Spanning 1500 square kilometres, London is an incredibly rich city if you’re a walker. From royal parks to secret side streets, the English capital is made for hikes, and guests of the Montcalm spa are well placed to enjoy the many walking routes of the city.
This blog will explore some of the best walks one can take in London, a designated “green city”. With 18% of the city made up of public green space and several thousand parks across Lodnon’s 32 boroughs, the world is your oyster for guests of the Montcalm luxury hotels wanting a spot of fresh air during their visit.
London has 8 royal parks, all of which have a history that links them to various monarchs throughout history. Now they’re all public, they make up just some of the rich tapestry of nature reserves and parklands across the city. Here are some of the best ways that London visitors can get in touch with the wild whilst remaining within the city’s borders.
The largest of the royal parks at 2500 acres, this western nature reserve lies at the end of the District Line in Richmond. Bordered on one side by the River Thames, this park is famous for its semi-wild deers and beautiful-yet-hidden botanic garden – the rhododendron-filled Isabella Plantation. Make sure to head to the top of King Henry’s Mound for a breathtaking view over the park and river.
Hyde Park And Kensington Gardens
Often cited as the “green lung” of London, these two parks were once one and the same as a private hunting ground for King Henry VIII. Over the years though, the Stuarts and the Georgians started sectioning off what would become Kensington Gardens as the palace of the same name was developed. In the modern day, visitors can enjoy both parks, connected by the Serpentine Lake and can see landmarks and sculptures including the Serpentine Art Galleries, memorial fountains for Princess Diana and tranquil rose gardens.
North London’s most popular green space, Hampstead Heath is a 800 acre nature reserve consisting of ancient woodland and a network of ponds and marshy streams. The latter includes several freshwater swimming ponds that are part of London’s lido collection. Hampstead Heath is reachable via the Northern Line and the Overground, and is also home to the famous Parliament Hill viewpoint, from which, legend has it, Guy Fawkes was to watch the destruction of the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
Epping Forest is a northeastern forest that has existed for thousands of years. Once the home of Queen Boudicea and her Celtic rebels, the forest’s history also covers Elizabethan hunting and Roman encampments. All that being said, history is not the draw for visitors to Epping Forest, it’s great many walking trails and serene natural landscapes make it a beautiful day out.
Canals Walks Of London
Once upon a time, the canals of London were important trade routes for various parts of the city. Nowadays, they act as a reminder of London’s former maritime links whilst also housing a great many beautiful houseboats. Whether visiting the city for a Montcalm afternoon tea or to visit one of the city’s many museums, you’re never far away from a beautiful canalside wander.
Little Venice To Camden Via Regent’s Canal
Camden is one of the most characterful boroughs of London, and is well known for its historic music scene and canalside market. You can reach Camden from the equally vibrant but slightly more regal Little Venice Paddington district via the Regent’s Canal. Both areas were once integral to London’s trade and transport, and the tranquillity of the canal walk whisks you along calm canals and between two unique facets of local London life.
This one’s a little bit of a crossover with the parkland walks of London, but Hackney Marshes is nothing without its beautiful canal system, connected to the Lea River. With hundreds of acres of green woodlands and fields, Hackney Marshes bleeds into both Tottenham and Walthamstow Marshes, amassing into the bottom end of the large Lee Valley (confusingly spelt differently from the adjoining river) which connects into Essex. Following the canals of Hackney Marshes, visitors can enjoy the warehouse and brewery district of Hackney Wick, the modern allure of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, or simply stick to the vast green fields of the marshes themselves.
Alongside the city’s canals and green spaces, there are plenty of other walks one can take that provides insight into the history of the city and its role today as an entertainment and tourist draw.
The South Bank
One of the most popular promenades for first time guests of the Montcalm Hotel Chiswell Street and pretty much every tourist in London, the stretch of riverside walkways between Waterloo and London Bridge promise some of the most iconic sights and landmarks in the city. Across the river, one can see St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and many skyscraper icons of the city.
The walking side, though, is well known for its collection of art galleries and entertainment centres, including the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, the British Film Institute and the Tate Modern. Once you’ve reached London Bridge, nourish yourself amidst the spoils of Borough Market, one of the oldest and most popular markets in the city.
Greenwich Park To The Thames Barrier
Starting from the tourist-clad Greenwich Park, this Thames-side walk should take about an hour and a half through former industrial lands and docks. With sculptures and installations surrounding these Thames-side docklands, the O2 Arena is another landmark primed for pit stops, whilst the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is a popular picnicking spot. The diversity of landscapes across this walk are second to none, ranging from formal parks to scrublands and industrial warehouses, all adding character to this southeastern walking trail.
Trafalgar Square To Buckingham Palace
The traditional parade route of the royal family will once again be in use on the weekend of May 6th, when King Charles III and his royal guard will march the half mile from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. Part of that route is known as the “Mall”, a long tree lined avenue that runs alongside St James’s Park. Visitors to London can follow in royal footsteps by walking this regal road as well.