Once upon a time, a young kiwi lass moved to one of the most enchanting cities in the world. Fast forward more than a decade, and she still takes the time to stroll some of the best walks in London, breathing in the wonder of the city, wandering along the smaller side roads, marvelling at the history they hold.
This Kiwi, she [will subequently switch to a first person narrative voice, don’t worry] often skips public transport to walk the Chelsea to Marylebone Station route as it is a cornucopia of London gems. Now, this isn’t strictly a tourist trap route; it’s for the more discerning London addict – the one who has a favourite pub bar-person and knows all the parallel roads to Oxford Street.
My favourite place to begin is on the Thames; either setting off from one of the ancient Chelseas pubs that dot the shore, or from more of a genteel setting like the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was established as the Apothecaries’ Garden in London, England, in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow plants to be used as medicines
Passing the glorious Chelsea terraced homes, then I make my way through Sloane Square, past the Saatchi Gallery, often picking up a delicious coffee in the foodie mecca that is Pavilion Road. Dawdle along the perfectly manicured private squares of Belgravia, until you reach the relatively modern shops and restaurants of Victoria.
Keep the Gingerbread Westminster Cathedral on your right hand side (not Westminster Abbey, you’ll have gone too far) and peek into the Albert Pub – it’s a Victorian pub with ornate original ceiling, Prime Ministers gallery and Parliamentary Division Bell connected to the Houses of Parliament down the road. The contrast between buildings is breathtaking in a uniquely London way.
Turn again (with special mention to the sumptuous Taj Hotel and the ornate ironmongery of the High Commission of the Eswatini – top tip, look up) and make your way to one of the most impressive houses in the land; Buckingham Palace.
Cut up through Green Park – walk under the canopy of the aged trees, past the Parrakeets and you’ll find yourself near The Ritz on Picadilly Streets. This is one of the many reasons why it’s one of the best walks in London…
Fancy a something a little special to quench your thirst at this midpoint? Pop into The Ritz’s Rivoli Bar, an intimate cocktail lounge providing a dazzling oasis away from the bustling London Mayfair streets. You could make a right turn here, and wander through the gilded halls of Fortnum & Mason, or enter the art filled gates of the Royal Academy, but for the purposes of the pure, unadulterated walk, we’re going to head towards Berkeley Square.
Mr Fogg’s in Bruton Street is a travel themed bar tucked away to the right (very much a booked table only venue) but we’re going to walk up the side of Berkeley Square (Annabel’s, a private members club usually gaily dressed to your left) through some of the small streets. These are some of my favourite places in London – you never know quite what you’ll discover.
Swing past the luxurious Connaught Hotel…
…then skim Grosvenor Square.
This will bring you up to to Duke Street. LOOK UP. And pop up the stairs to Brown Hart Gardens for a quick break.
Keep going, and you’ll find yourself deep in the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, with Selfridges on the corner.
This is now the home stretch – I love to turn up and skim the periphery of Portman Square, and begin to step along Baker Street, home of that infamous novel. You can wander into the museum, or swing a right into the glory that is Regent’s Park…
…or swing a left to the confection that is Marylebone Station. And that’s it. The end of your leisurely stroll through London history. This Chelsea to Marylebone Station is handsdown one of the best walks in London – and I can’t wait until the next sunny day where I can stroll this route all over again.
Oh, I made a map detailing all of the main points of interest:
What are your favourite areas of London?
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