All Walks Of Life
BEST WALK FOR WILDLIFE
Richmond Park, one of London’s eight Royal Parks, is rich with wildlife – most notably, 630 red and fallow deer that have roamed freely since 1637. The park also boasts 144 species of bird, including mandarins, swans, blue tits and white-headed coots, as well as rabbits, foxes and bats. Its 1,000 hectares of woodland, grassland and parkland are criss-crossed with trails and ponds, making it a great place in which to get lost. Sawyer’s Hill stretches between the north-west and north-east corners. White Lodge, a former Georgian royal residence that’s home to the Royal Ballet School, is south of the roundabout, and the Pen Ponds are nearby.The Isabella Plantation meanwhile, which blooms with camellias, magnolias and golden narcissi in March, is in the south-west corner of the park.Make a day of it and have lunch in Petersham Nurseries outside the park’s north-west corner, before following the Thames Path to 17th-century Ham House and Garden.
BEST SIGHTSEEING WALK
Start at The Ritz hotel in Mayfair and walk through Green Park to Buckingham Palace. Then saunter through St James’s Park or along The Mall, past the Institute of Contemporary Arts, to Trafalgar Square.In the square you can visit The National Gallery, see Nelson’s Column and attend regular festivals. From Trafalgar Square, walk down Whitehall – past 10 Downing Street – to Big Ben in the Houses of Parliament, where Parliament has sat since 1265. You can also visit Westminster Abbey.Cross the River Thames to ride the Coca-Cola London Eye for 360° views of the city. At 135m high, it’s Europe’s largest Ferris wheel. Opposite the wheel you will find SEA LIFE London Aquarium, home to penguins, sharks and jellyfish.
BEST WOODLAND WALK
If you need a break from the city, head to Hampstead Heath – 320 hectares of wild woodland. Start at the entrance by Gospel Oak station and head to the lido.Continue on to Parliament Hill, a 98m high mound with views of St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, Gherkin and Walkie Talkie skyscrapers. Hug the east of the heath and you’ll come to Highgate Ponds, which you can swim in year-round. Kenwood House, a neoclassical villa built in the late 1700s, is to the north of the heath. If you need a pit stop, have lunch in The Spaniards Inn, a 1585 pub visited by Charles Dickens and John Keats. Cross Spaniards Road and you’ll find a little-known pergola off North End Way. Cross back over Spaniards Road and traipse through the woods to Hampstead Ponds, before leaving the heath for a wander around the boutiques and cafés in Hampstead Village.
BEST RIVERSIDE WALK
South Bank is a pretty spot with street entertainers all year round. The Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery reopened recently following a two-year refurbishment. You can also visit the Royal Festival Hall – a legacy of the 1951 Festival of Britain, which aimed to boost post-war morale. BFI Southbank, home to the UK’s film archive, and BFI IMAX – which screens films in 3D on Britain’s biggest screen – are both close by. For independent shops and galleries, stroll to Gabriel’s Wharf and Oxo Tower Wharf. Snowden Flood sells souvenirs from the UK; Bramwell Brown designs clocks that forecast the weather and Mr Jones Watches sells quirky watches where, as the seconds pass, the clock face changes from yes to no. Have drinks next door at Dandelyan in the Mondrian hotel, which won World’s Best Cocktail Bar 2017. See modern masters, from Dalí to Picasso, at Tate Modern.
BEST WALK WITH A VIEW
From ZSL London Zoo, stroll the Broad Walk in Regent’s Park, walking clockwise around the park. Cross the boating lake in the south-west corner.Nearby you can see white stucco houses designed by John Nash and Decimus Burton.Head north across the park’s playing fields and you’ll find yourself on Primrose Hill. We challenge you not to look back until you reach the top! From the peak you will be rewarded with stunning views across London – look out for the Zoo, BT Tower, Coca-Cola London Eye and The Shard. At the bottom of the hill you’ll find Primrose Hill Market (Sat 10am-3pm), and independent cafés, pubs and boutiques lining Regent’s Park Road.