours to complete, so remember to wear your comfiest shoes.
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