London is one of the largest cities in Europe reaching over 1500 square kilometres in size. With 32 boroughs and many more districts, it’s unsurprising that a first time guest at the Montcalm restaurant and hotel would find it difficult to navigate. The sheer size needn’t put you off visiting though, there are many ways to get to know the city without feeling overwhelmed. One of these is through London’s countless walking trails.
Whilst the capital of England might come across as a cityscape of skyscrapers and urban sprawls, it’s actually designated as a green city. This means that London is made up of at least 30 percent green space. Many of these are hidden amidst suburbs and around the outskirts, but whether you’re staying in Watford or the Montcalm Hotel in central London, you’re never far away from a beautiful green space or walking trail.
Many of these have historic resonance and tell their own stories about the development of London. Guests of spa breaks in London seeking more ways to relax during their visit shouldn’t miss these breaths of fresh air scattered across the city.
Located between the Greenwich Peninsula and Queen Elizabeth’s Olympic Park, the Line take visitors through the docklands and canals near Stratford and all the way to the royal park of Greenwich. On the way, amblers can enjoy a range of sculptures and installations that have recently been installed to create what is now known as London’s first “art walk”.
The Thames Path spans hundreds of miles to the west of London, but you needn’t gear up for a camping trip to enjoy it. From the leafy riverside of Chiswick and Gunersbury to the growing mouth of London’s Thames at the Woolwich based Thames Barrier, there’s a lot to see on this stunning walk. If you’re a strapped for time guest of the Montcalm at the Brewery who wants to keep their Thames Path walk a little more central, try the stretch between Rotherhithe and Wapping, where you can learn about the history of the Thameside warehouses and docklands history of the city.
The London Wall
Learn about and see the remnants of London’s Roman built city walls on this walk between the Museum of London and the Tower of London, taking you through the ceremonial borough of the City. The wall itself dates back almost two thousand years and was kept intact all the way up until the 18th century. Nowadays, visitors will only see crumbling columns and mounds where it once stood. But its history, symbolism and intrigue still resonate to this day,
Spanning 4 kilometres, the Parkland Walk between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is a stretch of defunct railway that has been rewilded and shared with muntjac deer and sometimes even hedgehogs. Easy to reach from Finsbury Park Victoria Line Station, the Parkland Walk ends at the scenic Alexandra Palace, the hill of which offers stunning panoramas of the London cityscape.
East London Canals
Running from Kings Cross Station, through Angel, Highbury & Islington and all the way up to Victoria Park, the canal walks of north and east London are tranquil and calming, often taking visitors past canalside pubs, cafes and parks. Be warned, however, these narrow paths a re popular with joggers and cyclists, so make sure to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic, or risk falling into the canal!
Hampstead Circular Walk
From Parliament HIll to Highgate Cemetery, the area of Hampstead is much revered as one of London’s ancient green spaces. Take an amble around the swimming baths and ponds and through forgotten green lanes towards Highgate Woods. The circular walk is more than just the Heath afterall, and takes visitors past the white mansion of Kenwood House and harnesses tens of thousands of years of natural and archaeological history.
Named after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the 60 kilometre route around some of the city’s most scenic spots has a kilometre for each year of her reign up until 2012. It’s unsurprising that the walk starts around Buckingham Palace and takes visitors past Kensington Palace and Little Venice before leading through the canal paths of Camden and into North London. The Jubilee Greenway utilises many of the spots we’re talking about in this blog but is signposted with glass paving slabs that carve the way.
Sydenham Hill Wood
Situated in southeast London’s Dulwich area, Sydenham Hill Wood is a small valley that once served as a railway line through the south of London. Now defunct, the rewilded valley has retained its beautiful woodlands, once part of the Great North Wood that spanned hundreds of miles. An easy amble through these woodlands is Cox’s Walk, which should take no more than half an hour and takes visitors over footbridges, past oak trees and eventually ending up close to the quirkily designed Horniman Museum.
This stretch of east London covers Walthamstow, Tottenham and Hackney and has been kept as a kind of green belt of London’s east end. Here you can enjoy walks along the River Lee and see horses, cows and much more. The Walthamstow Wetlands are a distinct part of the marshes, offering up a series of reservoirs that have been co-opted as a bird and wildlife reserve.
London Green Lung
Seeing the green spaces of London needn’t mean that you have to leave the city centre, the four central royal parks of the city are interconnected and tell a long history of royal land use, architectural spectacles and much more. The beautiful parks of Hyde, Green, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens contain sculptures, ponds, rare botanic specimens and much more. On top of that, a walk through these four parks will have you pass some of the most iconic landmarks in London, including Buckingham and Kensington Palace, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Albert Hall, whilst the cafes, playgrounds, green spaces and hidden gardens here will give you the chance to enjoy London as it is meant to be seen.