Along the Thames from Battersea Park to the Tower
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
This route takes you from pretty Battersea Park to the Tower of London, with most of the route along the Thames. Along the way you will take in numerous landmarks including Battersea Power Station, Tate Britain, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, The George Inn, Borough Market, Tower Bridge and the Tower.
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Route Description for Along the Thames from Battersea Park to the Tower
Walking through London, hugging the Thames, is a wonderful way to experience London on foot. This walk takes you on a journey exploring many of the highlights of London, both modern and historical. While you can do this walk in a couple of hours, budgeting time to see the sites you pass can easily make this a full day walk through London.
Starting from Battersea Park rail station, head right onto Battersea Park Road for about 75 m before turning right at Queenstown Road. Walk down Queenstown Road for 140m; keep left to follow Queenstown Circus. Take the second left, Carriage Drive South, out of the circle. Continue straight for 120 m and enter Battersea Park, a wonderful and much-less visited park in Central London. Battersea Park is a particularly great park to enjoy a picnic on a warm summers’ day.
Upon entrance, take the left-hand path in the park and walk towards the Boating Lake, where you go right. Follow the path for 350 m as it curves around the lake until you reach Central Avenue. Along the way you will pass the Pear Tree Café, which features a menu based on seasonal produce. Turn left onto Central Avenue and continue for 350 m. Take the right after you pass Battersea Evolution on the right and just before you reach The Bandstand.
Follow the path down to the Thames, going past the Russel Page Garden and then The London Peace Pagoda along the way. The Peace Pagoda is a monument to inspire peace and to help unite people around-the-world in a search for world peace.
Once you get to the Thames go right and follow the path along the southern bank of the Thames for 3.0 km until you reach Vauxhall Bridge. Depending on construction the path may be re-routed away from the Thames, though signage is usually very good.
Along the way, you will pass the Battersea Power Station. Derelict for many years, the Battersea Power Station is a spectacular building undergoing extensive development. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the man who designed the Tate Modern and gave London its famous red telephone boxes, created this "superstation". When the power station opened, it was the most thermally efficient building in the world. In 1977, Pink Floyd even used Battersea Power Station in their "Animals" album cover.
Between the Battersea Power Station and Vauxhall Bridge you will also pass The Nine Elms Tavern. This modern pub offers craft beers, fine wine, long drinks, and great food. The pub consists of several areas to relax and enjoy a drink, including a large outdoor terrace.
Cross Vauxhall Bridge then take a right to continue walking along the River Thames. While crossing the bridge, look behind you to spot the MI6 Building, Great Britain's secret service and home of James Bond.
After crossing Vauxhall Bridge, go right and continue along the Thames. If you have the time you should stop and visit the Tate Britain, found to the right shortly after the bridge. It is a great art museum that includes incredible Turner paintings amongst its collection.
Follow the path along the Thames for about 1.0 km. This path will take you to the Victoria Tower Gardens, a nice place for a break. Cross through the park and go right on Abingdon Street at the other end of the gardens. Follow down Abingdon Street for 350 m as it changes to Parliament Square, passing Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament along the way.
The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the United Kingdom's Parliament. To the left are the Parliament houses both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Tours of the Houses of Parliament are offered throughout the day on Saturdays and most weekdays during parliamentary recesses on a timed-ticket basis. The ticket office is open Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday 8.45 am to 4.45 pm. Tickets can be purchased online.
Westminster Abbey is also an incredible place to visit. The building is 700 years old and is the traditional coronation and burial site of British monarchs. Westminster Abbey is open for visiting Monday to Friday from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm and on Saturday from 9:30 am-2:30 pm. Tour times vary each day.
After a possible tour of Parliament and/or Westminster Abbey, take a right to cross over Westminster Bridge, passing Big Ben on your right.
After crossing Westminster Bridge, turn left to continue along the river down The Queen's Walk as it changes to the Thames Path. Follow the path for 2.1 km before crossing over the Millennium Bridge to the left, passing the London Eye, Southbank Centre, and OXO Tower along the way.
The London Eye provides spectacular views of the city. This giant Ferris wheel takes about thirty minutes to complete a rotation. At 135 m tall, it is Europe's tallest Ferris wheel; it was also the world's tallest when it was built in 1999. Additionally, it is the second highest public viewing point in London (the first being the Shard). Tickets range from 22 to 27 Pounds and can be bought ahead of time online to minimize queuing.
Southbank Centre is a great example of Brutalist architecture. From the Centre, you can see the Thames as it spans from the Houses of Parliament to St. Paul's. The Royal Festival Hall's Level 5 Balcony offers some of the best views. The sound at the Royal Festival Hall is exquisite too and many excellent musical acts perform there.
