Tourists who’ll be staying in London hotels over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend might not anticipate getting much serious walking done, expecting instead to travel between the capital’s many attractions via the London Underground or its famous bus network.
However, Transport for London will be celebrating the holiday by running Walk London, a programme of 30 guided walks around the city that cover a range of terrains and distances – suitable for participants of all ages and abilities.
Many of these walks follow historical themes, celebrating London’s rich and often astonishing past. Keen urban explorers will want to check out London’s hidden alleyways and courtyards in the vicinity of Chancery Lane, while those looking for a complete overview can learn about everything from Christopher Wren to the Great Fire in ‘From the Romans to Norman Foster – an exploration of London history’.
Those looking for something a little spookier can investigate the Black Nun and the She-Wolf of France in Ghosts of the Old City and even delve into forgotten crypts in Subterranean London. With all walks accompanied by expert tour guides, participants are ensured the city will never look the same again.
There’s a chance to enjoy some areas of natural beauty too, with one circuit promising “London’s best woodland and views – without doubt”.
Many tours are less than five miles in length, but more ambitious hikers can always attempt bigger segments of the seven key routes from which Walk London’s trails are drawn. These include the 15-mile Jubilee Walkway, designed in 1977 to commemorate Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee and taking walkers past some of the city’s most famous sites.
Guided walks take place at various times on Saturday and Sunday (May 25th and May 26th), and are entirely free to attend – visitors just need to turn up. The full programme is available on the Walk London website, including specified times and starting points.