Walk from Greenwich Meridian to Houses of Parliament

Sunday’s 12-mile walk prompted me to write the details down in case anyone else wants to follow some or all of the path.

London map

Walk from the start of time to the mother of parliaments

The walk took in:

I recorded the route on Endo Mondo so you can view it in more detail there. The picture above is a screen shot.

The information says the walk from my house to Waterloo East station was 11.4 miles and took 3 hours 47 minutes at at average speed of just over 3mph.

We (the dog and me) got the train back to Lewisham and walked home from there. My wife peeled off earlier and came home on the train from London Bridge, saving about three miles – so that’s always an option.

You can also get the 47 bus further up the river and start your walk from Rotherhithe, for example.

Tax rebels

We walked to Blackheath and visited the two roads named after famous rebels who mustered their revolutionaries on Blackheath and from there attacked London: Wat Tyler and Jack Cade.

Wat Tyler from Kent, lead the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

road and sign

Wat Tyler Road, Blackheath, named for Poll Tax and Peasants’ Revolt rebel of 1381

Jack Cade led a revolt against taxes for the 100 years war in 1450

Cade Road

Cade Road, Blackheath, Named for Jack Cade, tax rebel of 1450

Greenwich Observatory and Meridian line

We then entered Greenwich Park and walked to the Observatory and took a shot of the great views from the crest of Greenwich park, plus to classic tourist shot on the Meridian Line.

Greenwich Observatory

Greenwich Observatory

View from Greenwich Park

View from Greenwich Park, includes Docklands and O2 (Millennium Dome)

meridian line

Meridian Line, Greenwich Park, outside the Royal Observatory

Greenwich for the Maritime Museum, Old Naval College and Cutty Sark

Strolling down the hill leads you into Greenwich itself – a Royal Borough since the London Olympics 2012. There you can visit the Maritime Museum, the Old Naval College, with its fantastic Painted Hall, and the Cutty Sark clipper.

It is worth pointing out that from Greenwich you can also turn right along the river past the dome and under the Emirates cable car (on which you can take bicycles) to the magnificent Thames Barrier.

The Thames Barrier is well-worth a visit on one of its scheduled closing days. It’s also worth following @AlanBarrierEA on Twitter.

Or you can get a boat along the Thames (in both directions – including getting a hop on, hop off ticket). These are all worth doing.

There is also the foot tunnel to the north of the Thames. There are lifts , as well as stairs, at each side so you can take bicycles down – though you must walk through the narrow tunnel. Walking to London along the north side is also a good alternative.

Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Old Naval College, Greenwich

Old Naval College, Greenwich

ship

Cutty Sark tea clipper built in 1869

A walk along the Thames Path to London

From Greenwich the Thames path veers a little away from edge of the river in several places, though it is being improved all the time as new developments replace old Thameside buildings. A new foot bridge keeps you close to the Thames before you have to turn away in Deptford.

In Deptford is the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) favourite pub the Dog and Bell. It’s a no-nonsense (no credit cards, no children allowed) pub.

A diversion nearby would take you to St Nicholas Church, which has long links with British maritime history.

  • The gargoyles on the gates are said to have been used by  Captain Henry Morgan as the model for the skull and crossbones on a pirate’s Jolly Roger flag.
  • The grave of George Shevlocke, captain of the Speedwell, whose book A Voyage Round The World by Way of the Great South Sea (1726) was the inspiration behind  William Wordsworth’s The Rime of an Ancient Mariner.
  • The grave of playwright Christopher Marlowe, who was stabbed and killed in Deptford (unless you believe the rumours that it was a hoax, allowing him to write as Shakespeare). There is a small engraving on one wall of the churchyard.
cannon with London behind

Walk from Greenwich to central London

pub

Dog & Bell, a CAMRA favourite pub.

Farm sign

City farm, opposite Canary Wharf, Docklands

Rotherhithe

A bit further and you hit Rotherhithe where you pass the Brunel Museum, the departure point of the Mayflower, the ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America, Dr Salter’s daydream statues and King Edward III’s  Manor House ruins.

Brunel Museum

Brunel Museum

Pilgims statue

Pilgrim Fathers statue at Cumberland Wharf, Rotherhithe

Notice

Details explaining the statues of Dr Salter.

ruins

King Edward III’s Manor House ruins

Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the new London Mayor’s building

Tower Bridge gets gradually closer and closer until you are almost upon it. You pass underneath and on your side of the Thames is City Hall, the modern Mayor of London‘s offices and opposite is the Tower of London and Traitors’ Gate.

A short walk further is HMS Belfast.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge looms with modern London by its side

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge close up

Tower of London

Tower of London opposite, by Tower Bridge

Building

Home to the Mayor and Greater London Authority

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

Southwark Cathedral, The Golden Hinde and Winchester Palace, The Clink, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Millennium (wobbly) bridge and St Paul’s

Southwark is a hotbed of history. Past the Cathedral is the Golden Hinde, the ship of Sir Francis Drake, which is much smaller than you imagine  given he sailed the world in it.

Just beyond are remnants of Winchester Palace, home to the bishop. A short detour from here is Cross Bones – a pauper’s graveyard knows as the prostitutes graveyard. Prostitutes worked in Southwark under the auspices of the bishop but he refused to bury them on consecrated land so they were buried a few hundred yards away.

Next you pass the Clink, the prison that gave its name to the colloquial phrase for doing time, porridge, being banged up. And Suddenly you reach Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and very quickly the Millennium Bridge (the wobbly bridge), which you can cross to St Paul’s Cathedral. Back on the southern side is the Tate Modern.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

Golden Hinde

Golden Hinde

Golden Hinde

Golden Hinde tours are available

Winchester Palace

Winchester Palace – worth a detour to Cross Bones graveyard

The Clink

The Clink prison museum

Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre

Tate

Tate Modern at the southern end of the Millennium Bridge

The Southbank, Jubilee Gardens – with International Brigades statue – and the London Eye (formerly known as the Millennium Wheel)

The Southbank has a host of arts venues and the secondhand book fair but is also famous for its ad hoc skate park that recently survived the threat of closure.

The London Eye (originally called the Millennium Wheel) is situated at the end of Jubilee Gardens, which is also home to a statue dedicated to the British volunteers who fought in for the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. There is a vigil there every summer.

Southbank

The Queen Elizabeth Hall an Purcell Rooms on the Southbank

skatepark

Graffiti dominated skate park

Ferris wheel

The London Eye, formerly Millennium Wheel

Jubilee gardens

Jubilee Gardens

Statue

Memorial to the British International Brigade

County Hall (the old GLC HQ) and the Houses of Parliament, with Big Ben

I ended my walk just beyond the London Eye at County Hall, which was once the home of the Greater London Council (GLC). A short walk is Westminster Bridge across which you can see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

If you stay on the south side of the river and pass the bridge you also come across Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

County Hall

County Hall – formerly home to the Greater London Council

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

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