Walk London weekend October 2015 routes: The best free guided walks around the capital for TfL's autumn ambling scheme

 
Catherine Neilan
Follow Catherine
Cutty Sark: Many of the routes take in the Thames' maritime history (Source: Getty)

This weekend sees the launch of Transport for London's Walk London weekend, a new initiative designed to get us city slickers off our backsides and getting out to see some of the best free sites the capital has to offer.

There will be more than 40 guided walks for TfL's "Autumn Ambles", connecting parks, woodland, rivers, canals and open spaces with some of London's best attractions between Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October.

Each walk has been organised by social enterprise Walk Unlimited as is being funded by TfL. All walks start and finish either at, or within easy reach of public transport facilities.

Here are the seven routes that have been created and what you might see on your way.

Capital Ring

Taken as a whole, this route spans 78 miles, but it has been divided into 15 shorter walks that take in some of London's loveliest green spaces. Highlights include Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common and Eltham Palace.

Top walk: A Mighty River and a Royal Park

This walk starts at 10am on 17 October from Richmond Station and finishes at Fulwell Station some 9.5 miles later. You'll take in original royal hunting grounds and see herds of deer along the way, stopping at Ham House at 11am and Kingston for lunch.

More details here

Green Chain

This is a network of walks across south east London, taking in dozens of woods and parks, as well as the impressive Thames Barrier former grounds of the Crystal Palace, which was burned down in the 1930s.

Top walk: The Green Chain Megawalk

You'll have to be hardy to take this one on - it's a whopping 16.5 miles long and will take up eight hours of your time. But in return for your stamina, you'll be rewarded with views from some of the highest points in the city, woodland that dates back 8,000 years and parks aplenty. Packed lunch and reasonable fitness required.

More details here

Jubilee Greenway

The newest addition to the Walk London routes, this was created to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee and comprises a 60km-long route that stretches from Kensington Palace to Little Venice, Greenwich Park and Peyps Park, HMS Belfast to the Olympic Park.

Top walk: Seafaring London - Tower Bridge to Greenwich

This four-hour walk runs along the Thames Path and offers naval-gazers a chance to learn more about London's seafaring past. The walk will start outside City Hall and finish at Greenwich, taking in the capital's industrial and more recent past as well as the options of visiting the Cutty Sark and Maritime Museum towards the end of the route. Packed lunches are recommended

More details here

Jubilee Walkway

The shortest route at 15 miles long, but containing some of London's most iconic landmarks including the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower.

Top walk: Secret Diaries and Public Spaces - The Legacy of Pepys and Wren

Starting at Aldgate and finishing at St Paul's, this route takes in some of London's best-loved buildings as well as the writers that memorialised them in our minds. The walk passes the old Roman wall to Tower Hill, and Pepys' "very own church" St Olaves, into the City built by Wren. One for history and literature buffs.

More details here

Lea Valley

This 18-mile route stretches from Waltham Abbey to the Limehouse Basin.

Top walk: Walking on Water - Tottenham Hale to Three Mills

This route crosses two others (Capital Ring and Jubilee Greenway) and takes in vast stretches of natural land including the nature reserve at Middlesex Filter Beds and Hackney Marshes. The route also passes the Olympic Park and a grade one listed tidal mill.

More details here

London Outer Orbital Path (Loop)

This route is made up of 24 sections and combines beautiful open spaces such as Hainault Forest Country Park with historic buildings such as Black Jack's Lock & Mill

Top walk: A rural roam alive with history - Cockfosters to Turkey Street Station

Taking in farms and woodland, ponds, brooks and kissing gates, this 8.5 mile-walk is definitely rural, but it also incorporates plenty of history, including a hunting forest used by Winston Churchill and a grade on-listed Forty Hall, where Sir Walter Raleigh famously spread his cloak over a puddle so Queen Elizabeth I did not have to get her feet wet. There is also a pub en route to keep hikers going.

More details here

Thames Path

This is a 40-mile route that comprises riverside scenes and city landmarks.

Top walk: Millbank, MI5 and MI6 and much more

A short 2.5 mile route takes you through some of London's riverside history from boat builders to boat breakers, as well as the prisons and potteries that used to line the path of the Thames. The route takes in the Palace of Westminster and Archbishop's residence.

More details here

None of the routes above take your fancy? Not to worry, there is plenty more including a walk through historic Bloomsbury, the real West End of Soho, Chinatown and Covent Garden and elegant Little Venice to eclectic Camden.

Related articles