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5 Historic Parts Of London Best Explored On Foot

Posted on November 03, 2015 by James

The best thing about London is that there is always something to see, no matter where you are. However, many of the best things are well-hidden, which means people either end up relying on taxis to get them where they want to go, or they just end up missing out on seeing some of the capital’s best bits.

Here are five of the best parts of London, which can all be explored, and more importantly found, on foot.

1. City of London

Photo: City of London. Photo supplied by The Telegraph

You might think this is an obvious area to explore but you’d be shocked at the number of people who miss out the City of London in the belief that it’s just full of banks and no longer worth exploring.

The City of London is where you can explore some of the oldest churches and public houses in London, and of course where you can also be astounded by some of the greatest 21 st century skyscrapers.

Photo: City of London. Photo supplied by BeenThere-DoneThat

If you’ve got your walking shoes on, aim to explore the Square Mile. Here you will find newer buildings such as the Gherkin and the Lloyd’s Insurance Building but you’ll also find the Monument, erected in remembrance of the Great Fire of London and the fabulous Leadenhall market; the eagle eyed amongst you might even spot the odd Harry Potter film location or two…

2. London’s bridges

Photo: London’s bridges. Photo supplied by Shadow Hunters.Wikia.

London’s bridges are world-famous but if you try and explore them all, you might find your feet protesting. Blackfriars Bridge and Waterloo Bridge are relatively close to one another so are a safe bet if you are short on time but still want to immerse yourself in history.

Blackfriars Bridge holds one of London’s closely guarded secrets: who was responsible for the death of Roberto Calvi, the head of the Vatican’s Bank Banco Ambrosiano? Calvi was found hanging from the bridge’s scaffolding in 1982. His death is a mystery but many have their suspicions; suspects include the Vatican, a P2 masonic lodge or even the Mafia!

Photo: London’s bridges. Photo supplied by Visit London.

The area in and around Waterloo Bridge is definitely worth exploring. However, the bridge itself is steeped in history, having been named to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The bridge itself is also said to have the best ground-level view of London, thanks to its position across the bend of the Thames.

3. The Thames Path

Photo: The Thames Path. Photo supplied by National Trails.

London has a wealth of treasures to explore but not all of them are in the city or amidst the hustle and bustle of London workers! Indeed, if you are keen to explore as much of London on foot as possible, aim for the Thames Path. This is a 40 mile stretch, so you might not want to take it all on but most definitely try to do as much as you can.

Along the Thames you will find some of London’s prettier, quieter spots. Be warned, some are more hidden than others. Keep your eyes peeled for beaches (yes beaches!), the Prospect of Whitby pub, which is said to have been one of Dickens’ favourite watering holes, and the village of Rotherhithe, which is a definite highlight.

4. The Temple Church

Photo: The Temple Church. Photo supplied by Historvius.

Back to the city now, where you can find The Temple Church just off Fleet Street. The Church was built in the late 12 th century by the Knights Templar to serve as their headquarters in England. The Church is stunning and noted for being one of the most beautiful churches in London.

The highlight of your visit will most likely be the circular nave in the Temple Church, a rare structure, which is impressive in its own right but you may also find it exciting to stand where a rather central part of a certain Dan Brown thriller was filmed. Take care not to miss out on exploring the Inner and Middle Temples either, for each has its own gardens, eating halls, libraries and various impressive looking chambers.

5. Dennis Severs’ House

Photo: Dennis Severs' House. Photo supplied by One Stop Arts.

A lesser known part of London to be explored, Dennis Severs’ House at 18 Folgate Street is essentially a time-capsule dedicated to the past. The house was lived in by the artist Dennis Severs between 1979 and 1999, who decided to use his imagination to recreate the life of a family of Huguenot silk weavers.

These days you can explore the home, moving from room to room which have been designed to look as if they have only just been left, i.e. with food still uneaten, wine bottles half full and beds which have recently been slept in. This is definitely an experience for those wishing to uncover the less well-trodden paths of London. An entirely original experience, not to be missed!

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