8 miles. All tarmac.
OS Explorer 161 (London South)
1 out of 10.
This walk follows the River Thames Path from Tower Bridge through central London past the main tourist sites - The Tower of London, HMS Belfast, St Paul's, The Tate Modern, The Houses of Parliament to name a few - and follows it to the city's western suburbs of Battersea, Pimlico, and Putney, passing apartment blocks from the Victorian, Edwardian and modern eras, city parks, riverside pubs, and on-river pubs (boats). You'll cross the river more than a dozen times!
Its easy to take time out from the walk to visit an art gallery (Tate Modern and Tate Britain), a concert (the Queen Elizabeth hall usually has lunchtime music), or a tourist attraction (the Tower of London, the London Dungeon, Aquarium and Eye) along the way.
The walk can be done in either direction, you can also choose between the north bank and south banks paths, swapping between them at any of the bridges.
The recommended route has you crossing many of the 18 bridges you'll pass (3 more are rail bridges without a pedestrian footpath, and 1 is a rail bridge, but you'd need a ticket).
Every time a new development opens, as part of planning permission, the route gets closer to the riverside, so the route in continually improving, and will be better than the map shows.
You could easily do a shorter or circular walk.
This walk passes lots of tube and train stations. Tower Hill is on the Circle and District Lines. Putney Bridge is on the District line.
Drivers could find somewhere on the south side of Putney Bridge at weekends (on weekdays, its all controlled parking). There is a direct tube trains between the 2 stations, or you could get the river bus
SWC: This walk suits a late start, say 10:30
|Places to Eat||
There are many nice places to stop for a drink along the way. A selection, from east to west:
Help us! After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
- Leave Tower Hill tube station. There is a Wetherspoons pub to your right. Otherwise, head towards the Tower of London, and walk along the riverfront to Tower Bridge to start your walk.
- Cross to the south bank, turn right (west), and continue for 1 km to the next bridge
- South Bank : Pedestrianised riverside. Pass City Hall, HMS Belfast, Hayes Galleria (shops, pubs in old warehouse building). Go through to the otherside of the galleria for London Bridge tube/station.
- North Bank : Wide path passing the Tower of London, then a few ins and outs.
- Cross to the north on one side of the bridge, and then back on the other to remain on the south bank. Continue for 500 m
- South Bank : Pass Southwark Cathedral (free entry), the Golden Hind, Cannon Street rail bridge
- North Bank : The path has a few small detours away from the river. Pass Cannon Street rail bridge
- Cross to the north, continue for 250 m.
- South Bank : Pass the Globe Theatre
- North Bank : Small detours away from the river
Millenium Pedestrian Bridge (the wobbly bridge)
- Cross to the south, continue for 500 m
- South Bank : Pass the Tate Modern (free, in the old power station). A walk through the ground floor machine hall with its changing art installations recommended, and Blackfriars rail bridge (only tube or train passengers can use it).
- North Bank : Pass Blackfriars rail bridge
- Cross to the north on one side, and back on the other to remain on the south bank. Continue for 800 m.
- South Bank : Pedestrianised, cafes and the National Theatre
- North Bank : Wide pavement but a busy road
- Cross to the north, continue for 250m.
- South Bank : pedestrianised. Just before Hungerford Bridge is the Royal Festival Hall (nice terrace bar overlooking river, toilets, large atrium often has free music at lunchtime)
- North Bank : wide pavement but a busy road
Hungerford Rail Bridge
- Cross to the south (there is a footpath on both sides), continue for 500 m. Waterloo tube/station is on the south side, Embankment tube on the north.
- South Bank : Pass the London Eye, and old County Hall building.
- North Bank : Wide pavement but a busy road. Pass Tattershall Castle (pub on a moored boat)
- Cross to the north, continue for 600 m. Westminster tube is on the north side.
- South Bank : pedestrianised, with a view of Parliament
- North Bank : Pass Big Ben and Parliament
- cross to the south, continue for 800 m
- South Bank :
- North Bank : Noisy road. Pass Tate Britain (art gallery, free, recommended)
- cross to the north, continue for 2km. Vauxhall tube/station is on the south side
- South Bank : Not recommended due to a long detour by Battersea power station. Once finished, there will be a riverside path, and this will be the preferred side
- North Bank : Pass elegent homes and Victoria rail bridge.
- cross to the south, continue for 1 km
- South Bank : Pass Battersea Park, walk on the grass to give your feet a rest, it has a pagoda, cafe and lake
- North Bank : Pass the Royal Hospital (home of the Chelsea Pensioners and annual flower show)
- cross to the north Note the 'troops must break step' sign. Continue for 250 m
- South Bank :
- North Bank :
- cross to the south and continue for 2 km
- South Bank : a long stretch on a pedestrian path passing many new flats developments, and a rail bridge (Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia line)
- North Bank : not recommended due to an inland detour by an old power station. Pass Imperial Wharf station.
- Stay on the south, continue for 1.6 km. Wandsworth Town station is inland from the south side (go right at the big roundabout).
- South Bank : The Ship pub (riverside seating), then inland around a refuse facility, the start of the River Wandle, Wandsworth Park (walk on the grass!), then about 25m inland along residential roads.
- North Bank : not recommeded due to a long inland detour around the Hurlingham Club
Puntney Rail Bridge
- Stay on the south. Continue for 300 m. (The bridge its a shortcut to the tube station).
- South Bank : Back to the riverside, The Rocket pub (Wetherspoons) is the recommeded tea stop. Large, with outside seating by the river.
- North Bank :
- Cross to the north for Putney Bridge tube station. Or head south (away from the river) past the shops for Putney train station. Putney Bridge is the only one in the country with a church at both ends.
- South Bank : You can continue on for a long way on a pleasent mainly car free path to Hammersmith (tube, north bank), Barnes (station, south bank), Mortlake, and Kew (station, north bank).
- North Bank : All Saints Church (free), Bishops Park, and Fulham Palace (free, cafe), which are just the left of the north side of the bridge, are all worth a look