The eagle-eyed among you will have immediately picked up that the Jubilee Walkway actually includes the River Thames, along the South Bank, but having already walked it before I thought I would concentrate on everything in-land.

It absolutely chucked it down for most of this walk so I don’t have as many images as I would like, but you’ll get the gist that it is varied and very interesting. I have combined all the sections of the Jubilee Walkway north of the river. This means there are a few hundred metres of ‘connective’ walking thrown in and some minor deviations, but you don’t miss anything and get a better sense of continuity this way.

Starting point: Big Ben, reachable by tube at Westminster station.

Finishing point: The Tower of London, reachable at Tower Hill tube station.

Length: 10.4 miles (16.7 kilometres).

Churchill statue and the Palace of Westminster from the Jubilee WalkwayI arrived outside Parliament nice and early, the bad weather hadn’t arrived yet I took my time looking around. Even though it was very grey and threatening there were several tourist groups milling around. I headed west out of Parliament Square to the bottom corner of St. James’s Park. I’m pretty sure that the Jubilee Walkway takes you around the southern outside edge of the park, so I ignored that and went in – much more interesting.

The resident Pelicans are (apparently) direct descendants of a breeding pair given to London by the Russian ambassador in 1664. They are weird creatures.

One pelican ate a pigeon whole several years ago, the video made the news and freaked me out. Neither animal seemed to quite know what was going on and the whole terrible scene was almost passive.

Buckingham Palace in the rain, from the Jubilee Walkway

Heading towards Buckingham Palace I barely encountered a soul. Even outside the Palace there were only a few couples dotted around. Looking back east the view towards Whitehall seemed like it had escaped from another, European, country.

Looking east the whole length of St James's Park

I took The Mall back east and zagged back into the park so I could emerge by the memorial out the back of Horseguards.

Horseguards parade square

Under Admiralty Arch I went, onto Trafalgar Square. I lingered for a few seconds to take in one of London’s famous views. The column, the National Gallery, St. Martin in the Fields, and Whitehall.

Trafalgar Square in the rain, Jubilee Walkway

Jubilee Walkway floor blazeBetween the Sainsbury Wing and main bulk of the National Gallery there is an alley that takes you up to Leicester Square, which was surprisingly busy already. The rain was starting to encroach on the day but people seemed happy to be outdoors.

Turning right I reached Charing Cross Road and then took a wrong turn so I ended up at Seven Dials. Never mind though, there is always a hubbub around here. The Jubilee Walkway floor tile blazes are meant to direct you anti-clockwise on most of this walk so I was having to interpret directions from up-side-down. Not as easy as you might think, at times.

The helical walkway between the Royal Ballet School and Royal Opera HouseStill, it is easy to reach Covent Garden and watch the sellers deploying themselves. Sadly the street entertainers aren’t working this early. I saw one gymnastic performer setting up apparatus just inside the lovely old building. I walked through the north hall and found the trail up towards Holborn. I passed through the ornate Sicilian Avenue and glanced into the Holborn Whippet, a really nice little pub on the corner.

From time to time I’ve helped out with exhibitions and events at Abbot & Holder on Museum Street so I dropped by to have a look at their current selection of art for sale, and visit friends. You have to ring a doorbell to gain entry but once past this intimidating start they are lovely folk and it really is well-worth a wander around. Affordable and high-quality.

The other reason for my visit was to kill time as it was still pretty early.

Sicilian Avenue in Bloomsbury, Jubilee Walkway

The Jubilee Walkway actually passes through the centre of the British Museum. You are free to enter the museum’s central court from 9am but the galleries open at 10am. You need the northern galleries open so that you can reach the exit.

The Great Court of the British Museum

So, around 10:30am I stepped through the BM, up beside Russell Square, through the back of the University of London and Institute of Education, and onto muddy Woburn Square Garden. I contemplated sitting in the little wooden shelter and having a snack but I had promised myself lunch overlooking St. Paul’s, much later, if I could find a seat, so I held off.

The rain was coming down hard by the time I reached quaint little Woburn Walk with it’s signs declaring that the coffee was the best in London. I should have sampled it and gotten out the rain but I already knew it was supposed to be wet until mid-afternoon so what was the point? Beside giving into probably spurious advertisement!

The British Library is a big lump isn’t it. Tremendous in so many ways on the inside but when you look at the Midland Grand Hotel next door, which forms the magnificent frontage of St. Pancras International train station, well, you’re free to think it is a bit rubbish.

l-r The British Library, St Pancras Station, King's Cross station

You do a little zig-zag down back streets after this, and come out on Marchmont Street. I’ve always really liked this road but I don’t really know why. Possibly that it feels like it has a sense of community and is not just wealthy folk in milliThe Royal Courts of Justice, from the Jubilee Walkwayon pound flats. The Brunswick Centre was beginning to flood in the downpour and everyone looked a bit sad. Again food tempted me as the Hare & Tortoise Japanese restaurant is delicious and inexpensive, but I was still too early and they hadn’t even opened yet.

