London is currently basking in its best summer in years. Sunny days, warm nights, happy locals – it’s time to get out and about. And there’s no better way to explore the city than on two feet. Here are our picks for the best walks in the city this summer:
Short stroll: Primrose Hill
Distance: One mile
Start your stroll in the southeast corner of Primrose Hill at the Prince Albert Road entrance. Take a left turn along the path — which runs parallel to the road — passing the park café, before turning right to begin walking up Primrose Hill.
At the top of the hill is one of London’s best viewpoints, with scapes across the city. See if you can spot St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and The Shard, and look out for local celebrities such as Jamie Oliver, Helena Bonham Carter and Jude Law, who make their homes in this exclusive area.
After taking in the sights, go through the park on the opposite side of the hill to return to street level and then saunter down Prince Albert Road. If you’re staying at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel The Langham, London, you’re only a 10-minute drive away.
Maritime meander: Greenwich
Distance: Three miles
Follow The Avenue pathway across the park and up the steep slope to the Royal Observatory, where you can stand astride the Prime Meridian before taking in the all-encompassing view of the city, seen through the twin towers of the Royal Naval College that was designed by Christopher Wren in the 17th century.
Retrace your footsteps downhill to meet Blackheath Avenue, and just before you reach Blackheath Gate, turn left through the metal gate. Skirt the edge of the pond, looking out for deer on your right, and turn right at the next fork in the path. Turn left along the edge of the park, and at the next junction take the second path on the left to reach the Queen Elizabeth oak tree, which dates back to the 12th century and is said to have once had King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn dancing around its trunk.
From the tree, turn right and head downhill, leaving the park at Park Row Gate. Follow Park Row to the riverside Trafalgar Tavern, where traditional British pub food (sausage and mash, fish and chips) and a good range of brews (Estaminet, Sagres) are served. Once you’ve had your fill, head west along the Thames Path (recognized as a national trail) back to the Cutty Sark.
River ramble: Kew Gardens to Richmond
Distance: Five miles
Begin at Mortlake railway station and cross Mortlake Green (a small park), and then follow Ship Lane to reach the famous River Thames.
Follow the old towpath to reach Kew Bridge. From here you can follow the signposts to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens (also known as the Kew Gardens), where you can explore the glasshouses and thousands of plant species from around the world.
After your visit, return to the towpath and continue west along the river. Look out for the Italian Renaissance-style Syon House on your right. Just after the attractive Richmond Lock pedestrian bridge (listed as a Grade II structure for its architecture and historical significance) and the Twickenham Bridge, take a left turn onto Old Palace Lane. Follow this to reach the recreation grounds of Richmond Green, an attractive place to stop for a drink (try The Cricketers pub for a traditional summer Pimm’s) and soak up some sun. To reach the Richmond railway station from here, take Portland Terrace from the northwest corner of the green and turn left onto The Quadrant.
Between the posh sights of Primrose Hill and the historical attractions in Greenwich and Richmond, London affords a slew of options when it comes to taking advantage of the outdoors. So lace up those walking shoes and hit the paths before the chillier weather begins to descend upon the city.
Photo Courtesy of RBG Kew