The Queen’s Walk is a 2-mile (3.5-kilometre) voyage that passes some of the most iconic landmarks and art galleries in London. Here’s our self-guided walking route including map and instructions.

By: Mark Barnes | Published: 30 Dec 2023 | Last update: 26 Jan 2024

The Queen’s Walk London (sometimes called the Queen Elizabeth Walk) is one of the best walks in London. Heading along the South Bank it peers up at some of the most famous landmarks in the UK including the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Along the way this self-guided walking tour provides the opportunity to visit second-hand markets, the Shakespeare Globe and one of the best modern art galleries in the world.

You can simply walk the route and be done in about an hour, or pop into all the sights and take the whole day.

london eye on the queens walk
LONDON EYE

ABOUT THE QUEEN’S WALK

The Queen’s Walk is a popular promenade on the south bank of the river Thames.

It officially runs between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, but Lambeth Bridge does not have a tube station. So, we’ve picked a slightly amended version that still sees all the iconic London landmarks but begins and ends at tube stations. It also includes St Paul’s Cathedral.

For an extended version of this walk, read our Southbank London walk guide.

QUEEN’S WALK MAP

Use our map to navigate the Queen’s Walk route so you don’t miss any of the major sights.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


WHERE TO START?

We recommend starting at Westminster tube station and finishing at St Paul’s tube station. However, you could also do the walk in reverse.

HOW LONG?

The walk is 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometres) which would take about an hour without stops. However, there’s plenty to see along the way, so allow at least 2 hours. If you visited all the attractions, you’d need a whole day.

st pauls cathedral from the queens walk
ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

PALACE OF WESTMINSTER

Take the underground to Westminster tube station. Exiting the station, the Palace of Westminster, one of the most important buildings in English history, is directly in front of you.

Built in the 11th century, it was the primary home of kings of England until 1512. Westminster Hall (the oldest part still standing) was where Curia Regis (the predecessor to parliament) met when the king was in residence.

Two fires destroyed much of the building, but Westminster Hall survived and was incorporated into the current building which was completed in 1847.

The monarch departed many years ago, but parliament remains and still passes laws in its two famous chambers – the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

BIG BEN

Rising above Westminster Palace is the famous clocktower, nicknamed ‘Big Ben’ after its largest bell. It looks spectacular since its restoration was completed in 2022.

Tours // Taking a tour of Westminster Palace is one of the best things to do in London.

NATIONAL COVID MEMORIAL WALL

Walk over Westminster Bridge enjoying the excellent views over the river Thames and back to Westminster Palace. At the end of the bridge turn right and take the steps down to the riverfront.

You are now on the official Queen’s Walkway which runs along the South Bank of the river.

Here you’ll find the National Covid Memorial Wall. Created in 2021, over 220,000 individually hand-painted red hearts, each representing a person in the UK who died of Covid-19, stretch along a 500-metre section of wall.

Some of the best views of Big Ben and Westminster Palace are just opposite the wall.

KIDS’ ATTRACTIONS

The Queen Elizabeth Walk now heads under Westminster Bridge and follows the south bank of the river as it heads east. The London Eye is in front of you but there are several good attractions for kids along the way.

The Sea Life Aquarium contains 500 species in 14 themed zones. There are sharks, octopus, penguins, and jellyfish as well as coral reef inhabitants.

Shrek’s Adventure is an immersive experience of the films. It includes a 4D flying bus, interactive meetings with characters, and a treasure hunt.

The London Dungeon is a mix of themed rides and shows that bring to life London’s haunted past. Meet Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, Guy Fawkes, and other murderers.

LONDON EYE

Continue along the south bank to The London Eye, one of the iconic images of the city. The 135-metre-high observation wheel makes a full rotation every 30 minutes providing an excellent view over London.

Built for the millennium, it was originally intended to be temporary, but 25 years later it is still going strong.

London Eye Tickets // Queues can be long so book in advance.

LEAKE STREET

The Queen’s Walk continues along the south bank, but we highly recommend making the detour to Leake Street (directions are on the map above).

Leake Street is a pedestrian walkway that tunnels under the railway tracks outside Waterloo Station. The walls are a vibrant and colourful mix of graffiti and street art. The ceiling, which is harder to reach, contains enduring images from famous street artists.

The detour is 400-metres of extra walking each way and takes 10-15 minutes. If, like us, you are a fan of street art, try our street art in Shoreditch self-guided walk.

// brunch

The detour also passes near the Black Penny, an excellent spot for brunch or a coffee.

SOUTHBANK CENTRE

Continue along the pedestrian walkway and under the Golden Jubilee Bridges to reach the Southbank Centre. This arts centre combines several different attractions.

First up, during the winter months, the Southbank Winter Market has pop-up bars and cosy igloos.

Next is the Royal Festival Hall, London’s leading classical music venue, whose suspended auditorium and symmetrically designed staircases has become known as an ‘egg in a box’.

The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, housed in a brutalist box of concrete, holds gigs and performance events.

