Forget TfL – use feet!

Taking away my 45 minute daily commute, my monthly travelcard and my extortionate gym membership; replacing it with a 15 minute commute two or three days a week, a 45 minute commute one day a week, two or three days a week of flexibility, a pre-pay Oyster card and a desperate need for exercise has resulted in one thing lately: an awful lot of walking.

I’m a big fan of walking in London – after all, I did spend two days walking 42 miles of the Thames Path back in May. It’s just that often I’ve not had the time to do much of it. Training for the Thames Path challenge resulted in a few walks to work, but that also required some very early starts to make it in on time. Now, time is something I have a bit more of, but (oddly frustratingly) many of the places I need to go are just a short walk away.

When I discovered I’d be moving to ‘proper’ central London, many people said that I’d be able to walk everywhere. I scoffed at this, thinking it a massive generalisation. Yes, trips to Marylebone, Oxford Street, Waterloo and Angel would be massively doable, but what about college in South Kensington – surely that would be a bit of a trek? I presumed the same would also be true of my friends in the East End.

However, the combination of no gym membership [I’ve been blessed with a bargain Groupon for 10 day passes, but I’m trying to use them wisely] and Google maps on my iPhone has spurred me into action. Awakening a tad hangover on Friday with nothing planned but a trip to Bow to visit a friend’s new place, I typed the postcode into Google and discovered it was exactly 5 miles away, and, according to the computer, just 1 hour 40 minutes away. Perfect exercise on a beautiful day! It was a good walk – I got a couple of chores done; timed the precise journey time to favourite karaoke bar; stitched together Shoreditch and Bethnal Green; and discovered that the Roman Road is a flipping long road. The walk was so good that a few hours later I walked home again, varying my route, just to keep things interesting.

Using the same app tactic, on Monday I pondered walking home from college – again it hit the 5 mile mark and I figured this would be an excellent antidote to a day of intense concentration. I was enticed by the fact that a considerable chunk of it involved Hyde Park – an excellent place to walk on a crisp autumnal day. It was immensely pleasant – I listened to Wittertainment, caught up with a friend (that multi-tasking thing again) and managed to route my stroll through Selfridges Food Hall where I purchased special offer Cholla bread. Good times, and definitely something to be done again. (Though the purchasing of items in Selfridges rather negates the saving of money in not taking the tube.)

Apologies for the wonky Albert Memorial…

Yesterday, I found myself in Wapping, so checked my phone on the off-chance that a walk was possible. It told me I could be home in 75 minutes – only thirty more than if I took the tube or a bus during rush hour. I had the time, so got going. It turned into a highly entertaining adventure given as it passes through The City, where many streets have amusing names… 
Stop that giggling right now! 

Plus, you get very close to some iconic London landmarks: 
For the uninitiated, that’s the Tower of London (and the Shard) and a glimpse of St Paul’s. 

In the last five days I’ve walked 19 miles on this mission – I don’t think that’s bad going at all. It’s rather fortunate that my Dad’s recently sent me CDs via which I can learn Greek grammar by song, soon I’ll be able to walk and become familiar with participles while singing Old MacDonald… That, my friends, is perfect multi-tasking!


  1. Something I loved about my last placement in Euston was that I got to walk there and back via Primrose Hill. Combined with the fact that I often had to be in Baker Street of an evening, a round trip from Finchley Road-Euston-Baker St-Finchley Road was 7 miles in a day.
    I got so much fitter, and saved so much money… and my head was so much clearer! I had time! To think, to pray… to learn the parts for Christmas choir… I would arrive at work so much calmer and more awake, and arrive home in the evening tired out and able to sleep deeply and right through.
    In summary… walking rocks, and you have inspired me to try and find out some of the routes from my new home – especially since I currently have SO much time.

  2. LOVE it!

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