London Bridge to Greenwich
Being able to spend an entire walk following the course of a river is a real treat for the soul and especially so for any London dweller who thinks they know the Thames but has yet to physically trace its sinuous course out of the City.
Quirky statues, a mad miscellany of architecture, narrowboats, ancient wharves and fragments of history with stories related to Brunel; two heroic but unheralded social reformers; Peter The Great; The Cutty Sark and Nelson. And for those that like drooling over property, an almost endless chain of apartment developments, all variations on the glitzy but curiously vague promise of achieving that mysterious condition known as a ‘riverside lifestyle’.
This section of the Thames Path out of London is a particularly colourful amble. Richly served with cafés and pubs it’s an easy walk but one that is long enough to justify setting aside the best part of the day, all the better to soak up the wide river views, stories and intriguing characters.
Easy/Moderate / 4 out of 10
Worth setting aside the best part of a day to relax, visit pubs, shops and cafes and take it all in…
5.6 miles / 9 kilometres
OS Urban Map Walk London
Flat, paved all the way. Navigation is easy; the Thames Path is signposted (nearly) all the way.
In a couple of places, you have to keep your eyes peeled for the sometimes obscure signs but essentially all you need to do is aim to keep the river on your left for almost all of the route.
London Bridge is well served by tube, trains and buses.
Returning from Greenwich there are a number of options depending on your destination. A convenient connection is offered by the Cutty Sark DLR connecting with the Jubilee line at Heron Quays and Canary Wharf, the much loved London Overground line at Shadwell and the Central Line at Stratford.
For an extra treat in the warmer months you can, among other options, jump on an Uber Thames Clipper back to central London
Duke of Edinburgh’s advice to the young Prince Charles on royal duty:
“If you see a toilet, use it”
(Though which toilets are open and when is one of life’s mysteries).
LOOS ON THIS WALK:
Happily for anyone who has travelled to the start of this route there are well-managed loos at London Bridge station. If in doubt best avail yourself of these as public loo stops are incredibly rare along this route, and indeed anywhere in London.
The next public loo that I know of is at the end of the route in Greenwich just adjacent to the Cutty Sark.
However, assuming pubs and cafes are open and you are prepared to be a paying customer, there are plenty of these along the way.
This section of the Thames Path is richly served with cafés and pubs.
Along the way there are a couple of characterful little cafes: One at St Marys’ Church in Bermondsey (visible through the gates as a tiny building opposite the church and next to a handy park); and again at Surrey Docks Farm.
St Saviour’s Dock and the Devil’s Neckerchief
A short distance from the Tower of London the first ancient Dock on this southern side is St Saviours.
In 1016 the Danish King Cnut used this site to dig a trench through Southwark, allowing his boats to create a sneaky bypass around the heavily defended London Bridge and go on to take London. How the locals didn’t notice Danish ships sailing through Southwark is a bit of a mystery.
Later, in the 1600s, this was a place of punishment and execution, being marked on the map as the River Neckinger – its name deriving from a term for the hangman’s noose – ‘The Devil’s Neckinger’ or Neckcloth. The executions took place at a local dockside pub ‘The Dead Tree’ – a cheery venue for a 17th century family day out.
As you cross the Neckinger on an elegant little bridge of wires and steel, you can see deep into the inlet and upscale riverside developments. Keep this in mind when, on reaching the other side soon to emerge on Bermondsey Wall West, that you are now in an area previously one of Victorian London’s most notorious slums: Jacob’s Island.
Not so much an island but an area backing onto the Thames, Dickens described it as, “…wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud and threatening to fall into it… every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage…”
A perfect setting then, in Oliver Twist, for the life and death of the villain Bill Sykes.
Since Dicken’s review, you’ll be relieved to know, that property prices have now recovered.
Bermondsey Beach & Mudlarking / Mudmooching
‘Beach’ is a bit of a stretch but with historic Wapping on the far side of the curving river, the near sci-fi profiles of central London architecture looming all around, this is where the river’s mediaeval/ industrial mood begins to fade and is as good a place as any to consider an activity which occurs along almost the entirety of the Thames Path: mudlarking
In its current form ‘Mudmooching’ is now a popular hobby but was once a grim and sometimes desperate source of income for the river’s poor, as they waded in the filth and mud searching for anything: old ropes, scrap metal and wood, lost coins, bricks and tiles; while occasionally pilfering what they could from the merchants’ boats.