Behind them is the Hayward Gallery (£18) containing world-renowned contemporary art. Every three months it showcases an adventurous or influential artist from across the world.

While most of the shows cost, the odd one is free so check the Southbank Centre website.

SOUTHBANK BOOK MARKET

The Queen’s Walk now passes under Waterloo Bridge. Tucked beneath its arches is the Southbank Book Market. Open every day from 10 am to 5.30 pm, it’s been operating for over 40 years and carries hundreds of second handbooks, maps, and comics.

ROYAL NATIONAL THEATRE

A little further along the river Thames is the Royal National Theatre, often just called the National. It’s another brutalist building, but the balance of horizontal and vertical elements inside has earned it a place on both the 10 most popular and 10 most hated buildings in London.

While you can see the foyer for free, you need to go to a performance or join a guided tour to get inside the theatres. Check the National Theatre website for details.

Don’t miss the Laurence Olivier statue and the other celebrating Pride just outside.

GABRIEL’S WHARF & OXO TOWER WHARF

The Queen’s Walk continues eastwards along the Thames. As views open up towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the skyscrapers of the city, it passes through a couple of attractions.

Gabriel’s Wharf is a small square home to independent art galleries and clothes stores.

Oxo Tower Wharf houses an eight-floor building with the bottom two floors home to independent artisans and design studios. Oxo Tower Bar & Brasserie, on the top floor, is a great spot for a nice lunch overlooking the river. There’s a free public viewing gallery, but the views are better from the Tate Modern Café which is coming up.

BANKSIDE GALLERY

Continue along the edge of the Thames, to Blackfriars Bridge. This is the official end to the Queen’s Walkway, but rather than get on the tube at Blackfriars station it’s better to continue on.

Pass under the bridge’s arches and you’ll find the Founder’s Arms. This is a great pub to grab a drink while sitting at the outside tables taking in the views.

Behind the pub is Bankside Gallery. Owned and run by the Royal Watercolours Society, it presents a collection of affordable watercolours which you can buy. It’s free to enter.

TATE MODERN

Next up is Tate Modern which houses the UK’s national collection of modern and contemporary art in the converted Bankside Power Station. It’s a magnificent art gallery in a splendid building and it’s completely free to visit.

The giant Turbine Hall often houses enormous installations. The galleries contain several notable works by Lichtenstein, Mondrian, Picasso and many more.

Head to the Tate Modern Café on Level 10 in the Blavatnik Building for free views over the city of London. Members can get an even better view from the Level 5 Members Bar in the Natalie Building.

SHAKESPEARE GLOBE

Our self-guided walk now heads over the pedestrian Millennium Bridge, but it’s worth taking a short detour further along the embankment to Shakespeare’s Globe. This theatre is a realistic reconstruction of the original Elizabethan playhouse, first built in 1599, for which Shakespeare wrote his plays.

True to the original, the circular design has seats running along its edge and a large uncovered standing area for cheaper tickets.

Plays generally run from April to October, but you can join a Globe Theatre Guided Tour any time of the year.

shakespeare globe queens walk london
SHAKESPEARE GLOBE

MILLENNIUM BRIDGE

Head back and cross the Millennium Bridge. This steel suspension pedestrian bridge was opened on 10 June 2000. On its very first day, as people walked over the bridge, it began to oscillate and sway. It was closed later that day and nicknamed the “Wobbly Bridge.”

Today there’s no need to worry and it offers excellent views over the river and up to St Paul’s Cathedral.

milllennium bridge from tate modern cafe
VIEW FROM TATE CAFE

ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

As you head up Peter’s Hill and Sermon Lane, St Pauls Cathedral flickers between the buildings. One of the most recognisable buildings in London, it dates to a church founded here in 604 CE.

The present building was completed in 1710 by Sir Christopher Wren and has dominated the skyline ever since. Head clockwise around the church and peer up at the remarkable dome and sculpture-covered facades.

Inside (cheaper if you book in advance), you can explore the towering nave, stained glass windows, and tombs in the crypt. They include Nelson, Wellington, Joseph Turner, and Sir Alexander Fleming.

You can also climb the 1161 steps to the Whispering Gallery (underneath the dome) and the top of the dome which offers panoramic views across London. It’s one of the best things to do in London.

PATERNOSTER SQUARE

Paternoster Square is on the northern side of St Paul’s Cathedral. The entrance is marked by Temple Bar Gate, the only surviving gateway to the city of London dating to the late 17th century. The gate was at the junction of Strand and Fleet Street (which you can explore on our City of London Walk) before it was moved here in 2004.

Pass under the gate, turn right through Paternoster Square, to St Paul’s tube station where our self-guided Queen’s Walk ends.

paternoster square gate london

MORE LONDON SELF-GUIDED WALKING GUIDES

Walking is a great way to see London. Here’s a list of some of our favourite London walks.

Also, check out all the fantastic day hikes near London and soak up some beautiful country landscapes.

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