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With record levels of sunshine already this summer, there is no better time to get outside. So, for all you intrepid explorers, why not check out a series of walks you could embark on, right on our doorstep here by The Sidings. The South Bank is a cultural haven and offers an abundance of walking routes that will leave you and your Fitbit cheering.
Of course, we could have given you a boring list of directions to follow and tell you to stroll along The Queens Walk. Whilst that is amazing and you should all do that (starting at Lambeth Bridge and ending on Tower Bridge), that’s what everyone else will do and we’re a little different here at The Sidings.
Instead, we want to suggest a couple of routes that we know take in the best parts of the local area, plus one that will stretch you across the capital. At the end of the day, you’ll all have a smartphone and Google Maps, so no one is getting lost! But just to be sure, we have even embedded a link to the route so it couldn’t be easier!
We’ve added the distance and roughly how long it takes to walk, but with all the amazing views on offer and potential stopping points, you are going to want to leave yourself a lot more time. Fasten your walking shoes and read our guide to the best walking routes from the South Bank.
Let’s start with a lovely jaunt from The Sidings to the magnificent Tower Bridge. At around 5km, this walk offers a delightful blend of riverside charm, historical intrigue and maybe a few culinary treats. Our goal is to give you a real taste of the area but not tire you out – we’ll save that for the last walk.
Meander past iconic landmarks like the Southbank Centre and the HMS Belfast, imagining yourself as a sailor or a royal guard (costumes are optional but not provided). If that makes you peckish, then pop into Gabriel’s Wharf and try out the street food stalls.
Alternatively, walk on a little further to build up that appetite and then take a short diversion inland to the amazing Borough Market, home to some of the freshest and most varied produce in the capital – check out the cheeses, and you’ll thank us later.
Once you do reach the unique Tower Bridge, take a moment to appreciate its grandeur and marvel at the throngs of tourists trying to capture the perfect selfie – then find yourself joining in! As you’ve got this far, end your stroll by walking over this historical bridge and visiting the Tower of London itself. Culture, food, and exercise – the perfect trifecta!
Time to lace up those walking boots for a story-packed trek from The Sidings to the Imperial War Museum, but we won’t be taking the direct route. We want you to head out towards the River Thames and Waterloo Bridge, where you’ll turn left and head past the iconic Southbank Centre.
As you stroll towards Westminster Bridge, you can wave hello to the London Eye and have an amazing view (get that camera out) of Westminster Abbey and marvel that this historic building wouldn’t be there if Guy Fawkes had got his way. Of course, you’ll want to take a selfie with the majestic Big Ben in the background and now they have finally finished the renovations your pictures will look marvellous.
Just before Lambeth Bridge, you come across one of our local secret gems, The Garden Museum. If you can drag yourself away from that relaxing experience, then it’s just a short walk up Lambeth Road to the Imperial War Museum. Step inside to explore powerful exhibitions documenting the impact of war and honour the sacrifices made by those who came before us.
Calling all history buffs! The longest walk on our list, this two-hour-plus hike will take you on a fascinating journey through time but be warned, it’s not for the weak. Begin your quest from The Sidings and head east, past Tate Modern and the first touch with our great history, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Now for some modern and historical nautical sightseeing, as we first pass the Golden Hinde before getting a bird’s eye view of the impressive HMS Belfast. If you look across the river you’ll also catch sight of the iconic Tower of London. Imagine the battles fought, and the secrets whispered within those ancient walls.
Continuing along the Thames, you’ll see charming neighbourhoods like Wapping and Rotherhithe, each with its own storied past. If you time it right, you can hop onto Bermondsey Beach – yes, London does have its own beaches and this one comes with amazing views of the skyline.
To keep with our nautical theme, why not continue along the river to the Brunel Museum and learn about one of the most important shipbuilders in history and then onwards past Southwark and Deptford parks before heading to see the iconic sailing ship, the Cutty Sark.
Your adventure culminates at the Greenwich World Heritage Site, where you can explore the Royal Observatory, stand astride the Prime Meridian, and bask in the knowledge that you’ve conquered both distance and history!
There you have it, my fellow wanderers! A whimsical guide to some delightful walking routes around the South Bank, all starting right here from The Sidings. Slip into those walking shoes, and set off on a grand South Bank expedition, whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely amble or a historic hike.
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