Now the hobbyists can be seen at low tide, hunched over, scouring and scanning the shore for a vast, and sometimes bizarre, range of relics, trinkets and scrap. Recently made famous by Lara Maiklin’s book, the activity is now more popular than ever, though still licenced and, in some places, strictly controlled, notably around the Tower of London’s foreshore.
You will probably have already noticed the extreme tidal nature of the river; it’s this daily shifting, sifting and sorting of the river’s edge which turns the mud and gravel, producing a continuous bounty of odds, sods, knickknacks and curiosities dating from prehistory to last Wednesday.
Dr Salter's Daydream
This enigmatic grouping of statues becomes haunting when the story outlined on the explanatory board is revealed. So you’ll actually have to go on this walk to know the tale rather than reading my notes – fair enough, I think.
Suffice to say the inspiring account, from the early 20th century, of Quakers, Ada and Alfred Salter and their daughter Joyce, is one that is still close to the heart of Bermondsey people. Reformers, strike leaders and leading slum clearers, the Salters made the political personal at heart breaking cost to themselves. The statue depicts Dr Salter in later life recalling Ada, Joyce and their cat as they once had been in happier times.
Directly opposite, from the mid 1300s, is the bare remains of what was once King Edward III’s Manor house. By contrast to the Salters, King Edward’s contribution to human happiness was to start a war that went for a hundred years – you may have heard of it. Then, in reaction to the social unrest caused by the ravages of the Black Death, passed the ‘Statute of Labourers’ capping peasants wages at starvation levels, thus providing the basis for the later Peasants Revolt and even more regal brutality against the poor.
Edward III has yet to become a legend among the people of Bermondsey.
At Rotherhithe you will find the low brick building of the Brunel Museum which marks the entrance to the first ever tunnel to be successfully built under a navigable river. Taking nearly twenty years and several lives to build, this was once known as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’*
In engineering history, and current imagination, Isambard gets deserved glory but this was a father and son job. Marc Brunel began the project in 1825; the 20-year-old Isambard Kingdom, completed it. Prior to the construction the possibility, and perhaps even the good sense, of trying to dig a tunnel under a major river was doubted.
The miners – many were Cornish tin miners – contending with lethal dangers of methane, sewage gas and flooding, eventually succeeded, though not without tragedy and financial disaster.
When his father fell ill from the work, 20 year old Isambard took over, but just a few years into the project, while inspecting the tunnel, disaster struck; water crashed through, quickly flooding the excavation. Knowing that the emergency exit was locked, the miners fled to the main stairs only to be overtaken by the roaring floodwater; six drowned. Meanwhile, young Isambard, unaware of his misjudgement, headed for the locked exit; swept along by the the force of the onrushing mud and sludge-water he found himself pinned against the locked door. With the rising slurry overtaking him, Isambard called out for help but then passed out. On the other side a contractor, having heard the desperate commotion, broke the door down and pulled the unconscious young engineer out of the filthy sludge. Brunel senior sent the precocious Isambard to Bristol to recover. Work on the tunnel ceased for several years.
While recuperating, IKB entered a competition to design a bridge across the Avon Gorge. The gorge, at over 700 feet wide, presented huge engineering problems – notably the construction of huge brick towers to support the bridge – for which his design proposed an original and elegant solution: hanging the bridge from supports on either side – the world’s first ever suspension bridge. Naturally, he won.
Later IKB would return to this part of the Thames to witness another spectacular engineering first; the launch of his iron clad steamship The Great Eastern – at its time the largest ship ever built – from a slipway on the opposite bank near Canary Wharf.
Looking at the famous photo of IKB you get a sense of a man not short of self-belief.
Should your self-esteem be suffering in comparison, then take consolation in the fact that it took three goes and three arduous months for Brunel to get the Great Eastern down the slipway.
It’s not much to hang on to, I know.
