Iona Ball from Museum of London recommends you lots of different places to visit on foot in London. Lunchtime walk in the City or weekend in South East London – you choose.
Iona Ball from Museum of London said it all in this brief, but very effective Q&A, so I don’t need to add much more. Read her recommendations to get a list of walks for next couple of weeks. You won’t be bored!
What’s your no.1 choice of a walk in London and why?
Greenwich is number one for me. There is so much choice of things to see and ways to wander. Quite often I will start from my local area and head for Blackheath, peruse around the shops in the beautiful village there, then across the heath to the top of Greenwich Park. The entrance of the park from that end is right beside the gardens which are a joy all year round. You can stop off to see the deer and ducks then wander down past the observatory, or take a longer route via the Elizabeth oak, a location which the Tudor Queen apparently used to frequent.
At the bottom of the park is the Maritime Museum, then onwards to Greenwich Market via Goddards Pie Shop (absolutely hands down my favourite) and then on to the Cutty Sark and the river side. This is usually where I end my trip, but there is always scope to keep going. Under the river via the tunnel and off towards Mudchute Farm, or simply follow the river along towards the west and into the City.
Where would you take your friends on a walk if they came to London for the 1st time?
I would obviously recommend that they make a trip to the Museum of London to find out more about the history of our city. They should also go for a walk along the south bank. This is a great place to stroll and you can take in many of London’s top sights and attractions. It can be very busy at certain points but there are little spots to find your own space and heaps of places to grab food like the fantastic Borough Market. I can happily spend a whole day on the south bank.
Where do you usually go for a lunchtime walk?
At lunch time I like to do a circuit of the Barbican high walk. The architecture there is something you either love or hate but either way it’s interesting. You can peer over the edge down to the Roman wall, picking out the different evolutions, brick and stone which led to it being consumed by the modern city. There are lots of green spaces and water gardens nearby, with plenty of benches to sit and have a sandwich or a coffee. All under the shadow of the imposing brutalist buildings which make up the Barbican.
And where do you stroll over the weekends?
It’s usually an escape from the centre for me at the weekends. A long walk in Oxleas Woods off of Shooters Hill. This ancient woodland is an absolute treasure of a place, with lots of footpaths meandering up and down the hills. The woods join almost seamlessly with neighbouring woodlands so you can just keep on going all the way through Eltham to Mottingham. I love London but growing up in the countryside, I need an escape from time to time and you really forget you are in a city walking through here. It’s just you and the birds… and the dog walkers!
What do you find the most interesting about city walking, or particularly, about London walking?
In London, particularly in the City of London, the history surrounds you. From the street names to the buildings, you often come across vistas where you can see a nearly two thousand years of development nestled side by side. London is alive with people and history interacting together day and night and I can’t help but love it.
Which part of London would you recommend to the readers as the most interesting currently, and why?
This is a very hard question for me as I am interested in so much! I suppose that the area around Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Spitalfields would be my choice. It’s so alive with activity all day and night, filled with shops and restaurants, street art and just people going about their lives. It has a hugely interesting history a good deal of which is still there to see. So much of London has been redeveloped but there are large pockets and streets here that still feel authentic in many respects – and long may this continue.
You can visit fascinating Museum of London at any time of the year. However, until January 2018 you can get out even more from your visit. Until then a remarkable exhibition will be open. The City is Ours is a major exhibition created by the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris. The exhibition examines the environmental, economic, social and cultural impact of urbanisation on the world. It provides space to think about important issues, like affordable housing, air quality, green spaces, surveillance, smart city technology, diversity, and more. The exhibition presents the challenges that cities face and the solutions that communities are coming up with to combat them.
Download The City is Ours Media Pack
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