Greenwich to London Bridge via Limehouse & Wapping

Following the north bank’s Thames Path from the Isle of Dogs to the City. An edgy alternative – or partner-  to the ‘sister walk’ London Bridge to Greenwich. For keen walkers, the two walks can be joined together to make a c11 mile circular route, giving memorable views of the Thames in each direction.

Definitely not a “tra la la, hey nonny, nonny” pastoral country ramble, but an eccentric, random procession beginning with a painterly view of Greenwich, then modern ‘lifestyle’ apartments with a faintly Blade Runner feel, gritty remnants of Victorian, industrial architecture and an occasional scruffy road diversion, before the cobbled atmospheric neo-chic of Limehouse and Wapping. The finale: a homecoming sailor’s perspective as the river takes a slow, sinuous approach to St Katherine’s Dock, Tower Bridge and the old City beyond.

As with all the walks on this website, you will get far more out of the experience if you access the Highlights links embedded in the Step By Step directions. This particular walk has some hidden gems of history, including Brunel’s ‘ Great Babe’, Gandalf’s staff and piratical intrigue. Just before you reach the Tower of London there is a choice of three creaky old pubs all of whom do a great job of hamming up their impressive histories.

Route Summary

Easy / 4 out of 10

5.5 miles / 8.8 kilometres

OS Urban Map Walk London

Dog Friendly

Terrain & Navigation

How to get here


Eat and drink

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Surrey Quays

The Thames Path

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…

Dr Salter's Daydream


If the tide is out and you have waterproof footwear you can indulge in a bit of mud larking and perhaps discover an historic oddment among the mediaeval crisp packets and Roman Red Bull cans>>

St Saviour’s Dock and the Devil’s Neckerchief

Brunel & The Great Eastern

Encounter the remnants of the dock from which Brunel launched the Great Eastern in 1858 and  the extraordinary story of his feat in creating and launching the biggest and most extravagant ship of its time>>

Gormley Statue Thames

Limehouse Folklore

Wander through Limehouse where a reputation of a fog filled maze of cobbled streets inhabited by strangers from strange lands, the dispossessed and the dangerous has been built on myth, literary imagination and reality>>

The Cutty Sark

Pub Stories

Explore the streets and atmospheric old pubs, including Britain’s oldest riverside tavern, which gently foster the area’s reputational theme of crime and murky misdeeds>>

Begin Walk

Start: Island Gardens DLR Station


From the Island Gardens DLR station follow the sign straight across the road to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.

Here you can take a moment to enter the adjacent Island Gardens Park for a splendid view of Greenwich Naval College and the park and observatory.

Or, for something a little more ‘unplugged’…
Facing the river, start your route by turning right at the domed entrance to the foot tunnel. About 30m along is the Blackwall Rowing Club where the slipway will give you an open view of the splendours of Greenwich on the opposite bank to kick off your Thames-side visuals. If the tide is out and you have waterproof footwear (you do have waterproof footwear, don’t you…?) you can indulge in a bit of mudlarking and perhaps discover an historic oddment among the mediaeval crisp packets and Roman Red Bull cans.

See feaure link below for an account of this growing activity…

From the Rowing Club turn left (east) to continue along the residential street running parallel to the river. In a short distance continue straight on to pass the (200 year old) Ferry pub to enter into residential developments, swinging left to pick up the signposted Thames Path.

Keep the river on your left and head towards Tower Bridge.


Soon you’ll get a view of Deptford Creek on the opposite bank with its grey/green modern apartments contrasting with the rickety decaying and now derelict wooden piers along the far shore.


Within a few minutes further, a signboard shows you that you are at a residential development which was formerly Burrell’s Wharf and paint works. The rather dry information is cheerfully leavened by a punky mental image of pink pigeons on the factory roof.


Shortly after, you will encounter the remnants of the dock from which Brunel launched the Great Eastern in 1858.  See the Features link below for the extraordinary story of Brunel’s feat in creating and launching his ‘Great Babe’ – the biggest and most extravagant ship of its time.


The path soon swings hard right through the residential buildings of Ferguson’s Wharf. After 100m, at the T-junction continue on to the main road where you turn left to continue, parallel to the river, through Millwall’s rare ungentrified stretch of Thame-side London.


As you follow the road, look out for the nondescript Vanguard storage warehouse on your left. If the gates are open you may see just inside a tribute to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The giant chains which were needed to secure the Great Eastern, and which were manufactured here, gave us the renowned image of the stove pipe hatted, waistcoat wearing IKB, leaning nonchalantly against his handiwork.


After 500m you will cross over Millwall Outer Dock.


Pass more self-storage facilities, and Arnhem Wharf Primary School, then in about 200m take a left at Arnhem Place and return to the Thames Path another 200m ahead of you.

From here you can begin to trust the Thames Path all the way to Tower Bridge – any minor diversions or uncertainties you might encounter are easily remedied by heading towards the River, asking a local, or swearing.

Once the path is re-located, you can pride yourself on your intrepid navigational skills and adventurous spirit.

Throughout the walk take a moment to note the position of the Shard  ahead of you – it takes a special delight in switching between the North and South banks of the Thames as you walk, but slyly and reassuringly will always be in its place by the time you get to the City.


Continue on until you reach the looming office blocks and dockside development at Westferry. A ramshackle collection of walkways will either take you further on along the Thames path or you may be diverted up to the busy main road and left. Follow the signs and usual common sense to stay close to the river and you will soon be returned to the Thames path at Canary Wharf.


Continue on past Canary Wharf until you reach another narrow residential redevelopment of a Thames inlet. Follow the signs to cross the inlet, passing through an archway and out onto Narrow Street. Turn left to soak up the particular atmosphere of Limehouse. Ropemaker’s Field will be on your right but you will carry straight on along Narrow Street.


The Grapes pub crops up in a couple of hundred metres. This creaky old hostelry has good views of the Thames with a wealth of history, quirky features and stories.

See Feature link below for connections with Gandalf,  the Gormley statue and other literary and artistic references.  Definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been.

Reports back on the food on offer would be very welcome – drop me a line here.


Continue along Narrow Street to eventually reach a set of red and white barriers which marks the site of Limehouse Waterside & Marina. There is a Gordon Ramsey restaurant and pub here (as yet untried, feedback welcome).

On the other side of the road from the Marina, on some Saturdays there is a food market.

Straight ahead, however, should you be searching for another atmospheric old pub, you have a choice of two: Directly ahead is the Prospect of Whitby while further down is the Town of Ramsgate.

See Features link below for stories about both pubs and the tale of the extraordinary life, death and beyond of ‘Hanging Judge’ Jeffreys.

Next to the Town of Ramsgate pub are Wapping Old Stairs – definitely worth a look at the Features link below to discover why these have such historical significance for old London.


Wend your way through St Katherines Dock with views of, and around, Tower Bridge and, depending on your preferred route home, you could opt for the grand finale of crossing Tower Bridge for a view of the Tower of London.

 If you cross the river here you can follow the Thames Path, for another ten minutes or so to London Bridge – the tube and main station are easily located 200m from the bridge, on your left. 

Other main line stations, buses and tubes are available…

Browse more walks…

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


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


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


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

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No 4 : Newington Green to Smithfield


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


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


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

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

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


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…