*The tunnel was described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ by an American writer who, before he visited it, eagerly commented that, “No one goes to London without visiting the Tunnel”. However he became a victim of his own holiday hype when, upon seeing it, he confessed to being “slightly disappointed”.
Taking nearly 20 years in the construction the ‘Brunel Tunnel’ was finished in 1843.
So, should your journey ever take you on the North London line between Wapping and Rotherhithe, your train will take you through Brunel’s tunnel – now adapted and a bit safer.
The Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket
On the Thames Path in Rotherhithe, shortly before the Rotherhithe Tunnel, you will find this odd little statue. On first encountering it I was a little disappointed to discover it wasn’t an overdue tribute to the underappreciated art of Mansplaining. Instead, it is a complex visual mash up relating to the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 and the subsequent tumultuous emergence of modern America.
As the locals will remind you, the Mayflower originally departed from Rotherhithe, not Plymouth – hence the statue becoming something of a pilgrimage point for American heritage tourists.
The signboard explains all this perfectly well so I won’t elaborate but I would urge you to take the liberty of standing on the plinth (you’re allowed) to peek at the multiplicity of images and ideas inside the Sunbeam Weekly and the curious objects in the pilgrim’s pocket: an Indian totem pole, a lobster claw, and an A-Z map of the New World as it would have been in 1620.
Shortly after you will encounter the Mayflower pub where, despite rumours to the contrary, those purse-lipped Puritans definitely didn’t pull a pre-voyage pint.
Along this route you will traverse many of the old quays, all of which have now become a near continuous run of ‘riverside development’. Here though is the oldest of London’s wet docks. Still a large working marina, the current waterside is comparatively small compared to the vast original docks which are now almost completely built over.
The various quays along this walk tended to have their own signature trades and connections; Surrey Quays was, for a large part of its working life, busy with trade from the Baltic and Scandinavia, with an emphasis on ice, timber and whaling. Thankfully the huge, vile, blubber boiling houses which stank out the area have gone, now replaced with cafes selling sushi.
In 1890 William Booth, preacher and founder of the Sally Army, walked this street behind which lay Britain’s biggest cattle market. In his scathing commentary on poverty, published in 1890 Darkest England and The Way Out, he observed,
“South along Watergate Street. Cattle Market wall on west side. Men used to be decoyed here and robbed. Faint foetid smell prevails, overpowered in places by disgusting stenches, Rough women; one with head bandaged; others with blank eyes; one old harridan.”
Just days later, for writing this, Booth was murdered by a furious local Estate Agent.*
*not actually true
Peter the Great Statue
On the edge of Deptford Creek you will encounter this baffling ensemble.
Yes, I know, WTF?
First let’s deal with the subject before we try to unscramble the statue.
The Deptford Connection:
Peter the Great, ruler of all Russia in the late 1600s, is remembered for his European influenced, western facing mindset. Under his rule, French language was de rigeur, aristocratic marriage into European families encouraged and, perhaps disappointingly for many patriarchs and hipsters, long beards were taxed.
And, to show he wasn’t just a details guy, he built St Petersburg entirely from scratch.
Peter had been heavily influenced by his ‘Grand Embassy’ around Europe whereby he travelled incognito in the hope of learning from the Europeans, not only their cultural ways, but also engineering, shipbuilding and state craft of all kinds. Remaining incognito was a little ambitious; he travelled with a retinue of four chamberlains, three interpreters, two clock smiths, a cook, a priest, six trumpeters, 70 very tall soldiers, four dwarves and a monkey. And in case you were wondering about the soldiers, ‘very tall’ meant as tall as Peter: 6’8”.
So, almost invisible then.
For three months in 1698 Peter ‘lived it large’ in Deptford using the Sayes House, owned by John Evelyn and furnished by the King, as the venue for his wild lifestyle of partying, prodigious levels of drinking, wheelbarrow races around the garden and shooting the works of art as target practice. A servant reported that, “No part of the house escaped damage. All the floors were covered with grease and ink, and three new floors had to be provided… The curtains, quilts, and bed linen were ‘tore in pieces.’ All the chairs in the house… were broken, or had disappeared, probably used to stoke the fires. Three hundred windowpanes were broken and there were twenty fine pictures very much tore and all frames broke.’
