So, why would anyone want to walk around London? 

It’s not renowned for its walks.  Sure everybody knows about the Thames, and can probably twig that it’s possible to walk along its south bank.  Plenty of people also take guided ‘Ripper walks’, but very few people know about the outer Boroughs with all their secrets just a couple of miles away from the famously touristy centre.

Residents and tourists alike will discover a whole new city within easy Oyster card reach.  Here are 5 good reasons to walk around and through London that go beyond the obvious health benefits:

  1. London is verdant!  You may think ‘city = urban = grey’ but with London you couldn’t be further from the truth – it really is very green.  This is no Shanghai.  There are over 650 parks and public green spaces in the city but there are also 16 navigable rivers and canals, most with good paths beside them.  Finally it feels like the capital is making proper use of the natural resources it’s endowed with.  It’s very likely that you live or will be staying within a few minutes’ walk from a fine stroll through these areas.
  2. There are 7 official and fully-signed routes that join many of the best walking areas together.  There are countless other walks to do though, explore this site to discover one close to you.  In other words it’s EASY to do.
  3. It’s free!  You don’t have to employ a guide to roam these routes, it’s all pretty self-explanatory with good signage for the paths and places of interest.  If you use an Oyster card you’ll be within range of all these places at no more than the cost of a one-day bus pass.
  4. It binds the city together, in your mind.  That, I find, is one of the best things about walking or bussing about in London.  When you only travel by train or tube you get an sketchy appreciation of where you emerge.  These become islands completely disembodied from each other, the geography of hills and the size of buildings precludes an understanding of how an area like Clapham and Brixton link together, for example.  They aren’t far apart at all but in rail terms they are different universes purely because you can’t get between them easily by rail.  Walk around London instead and you will soon find that places are much closer together than you ever realised and that there’s a hell of a lot of history and interest in-between.
  5. Smash preconceptions!  Many places have an awful reputation based on old criminal cases or public disorder but before you write them off make the effort to explore them for yourself.  Make your own mind up.  Eltham will forever be scarred in my mind from the murder of Stephen Lawrence but it’s really an extremely nice place to amble.  Brixton is a world away from the cauldron of racial tension that it once was, it’s an incredibly dynamic and interesting place to visit.  Deptford might look awful, still, and there might be a lot of odd characters around but it’s heaving with history and has a thriving arts scene.  London is always changing so do get to know it in more detail and you will feel more grounded and attached to the place.

These 5 reasons alone spurred me to get out and see the sights I’d not yet seen.  There’s still so much more to explore…