Step into the Past: 5 Historic Walks In & Around London

Take a walk through London’s past

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Get your daily dose of fresh air with a side order of history on these self-guided walks around London. From ancient history to the Swinging Sixties there’s something for everyone on these routes. The perfect way to get to know the city and learn a bit more about its fascinating history.Β 

1. One Thousand Years of History in the City of London

Discover Roman walls, 12th Century churches, and Saxon artefacts all in the shadow of the City of London’s skyscrapers. Taking you from Tower Hill to the Museum of London, this route offers an insight into the many layers of history that make up the capital. Not to be missed is the Monument, a 62 metre column that commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666. If you fancy an extra challenge, climb to the top where you will be rewarded with panoramic views across London. This route is also suitable for cycling.
Downloadable Route Map
Image Credit: @visitthemonument

View of the Monument

2. Politics and Power in Westminster

The centre of religion, royalty, and politics for centuries, Westminster is packed with historic sites and architectural gems. Starting at Westminster tube station the route takes in the Thames, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Treasury and Foreign Office, and finishes outside the gates of Downing Street. At just over two miles this is a substantial walk, but a reduced version is available for those pressed for time.
Downloadable Route Map
Image Credit: @westminsterabbeylondon

View of Westminster Abbey and houses

3. A Ghoulish Gander at London’s Grisly History

Fancy something a little more hair raising? Take a trip around some of the more gruesome events in London’s history, from Sweeney Todd to ghostly goings on. Some of the more surprising stops on this walk are St Paul’s cathedral, which apparently boasts a kneeling female spectre and Liverpool Street Station, where 2015 Crossrail excavations uncovered a plague pit and the burial ground of the notorious Bethlehem Hospital. End your walk in the historic Jamaica Wine House, which is filled with spirits of every kind.
Downloadable Route MapΒ 
Image Credit: @jamaicawinehouseΒ 

View down alley to Jamaica Wine House's sign

4. Prestigious Sights and Shops around St James’sΒ 

Soak in the atmosphere in one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. The start of your walk will take you past Paxton & Whitfield and Floris the Perfumers, the oldest cheese and perfume shops in England respectively. Fortnum & Mason, established in 1707, and the upmarket shops of Piccadilly Arcade offer plenty of opportunities for window shopping. Carry on past rows of prestigious private member’s clubs (some as old as 1764) towards Spencer House, owned by the family of Princess Diana, Green Park, and finally St James’s Palace, one of the oldest royal residences in Britain. If that’s not enough, the walk continues on towards Pall Mall and the commemorative statues of Waterloo Place, where one of Florence Nightingale can be found. There’s not many places that can pack so much history into only two miles!
Downloadable Route Map
Image Credit: @fortnums

view of St James's park

5. Take a Trip to the Swinging SixtiesΒ 

Produced in conjunction with the V&A’s 2016 exhibition You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970, these routes take in the sights and sounds of four creative hubs of the 1960s: Soho, Chelsea, Kensington, and Ladbroke Grove. From the epicentre of the Swinging Sixties in Carnaby street you’ll visit the clubs that played host to big name performers like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and Pink Floyd, the places they lived, and the locations of key events that shaped music, fashion, and politics. Top it off with a visit to the V&A to see their permanent collection of objects and memorabilia from this vibrant period of London’s history.
Downloadable Route Map
Image Credit: @carnabylondon

buildings in Carnaby Street

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