Sadly, Evelyn’s pride and joy, his garden was wrecked. In the event the Treasury footed the bill.
Further along the walk, on venturing briefly ‘inland’, you will pass through Sayes Park – a tiny remnant of Evelyn’s garden. Look out for the ancient Mulberry tree believed to have been planted by Peter; happily, the veteran tree has been recently saved by public subscription. Evelyn’s gratitude to Peter for the compensatory sapling isn’t recorded.
Now, about that statue…
Intended capture both the spirit of Peter and that of his visit, the statue was given as a gift from the people of Russia.
Take a look. In real life Peter’s head was actually tiny… but that tiny? And that dwarf figure? You might be a little disappointed that the creators were obliged to forgo their original planned embellishment: several more dwarves, all with bare arses.
Deptford, Marlowe and that murder...
Many of the messy, murky and magnificent stories of British naval history can be traced back to the harbour at Deptford. As you cross Deptford Creek, now modernised and increasingly fashionable, you are traversing the site of the Tudor Royal dockyards and location of the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind. Here too, Walter Raleigh did his toady cape thing for the Queen.
Marlowe and that murder…
“When a man’s verses cannot be understood… it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.” (As You Like It)
Is this Shakespeare referring to the death of Christopher Marlowe?
The accounts of Marlowe’s death are contradictory. What is known is that Marlowe appears to have been caught up in a web of intrigue that involved three sometime spies and skilful con-men: Nicholas Skeres, Ingram Frizer and Robert Poley. Their art was practised on young wealthy aristos – seen as gullible bunny rabbits or ‘connies’ – relieving them of their wealth, an art known as ‘connie catching’.
It was in Elizabeth’s era of feverish anti-Catholic sentiment, that Thomas Walsingham, her chief spymaster, ran a network of informers throughout the London docks and into Europe; among his occasional employ were Skeres, Frizer and Poley. Even their names sound dodgy; it’s no surprise that the accounts of Marlowe’s death are so divergent when the three chief witnesses were these self-confessed liars.
Marlowe, having been accused of having Papish sympathies, was lying low in a friend’s house in Kent when he agreed, for reasons unknown, to return to London to meet up with Skeres, Frizer and Poley. Various contested accounts exist but vaguely converge around a version whereby, while drinking and dining in a back room of a Deptford boarding house, there came that potentially tricky moment of divvying up the bill. Frizer and Marlow argued. Perhaps one had had a more expensive appetiser than the rest – who knows?
Marlowe pulled a knife wounding Frizer; in the ensuing struggle Marlow was stabbed above the right eye thereby instantly, and fatally, settling a “great reckoning in a little room”.
Nelson and the Trafalgar Tavern
On the riverside between Deptford Creek and the Cutty Sark, you will find this impressive Victorian pub.
The Trafalgar Tavern (built 1837) – once a venue for 19th century politicians who held debating sessions here, known as ‘whitebait dinners’ – was used by Dickens as a setting for a scene in Our Mutual Friend.
Unsurprisingly the statue outside the pub is that of Admiral Nelson whose near mythological fame was hard earned. A lifelong martyr to seasickness Nelson had, prior to his heroic end, already survived several near fatal encounters.
Already an experienced sailor by the age of 14, his ship was attempting to find the elusive, North-West Passage, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. While out on armed patrol among the Arctic ice floes he came face-to-face with a potentially lethal polar bear. The young boy’s musket misfired, forcing him to attempt to beat off the bear with his rifle butt. This didn’t work but the sound of the ship’s guns did. The scary, but sonically sensitive, bear legged it. Back at the ship, Nelson’s captain was furious, but the intrepid teen defended his actions saying that he wanted the bear’s skin as a prezzie for his Dad.
Undeterred, Nelson later went on to lose most of his sight in his right eye in a battle to take Corsica and his right arm in an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Tenerife.
