Travel: Take London in your stride

Follow in the leisurely footsteps of Andy Bull and see the City from a different angle, on The Silver Jubilee Walkway trail

London may be awash with holiday visitors, but few seem to realise that the best way to see the capital is on foot. And it's surprising what you can find beneath your feet in London. You may, for instance, spot a dull metallic disc the size of a dinner plate set into the pavement, engraved with the words "Silver Jubilee Walkway 1977".

It is 21 years since the Walkway, a 12-mile loop that manages to encompass London - Westminster, the West End, the City and a swath of river bank - was laid down to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne.

Today, it is largely forgotten. And the discs don't really help. But if you have a Walkway map - the London Tourist Board has a few left - the Silver Jubilee Walkway is all yours.

The route splits naturally into a river walk and a city walk. I like to start on the north side of the Thames at Tower Bridge, at the far east of the route.

So I would begin by enjoying an excellent view of Tower Bridge, from the first floor of the Tower Thistle Hotel.

The first leg of my walk would take me across the bridge to Butler's Wharf and from there I'd head west, past HMS Belfast and the nightmare of Minster Court, with its cluster of steep, curly roofs and turd-coloured marble cladding.

The riverside starts to become grand - a mix of modern company headquarters and the huge Hay's Galleria Pass beneath London Bridge and the mood changes again. Here is Southwark Cathedral looking squat and grubby. Inside it is a different world, a vast, blond, sandy cave of light.

A few steps away is Shakespeare's Globe. Just beyond, Cardinal Cap Alley is said to be the spot at which Wren watched his re-created St Paul's take shape. Certainly this view of the cathedral is one of the best.

From here you realise that London is not a high-rise city at all. If it were, how could so many of the city's Wren churches poke their towers above the surrounding rooftops? From outside the former Bankside power station an information panel mounted at the riverside identifies half a dozen of them.

Take a quick stroll on to Blackfriars. This is where you realise that no fewer than five bridges have flitted past. On the riverside stretches of the Silver Jubilee Walkway, the whole of London is brought within easy reach. And from the Oxo Tower, the bar offers fantastic views towards Hampstead Heath.

The stretch from South Bank to County Hall is one of the most pleasant. The river here is full of boats. Behind them is the white stone summit of the Shell Mex building. Nearby at night, the giant, luminous blue Fifties jukebox which is above Charing Cross station adds to the variety.

Past Hungerford Bridge is County Hall, now boasting a Marriott hotel and a health spa. Then it's on beneath Westminster Bridge and the view across to the Houses of Parliament, before Lambeth Palace, where you leave the river bank via Lambeth Bridge.

From here the Silver Jubilee Walkway takes on an entirely different character, runs around the Parliament Square side of the Houses of Parliament and darts down Great George Street and through St James's Park to The Mall. Skirting Trafalgar Square, it makes for Leicester Square, then through the back streets to Covent Garden.

Now you enter the City, passing first through Lincoln's Inn Fields and Fleet Street, with St Paul's like an oasis at the top of Ludgate Hill.

From here the walkway dips south down Peters Hill and then follows Queen Victoria Street to the point where it meets Poultry, Princes Street, Cornhill and King William Street, at the crossroads of the financial world.

Then it is down King William Street, with the gilded flaming urn on the top of the Monument ahead, and the dark, cool sanctuary of St Mary Woolnoth to your left.

Slightly to the south of the walkway is the Monument to the Great Fire, a fluted Doric column of Portland stone completed by Wren in 1677. It bears the legend that, over three days in 1666, 13,000 houses were lost. It is 202ft tall, which is exactly the same distance from the baker's shop in Pudding Lane where the fire started.

Continue south down Fish Street Hill and you come to another wonderful church, St Magnus Martyr, of which TS Eliot wrote in The Wasteland: "... inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold".

But the most magical moment is yet to come. It is when, as you pass down Eastcheap and Great Tower Street, Tower Bridge comes back into view. And you know that you have really seen London.

For the Silver Jubilee Walkway booklet call at the London Tourist Board's office at Victoria station (0171-370 7744)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions