Cheap date: A great London walk

25 Apr

Back when P and I were first getting to know each other, we went on walks all over London. Our first date involved walking along the Regent’s Canal from Paddington up to Primrose Hill, which is a walk I highly recommend, but if you’re planning an activity for someone who lives in London already, the walk we took on our fourth date was a corker.  It’s pretty long, but worth it – from Tower Bridge to Greenwich.

You can walk along the Thames Path for almost the entire length of the journey, which is clearly sign posted throughout the walk. You go from touristic and beautiful to converted wharves and council estates, with lots of beautiful scenery along the way.

Places to stop along the way:

Along the Bermondsey Wall there are several great stopping points in quick succession. A grassy area outside the Angel pub used to be a manor house owned by Edward III, and you can see the foundations and read about it on a helpful little plaque the English Heritage has put up.

Once you have marvelled at how far the Thames has moved, stop in at the Angel pub and pick up a pint of something tasty to go (they helpfully provide plastic glasses), and drink it on the Kings Stairs gardens, a lovely, quiet park. You can sit on top of a hill and watch the river traffic go by. The Angel pub apparently has a tiny little balcony right on the water, but I’ve not been on it so I can’t recommend (although Tom Jones has and recommends it on his Tired of London blog).

If you are still thirsty after your drink, you could stay right there (it is lovely), but my recommendation would be to go on to The Mayflower pub, which is the oldest pub on the river and has a fantastic deck right on the water (you might get splashed if it’s high tide!). They also do decent food, so if you haven’t brought your own picnic it’s a good place to stop.

Surrey Docks farm, on the other side of the river’s bend, is also worth stopping in to, if only to feel like a little kid again whilst admiring the HUGE pigs. I don’t know if it is Charlotte’s Web or Babe, but I am a big fan of pigs.

The Cutty Sark, which reopens this weekend for the first time in years!

There are so many other places to stop along the way – interesting pieces of artwork and buildings to admire and river barges tied together with shared water gardens and if it’s low tide you can go down on to the beach and feel, for a minute, that you are somewhere else.  Have you got a particular favourite spot along the walk? Let us know in the comments.

Finally, once you get to Greenwich (which is worth a day out of it’s own with the Royal Observatory and the Maritime Museum and straddling the timeline etc), take one of the amazing Thames Clipper boats right back to where you started at Tower Bridge. If you have an Oyster travel card it’s just £4 and you get to rest your legs and experience the whole journey again from the river.  It really is a WONDERFUL date idea.

Total time: around 2.5 – 3 hours taking it fairly easy (it’s around 7 miles)
Total spent: if you BYO food and drink, nothing!

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