Later, despite or perhaps even spurred on by, these tastes of danger he disobeyed orders at the Battle of Saint Vincent to pitch his ship against three heavily armed Spanish warships. Nelson, not shy of pondering the potential glory of his actions, led a boarding party shouting, “Westminster Abbey or glorious victory”. His bravado paid off; the ship was captured and he went on to write a disputed account of the victory, starring himself, and thereby making him a national seagoing celeb.
The following year on the eve of the Battle of the Nile, with eyes still firmly on the prize, he confided, “Before this time tomorrow, I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey.” Again, he was spectacularly successful, the French Navy defeated without Nelson losing a single major body part.
Seven years later at the Battle of Trafalgar a clearly talented French sharpshooter managed to hit what was left of the Admiral, enabling our national hero to simultaneously achieve the feats of glorious victory, dying as the now ennobled Lord Horatio, while nabbing his much anticipated and highly desirable spot in Westminster Abbey.
The Cutty Sark
If sailing ships didn’t exist and this were an arty ‘Installation’ we would perhaps pay the Cutty Sark more attention. It’s difficult for anyone who has lived in London to see this spectacular landmark, now a cliché of tourism, with fresh eyes.
It’s worth taking a moment to circumnavigate.
Built in Scotland, her name refers to an allegedly erotic, short chemise worn by the fearsome witch, Nannie Dee, in Robert Burns poem, Tam O’ Shanter. As well as wafting about in her ‘cutty sark’ Nanny Dee was also a formidable scowler.
“Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.”
As depicted on the ships figurehead, she is reaching to catch the tail of the grey mare ridden by the fleeing Tam.
One of the last surviving great sailing ships, and also one of the fastest, ‘the Sark’ has graced harbours around the globe, becoming a familiar sight in the ports of Australia and China.
Experienced sailors and those who witnessed her in full sail never forgot her. Her speed was such that she was sometimes mistaken for an approaching powerful steamer. On seeing her sails, and admiring her remarkable ability to harness the wind, she gained a near mystical reputation for being able to “bring the wind up with her”.
Her first captain George Moodie said,
“She was built for me. And I never sailed a finer a ship… At 10 or 12 knots she did not disturb the water; although she was a very sharp ship, just like a yacht, her spread of canvas was enormous… the fastest ship of her day, a grand ship, a ship that will last forever”.
The elegance and fame of the ship conceal a curious tale which runs counter to romantic narrative with which we are familiar. In 1881, while sailing in the Java Sea, First Mate Sydney Smith murdered seaman John Francis. When Smith was allowed to leave the ship in Indonesia the crew effectively mutinied. Captain Wallace continued the voyage with only six obedient apprentices and four hapless tradesmen. They weren’t up to the task; soon after the ship became becalmed, then after three days with conditions on-board rapidly deteriorating, Smith cracked, jumping overboard and vanishing. His eventual replacement, Master William Bruce, was a drunken incompetent fraud who starved his crew while inventing fictitious sailors to claim their pay. The ship eventually limped home, Bruce and his first mate were court-martialled and fortunate to lose only their jobs. Master Bruce was replaced by a Captain Moore, fresh off of Blackadder (a sailing ship, not the telly series.)
An unrelated footnote reveals that on one voyage to China they found, in mid ocean, an abandoned baby boy on board an otherwise deserted boat. The boy was renamed Tony Robson (not Tony Robinson – he was in the telly series). Robson grew up aboard the Sark to become its cook, conversing with shipmates in a broad Scots accent – likely a reflection of the number of Scots among the crew that had originally sailed the ship on its maiden voyage.
The Bellot Memorial
By contrast to Nelson’s fame, this intriguing, granite obelisk outside Greenwich Hospital is a tribute to a now forgotten but once venerated young adventurer. Joseph-Rene Bellot’s rise to national recognition was achieved despite his being a ‘Frenchie’ naval officer in a country with Trafalgar still in living memory. He remains unknown to most people yet both a local street and a crater on the moon are named in his honour.
Renowned for both bravery and compassion, the 27 year old Bellot was notoriously tough. Reputedly sleeping under just one blanket on a thin mattress, he once trekked on foot and dog sled 1100 miles across the frozen islands of northern Canada. His persona crystallising in the public imagination when it was reported that, on encountering Inuit people, he gained their trust by constructing an artificial leg for a disabled local.
