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London's Top 10 : London on Foot

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  1. Thames Path, South Bank

    Start by the London Eye and walk along the South Bank downstream to London Bridge and the Design Museum beyond Butler’s Wharf. This stretch of the Thames Path has enough to distract you all day.

    • South Bank

    Thames path, South Bank
  2. Regent’s Canal

    It’s possible to walk along the whole 14-km (8.5-mile) canal from Paddington to Limehouse. The most accessible part lies between Camden Lock and Regent’s Park, where grand houses back on to the water. Further on, in Little Venice, moored “narrowboats” are owned by the wealthy.

    Houseboat, Regents Canal
  3. Richmond

    Richmond has a lovely aspect on the River Thames. Apart from its royal park  there is a lot to see and do, with riverside pubs and cafés, and boats to rent. It’s a half-hour walk along the towpath to the 17th-century Ham House, owned by the National Trust. In summer you can take a ferry across to Marble Hill House in Twickenham .

  4. Hampstead Heath

    This green grandstand overlooking the city covers 8 sq km (3 sq miles) and is a rural mix of meadows, woods, lakes and ponds for both swimming and fishing. Head off in any direction, and make the Spaniards Inn or Kenwood House a stopping-off point .

  5. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

    Central London’s largest green area can tire out any walker. It takes about an hour and a half to walk around, but there are plenty of diversions, from the Serpentine Gallery, to cafés, fountains and flower gardens .

    • Hyde Park W2

    • Open 5am–midnight daily

  6. Battersea Park

    This lively park is not just for children . It has a pleasant riverside promenade beside a Buddhist Peace Pagoda, lakeside walks and the Festival Gardens .

    Battersea Park
  7. Wimbledon Common

    It is easy to get lost in this wild public space. Start by the Windmill and go down to Queens Mere Pond or stride out along the cinder horse track to the pine copse of Caesar’s Camp, an old Iron Age hill fort .

  8. Blackheath

    This treeless expanse, enjoyed by kite flyers, lies behind Greenwich Park. Donkey rides can be taken around the edge, and on the far side is Blackheath Village.

    • Blackheath SE3

    • Train to Blackheath

  9. Wetland Centre

    London’s major bird sanctuary covers 105 acres in four disused Victorian reservoirs. It has trails, a visitor centre and an observatory where you can spot some of the 130 species which come here .

  10. Highgate Cemetery

    Filled with grand tombs, many of the rich and famous, this is the best of London’s cemeteries. The living have to pay to get in, too, and the cemetery is divided into eastern and western halves, the latter visitable only with a tour .

    Faded grandeur, Highgate Cemetery

Top 10 Outdoor Activities

  1. Rowing

    Parks with rowing lakes include Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Battersea Park.

  2. Ice Skating

    Indoors at the Leisurebox in Queensway. Outdoor winter rinks include the Broadgate Centre, Somerset House and the Natural History Museum.

  3. Kite Flying

    Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Blackheath are the best places to get a lift.

  4. Swimming

    There are a number of public indoor pools.

    The Oasis

    • Endell Street WC2

    Porchester Centre

    • Queensway W2

    Chelsea Sports Centre

    • Chelsea Manor St SW3

  5. Nature Watching

    London’s open spaces and woodlands are full of plants and wildlife to discover.

  6. Skateboarding

    Many parks have skateboard facilities. The South Bank’s concrete spaces have a regular clientele.

  7. Cycling

    Rent bikes from On Your Bike in London Bridge (020 7378 6669) and The London Bicycle Tour Company in Gabriel’s Wharf (020 7928 6838).

  8. Tennis

    For indoors try Islington Tennis Centre, Market Rd N7. Outdoors, Holland Park, Battersea Park or Regent’s Park.

  9. Skating

    Wide paths make Hyde Park the most popular choice.

  10. Horse Riding

    The best place is the stables at Hyde Park.

    • 63 Bathurst Mews W2

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