Our favourite walks in London range from urban strolls in the city centre to wild hikes in royal parks. Each includes a map and instructions, along with an unforgettable experience in the capital.

By: Mark | Last Updated: 26 Jan 2024 | Jump to Comments & Questions

Down Arrow

For a city of 9 million people, London is a remarkably diverse place to enjoy a stroll. Royal Parks provide a slice of green amongst the urban jungle. Towpaths wind alongside canals and rivers. Pedestrianised streets provide traffic-free access to cool neighbourhoods.

Having lived and worked in London for the last 30 years we’ve walked a lot of the city. In fact, exploring on foot is one of the best ways to see London.   

In these walks you can explore the urban centre, ramble royal history, admire modern art or escape to one of London’s many green spaces.

Our top walks in London range from 1 to 4 hours, and each include easy-to-follow instructions with a map you can take with you on your smartphone.

For more hikes across the southeast of England read: best walks outside London.

southbank walk london things to do


On the map below, we have organised our favourite walks in London into easy (red / 2-4 miles); medium (4-6 miles / purple); and longer (6-9 miles / orange).

Estimated walking times are included, but the routes have been designed to pass London’s best places of interest. So, you could easily spend half to a whole day exploring each of these routes.

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.  



The Queen’s Walk (sometimes called the Queen Elizabeth Walk) is one of the most popular walks in London.

Heading along the South Bank of the Thames River it admires the most famous landmarks in the UK including the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and St Paul’s Cathedral.

As it promenades along the riverbank it passes second-hand markets, the Shakespeare Globe and one of the best modern art galleries in the world, the Tate Modern.

Officially the Queen’s Walk runs between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. But we’ve picked a slightly amended version. It covers all the landmarks and starts and finishes at tube stations.

  • Distance – 2 miles (3.5 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 1 hour
  • Best Time – Morning: the crowds are fewer
  • Map & Instructions – Queen’s Walk London



London is rich with great street art, but nowhere is more blessed than Shoreditch. Gritty walls are packed with vibrant murals, striking typography, and political statements.

Street art is, by its very nature, ephemeral. New street art pops up just as old favourites disappear. This rotating lifecycle is what makes this walk in Shoreditch so appealing.

We’ve picked all our favourite art and artists and put them together on this fascinating walk. We do our best to keep it up to date but let us know if you spot a new Banksy.

If you’d rather join an organised tour, check out this well-rated Shoreditch Street Art tour.

  • Distance – 3.3 miles (5.5 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Best Time – Afternoon: to stop for curry or a bagel in Brick Lane
  • Map & Instructions – Shoreditch Street Art Walk
shoreditch street art route



Over the last hundred years, people from all around the world have flocked to live in Notting Hill. Leading the way were Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s, who today live side by side with Moroccan, Spanish and Portuguese communities.

As a result, Notting Hill is a diverse and multicultural neighbourhood.

This London walk explores the best things to do in Notting Hill including the colourful houses, the Portobello Market, and locations from the famous film. At either end, you can visit two excellent museums, the Museum of Brands and the Design Museum.  

A scenic stroll through beautiful Holland Park is in the middle.

  • Distance – 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Best Time – Friday & Saturday: stop at one of the many great brunch spots in Notting Hill
  • Map & InstructionsNotting Hill Walk



Few cities display Christmas Lights with the same sense of extravagance as London, each year gloriously illuminating grand streets.

The best way to see the lights is on this walk which starts at Mayfair, passes through Soho, and ends in Covent Garden. You’ll visit the vibrant Carnaby Street, elegant Regent Street and the spectacular Fortnum & Mason display. Highlights include the annual façade at Annabels and the beautiful lights on New Bond Street.

It’s a great walk any time of year but it’s one of the best things to do if you’re in London at Christmas.

  • Distance – 3.2 miles (5.2 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Best Time – Late evening: when it’s quieter
  • Map & InstructionsLondon Christmas Lights Walk  
walking tour london christmas lights



This London walk initially follows the same route as the Queen’s Walk mentioned above. But rather than crossing the river over to St Paul’s, the walk continues along the south bank of the Thames.

