London is one of the most popular and most-visited cities in the world, and with good reason. With hundreds of years of history and culture, plenty of famous landmarks and historical sites, and its own unique energy, it’s truly wonderful to experience. And although it’s the biggest city in the UK, with almost 9 million inhabitants, it’s actually one of the most walkable cities in the world.
The great thing about London is that many of its main attractions are located within walking distance of each other. You can quite easily take the key sites in in a day, if you’re not bothered about doing full tours of all of them. Shoe Zone have come up with the ultimate walking tour of London to show you how.
Yes, you might have sore feet by the end of it, but that’s where London’s hopping nightlife scene comes in – just find yourself a pub or bar and grab a well-earned drink while you put your feet up!
We start our tour off at Buckingham Palace. It’s lovely to look at from the outside, so that might be all you want to see (not forgetting the obligatory selfie!) but if you like, you can take a tour of some of the 775 rooms for a….
Once you’ve had a glimpse of how the other half live, it’s time to move on to our next stop. Just 16 minutes’ walk away from the Palace is another iconic London landmark: Westminster Abbey
Site of many a royal wedding, and the coronation of every monarch since William the Conqueror, Westminster Abbey is a stunning gothic church which has seen out some of the nation’s most turbulent times, including the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Blitz. Today it welcomes over 1 million visitors a year.
Practically next door (well, 2 minutes’ walk away) are the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Many people think that the iconic clock tower is called Big Ben, but actually it’s called the Elizabeth Tower (or Clock Tower). Big Ben is the name of the largest of the five bells within it. However if you head over there on the hour to hear the sound of the famous bongs, you’re out of luck for the next couple of years – the tower and Big Ben are currently undergoing refurbishment!
Once you’ve taken a few more selfies outside the Houses of Parliament, it’s time to head across the river to our next stop, the London Eye.
A huge Ferris wheel that dominates the London skyline, the London Eye has truly become a symbol of the city in the 18 years since it opened. Until The Shard’s observation deck opened in early 2013, the London Eye was the highest public viewpoint in London. As such, visitors taking the 30 minute trip are treated to a fantastic view across the whole city (plus it’s a good chance to give your feet a bit of a break before our next stop!)
Once you’ve disembarked from the London Eye, walk along the South Bank (away from the Houses of Parliament) for around half an hour. You’ll pass some more iconic landmarks including the National Theatre, OXO Tower and Tate Modern. Keep walking until you get to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Not actually Shakespeare’s original theatre, but a reconstruction, Shakespeare’s Globe is a fully-working theatre. Much like centuries ago, there are standing galleries and visitors can enjoy the Bard’s finest works almost as they would have been performed in his day (minus the throwing of food at the actors).
Time to head back across the river. Walk got about 21 minutes across Southwark Bridge (stopping to admire St Paul’s Cathedral if you wish), and along Lower Thames Street, and you’ll get to our next stop: The Tower of London.
Over the years, this 11th Century fortress has been a prison, a royal residence and an armoury. It’s now a museum and the site of the famous Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom (a must, if you like sparkly things). It’s also permanently home to seven ravens – superstition has it that if the ravens ever left the Tower, the kingdom would fall! Although they don’t always take their job seriously – one raven was “sacked” for eating TV aerials and another went AWOL and was last seen at a pub!
After you’ve had a look round the Tower (and said hello to their newest raven, Poppy) it’s time to head 5 minutes away to our final stop: Tower Bridge.
Instantly recognisable due to its two-level design, Tower Bridge has two towers which are connected by road and walkways. It’s hugely busy, with over 40,000 people crossing it every day, and the road section can be raised in minutes to let river traffic through.
And there you have it! After 7,480 steps and a distance of 5.7km, it’s time for a well-earned cup of tea. Well, you are in London after all…
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