Log Off
Head Out

Escapes on your doorstep
from anywhere in London by public transport

Log Off – Head Out

Access the outdoors, in London and beyond, from your doorstep

Keen walker, reluctant rambler or just need to get outside, somewhere… anywhere?

This website is for anyone living in or around London who might need a mind clearing, spirit restorative escape route or two. No droning history lectures or improving nature guides – nothing to learn apart from that which catches your free-wandering mind.  Here you might find stories, idiosyncratic observations, curated curiosities and ‘mind noodling’ about anything rambly in the wide, and occasionally narrow, blue yonder.

And then there are the routes…

Each route has:

~ An easy step by step navigation guide ~

~ Essential feature guides, pointing out stories and features of note ~

~ For the out of London routes there is an additional printable map ~

So, here’s what to do:

~ Pick a route ~

~ Print off the step by step navigation guide (‘Print-Friendly’ tab on the right beneath the header of each walk) and, if going out of town, the map ~

~ Pack up and go! ~

 Log off, Head out – you know you want to…

Walking – ‘Just Say No’

8 reasons why you should never go for a walk…

In Search of the Contemplation Tree

The lone, unfrequented tree provides focus, appreciation and reflection while we pass them deep inside our own private ‘train of thought’…

Forgive us Our Trespassing

As a small child I was metaphorically transfixed by an image inside the doorway of Worthing Museum: a roughly painted scene – a moonlit night, dark scudding clouds, a ragged poacher writhing in agony as the jaws of a mantrap clamped his leg. I needed no further instruction in the principles of land ownership: That land wasn’t made for you or me…

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – err… why not?

Some musings on the politics of solo walks and how Billy and Betty No Mates are onto something maybe…

10 Walks in and out of London

Lucky you. I’ve walked several thousand miles of footpaths and city streets to distil out a choice selection of rambles for everyone to enjoy. There is no way of knowing whether a walk is worth doing except by walking the route every step of the way; a lot of terrible walks, dull vistas, and frankly boring trudges have been endured and discarded. Lucky me, I love walking and being outside so it’s all been worth it. I hope you can find the time to explore a route or two.

"Everywhere is within walking distance if you create the time..."

Princes Risborough to Wendover - LOHO Walk

No 1 : Princes Risborough to Wendover

ST MARYLEBONE I MODERATE I 6.8m/11km

Leaving habitation behind you, spend the day following one of Britain’s most ancient trackways dating back 5000 years, possibly much further...

Home Park and The Long Water

No 2 : Hampton Court to Richmond

WATERLOO/VAUXHALL I EASY/MODERATE I 7.8m/12.5k

A favourite walk bookended by the imposing Hampton Court Palace and the bare remains of Richmond Palace, along the Thames path and through diverse parks and meadows...

Primrose Hill

No 3 : Three London Parks

REGENT'S PARK I EASY I 5.6m/9k

Easy walking, people-watching in the parks, and chi-chi 'villages' ending on the splendid views and rambling of Hampstead Heath...

Newington Green Terraces

No 4 : Newington Green to Smithfield

CANONBURY I EASY I 3m/4.8k

An idiosyncratic trail of visual and historical curiosities taking in radicals, rebels and assorted contrarians along the way...

Dr Salter's Daydream

No 5 : London Bridge to Greenwich

LONDON BRIDGE I EASY/MODERATE I 5.6m/9k

A real treat for the soul, spending an entire walk following the course of the River Thames from the heart of the old City...

Otford Village

No 6 : Eynsford to Otford

VICTORIA/CHARING CROSS/BLACKFRIARS
I EASY/MODERATE I 6.8m/11km

A perennial favourite to introduce self-identifying 'non-walkers'. Stunning views of the length of the Darenth Valley,  an impressive Roman Villa, a 'castle', a 'palace' and three typically Kentish villages...

Otford Village

No 7 : Eynsford Circular via Shoreham

VICTORIA/CHARING CROSS/BLACKFRIARS
I MODERATE I 8.2 - 9.1m/13.3 - 14.8km

A longer cousin of Walk No. 6, this route follows the lovely Darenth Valley on its western slopes and returns along the valley bottom. A landscape of hills, open views and a riverine return with a choice of picnic, pub or vineyard for the lunch stop...