Lamb’s Conduit Street has an excellent old pub called The Lamb at its northern end, for your future reference. A long and dull stretch down Bedford Row comes next and delivers you to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. I passed a queue waiting to get into Sir John Soane’s Museum, a guard trying to get visitors to hand in their dripping umbrellas before they ruined the interior. I entered the Fields from the northwest and walked down the central avenue, through the band stand.

Outside the eastern exit a row of gleaming trailers provided everything that the stars of ‘Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters’ could need. They must have been filming in Lincoln’s Inn Library. I didn’t see and stars. But looking at the cast list there aren’t really any properly huge established stars in it. Gabriel Byrne, Joely Richardson and Olga Kurylenko, that’s all.

Soggily I looked at the back of the Royal Courts of Justice before turning east onto Fleet Street. The pubs along here all have various ‘oldest’ claims, like the Tipperary which is the ‘oldest Irish pub in London’.

St Paul's Cathedral from the Jubilee Walkway

Just keep walking east and St. Paul’s soon looms up over everything. My shoes were seriously hurting my right ankle bone for some reason so I looked for a seat overlooking the Cathedral in any of the restaurants. There were none. I harrumphed and walked up towards the Museum of London. It may not have had any view to speak of but the Lord Raglan pub provided a midday pint and a sit down until the pain subsided. I couldn’t work out what was causing it.

Section of Roman Wall from the Jubilee Walkway in the BarbicanOn London Wall I climbed up into the wide walkways that form a signature part of the Barbican complex of music colleges, performance spaces, and Brutalist residential towers.

This part of the walk was a revelation to me. I have always sort of 50/50 liked/disliked other Brutalist buildings like the Royal Festival Hall but I found the Barbican to be 100% lovely. It’s an unconventional beauty for sure, but when you come across the water features in the centre you are presented with quite a spectacle. The balconies of the flats are often draped with flowers and greenery to such an extent that the whole thing feels like a modern Hanging Gardens of Babylon. I can imagine it looks even nicer in sunny weather.

The water spaces of The Barbican, from the Jubilee Walkway

I spied on a woman being tutored in the violin from the walkway by the London Symphony Orchestra, and then headed off towards Moorgate. You turn south for a while before nipping into tiny little Mason’s Avenue on the right. This has a good selection of pubs and snack food shops.

The Walkie-talkie tower in the City of London, Jubilee WalkwayAgain you zig-zag in a south-westerly direction until you reach Queen Victoria Street. Back east you get the Bank of England’s hulking frontage popping into view very quickly. All the glass and steel towers in the area crowd around it and start to blot out large sections of sky. The ‘Walkie-Talkie’ tower behind Eastcheap looks like it will be another oddball addition to the London skyline.

Sooner than you realise you are on top of the Tower of London. It was pelting rain down now. Something about workers in the City compels them to use ginormous umbrellas that block the entire pavement. I wasn’t pleased with the bullying nature of some of these pigs as my trusty little brolly had to be lifted far out the way so that they could scuttle off unimpeded to whichever grotty sty they belonged to.

I walked along the north edge of the Tower, under Tower Bridge, and into St. Katherine Docks, where I spotted the Royal Barge ‘Gloriana’ which was used during the lavish Jubilee celebrations in 2012. The restaurants were thronged despite the inclement weather but I completed a swift circuit of the water before stopping to watch the harbour master preparing the exit for a sailing boat.

The exit to St Katherine's Dock, the end of the Jubilee Walkway

With dripping jeans I strode into Tower Hill tube station and nearly almost ended the day with proper injury as I nearly slipped over on the platform as I ran for the closing doors of a tube. Today I walked a lot of London that I already knew, especially in the West End. That is always well and good, I love that part of town far more than the City itself, but the Barbican made the whole route worthwhile. I can’t believe I had never been there before. Barbican aside, the Jubilee Walkway is full of interesting buildings and little communities along the way. Nooks and crannies you might not ordinarily have time to explore. You get a real sense of the capital’s range, and what it has to offer. The whole walk took me about five hours, including my beer stop and Abbot & Holder visit, so it is no hardship for any Londoner to take the time to do this.

If you want to take in all of Central London’s delights in one go then you absolutely have to walk the Jubilee Walkway. It is a must for any Londoner and any tourist.