The benefit of this is you get to climb London’s premier skyscraper, the Shard; feast on street food from the city’s best food market, Borough Market; and visit the Tower of London. There’s excellent street art and other cultural highlights including the Southbank Centre and the Shakespeare Globe.

This is one of the most popular walks in London and for good reason.

  • Distance – 3.8 miles (6.2 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Best Time – Morning: have lunch at Borough Market
  • Map & InstructionsLondon South Bank Walk



Regent’s Canal cuts its way through the parks and varied urban architecture of northern London. A towpath runs along most of its route, allowing for a traffic-free walk to explore some of London’s finest neighbourhoods.

We have designed a route that covers the best sections of the canal. The walk starts and finishes at two recently regenerated London neighbourhoods: Paddington and King’s Cross. Along the way, it passes the mansions and narrowboats of Little Venice, the leafy banks and grand houses of Regent’s Park, and Camden Market.

This is an excellent, mostly traffic-free way to see some of London’s best neighbourhoods.

  • Distance – 4.5 miles (7.3 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Best Time – Spring: flowers dot the banks of the canal
  • Map & InstructionsRegent’s Canal Walk
regents canal walk london



This walk is a royal introduction to the pomp and ceremony of London. Exploring the imperial and political heart of the city, it includes four royal parks, four royal residences, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

Starting in Kensington Gardens, the walk continues through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park via a beautiful, relaxing route with few roads to cross until you reach Westminster.

Along the way you can stop off at the Queen’s Gallery, the excellent Churchill War Rooms and peer down Downing Street. Time the walk to coincide with the Changing of the Guard on The Mall for the ultimate London experience.

  • Distance – 5.1 miles (8.25 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Best Time– Morning: – See the Changing of the Guard at 11 am
  • Map & InstructionsRoyal Park & Palaces Walk



This lovely walk explores Hampstead Village and Hampstead Heath, a large ancient parkland in north London.

Visit Kenwood House, a grand home featuring artworks by Rembrandt, Turner and Constable, before strolling up to Parliament Hill, one of the best viewpoints in London.

Next, head through the forest and heathland to reach the Hampstead Bathing Ponds, where you can take a refreshing dip in nature and sunbathe in a secluded location.

Finish up at Hampstead High Street where you can try a pint in one of the traditional pubs in the village.

  • Distance – 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • Best Time – Summer: to swim in the ponds
  • Map & InstructionsHampstead Heath Walk
hampstead heath viewpoint



This walk is a great way to explore the area north of central London, a vibrant neighbourhood known for eclectic markets, live music, old-school pubs, and beautiful green spaces.

Throughout 4.5 miles it passes through Regent’s Park, the most-regal of London’s parks, and Primrose Hill, famous for its commanding views over central London.  

Finishing in Camden Town, you can spend some time exploring the market, see great street art and maybe even catch a live music event.  

  • Distance – 4.4 miles (7.1 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Best Time – Afternoon: finish with an evening in Camden
  • Map & Instructions – Regent’s Park & Camden Walk



The City of London, known as the square mile, is the small historic heart of the city. This is where London first came to life before it expanded beyond the original boundaries in the 17th century.

This London walk is a step back in time.

You’ll visit the remains of a Roman temple, pass the Tower of London, explore the medieval church of the Knights Templar, and peer up at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Along the way, you’ll visit the institutions that helped build London including the Royal Courts of Justice, the Bank of England, and Royal Exchange. As the city is an interesting blend of old and new, you can also head to Sky Garden for incredible views over London.    

  • Distance – 4.5 miles (7.25 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Best Time – Any time but book a slot for the Sky Garden in advance.
  • Map & InstructionsCity of London Walk
city of london walking tour



This walk is a great exploration of art and architecture in London. It starts at Stratford Station, then follows the Lea River through east London before ending in North Greenwich.

