A slight change to the ‘true’ Jubilee Greenway walk along sections 1 – 2, but that’s only a good thing.

When the Jubilee Greenway was conceived the area around South Kensington was a snarling mess of obstructed pavements and confused traffic. Today it has been thoroughly pedestrianised and is a joy to walk through. Which is one good reason why I chose to start this walk here instead of Buckingham Palace, the suggested start of section 1. Apologies in advance for the crappy photography – mobile phone only in this post.

Starting point: South Kensington tube station, Zone 1 with District, Circle, and Piccadilly Line services.

Finishing point: Camden Town tube station, Zone 2, with Northern Line services.

Length: 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometres).

After leaving South Kensington via the north exit of its covered arcade turn right along Thurloe Street and then left onto Exhibition Road, which streaks off into the far distance. Soak up the ambience generated by the European-style street dining. I can personally recommend Comptoir Libanaise for a delicious snack here, and check out this pub crawl around Knightsbridge and Belgravia if you wanted something different to do around here.

Flaming tuba outside the Natural History Museum on Exhibition RoadFollowing Exhibition Road north takes you across the busy Cromwell Road at the pedestrian crossing. On your left is the astounding façade of the Natural History Museum, which is only narrowly less-impressive than that of the Victoria and Albert Museum on the right. If you’re lucky you’ll experience a man busking with a tuba here, notice the inevitable crowd around him and pay close attention because each note is accompanied with a puff of flame from the horn.

At the very top of Exhibition Road you cross over into Hyde Park but then immediately left into Kensington Gardens. There is a map board here in case you don’t know where you’re going (guiltily raises hand).

It’s a bit of a shame but the Albert Memorial is undergoing renovation at the moment so you can’t quite see it in its full glory. I expect whatever they are doing will be finished by the summer though. Directly opposite that is the glorious Royal Albert Hall so you’re not wasting any time here without something to look at.

The Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial from Kensington Gardens along the Jubilee Greenway

Pretty little flowers in Kensington GardensThe path leads west through the gardens along a section fringed with pretty little flowers and a look north could easily lead you to believe that you are in a suburban park rather than smack bang in the middle of one of the world’s greatest metropolises…

There are public toilets at the end of this path, when you reach them you turn north onto a wide road that bisects the gardens. Skaters and cyclists lazily weave their way around the area, stopping only to admire the pond or Kensington Palace which is newly opened to the public. Queen Victoria watches over your progress as you pass.

The top of this path is Black Lion Gate which empties you from the park onto frenetic Bayswater Road. The pavement was thronging with tourists and I recognised how different these city centre walks are from my usual orbital staples. It’s almost nerve-wracking having to dodge between aimless spinning foreigners but luckily it doesn’t last long. You turn left when you pass the crumbly Thistle hotel, onto posh residential Porchester Terrace.

Jubilee Greenway floor tilesThe Jubilee Greenway blazes take the form of pavement slabs. They are well thought out and are turned to indicate the direction you should be heading. Just keep going the way the last one told you to and you can be sure that another one will tell you when to veer off when the time is right. For this section it did just that and only indicated when to turn when I reached a pedestrian crossing on Praed Street. A hop, skip, jump around the bustling Paddington crowds and I was off down a side street.

Old warehouses along the Jubilee GreenwayThe huge doors on the brick building to the right remind me of the fire station from Ghostbusters, and more specifically the toy version of it that my childhood best friend had. The one where you got to pour purple goo through the ceiling lattice so everyone inside was thoroughly ecto-plasm’d…

Crossrail developments are visible all over London. The scale of this project is truly enormous but there are few places where it is more apparent than Paddington. As you head down these streets you will see hoardings and small diversions as essential works are carried out, so keep aware of any potential alterations to the route. Just as I passed the Ghostbusters building there was a building site which almost hid the blaze from me. For your information you need to turn onto the brick lane just before the entrance to the Paterson Centre at Imperial College Hospital.

Moments later you reach the Regent’s Canal. The water might be grubby and thick in places with litter but it still holds an air of romanticism. It just feels nice along here. And it only gets better.

