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London, for all its transportation modes, is a true walker’s paradise. Much like the rest of the capital city, this holds true for the remarkable area of East London.
Its winding streets boast rich green spaces, historic buildings, and attractions around every corner for a pleasant stroll. Many may even argue that there isn’t a better way to explore East London thanks to the plethora of walking routes in the area.
While the answer to “where to walk in London” may be daunting, this guide is here to help. It features a round of the best walks London has to offer on its eastern ends. It spans various areas and has something for all sorts of travellers.
If you’re wondering what to do in the area, check out my guide on the best things to do in East London.
If you turn up your nose to other modes of transport and opt for walks, East London has a lot to offer you. The benefit of slow travel is that you get easier access to the area’s hidden gems and get to smell the roses — so to speak.
Without wasting any more time, let’s jump into the list of the best walks in London’s eastern area.
Starting off the list is London’s first contemporary art walk that was once a hidden gem. Thanks to its artistic charm, it has since become one of the best London walks and captures the heart of anyone who takes it on.
The scenic route runs between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2 via Greenway and Olympian Way. For this guide, the journey begins in the former with a sighting of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the tallest structure in the UK.
A few steps from here is the Madge Gill: Nature in Mind exhibition showcasing the artist’s nature-inspired pieces. Walk down south, and you’ll come across another Madge Gill exhibition as well as Tracey Emin’s sculpted birds held up high by steel poles. A stop to refuel at House Mill Café is recommended.
Bird-lovers can enjoy the sighting of the Egyptian Geese before setting their eyes on the awe-inspiring double helix built entirely by shopping trolleys. The next two stops, with the Bow Creek Ecology Park a short walk away, are colourful displays from Madge Gill.
Afterwards, walk along the rather uneventful A1206, then stop at Bella Cosa for some fine Italian cuisine. The route offers splendid views of the River Thames before you arrive at your destination with an upside-down electric pylon as the must-see spectacle.
Home to acres and acres of parkland, a stroll in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of the best walks in London for nature lovers. Plus, art enthusiasts and sports lovers are also taken care of here.
Take a trip down memory lane as you reminisce on the day of the 2012 Olympic games via the London 2012 trail. Relive the spectacle’s success through photo opportunities and radio replays of the winning moments.
You can also take part in activities where you try your best to beat the numbers of the winners with high jumps, biking, and running available.
The parklands and wildlife walk is a must for nature lovers as you get to see the park’s rich biodiversity. Discover the life of the park along waterways with birds and aquatic wildlife in the surroundings.
South of the park, there’s a garden with dramatic landscapes dotted by various species of flora, some popping up seasonally.
If you don’t want to take on the relatively long “The Line” walk, there’s a shorter art trail inside this park. Among the exhibits on offer are bronze knowledge plaques dotted around the park, a series of poems engraved in several areas, and the 9/11-inspired mural.
The Ifo Spectrum can be seen from a distance, with the visual landmark quite the spectacle.
The Lea Valley Walk has quickly become one of the best places to walk in London. The whole walk is around 23 km long, taking walking enthusiasts from Waltham Abbey to Limehouse Basin and vice versa. We’re making the way down to the Limehouse Basin for this guide.
However, you don’t have to venture out north to enjoy this beauty of a walk, as you can explore its eastern parts only. If you aren’t ready to spend a long day walking up north, you can start or end your walk at Lea Bridge.
This scenic road is easily one of the most peaceful walks in East London, with nature’s beauty as its drawing card. Stop by the WaterWorks Nature Reserve for a taste of the countryside in the city. To your left are the Hackney Marshes and Olympic Park for some lush greenery, with Victoria Park on your right as an alternative.
Nature isn’t all there is to this walk, as you can come across the historic House Mill, Bryant & May Building, and the Clement Atlee statue. Art buffs can also stop by the Graffiti Wall in Hackney Wick and the Chisenhale Gallery near Victoria Park.
Having consistently been voted one of the nation’s favourite parks and considered a top East London park by myself, a walk here is a no-brainer. Not only is it short, but it’s also one of the simpler East London walks for people of all fitness levels.
Marvel at the blooming flora of the Old English Garden or watch kids and adults alike set the Raemers Skatepark alight with incredible tricks. Afterwards, grab a hot drink at the Hub Café or cool down by the drinking fountain.
Another great area to walk in the park is the Green Belt, where trees and urban architecture surround you. This stroll is particularly picturesque in autumn, where the yellowish leaves scatter in the park.
Stop by the Chinese Pagoda for a stunning photo op; this Instagrammable place also boasts lake views.
I suggest visiting Victoria Park on Sundays for its weekly market, where various vendors sell hearty grub, you can enjoy during your stroll.
