Summer means different things; for some, it’s festivals and glitter, and for others, it’s BBQs and beaches. But we can all agree that the warmer months are really about one pastime: drinking outside. If you've been left feeling a wee bit broken, then it's time to put on a pair of sturdy shoes and start marching. And you know what? There's an abundance of country paths and circular trails around the city to get you moving. Calling everyone who fancies a brisk stroll with the pup and some beautiful scenery, we’ve rounded up 5 of London’s best winter walks (and the nicest pubs to finish at, obviously).
Countryside vibes: Richmond Park
Finish at: The Old Ship
As the largest of London’s Royal Parks, Richmond Park is perfect for pretending you’re rollicking around in the countryside. Start at Mortlake and walk down Sheen Lane until you reach the park, and then from there, it’s up to you how far you go with plenty of paths to follow. If you’re up for it, the Tasmin Trail goes around the entire perimeter and is just under 7.5 miles, though we suggest cutting it short when you get to Sawyer’s Hill and aiming for The Old Ship, a Grade II listed pub which whips up a huge plate of fish and chips and has an outdoor courtyard.
A banging roast: Highgate to Hampstead Heath
Finish at: The Holly Bush
Hampstead Village isn’t just good for deciding which mansion you’re living in once you finally find that caring, thoughtful, and good looking sugar daddy - it’s also got one of London’s cutest pubs. Tucked up a steep little lane, The Holly Bush is a tiny boozer with oak beams, rickety chairs and a Sunday roasts which comes with Yorkshire puds big enough to wear as a hat. Work for your tatties by catching the tube to Highgate and heading to Hampstead Heath via Hampstead Lane. Oh, and did we mention they're dog-friendly?
Wildlife spotting: Walthamstow Wetlands
Finish at: Exale Brewery
If you fancy adding a little extra wonder to your winter walk in London, Walthamstow Wetlands is a fabulous spot for spotting wildlife. Having been named a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this place is a renowned for overwintering wildfowl, invertebrates and differing species of bats and amphibians. One you're done snapping pictures of the local residents, make way for Exhale Brewery. Housed in an old furniture factory, this quirky spot will have you sipping local craft beers and chomping on street food, while surrounded by plants, cloud lights and the bar's very own fish tank.
Something a little different: Highgate Cemetery
Finish at: The Gatehouse
Part of the Magnificent Seven, Highgate Cemetery is one of our favourite country walks in London for its gothic charm. Stretched across two sites on either side of Swains Lane, this unusual escape can be found nestled beside Waterlow Park, and much like others in the renowned collection of burial spots, it became a fashionable place for the city's must elite figures to be put to rest. Stretch your legs while searching for the likes of Karl Marx and Douglas Adams before heading to the nearing Gatehouse for one of their famous lunches or lighter tapas-style sharing plates.
Pretty winter florals: Kew Gardens
Finish at: The Coach & Horses Kew
Kew Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland whenever there's a cold snap. So, if you're looking to get temperatures rising, take your beau to this hotspot for romantic walks in London, where blankets of snow add a sense of whimsicality to your stroll and the tropical palm house offers heated refuge. Afterwards, pay a visit to The Coach & Horses, where hearty British comfort food and steaming hot cups of mulled wine are waiting to be tasted.
Dashes of culture: The Line
Finish at: Barge East or Crate Bar & Pizzeria.
Somewhat of a marathon walk (totalling around three hours), The Line is London's first public art route. Featuring work from Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Eva Rothschild and Anthony Gormley, the trail takes you from Greenwich all the way up to Stratford, or vice versa. Not only will you get to soak up a little culture and take in views of the river, but you can even travel on the Emirates Air Line while you're at it. Then when you're in the mood for a little pick-me-up, keep things quirky with a trip to Barge East for European bites on a boat or craft beer and pizza at Crate.
Central London stroll: Diana Princess of Wales Memorial
Finish at: The Kings Head
Taking you though St James’s, Green and Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is one of the best circular walks around London. Make your way through some of the capital's most iconic areas, with Canada Gate, The Albert Memorial and The Italian Gardens all dotted along the seven-mile route. All of that sightseeing made you peckish? Stop off at The Kings Head in Mayfair where toad in the hole, ribeye steaks and chicken pies are sure to warm your cockles.
For a bit of history: Greenwich Park
Finish at: The Cutty Sark
Can you call yourself a Londoner if you’ve never been to Greenwich park? It’s got everything you need for this city’s starter pack, from gorgeous views across the capital through to the selfie-perfect Greenwich Mean Time line. For a slightly different route, begin at Blackheath and tackle the park from the back, stopping at The Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. Bring your dog along and reward yourself at The Cutty Sark; named after the famous ship, where you'll find old world-y wooden floorboards, pencil drawings on the walls and sash windows.
A secret side of London: Hackney Wick to Angel
Finish at: Arepa & Co, Barge House or The Narrow Boat
Along with scenic parks, London’s canal network is a beautiful backdrop for stretching your legs. Starting at the Hackney Wick overground, turn left down Hepscott Road and then left again along Rothbury Road, walking until you reach the steps just before the bridge. From here, you’ll meander Hertford Union Canal, past Victoria Park, taking a right at Stoneway Walk, from which point, you're on one path to Angel. It’s around four miles, though there’s an abundance of foodie spots to stop at, including Arepa & Co Haggerston (try one of their corn pancakes with pulled pork); Barge House (breakfasts served in a entire loaf of bread), or The Narrow Boat (hello, cheese fondue).
London’s best sights: along the Thames
Finish at: That's for you to decide...
While most people associate walking with rolling green hills and leafy forests, London has got a beautiful ace up its sleeve. Sure, you will have to brave street performers, lost tourists and aggressive joggers, but the Thames is worth it. The length of walk is entirely up to you; we suggest heading to Rotherhithe and marching westwards. There’s tonnes of stops along the way, with classic pubs such as The Horniman at Hays, The Old Thameside Inn and Swan at the Globe supplying classic grub and real ales, while Telephone Exchange welcomes dogs and The Narrow boasts knockout views.
For more winter inspiration, check out our guide here.