The city of London may have a reputation for being one of the world’s most expensive places, but there’s one must-do activity that requires no dinero.
Come rain or shine (which in truth is a rarity!), London walks are enjoyable, free and can be done in a group or solo. While on one of these treks, you’re also bound to come across some of the other best things to do in the city.
The river walk
This stretch is undoubtedly one of my favourite walks, mainly because it stays along the river. Starting from the Albert Embankment (Vauxhall is the nearest tube station), you’ll be able to see many interesting and historic spots along the way.
These include the famous MI6 building, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. The path is for the most part, pretty tranquil, until you hit the hot tourist spots of the South Bank in Waterloo.
If it’s on, swing by the food market a few steps down from the Royal Festival Hall. From Spanish paella to gourmet burgers, there’s something for everyone.
The East End walk
To see 2 sides to the East End, this particular walk is ideal. Liverpool Street and the surrounding area is the financial hub, but also branches out into the trendy hipster area of Hackney and Shoreditch.
Behind the bustling main road of Liverpool Street, take a stroll towards Spitalfields or Petticoat Lane, and grab a independent label or two. Hipsters and the more eccentric will love the range of vintage shops along Brick Lane.
If you’re feeling peckish, stop by the Beigel Bake shop, also on Brick Lane. It’s been serving freshly baked beigels and specialty hot salt beef since 1977, and the queues speak for themselves.
The themed walk
If you prefer a guided walk with an accompanying guide, there are many themed walks to choose from. The literary London walks are perfect for book buffs.
Visit the places where Charles Dickens used to hang out, or indulge in Oscar Wilde’s London, and bring these literary legends to life. These walks are also suitable for families, and will give children a head-start on their knowledge of English literature!
The park walk
While the weather doesn’t always call for it, London has some of the best parks to discover, or to simply watch the day go by.
Parks under the Royal Parks title include Hyde Park, Regents Park and Green Park. From the latter, there’s also the opportunity to explore Buckingham Palace and the surrounding area.
Wise choices for parks outside the centre are Clapham Common and my favourite, Battersea Park. The picturesque Hampstead Heath in North London has stunning views of the city skyline.
The high-end walk
The last walk brings a touch of class and opulence, namely due to the extravagant landmarks along the way.
Starting at the east end of High Street Kensington, the walk to Knightsbridge – though not a long one – is still a magnificent way to capture an elegant side to the city.
Gaze over the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, and stare in awe at the architectural beauty of the Royal Albert Hall. The walk ends in Knightsbridge, which means only one thing: a trip to Harrods. Once you’ve done some damage to the credit cards, you truly deserve a rest.
What better way to end the day, than with a traditional English afternoon tea at the Fifth Floor Café and Terrace at Harvey Nichols.