Nature and art step aside; it’s time for architecture to take the spotlight and sweep walkers off their feet. This 90-minute trail takes you on a sightseeing journey with some of London’s best buildings as the stars of the show.
You start one of the best walks in London at the foot of the 16th-century St. John’s Cathedral, which is an architectural showcase of days past. The short journey then takes you through some more modern buildings like One New Change, London Wall Place, Moor House and the like.
While buildings like The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie, and The Scalpel are well-known, there are some lesser-known marvels you can’t afford to miss.
This includes the eye-catching 1 Undershaft, the towering 100 Bishopsgate, and the awe-inspiring 5 Broadgate. The latter don’t have nicknames yet, so you can try racking your brain into conjuring up a name that can be as iconic as the other buildings.
Another unmissable building, purely for its significance, is the Monument to the Great Fire of London. You can choose to admire this incredible piece of architecture from the outside or the inside. Just pay a fee, then take on 311 steps and you’ll be rewarded with some stunning city views.
The Walkie Talkie is another worthy stop for city views from a skyscraper. The added incentive here is that you can soak them up while enjoying a tasty meal from the in-house restaurant.
The Jubilee Greenway’s origins date back to 2012 when it was created to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The whole route is a loop that takes you from central to East London on about 60 km of roadway.
Luckily, you don’t have to put your legs through the torture of walking 60 odd kilometres. You can just restrict your stroll to the eastern side of the route. Beware, though, this route is relatively long itself and is a perfect day-long stroll.
Start with a walk at Victoria Park for its illustrious natural marvels and pass by the Olympic Park.
While the path to Stokes Road isn’t as prolific as the other walks here, you’ll enjoy views of the O2 Arena in the distance as well as some incredible architecture. You’ll come across some waterways to admire too.
From Stokes Road, make your way to Woolwich Foot Tunnel with New Beckton Park, the Albatross Point, and the Royal Victoria Gardens accompanying views of the River Thames.
Afterwards, trek your way to Greenwich, where the Olympian Way, the O2 Arena, and scenic river views await.
On your way to the final destination of Tower Bridge, you’ll come across many green spaces for nature enthusiasts. If your legs have got more to give, make your way to the open-air Shakespeare’s Globe, where you may find incredible performances.
Shoreditch is arguably the artsiest area of London, making a walk here the perfect activity for art buffs ready to gasp in awe at murals and other street art. You can either embark on a self-guided walk of Shoreditch or join in on an East London walking tour focused on art.
If you choose to dive into Shoreditch’s artistic side alone, there are a ton of spots you can’t miss.
Stop by the charming Whitby Street, where Jimmy C’s creations take centre stage. Another cool spot is Great Eastern Street, famous for the stationary, graffiti-covered tube trains on top of the building.
Brick Lane is another must-see spot as it’s lined with street art from artists from all over the globe. The artwork changes nearly every week, so you can stop by here several times and expect to be pleasantly surprised at every stop.
If you’d rather, you can join in on various Shoreditch street art walking tours to see the incredible artworks and learn about the culture.
The Capital Ring is a lengthy loop covering around 125 km of trails all around London. Don’t let this number scare you, though, as the route can easily be broken up into smaller parts that don’t require hours and hours of walking.
Of these smaller sections, the Hackney Wick to Beckton District Park walk is one of the good walks in London for many people. The easy route features plenty of green spaces and many scenic sights.
Begin your trek at the Hackney Wick station, and you’ll pass through the fantastic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Along the way, you’ll come across some great points of interest like the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, which is often called the “Cathedral of Sewage”.
There’s also the Greenway Community Orchard which is lined with native flora and complementary bug life for nature lovers. The journey ends at Beckton District Park, where an avenue of trees awaits.
Alright, this is technically more north than East London, but I think it’s worth cheating for. This route is an excellent choice for short strolls dominated by wildlife and nature.
Start at the eerily incredible Abbey State Park cemetery and make your way to Springfield Park, home to the Robin Hood Garden Community.
Here, you see various flora with sounds of the nearby River Lea flowing, making for a scene straight out of the movies.
Venture south alongside the river, and you’ll eventually reach Middlesex Filter Beds reserve, where lush greenery and various bird species roam the area. The final stop is the Hackney Marshes.
This green space is a haven of tranquility and peace, with a high probability of diverse wildlife sightings in store for you.
Explore East London on foot along the above nice places to walk in London to view the area from a unique perspective. With these strolls, you get to take in some of London’s best sights up close and personal.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that some of these nice walks in London cater to all interests.
From art lovers and nature enthusiasts to people who just want to admire the city’s historic buildings, there’s something for everyone.