The hike consists of two sections. Firstly, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the slightly indirect route (due to building work) passes the velodrome, the aquatics centre, London stadium and the new V&A East, which will open in 2025.

Secondly, it follows The Line, an ambitious public art project that connects the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the O2 in Greenwich. The artworks along the route includes Birds by Tracey Emin, DNA DL90 (Shopping Trollies) by Abigail Falls, Demon with Bowl by Damien Hirst, and Quantum Cloud by Antony Gormley.

We have marked some of our favourite pieces of art on the map below; the complete list is on the official Line guide.

This London walk requires a ride on the IFS Cloud Cable Car. You can pay using contactless, and the views over the O2 and the Isle of Dogs are excellent.

  • Distance – 6.1 miles (9.8 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 3 hours
  • Best Time – Any time, but avoid West Ham home games at London Stadium
  • MapOlympic Park & The Line Walk



This walk is a longer version of the South Bank Walk above, going from Chelsea to Tower Hill. It’s a great choice if the weather is good and you’re looking for a longer stroll along the Thames.

Beginning at Sloane Square Station it ambles through Chelsea and past the Royal Hospital before reaching the banks of the river Thames.

Take an optional detour across the bridge to explore the newly renovated Battersea Power Station area or continue along the north bank of the river to pop into Tate Britain free) to explore the best of British art.

Next up is the stunning Victorian gothic architecture of Westminster Palace, after which you cross Westminster Bridge and join the South Bank Walk

  • Distance – 6.3 miles (10.1 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 3 hours
  • Best Time – Early morning: for the reflections across the Thames
  • MapChelsea to Tower Hill Walk



Epping Forest is almost 6,000 acres of ancient woodland that cuts a narrow green corridor in the urban landscape. It’s a wonderful place to hike near London.

Most of the walking is under a gentle swaying canopy of leaves. Periodically the trees part to reveal small patches of heath or ponds which are home to a variety of wildlife.

There are plenty of routes to choose from in Epping Forest. The Oak Trail is the most popular but, in our opinion, it’s the least good as it spends most of the time in trees without much variation.

Our pick is the 7.5-mile walk which starts and ends at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge near Chingford Station. You’ll experience the forest, but also visit the hunting lodge, beautiful ponds and stroll through open sections with lovely views.

  • Distance – 7.5 miles (12 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Best Time – Spring: flowers are out, and buds are on the trees
  • MapEpping Forest Walk
epping forest walk



This walk, mainly along the Thames River, explores three very different sides of London.

First, it heads through the old docklands of Wapping and Limehouse. What used to be bustling docks and industrial spaces are now modern residences perched over the waterfront. Only the excellent old pubs seem to have survived.

Secondly, it weaves through Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs where gleaming new skyscrapers tower above the waterways.

Finally, it ends at historical maritime Greenwich. Stop at the amazing Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College and peruse the lively local market. At the Greenwich Observatory, stand on the meridian and admire magnificent views over London.

  • Distance – 7.6 miles (12.2 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Best Time – Late afternoon: aim for sunset at the Greenwich Observatory
  • MapWapping to Greenwich Walk



Despite being consumed by the city, Richmond Park still retains a wild, rugged feel. Tucked within the sweeping grasslands you’ll find wild deer and stag, as well as colourful gardens and grand lodges.

From Henry’s Mound, Windsor Castle can be seen glimmering in the distance. To the east, the skyscrapers of the city loom above the trees.

Taking advantage of its proximity to the Thames, this walk heads along the banks of the river. You’ll visit Richmond town at one end and Ham House – a giant 17th-century pile peering over the water – at the other.

  • Distance – 9 miles (14.5 kilometres)
  • Walking Time – 4 hours
  • Best time – Autumn: when the leaves are changing colour and the stags are rutting.
  • MapRichmond Park Walk


paul mark 1

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Thanks for your support.

You can also buy us a coffee, and follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

- Paul & Mark.