At the Southbank Centre, you can also find Skylon, a restaurant featuring modern British cuisine and more informal cooking at the grill. The restaurant on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall offers spectacular views to match owing to its floor-to-ceiling windows. The dining areas are divided by a stunning centerpiece bar.
Between Southbank Centre and Millennium Bridge, you come to Gabriel’s wharf, a fun little area with restaurants, pubs and shops by Gabriel’s Pier. Consider stopping at Pieminister, a cafe serving award-winning pies made with free range British meat, as well as vegetarian pies.
Just before you reach Blackfriars Bridge, you will see the Oxo Tower. The windows even spell Oxo and it is a very famous piece of architecture. The Oxo Tower's first two floors are home to retail design studios, specialty shops, and a gallery that displays changing exhibitions. At the top of the tower you can find the OXO Tower restaurant, bar and brasserie. The restaurant offers panoramic views of the city skyline and more excellent British cuisine.
Continue along the Thames and pass under Blackfriars bridge and reach the Tate Modern and nearby Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Tate Modern is an international modern and contemporary art museum featuring many interesting works of art. If you are hungry, you can also grab a bite at the Tate Modern Café. Alternatively, Shakespeare's Globe Theater provides many different performances; tours are available daily from 9:30 am-5:00 pm.
Cross the Millennium Bridge and go right, soon passing Northbank Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant serves modern British cuisine with a Cornish influence. Fresh fish is delivered daily from the Cornish coast. There are also excellent views from the Northbank's terrace.
Follow the path as it goes along the Thames with a diversion up Broken Wharf, along High Timber Street, and back down to the Thames via Queenhithe. Continue to the right along the Thames and go under Southwark Bridge and come to London Bridge.
Walk across London Bridge and continue straight onto Borough High Street for about 400 m. Along the way you will pass The George, a famous drinking establishment dating back to the seventeenth century and a great place to stop for a pint. Take a right and you will continue on Borough High Street for another 80 m before you need to turn right onto Southwark Street.
Walk about 20 m and take the first left onto Stoney Street. Continue for 90 m before turning right into Borough Market. Take some time to walk through Borough Market itself, it’s a great food market, and time your visit for when you have an empty belly. It’s open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The market's largest area, Three Crown Square, is filled with stalls selling produce, cheese, meat, and fish. Around this, you can also find an eclectic and colourful mix of food from around the world.
Turn left onto Cathedral Street and continue on the road for about 350 m. Keep right where the road splits into Cathedral to the left and Montague Circle on the right. Montague Circle will then change to Tooley Street.
Take a left at Saint Olaf Stairs and continue straight for 40 m to the River Thames and go right. Follow along the Thames for 850 m before crossing Tower Bridge; pass the HMS Belfast and City Hall along the way. The HMS Belfast is a historic warship in operation from World War II to 1963.
City Hall, a glass-clad structure, is a Foster + Partners building, just like the Gherkin. The firm is famous for several iconic buildings over the last thirty years. City Hall also includes a visitor's centre and regular exhibitions.
Tower Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world and a must-see attraction itself. You can find amazing views if you step inside and walk along its glass walkways. To enter inside the bridge, you will need to purchase a ticket.
After crossing Tower Bridge, continue straight for 300 m on Tower Bridge Road. Turn left at the Tower of London Park. You will pass the Tower of London on your left. The Tower is another must-see for visitors to London. Be sure to walk around the entire tower as it is filled with many interesting exhibits including The Crown Jewels. Admission is 25 pounds for adults. Online and other discounts can be found at the Tower of London's website.
Follow the path in front of the park for 160 m before crossing Tower Hill. Continue straight for about 75 m to reach Tower Hill station, passing the London Wall and Tower Hill Garden on your right, and the Trinity Square Gardens on your left. Fascinatingly, The London Wall is a remnant of the Roman wall that workers constructed around AD 200.
Insider Hints for Along the Thames from Battersea Park to the Tower
- This walk can be simplified by always remembering where the Thames is, and walking back to it. It’s easy to get lost on the small streets away from the river.
- Book tickets to the London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe well in advance, it’s popular.
- If you want to extend this walk, consider walking through ‘The City’, London’s financial heart all the way to Liverpool Street.
- There is a fun set of restaurants and pubs at St Katharine Docks. Just on the northern side of Tower Bridge, go right and enter St Katharine Docks.
- If you fancy a curry after your walk, walk north to Aldgate East Station and go east one block to Brick Lane. This is a fun night out, however, there are better restaurants for a curry in London.
Getting to the Along the Thames from Battersea Park to the Tower Trailhead
Take a London bus or overground train to Battersea Park rail station.
Along the Thames from Battersea Park to the Tower Elevation Graph
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