As the days get longer and the weather grows warmer, summer is finally here! It’s time to get your sunscreen out, walking shoes on and explore East London’s hidden gems.
We have compiled a list of the best summer walks that uncover some of East London’s beautiful landscapes and historical landmarks.
1. Greenwich Park (1 hr 45 minutes, nearest station: Cutty Sark)
With a mix of 17th-century architecture and a history dating back to Roman times, Greenwich Park offers some of London’s most iconic views.
Starting from Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich DLR station, this walking route will take you through one of the capital’s most stunning areas.
Take a few moments to absorb the city’s beauty before finally ending the walk at the Wilderness Deer Park, which is home to beautiful red and fallow deer.
2. Victoria Park (between 30 mins and 2hrs – nearest station: Bethnal Green / Hackney Wick)
Stretched across 86.16 hectares and commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1840, Victoria Park is a popular open space park in East London – while also being one of London’s most historic.
There are over 4,500 trees to explore on the walk: from the rarest native British Black Poplar to the Maidenhair tree, a living fossil tracing back 270 million years to the time of the dinosaurs.
The park also provides stunning gardens and beautiful landmarks, such as the Chinese pagoda located on the West Boating Lake.
It is also the host of various events, from races and Sunday markets to music festivals. If you want to find out more about what the area has to offer, check out our blog on things to do in Hackney.
3. The Line, East London (around 3hr, nearest stations: Stratford / North Greenwich)
Get your dose of culture and walk The Line this summer, where you’ll discover sculpture displays from Alex Chinneck, Abigail Fallis and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Following the Meridian Line and running between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to The O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula, The Line is London’s first modern and contemporary art walk.
As you walk along the foreshore of the Thames, keep an eye out for a slice of reality, by Richard Wilson, which is an eighth-sliced vertical section of a sand dredger.
As you continue walking towards the O2, you will spot a 35-metre upside down electricity pylon by artist Alex Chinneck, which casts a shadow on the ground, reminiscent of a sundial.
There are plenty more sculptures to discover as you walk The Line through East London and its waterways. If it takes your fancy, spend a lazy summer afternoon exploring some of the most unique outdoor art that London has to offer.
4. Walthamstow Wetland (around 2 hours 15 mins, nearest station: Tottenham Hale)
London’s largest urban wetland and a prime wildlife-spotting spot, Walthamstow Wetlands’ Touchstone trail will take you on a historic journey, whilst also offering one of the best summer walking and cycling routes.
Along the walk, you’ll find the Marine Engine House, dating back to 1894. It was originally constructed to pump clean water to millions of Londoners between 1894-1904.
Now refurbished to maintain its industrial feel, it provides educational space, a gallery, a visitors centre and a viewing terrace overlooking the three 19th-century hand-dug reservoirs.
With around 54 wetland bird species identified, including sparrowhawks and kestrels. Walthamstow Wetlands is a wildlife haven. So don’t forget to look up.
It also offers seasonal events and activities throughout the year. So why not visit the London Wildlife Festival this summer?
5. Epping Forest
And for our final East London summer walk, we recommend exploring the rich and diverse history of Epping Forest.
Standing on the border between London and Essex, Epping Forest is of national and international conservation importance. It’s a recreational haven of natural landscapes along a 12-mile stretch.
Made up of more than 50 district areas, a detached portion of Epping Forest is located in East London’s Snaresbrook. This is a lovely location for angling, walking and boating in Hollow Pond.
History abounds in Epping Forest: from Iron Age forts, built around 500 BC in Ambresbury Bank and Loughton Camp to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, which showcases exhibitions on Tudor food and fashion.
Why not take a walk up three of the highest points around Yates Meadow, Yardley and Pole Hill for stunning views of the city? Or you could explore Waltham Abbey, where Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was first performed.
Whether you’re looking for a fun family day trip, romantic walks or just somewhere to enjoy the summer sun with friends, East London offers some of the best summer walks.