Meopham Green and Windmill

No 8 : Sole Street Circular

VICTORIA/ST PANCRAS INTERNATIONAL
I MODERATE I 8.8m/14.2km

Continuously undulating chalk hills and farmland welcome you with vineyards and gorgeous valley views, including a welcome and timely lunch stop at a splendid Kentish scene of a windmill and pub overlooking the local cricket pitch...

 

Meopham Green and Windmill

No 9 : Guildford St Martha's Church Circular

WATERLOO  I  MODERATE  I  7.7m/12.4km

Along the meandering River Wey via an old watermill to an ascent along ancient pilgrim paths under open skies and woodland, tracking the North Downs Way and the Pilgrims' Way, including an aerobic climb to the perfectly located St Martha’s Chapel for a rest and lunch...

 

No 10 : Greenwich to London Bridge via Limehouse & Wapping

ISLAND GARDENS I  EASY  I  5.5m/8.8km

The sister walk to Route 5.

Follow the north bank’s Thames Path all the way from the Isle of Dogs to the City through a random procession of history and eccentricity…

Seasonal Ramblings

Four Seasons, Two Minutes, One Tree, and a Dog

Here, and elsewhere, I make a plea for noticing; noticing not just as a ‘glimpsing of’ or a glancing regard for something passing, but a brief, focusing of attention onto one thing.

While walking through my local park, I suddenly ‘noticed’ a tree that I had walked past dozens of times. Gradually over the following days and weeks, I noticed it a little more, realising that over many years I had failed to see that it was silently performing a beautiful dance of dressing, decorating, undressing and reclothing itself with no expectation of applause or admiration. It was just being, it’s bold and joyous self.

Eventually, I pulled out my phone – normally the distracting bane of any engagement with the outdoors – and took a few moments to capture its changes.

I hope you can find the time to spare yourself from the endless doomscrolling of your phone or computer to admire this beautiful tree.

There are times when we don’t need the news or updates or posts or likes or dislikes.

We just need a tree.

Notes of the Season

Autumn 2023

The Carved Beech Tree & the Passing of Seasons

It is the physical act of circling a tree which lifts the spirits of a long-known poem and prompts a true consideration of the passing of seasons and the blessings of Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness….”

Standing discreetly to one side, in one of the several beech woods of Hampstead Heath, is a tree whose scored bark is gradually and gracefully, year on year, losing the traces of a familiar poem carved with a steady hand, circling halfway round its girth.

Now fuzzy and faded from view, the carefully carved words begin, “Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…”

READ MORE>>

Walk of the Season

Autumn 2023

In the spotlight – Three London Parks

Regent's Park
Primrose Hill
Hampstead Heath

For times when we just don’t want to roam too far, this is a favourite walk which can be completed in just over two hours, or longer with leisurely coffee stops, picnics or pub lunches…

Sometimes, particularly after rain and mud, or if we’re just not that keen on walking in the countryside, we don’t want to stray too far. Easily reached by bus, tube and overground this route is designed for just such times and people.  Taking in Regents Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath, this can be completed in just over two hours, or longer with leisurely coffee stops, picnics or pub lunches. Anxious urbanites can relax knowing that they are never far from a handcrafted sourdough sandwich.

Along the way, you will have two vaguely druidic encounters: at Primrose Hill and later via rumour and myth at Hampstead Heath. Cautionary note: while walking the Heath, I frequently spot those who have concluded that it’s a park, and therefore trainers will do. The Heath, except in the driest of weathers, is in many places a bog in disguise. Wear what guide leaders of yesteryear would call ‘stout footwear’– what I call ‘smug boots’ – in order to spot those trainer-people miserably squelching, ankle deep in muddy gloop.

One chilly Autumn day I was happily rained off on this walk. Happily, because there was an atmospheric pub in which ‘to seek shelter’ (which is a very poor euphemism, I know). In this instance, it was The Spaniards Inn, and in the company of a good friend and two wet Labradors. We were forced to wait for at least  three slow pints and two plates of chips before the rain trailed away.

If in the mood to roam more widely around the Heath you can enjoy the glorious sensation of getting safely ‘lost’. If navigating for the first time, remember that the view over London from Parliament Hill is on the southside, Kenwood House is on the Heath’s farther north side and, way over to your right, the church spire high on the hill is Saint Michaels of Highgate. Keep these three beacons in mind; you will probably still get lost but you can at least pretend you know where you’re going.