A few years ago my aunt Jeanette introduced me to Andrew Duncan’s Walking London, a guide book with thirty walks in the Greater London area. Originally published in 1991, the guide has been re-printed numerous times and the latest edition was released in 2010.
My 1997 edition was acquired from a pub in Limehouse after it was left there for a few weeks.
Each walk has a summary with length and duration specifics, a detailed map of the area to follow, a clear step by step description of the walk itself – including reference points and historical notes, and perhaps most importantly – information about the pubs en route!
To my shame, I’ve only done six of the walks, but I have plenty of time to complete the book before I fall apart in 40 years or so. So far I’ve completed the six listed below, and further down are some highlights from the two walks I have photos of.
• Bankside and Southwark
• Regent’s Park
• Wapping to Limehouse
Wapping to Limehouse
It was a freezing cold day in January 2009, and my poor newly acquired boyfriend was forced from his warm bed into the centre of London by heartless me.
This was one of the first things we did together as a couple and it was a fabulous walk, we even extended it to Greenwich with a short trip on the DLR to Island Gardens, before going through Greenwich foot tunnel, and then back on the DLR to my place in Lewisham.
The photos only show a small amount of what there is to see on this walk, I would really recommend it, such an amazing walk through so much history and architecture. It is also an area most tourists would never visit, so you will be in for a real treat if you have a nosy about. Plus, tons of pubs!
The walk starts at Tower Hill tube and the first point of interest is St Katherine’s Dock – where “we” looked for fish
Peace dove sculpture by Wendy Taylor, marking the lives lost in Wapping during the Blitz, Hermitage Wharf Riverside Memorial Garden
Up, close and personal with the river at one of the access points along Wapping High Street
Oodles of converted warehouse apartments around here, these ones are by Wapping Wall
Head down the Thames Path passageways on Narrow Street and you find wondrous views
After the end of the walk at Westferry, now in the Greenwich foot tunnel
The foot tunnel dome at night on the Greenwich side
Last June, prior to an evening concert at All Saints Church, we finally did the Dulwich walk. One always puts off anything in London that requires you to travel across, instead of in or out, but we made it to West Dulwich station on a gloriously sunny day that screamed for a walk and a pub stop.
Dulwich is a curious spot in the middle of south London, it is a world of its own created by Elizabethan actor and charitable benefactor Edward Alleyn. Alleyn began acquiring land in Dulwich in 1605 and by 1619 was well underway with the building of the College of God’s Gift, now known as Dulwich College.
Alleyn’s goal was to educate orphaned boys and to provide almshouses for the poor, and due to the setting of his lands in mortmain, the charitable estate still exists today and has continued to give Dulwich its unique flavour for roughly 400 years.
First stop on the walk is the New College buildings of Dulwich College (1866–70), designed by Charles Barry Jr., “a building of red brick and white stone, designed in a hybrid of Palladian and Gothic styles”.
You don’t have to pay a toll now, but watch the width restriction!
Heading south on College Road towards Sydenham Hill station
Enjoying a Pimms in the garden at The Wood House
Fake ruins in Sydenham Hill Wood
The beautiful path that is Cox’s Walk, and just before this spot you pass over a disused railway line last used in 1954, the Nunhead to Crystal Palace (Higher Level) railway line
Dulwich Park, we were too late to go on the boating pond unfortunately
Looking towards Dulwich Village from the steps of Christ’s Chapel
One of the beautiful houses of Dulwich Village
To summarise, buy this book! I’m only hinting at the contents in this blog post, the book is simply packed with information, it is a slice of historical heaven for any London lover.