It may be cold, but there’s still no better way to see London than on foot. Ancient cobbled streets, riverside paths and beautiful parks are all there to be explored, and with plenty of cozy pubs to pop into, there’s always a good reason to take a break from the journey.
The South Bank (1.5 miles)
Start at Westminster Bridge (Westminster tube station) and walk east along the Thames toward the London Eye. Stop to take in the street performances here before continuing along the front of the National Theatre and underneath the Oxo Tower. The gallery@oxo hosts interesting, small exhibitions, while the Oxo Tower’s bar and restaurant offer high dining and delicious cocktails — along with some of London’s best views.
Continue along the river to finish at the Tate Modern, the UK’s leading modern art gallery, housed in an old power station. Right next door is the Founders Arms; it’s a great place for a coffee, a pint or even dinner, with views across the river to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Hampstead Heath (4 miles)
Start and finish this circular walk at The Bull & Last on Highgate Road (Gospel Oak rail station); this pub is a fantastic place for pre-walk fortifications or post-walk celebratory libations. Enter the heath and turn right to head toward the five Highgate Ponds. You could stop for a swim (brace for the cold!) or to fish, or simply carry on to the nature reserve pond, which acts like an informal bird sanctuary.
From here, continue to neoclassical beauty Kenwood House. While it’s currently closed for refurbishment, the café remains open. Call in for a warming cup of tea before walking around the heath toward Parliament Hill to take in a fantastic view of London. From here it’s a short stroll back to the pub.
Hampton Court to Kew Gardens (12.5 miles)
Start at Hampton Court Palace (Hampton Court rail station), Henry VIII’s favorite residence and a truly stunning building to explore. From here, walk east along the Thames following the Thames Path, passing Kingston upon Thames and Eel Pie Island on the way to Richmond.
Stop in Richmond to shop in the independent boutiques or for lunch at The Duke gastro pub before continuing along the river past the golf course to Kew. Here you’ll find the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about plants in the glasshouses and themed gardens.
Photos Courtesy of Oxo Tower Restaurant, Oliver Pudney and Prl 42Tags: Hampstead Heath, Hampton Court, Highgate Ponds, Kew Gardens, London, Oxo Tower, The South Bank, United Kingdom, Westminster Bridge