London is a very busy, bustling place filled with things that make it the absolute image of a city-at-work, and yet it is often the case that between Afternoon Tea Near Paddington, theatre shows on the West End, and trips around London’s many free museums, visitors don’t always get the chance to be active and take a walk and enjoy some of London’s more natural sights. So, here are the best six walks in London.
If you are staying in accommodation near Paddington, then before you venture any further afield, you should take a leisurely walk around the magnificent Hyde Park. You might be inclined to think that a park-walk should no really be considered as a proper active excursion, because it often conjures images of quick leisurely strolls. But you would be grossly underestimating the size of Hyde Park if you were to think that this was the case. Taking up a whopping 142 hectares and being the largest of four Royal Parks, you will only need to go home when your legs get tired because you will not find yourself running out of pathways or open space to traverse. You could make it more of a sight-seeing tour by walking from monument to monument, like the statue of Peter Pan, Serenity or the Statue of Achilles.
Regent’s Canal Towpath
Regent’s Park is smaller than Hyde Park, but you still are highly unlikely to run out of room to roam when you start exploring the extent of it – from Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens and The Japanese Garden Island, to the outer distance of the Boating Lake, there is a lot of space to cover. However, if you do find yourself making your way through this Royal Park quickly, then walk to Regent’s Canal and start walking east along the towpath. This runs all the way along the canal, past Camden Market and King’s Cross.
If you find that the 46 hectares of Finsbury Park is just not enough for you to get a proper active walk in, and the 69 acres of Highgate Wood poses the same issue, then perhaps a mixture of the two of them will suit you the best. You might be thinking, “those are not exactly close to one another” – and you would be right if you were just walking between the two through the busy streets of north east London. However, the Parkland Walk makes it a much more enjoyable experience. There used to be a train route from Finsbury Park to Highgate, but it is no longer used. As a result, it has been adapted into a lovely, gradual parkland walk between the two. Overgrowth now covers what were once train tracks, and every now and then you realise you have just walked through a platform, with ledges no longer attached to anything on either side of you.
The Thames Path
If you were really looking for something to push your boundaries, you could walk the entirety of The Thames Path – it is a 184 miles long National Trail, though, so you will need around two weeks, a lot of supplies and probably some accommodation along the way, including the end of the line near Kemble in Gloucestershire (and that is only if you aren’t completely worn out by the time you hit Oxford and Reading). Thankfully, you can start and stop anywhere you like along the route. It is up to you to decide whether you are looking for a rural, countryside vista, in which case walking west towards Windsor is probably your best bet, or whether you want to get some sightseeing in while you are at it, in which case you might want to walk from Vauxhall eastward, taking photoshoots with the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge along the way.
Richmond Deer Park
This is one of the best walks in London not just because you have 3.687 mi² to work with, but also because there have been 630 Red and Fallow deer roaming freely here since 1637, making this not just a walk but basically a Britainic safari. Located in South West London in the beautiful area of Richmond, Richmond Park is the largest of the extended group of Royal Parks (with the main four, of which Hyde Park is the biggest, including: St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Yet another of London’s fantastic Royal green spaces, Greenwich Park is a showstopper when it comes to space and greenery. It is overlooking the River Thames, so you could even consider walking the Thames Path until the point where it intercepts with Greenwich Park, and then go off course and explore the park itself for all its natural majesty. The park dates back to Roman times, so you can expect to see trees far older than whole areas in London. You also have the opportunity to stand on the Prime Meridian, the reference point for the rest of the world, making it both a lovely, active, outdoor experience as well as a culturally and historically significant day-out.
All of these walks are completely manageable and accessible, especially if you are making the most of London Hotel Offers and so staying in Devonshire Hotel Paddington. London is known for many things, but is often under recognised for its scope of walking routes – this is probably unintentional and simply a result of the wonderful restaurants, hotel deals and spa packages on offer, but is something you should keep in mind for your next trip. Staying active does not have to mean hiding out in the gym and never seeing the light of day – instead, it could be spent in the gleaming sun (even on a frostier day) along the River Thames or any of London’s ebbing canals.