The 8 Best London Walking Routes (Off the Beaten Track)

So you’ve ticked off the climb to Greenwich Observatory and Primrose Hill? You’ve walked Hampstead Heath, the Thames Path and Regents Canal and now you’re looking for the best London walking routes you haven’t explored yet?

Well, good news! You’re in the right place…

Best London Walking Routes

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that London is packed with green space. I’ll admit that I’ve taken a lot of them for granted, but during the past months these routes have been a lifeline.

Here are 8 of my favourite walking routes off the beaten track…

1. Lea Valley Walk

Starting at Waltham Abbey – the historic market town by Epping Forrest  – the route winds its way South along East London’s River Lea and Bow Creek.

The route splits into two, giving you the choice of heading East through Bow Creek Ecology Park or West along the Limehouse Cut, London’s oldest canal built in 1770!

Best London Walking Routes

View from Bow Creek Ecology Park

My favourite sections are around Three Mills Island (find out more here) but you can see all 6 sections (split between 3 and 4 miles long) here.

2. Parkland Walk

Want to walk along an abandoned old railway line in North London? Of course you do!

Parkland Walk

The walk takes you from Alexandra Palace to Finsbury Park along parts of the old mainline tracks to Ally Pally.

Read more about when I walked it including bat caves and a curious sculpture! It covers around 4 miles.

3. Stratford Greenway

This flat, raised, walking and cycle route runs around 4 miles between the Olympic Park and Beckton.

When it first opened it was called the sewer bank as it runs along the Northern Outfall Sewer between Beckton Sewage Treatment Works and Bazalgette’s extraordinary ‘Cathedral of Sewage‘ Abbey Mills Pumping Station.

Best London Walking Routes

Today Newham have unsurprisingly opted for the nicer-sounding ‘Greenway’ and you can see a map here.

4. Jubilee Greenway

Technically, Stratford’s Greenway is part of a much longer circular walk around London. It was finished in 2012 to mark both HM Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and to include all the London 2012 Olympic sites.

Best London Walking Routes

The route through the Olympic Park is section 4 but the whole thing is 60km long (a kilometre for each year of the Queen’s reign) and loops around London.

5. Isabella Plantation

Ok, so I know Richmond Park is certainly not ‘off the beaten track’ but perhaps you haven’t heard of this magical place within it?

Planted in the 1830s, Isabella Plantation is a 40-acre patch of woodland within a gated section of the former royal hunting grounds; Richmond Park.

It’s best known for its Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Camellias and Bluebells which – during late April and early May – are a riot of colour. However, it’s beautiful at any time of the year.

Best London Walking Routes

Not bad for a place that in the 17th century was known as The Sleyt; ‘boggy ground’!

Read the Royal Parks guide to Isabella Plantation here.

Wood Street Tree

6. The Line London

If you like your walking routes dotted with artwork, this is the one for you.

Best London Walking Routes

The Line runs between the Olympic Park and North Greenwich involving a trip on the Docklands Light Railway and London’s cable car; The Emirates Airline to cross over the River Thames.

Best London Walking Routes

The Line opened in 2015 and the artworks have been updated since, so it’s worth doing the route again. The online map has also been improved since launching and you can see it here. It’s also worth noting that some of the route isn’t that scenic (unless of course you like industrial business parks!) You can see my blog post from walking the route when it opened here.

Best London Walking Routes

7. Capital Ring

Covering 78miles around outer London, the Capital Ring is split into sections and takes in some of the lesser known – but no less impressive sights of London.

I haven’t yet completed the whole route, but can highly recommend section 8 along the River Brent. You really feel like you’ve left London for a few hours!

Best London Walking Routes

8. London Loop

Similar to the Capital Ring, the London Loop goes even further a field if you’re looking for a more rural feel.

Again, it’s split into walkable sections with helpful maps and information from TFL here. A nice place to start is with another Royal Park; section 9 takes you right through Bushy Park (pictured below).

Image by Steve Brown from Pixabay 

Got any others to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Under normal circumstances, if you fancy exploring more London areas and hearing about their history, you can join me on a walking tour off the beaten track! Find out more here.

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