In 1851, Bellot led the first of two expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin and the 128 crew who had disappeared while attempting to find the elusive North West Passage – scene of the boy Nelson’s earlier Polar bear encounter. The expedition was financed by a desperate but determined Lady Franklin. But for the public her husband’s disappearance was both a mystery and a news sensation.
Bellot was feted wherever his ships docked; in the Orkneys he was guest of honour, reported as dancing ‘the scottische’ with some very attractive ladies — Miss H, ‘the white lily’ (and) Miss W, ‘the bright rose’.
Two years later, with Franklin and his crew still missing, Bellot set out again. However, while camping with companions on the ice, their floe broke away from the main sheet. Bellot ventured out to ‘look around’ but was never seen again. When his ice pole was found in the water it was concluded that he had simply slipped and fallen into the freezing sea. Lady Franklin was devasted having both lost a man she regarded as a ‘son’ and the last realistic chance of finding her husband.
Bellot’s demise was sadly unnecessary; Franklin and his ice-bound crew had already perished from starvation and hypothermia. Such was the public response to Bellot’s widely mourned death that the £500 cost of the obelisk raised £2000 – it was agreed that the remainder would be dispersed to his five sisters.
Footnote: Franklin’s crew might have thought twice about joining him if they had known that their leader had an ominous nickname: ‘The man who ate his boots’. In an expedition twenty years before, Franklin had lost 11 out of the 20 men through a deeply unappealing – and perhaps not coincidental – mixture of murder and cannibalism in which the survivors were forced to dine on their footwear and each other.
So, his nickname could’ve been worse.
Franklin’s doomed ships, the Erebus and the Terror, were not located until 2014 and are now protected maritime sites, their locations kept secret.
The Thames Path
Follow this spectacular section of the Thames Path all the way out of London soaking up the wide river views, stories and intriguing characters…
Curious Statues & Stories
The route is dotted with curios, from the enigmatic Dr Salter’s Daydream (above) to the complex mash-up of Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket to the charmingly tiny-headed Peter the Great Statue >>
Historic Docks & Glorious Quays
You will traverse many of the old docks and quays, all of which have now become a near continuous run of ‘riverside development’, but each with their own signature trades and connections>>
Murder & Mayhem in Deptford
As you cross Deptford Creek, many of the messy, murky and magnificent stories of British naval history can be traced back to this harbour, including the intriguing murder of Christopher Marlowe>>
Legends of the Seas
Ending your walk at the maritime legend that is Greenwich, you will encounter the remarkable adventurer Joseph Bellot; not to mention Nelson and the spectacular landmark, now a cliche of tourism, the Cutty Sark, which deserves a look with fresh eyes>>
Start: London Bridge Station
On leaving London Bridge station head for the Tooley Street exit. Cross over Tooley Street and head right towards Hayes Galleria. Head through the Galleria on any route to the river; the Thames Path is signposted from there.
Keep the river on your left and head towards Tower Bridge.
The directions onwards are simply to keep to the Thames Path with the river on your left.
At some points, much further on, the path diverts away from the river; for guidance here are some tips:
- In Rotherhithe, after heading through streets, you will pick up your path up a small flight of steps directly opposite the Rotherhithe Street Co-op.
- After Surrey Docks Farm and Café, a row of low modern houses ends at a tall apartment block Imperial Court. The right turn sign is missing here so without passing Imperial Court, turn right down the sloping road to leave the river and follow the signs onwards tracking the route of the river.
- Again, shortly after Surrey Quays the route heads through Pepys Park and takes you through council developments to Sayes Park (which you should pass through to catch the Mulberry Tree). From here you follow the Thames Path signs onwards, arriving at Water Gate Street and Twinkle Park. Continue on past the end of Twinkle Park to again pick up the signposted route.
It won’t matter if you miss any turns as the Path is easily located and well known to locals.
Keep an eye out for the following features which you can read about in the links below
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..."
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
No 6 : Eynsford to Otford
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...
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...
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...
No 9 : Guildford St Martha's Church Circular
WATERLOO I MODERATE I 7.3m/11.7km
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