Although London is a fantastic city to visit and explore, it can sometimes feel a little claustrophobic, especially if you are someone who isn’t used to the metropolitan city life. But regardless of whether you find the city too much or you just fancy breaking up the city skyline with something a little more picturesque there are, luckily, some truly beautiful places to escape and enjoy a walk just a short distance from the Central London area.
It doesn’t matter whether you only want to stroll for an hour or you want to dedicate an entire day to exploring the countryside, grab your wellies and your waterproof coat and head to one of these places, all accessible from the heart of the city:-
Hackney Marshes Walk
There are a number of fantastic walks to be enjoyed in the Hackney area but one particularly worth exploring is the walk around Hackney Marshes. This is a circular walk which takes you through the marshes and some of the adjacent open spaces with a few additional changes you can make to extend the walk or keep it short and sweet. This walk will take you through Wick Woodland; an area of the marshes which is a lower level than the rest because nothing was dumped here after the Second World War. It is now an area rich with mature trees, birds and plant life and it is managed by the local community. The Hackney Marshes walk will also take you past Spitalfields Fruit and Veg market and an adventure playground which may be useful for families who may want to enjoy this walk. The full circular walk is just short of 5 miles.
Located in Kent, the Pluckley Circular starting point is just 20 minutes from London and involves a gentle walk through the quaint orchards and past towering ancient oak trees. There are a few variations you can make to the walk, either to make it slightly hillier or keep to flatter ground but the general walk is around 7.2 miles long. If this seems like too far then try to bear in mind that there are some fantastic village pubs along the way so you can make regular pit stops for a pint (or two) as you go.
The Thames Path
A walk which can be picked up from right in London; perfect if you are staying at The Montcalm London Marble Arch Hotel is the Thames Path. This is a path which follows the entire 184 miles of the River Thames and whilst we aren’t suggesting that you try and walk the entire distance, there are various points at which the trail can be picked up and appreciated. The Thames Path starts at the source of the River Thames in the Cotswolds and passes through several rural counties before it reaches London. Along the way you can discover historic towns, rich wildlife, country pubs and quaint villages and pretty much all of the trail is fully accessible, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. You could catch public transport out of London and pick up the trail an hour or so from London before making your way back to one of the luxury hotels London or you could start in Central London and make your way as far as you feel comfortable before turning around and making your way back again.
Richmond Park and Ham House
Richmond Park is one of the eight royal parks in London but it is often overlooked in favour of those closer to the heart of the city. However, Richmond Park and the surrounding area have a lot to offer those who want to escape the urban sprawl of London. Richmond Park itself is home to freely roaming Red and Fallow Deer, the Isabella Plantation which is a tranquil ornamental woodland garden, and King Henry’s Mound which, on a clear day, offers you the chance to see right across the city of London to landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral. Leaving the park you will find yourself in the wonderful village of Ham, and if you feel up the walk, it’s about 20 minutes from the edge of the park near Pembroke House to Ham House; a 7th century house which sits on the banks of the River Thames and is owned by the National Trust. It is said to be one of the rarest properties in Europe as much of the original 17th century furnishings and fittings remain.
The Jubilee Greenway
Another walk which you can start from Central London is the Jubilee Greenway; a 37 mile walk which takes you around some of the major sights in London including Kensington Palace, Greenwich Park and HMS Belfast. However, picking up just one short stretch of the Jubilee Greenway from Little Venice to Camden Town can be a very relaxed and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Little Venice is located where the Grand Union Canal and Regents Canal meet and a lovely area has cropped up with quaint waterside pubs and restaurants. If you follow the canal path you will eventually pass through to Camden with its wonderful and eclectic market which is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or two. This walk will also take you past Regent’s Park which is home to the ZSL London Zoo and Primrose Hill which could be a pleasant diversion and offers stunning (and free) views across the whole of the city on a clear day. You can find a number of different sections of the Jubilee Greenway on the Transport for London website and if you wanted to complete the whole route then keep an eye out for the distinctive pavement slabs which mark the various points of this Royal walking route. As the walk was made to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee, she unveiled the one outside Buckingham Palace in 2012.