Standing Man by Sean Henry along the Jubilee Greenway

Passing the Standing Man sculpture by Sean Henry you come to Little Venice. This weird triangular section of narrowboat berths is really pretty indeed. The aesthetic value of the area is enhanced even more with the odd palm tree and gaggles of geese. You walk all the way around this triangle before following the canal towards the Maida Tunnel.

Beautiful Little Venice in Maida Vale

The Regent's Canal along the Jubilee GreenwayThe towpath here is completely full of houseboats and their land-side gardens. Creepers lead from the long-stationary boats to the railings beside the pavement on Blomfield Road. The pavement itself almost impassable at times with huge trees growing right in the middle of the path.

It was just before Maida Tunnel that I started keeping pace with a narrowboat by accident. It popped into the darkness and I crossed over the crown of the hill. When I found the canal again it was slightly ahead of me in the deep cutting.

Blomfield Road and its difficult pavement along the Jubilee Greenway

The north side of Maida Tunnel along the Jubilee Greenway

I hopped down the steel stairs to the towpath and a weird bloke stood with a lovely little whippet dog. As I passed I could have sworn he whispered ‘Eat him’ to the dog but she just regarded me with sad curiosity, rather than snarling hunger. I didn’t look at the man again and upped my pace as there was nobody else near enough to help me if I had heard correctly…

The rain pattered down as I overtook that narrowboat  and I in turn was buzzed by cyclists racing along their own private rush hours. The clouds cleared just in time to allow the villas along the back end of Regent’s Park to be bathed in the deep yellow light of the setting sun. They are such strange abodes, lost in their own little display of pompous elegance.

The villas backing onto the Regent's Canal, along the Jubilee Greenway

ZSL London's aviary overhanging the towpath along the Jubilee GreenwayThe canal curved lazily towards London Zoo and I took a few seconds to admire the brilliant aviary which slightly overhangs the towpath  All manner of weird and very wonderful birds occupied all the perches and they seemed to be getting on remarkably well together.

Tip: If you wanted to see some pretty astonishing views of London then head north, away from the canal just after the aviary and you will be able to climb Primrose Hill to get some. It’s only ten minutes’ hard climb but well worth the detour.

A little further on there is a slight off-shoot where a Chinese-styled houseboat-cum-restaurant sits at rest. It looks like something straight out of a 60s James Bond film.

Keep on the towpath under the road bridge and you are on the final stage leading into Camden Lock. The surroundings become more in keeping with an industrial past than the flamboyant residences encountered earlier in the walk. The colour palate swings from greens, yellows, and blues, to a very obvious brown, grey, and black. The city may feel like it has returned but to the canal but there is a lot of interest with various brick warehouses and steeply arched bridges to explore.

The Regent's canal as you approach Camden Lock

The modern character of Camden cannot be missed, and you hear it long before you see it. Buskers and impromptu sing-alongs dot the path and merge into a good-natured cacophony under the echoing bridges. Everything it light-hearted and smiley. Teenagers stand around aged Rastafarians, gazing in awe and awkwardly dancing to their songs. Further along a rap performance piece is in full flow with some kind of dramatic element involved in the sung story.

It’s always interesting here.

Just before I reached the famous bridge at Camden Lock I turned into the market space to the north. As I wandered through several food sellers were closing up for the day and dismantling their stalls. On Camden Lock Place the clothing stalls were still open, just, with the great big blue rail bridge as their backdrop.

A famous view of Camden market

The walk south along Camden High Street is busy every day, all day. Apart from when it rains. The golden sun here now had drawn multitudes out so it slowed me down greatly. All the better to see the famous frontages of the buildings on both sides of the street. As I fought through the massive crowd at the junction with Kentish Town Road I ended my walk at Camden Town tube station.

The lovely shop fronts of Camden Town

This is a brilliant walk. It is short enough be completed in just over two hours and it takes you through a great range of London’s historical, cultural, and spiritual landmarks. There is a hell of a lot to see and you could easily spend many hours resting along the way to take in the full ambience on offer. I’m very pleased to say that this has just shot into my list of my favourite walks in London. Pick a nice clear day and try it for yourself.