- Tube to London Bridge then walking via Liverpool Street Station, Spitalfields Market, Hackney City Farm, Regent’s canal, Limehouse Basin, St Katherine’s Dock and the river back to Waterloo. November 2021
- Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
- Distance: 12 Miles
- Start: Train from Petersfield at 8.48am
Leaving the Underground behind us at London Bridge Station the 8 ramblers crossed over the Thames to north of the river to begin our exploration. Our way took us up past Monument, with a mental note to come back one day soon to walk up the 311 steps of Sir Christopher Wren’s creation to remember the fire of London, and on over Threadneedle Street. Walking past Liverpool Street Station, we entered the busy are of Bishopsgate and on past Spitalfields Market. Here trading in the market has been taking place since 1666, continuing in this area on a daily basis.
Sculptures of elephants abounded here, the 20 elephants were all orphaned by illegal hunting and were first displayed at Marble Arch to make people aware of the effects of such poaching. Moving on we walked up Brick Lane which is famous for its many curry houses and funky clothing shops. It is often called Banglatown by Londoners due to the large number of immigrants from Bangladesh who reside there.
Leaving the busyness of the market area behind us we made our way along quieter roads, heading along the edge of Bethnal Green to reach Hackney City Farm. Here we lingered to view the amazing architecture of buildings that form part of the farm and to have our coffee. This has been a farm run by the community since 1984 enabling schools to visit and offering alternative, practical education for 10 pupils.
Not long afterwards we reached Regents Canal offering a very different view of city life. Care has to be taken along the tow path due to the large numbers of joggers, bike riders, pushchairs and walkers using it. Narrowboats abound along the edge of the canal varying from the well kept and painted boats to those that had bushes growing out of them in their abandonment. Many of the vessels are lived in permanently and they provide interest to the walk due to the rich variety of boats that can be seen.
We walked past parks, blocks of flats, locks, industry, wildlife on the water eventually ending in Limehouse basin. What a difference a few metres make. One moment in a fairly run down area alongside the canal, the next in the upmarket basin with modern flats surrounding the water. Walking around the basin we followed the main channel out towards the River Thames. From here there was a good view of the river sweeping down towards central London and to the left the large area of Canary Wharf.
With hunger biting we carried an along the Thames tow path to a park by the river where we thankfully found benches to sit on to enjoy our lunch. Refreshed from our sandwiches we ventured across Wapping, seeing all the old warehouses that had been converted sympathetically into flats. The area is associated with Rupert Murdoch who had his large publishing empire there. Also in Wapping is the Prospect of Whitby, the oldest riverside pub in London dating from around 1520. Resisting the temptation to enter the premises we continued on our way.
As we left Wapping behind, we came to St Katherine’s dock, an even more expensive boating area than Limehouse basin. It hosts various cafes, restaurants, pubs and has many flats overlooking the expensive boats that moor there. The Tower of London was next and even with very few foreign visitors was busy with many of our own tourists. We continued along the Thames Path crossing the river on the famous Millennium Bridge- the one that as soon as it was opened had to be closed again due to the fact that it swayed so violently. Crossing the bridge, it was possible to see the Globe, a remake of Shakespeare’s famous theatre, and then Tate Modern.
By this part of the walk feet were becoming sore, ramblers are not used to hard pavements, and thoughts of a cup of tea abounded. Walking alongside the river became harder due to the large number of people also walking along. It became busier and busier the closer we came to the South Bank. Gratefully finding a place for a refreshing cup of tea we stopped and did some people watching as we had a rest. Then it was time for the train and a relaxing journey home. Another walk around parts of London is in the planning- watch this space!
Author & Photos: Lynne Burge
Gallery Photos: Sandy Arpino & Dulcia Furber