Top London Walks

A few ideas that just might beat another loop of the park. Obviously do stick to the guidelines and stay local and in your household/bubble or meet 1:1.

Chelsea Physic Garden re-opened on 24 January for exercise, which includes walking. You’ll need to book a ticket ahead, and even Friends will need a pre-booked time slot. It’s one of the loveliest places in London to see the snowdrops, you can pre-download the Snowdrop Trail here. They should be in flower from now until the middle of February. And wherever you are you can join in with their Spring Flower Photography Competition – there are top prizes to be won like an SLR digital camera and RA membership in three categories, Over 18s, Under 18s, Under 12s.

I stumbled upon Agatha Christie’s house (below) in the first lockdown. It had such character with its crowd of windows, you could just imagine the author writing away up in the attic. Thanks to the National Heritage website you can enter your London borough and discover all the Blue Plaques in your area. Follow a walking trail spotting the famous names as you go.

London’s cemeteries are often more peaceful than the parks. Most are free to access, but to visit Highgate Cemetery you’ll need to book a timed slot. The West Cemetery with its Chapel, Colonnade, Egyptian Avenue, Circle of Lebanon, Terrace Catacombs and the mausoleum of Julius Beer is usually only accessible with a guided tour, but during lockdown they’re allowing people to roam at their leisure with a ticket (£10). This also gives you access to the East Cemetery where you can spot the graves of Karl Marx, Henry Moore, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) and many more notable people.

The City is one of the quietest places to walk and there’s so much to see. Head for the serene church gardens. St Dunstan-in-the-East was damaged in the Blitz and instead of being rebuilt it was transformed into a public garden in the 70s. And nearer to St Pauls, Christchurch Greyfriars is now a rose garden.

We’re still getting so much use from this fold-out map, A London Floral. It highlights London’s green spaces and gardens with over 80 to choose from – including plenty that we had never heard of. Discover your local ones now, and then venture further afield once we’re allowed. £6.99 from Finch Publishing with illustrations by Clover Robin.

 

— Daisy Allsup
27th January 2021