With so much of London’s history, culture and scenery meant specifically for walkers, there are plenty of amazing experiences that can be enjoyed outdoors. That is why for locals, walking is almost a national sport. At least 22 percent of the the population in England, or almost nine million adults, walk recreationally. They average at least 30 minutes of walking in four weeks.
This post will show you five things to do to tour London as a local hiker, giving you insight into all it has to offer. From the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street to the quiet beauty of Hyde Park, London has something for everyone.
Sound like a local (well, almost)
Of course, it should be noted that there may be local equivalents for some terms, and it’s best for you to be familiar with them. You should note that hiking is interchangeably used with walking and/or tramping, but they mean the same generally. Other terms include rambling, where you go for recreational walks in the countryside, hill walking, or mountain walking.
Aside from hiking terms, you may also get confused with UK English in general, so it’s best to be familiar with some of the common things you’ll likely hear. “I’m pissed,” doesn’t mean someone’s angry, but rather drunk; “That’s rubbish,” wouldn’t normally mean garbage, but someone who doesn’t believe what he’s heard; and depending on how it is phrased, an “Alright,” may mean either an affirmative, an informal hello, or asking how you’re feeling.
Take the Tube
Sure, you want to see London as a city hiker, but you also need to maximize your time and explore as many places as possible. The Underground is London’s famous subway system, and it’s a great way to get around quickly. One friendly tip: you can get yourself a Visitor Oyster card to use not just on the Tube but also on buses, trams, and other transport modes around London like the DLR and the river bus service. Aside from its convenience, a Visitor Oyster card is also cheaper (£5) than a regular Oyster card (£7).
Not only will this save you time and money, but it also allows you to explore different areas without having to worry about traffic or parking. Plus, many of the stations have beautiful architecture that’s worth checking out!
Explore Unique Paths
London is an amazing city and exciting to explore on foot. While the iconic sites of the West End get much of the tourist attention, those looking for more unique walking excursions should look towards lesser-known places such as Hampstead Heath, with its open meadows and tranquil ponds, or Richmond Park – one of Britain’s best-known royal parks and home to a wide variety of wildlife. The cobbled streets and picturesque canals of Little Venice provide for some quiet and serene moments away from the hustle and bustle, while Regent’s Canal offers stunning views along its 8 1/2-mile stretch which leads to the famous Camden Market. There are many wondrous out-of-the-way destinations in London in which to discover and enjoy!
Find Alternative Accommodations
If you’re looking to fully experience London, you may need to stay for a while, so you need to look for a more cost-effective place to stay in. Although hotels are the most common lodgings tourists book, why not try a serviced apartment instead?
With all the amenities of a hotel plus the added bonus of apartment living, you can enjoy the best of both worlds in one great package. Enjoy a full-sized kitchen, a comfortable bedroom, and a living space, and you can still have housekeeping and other services if needed. All this makes an apartment hotel an ideal alternative to a traditional hotel stay—perfect for those who value comfort and convenience during their travels.
Enjoy the Beer
The UK is known for its brew masters. Make sure you stop by some of London’s local pubs! Not only will this give you a better feel for what life in London is like, but it also provides an opportunity for both delicious food and beer that won’t break your wallet too much! Make sure to ask for some of their highest-rated beers like Good King Henry Special Reserve by Old Chimneys, or My Continuous Improvement by Cloudwater Brew.
Walking through London can be an amazing experience—if done right! With these five tips on how to walk like a local in mind, it’ll be easy for newcomers (or anyone looking for an authentically British experience) to explore everything this amazing city has to offer without getting lost (or overwhelmed)! So grab your map and hit the streets—you won’t regret it!