Put a spring in your step
Put a spring in your step…… A guide to the capital’s best seasonal walks
There’s no better time for walking in London than in the spring when the capital is awash with blossom, blue skies, and brighter days.
It’s a perfect city to explore on foot and there are walks both long and short to cater for all tastes. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll through a park, meander along the river, find architecture to admire or wildlife to spy, London has it all.
The first steps are straightforward. Remove dead plants and weeds, prune branches on trees and shrubs, clear fallen leaves and power wash paving, as well as objects such as fountains or bird baths.
Throughout the capital there are eight Royal Parks covering 5,000 acres of green space. Free to visit and open every day of the year, the most famous are Hyde Park, Green Park and Regent’s Park all offering wonderful scenery, wildlife, statues, fountains, cafes and lakes. A bit further afield is Richmond Park on the edge of London with its breathtaking views, woodland trails and resident deer.
Luxurious homes next to Hyde Park
Though it may not have royal status, an often-overlooked gem is Battersea Park. A wide, tree-lined path of about two miles encircles the park and a must-see is the view of the River Thames from the London Peace Pagoda, a riverside Buddhist temple with gilded bronze statues. Walkers can also enjoy the Victorian Bandstand, Pump House Gallery, Old English Garden and boating lake.
Public art walk
Lovers of culture should walk ‘The Line’ – London’s first, dedicated, public art walk. The three-mile route runs between Stratford and Greenwich and features a series of stunning sculptures and artworks.
One of the more eye-catching is ‘A Moment Without You’ by Tracey Emin – five sculpted bronze birds atop tall poles. There are also plenty of landmarks to spot en route plus the option of crossing the river by cable car.
If you want to walk while enjoying the sights there’s nowhere better than along the South Bank. The view of Big Ben and Westminster from Waterloo Bridge is one of the most celebrated. The route also takes in iconic buildings such as the National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall and there are cafes and restaurants along the way.
The Parkland Walk
For those wanting a country ramble, the four mile Parkland Walk is highly recommended. It’s London’s longest, linear nature reserve and follows the former railway line connecting Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, which opened in 1873.
The nature reserve is a haven for birds, butterflies and hedgehogs while there is also an abundance of flora and fauna making it a riot of colour especially in the spring.
Back in the heart of the capital, the Diana, Princess Of Wales Memorial Walk is dedicated to her and perfect for lovers of royal history. Opened in 2000, this seven-mile route passes through four Royal Parks (Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s) and past Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace.
Highlights on the walk include a Memorial Fountain, the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park and views of Big Ben and the London Eye from Blue Bridge in St James’s Park. Also look out for pelicans in St James's Park.
A wonderful panoramic view of London’s skyline
For a wonderful panoramic view of London’s skyline, climb Parliament Hill as part of the Hampstead Circular Walk. The route is designed to take in the many delights of Hampstead Heath, such as the ponds, lido and woodlands.
Another pretty walk can be found by following the course of the 200-year-old Regent’s Canal. Highlights include the beautiful houseboats moored in Little Venice and the greenery of Regent’s Park, where the canal is overlooked by London Zoo’s spectacular aviary.
If you want to venture further afield, a visit to Morden Hall in south London is recommended. Built in the late 1770s, Morden Hall is a country estate bequeathed to the National Trust in 1941. The River Wandle winds through the 125-acre park and is home to cormorants, herons and other species of birds such as Little Egrets and Firecrests.
It’s a surprising and relaxing retreat that feels like a secret!
This blog has just scratched the surface of stunning springtime walks through the capital. There are many books and websites featuring lots more, so take a look and tailor your odyssey by foot to your own needs and fitness. You won’t be disappointed.