We’re always complaining about it being too cold in the UK but in December, when the Christmas lights are out and everybody is in the festive spirit, there’s something undeniably special about London in winter. If you’re a Londoner yourself or are planning to visit the capital over the next few months (trains to London are particularly affordable in the few weeks before Christmas), you’ll probably appreciate how expensive everything seems, particularly at this time of year. However, a winter walk is completely free and there are dozens of incredible options scattered around London, each offering a different taste of the city. Each walk offers a unique experience, blending natural beauty with the charm of London’s wintery atmosphere.
Richmond Park is one of London’s eight royal parks and offers a winter escapade like no other. The park’s extensive network of trails invites visitors to get lost in its natural beauty. The frost-covered landscapes are truly enchanting and there’s always the chance to spot one of the park’s famous wild red and fallow deer in their natural habitat.
For a more rugged winter walk, head to the famous Hampstead Heath; a sprawling 320-hectare woodland in North London. When the ground is frozen, the Heath transforms into a winter hiking paradise, offering panoramic views of the city from its higher points with famous views of St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard to fawn over. Remember to wear your hiking boots though as the ground can get a little rough when frozen!
A few minutes’ walk from Tottenham Hale tube station you’ll find the iconic Walthamstow Wetlands; an urban nature reserve made up of 10 reservoirs that supply millions of people in the surrounding area. Although you can’t get lost here, the reserve offers serene walks along the waterways. The highlight is the Grade II-listed Coppermill Tower, providing a picturesque viewing platform. It’s also the perfect spot for fishing if you can brave the cold.
Greenwich Park, a 74-hectare space, is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also a prime location for a winter walk. With views overlooking the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College, the River Thames, and Canary Wharf, it’s a perfect blend of history and natural beauty. Most hikers only choose to walk the bottom loop of this one but if you hit up the south of the park, you’ll not only find it less busy but full of winter magic.
While this Brixton park is famous for its Art Deco lido pool, you probably don’t want to be taking a dip in purposefully cold water when it’s already close to freezing outside. Thankfully, the park has so much more to offer winter walkers with some of the oldest, grandest trees in the country and some truly gorgeous walled gardens. Don’t miss the clock tower too!