Lady’s 13 unusual walks in London

I want to share my guide to unusual walks in London with you today. There are lots of hidden spots and undiscovered places to explore on foot in the UK capital, and my free self-guided London walking tours will help you find the best of them. From off-the-beaten path neighborhoods to under-the-radar waterways, these secret walks in London will help you see the mysterious parts of the city from a unique local perspective. There are maps, too.

unusual walks in Londonunusual walks in London

unusual walks in London

From Hampstead to Harry Potter, Richmond to Regent’s Canal, my unusual walks in London will show you neighborhoods from north to south and east to west.

Whether you want to walk through an urban village or along a towpath, I’ve published a self-guided walk in London you’ll want to take.

From secluded squares to historic passageways, narrow streets to clandestine courtyards, these unusual walking tours in London will show you some of my favorite non-traditional places in the city.

Highgate Cemetery walkwayHighgate Cemetery walkway

You can find additional routes and maps in the book London’s Hidden Walks, too. You can get it here. It’s for you if you enjoy discovering offbeat places. There are more ideas in my London walking books post as well.

If you want a guided tour, there are great ones you can take with a local expert. From the famous Jack the Ripper tour to ghost walks, magical Harry Potter tours, and food tours in the West End, they’re ideal ways to see unexpected sights with an experienced guide. You can see options and book one here.

If you’re interested in more A Lady in London walks, my blog post about self-guided London walking tours has all the ones I’ve published in one place.

I’ve also written posts about everything from the best London night walks to park walks and historical walks. You can find the relevant routes and maps on them.

Leadenhall Market, LondonLeadenhall Market, London

1. unusual walks in London: Highgate

I’ll start my list of unusual walks in London with a route in Highgate. This local area in north London is not only full of elegant houses, but it’s also home to one of London’s most famous cemeteries.

This self-guided London walk will lead you from the Highgate tube station to the high street, green spaces, and otherworldly 19th-century burial ground this place is famous for. It’s perfect if you love a mix of beautiful residential areas and intriguing details.

While you’re on this walk, it’s worth stopping to tour Highgate Cemetery. It’s one of the Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries in London, and everyone from Karl Marx to George Eliot is buried here.

Holly Village, Highgate, LondonHolly Village, Highgate, London

There are lots of shops, restaurants, and pubs dotted throughout the route, and the side streets have some of the most beautiful (and impressive!) homes in the UK capital. Holly Village is particularly enchanting.

This walk is ideal if you want to discover one of the most picturesque London neighborhoods and feel like you’re a million miles from the city center while you do.

If you’d like to go on this one, you can find the route, map, video, and photos on my Highgate walk blog post.

Highgate CemeteryHighgate Cemetery

2. Harry Potter walking tour

If you’re interested in themed walks, you’ll love my self-guided Harry Potter walking tour. This unusual walk in London will take you around to some of the most famous sites that featured in the books and movies.

This free walk starts in Westminster and continues through popular areas like Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and Soho.

You’ll see everything from Harry Potter movie premier locations to streets that are thought to have inspired Diagon Alley and famous theaters and bookshops.

You’ll also pass the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street and the entrance to the Ministry of Magic in Whitehall.

Harry Potter Theater, LondonHarry Potter Theater, London

And that’s to say nothing of sites like Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross station and filming locations like Leadenhall Market, St Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Borough Market, HMS Belfast, and Tower Bridge.

This is one of the best unusual walking tours in London if you love all things Harry Potter and you want to see some of the city’s most iconic landmarks while you go.

You can find the full route, map, photos, and video for this self-guided London sightseeing route on my blog post about a Harry Potter walking tour.

Harry Potter Trolley, LondonHarry Potter Trolley, London

3. unusual walks in London: Little Venice

Next on my list of unusual walks in London is one in Little Venice. This beautiful neighborhood is known for its canals. The Grand Union Canal meets Regent’s Canal here, and there are lots of places to admire along the waterways.

Little Venice is not only full of colorful boats, but also leafy parks, hidden pubs, and quirky cafes. It’s a great place to explore a part of London most visitors miss.

The route of this walk will lead you from the Warwick Avenue tube station to the houses, waterways, and streets the area is famous for.

Regents Canal in LondonRegents Canal in London

As you go you’ll spot everything from parks to cafes and Paddington Basin. You’ll also see a beautiful hidden garden shop.

This tour is perfect if you like exploring off-the-beaten-path parts of London. It will allow you to discover a local area of the city and experience a slower pace of life.

If you’d like to do this one, you can find the route, map, and photos on my Little Venice walk blog post.

Boat on Regent's Canal in Little VeniceBoat on Regent's Canal in Little Venice

4. Street art walk

Another of the best unusual walks in London is my street art tour in the East End. This one will lead you around to some of the best murals in Shoreditch and Spitalfields.

This self-guided walk starts in Old Spitalfields Market before continuing over on Brick Lane. It will guide you around the historic roads off it, then take you to trendy Redchurch Street.

From there the walk continues in Shoreditch. You’ll see places like Holywell Lane and Great Eastern Street before ending at Old Street station.

Street Art in Shoreditch, LondonStreet Art in Shoreditch, London

Along the way you’ll spot murals by some of the most famous street artists in the world. New ones pop up all the time, so you can do this walk over and over and always see something different.

This is a great walk to do if you love art, creativity, and urban spaces in equal measure. It’s also fun if you want to explore cool London neighborhoods a lot of visitors miss.

You can find the full route, map, photos, and video for this free London walk on my blog post about a self-guided street art tour of London.

Colorful Facade in Shoreditch, LondonColorful Facade in Shoreditch, London

5. unusual walks in London: Hampstead

Next on my list of unusual walks in London is one in Hampstead. This is my favorite neighborhood in the UK capital, and its village-like atmosphere makes it an ideal area for exploring on foot.

My Hampstead tour winds its way through the area’s picture-pretty side streets, giving you an overview of the neighborhood and its hidden lanes as you go. It also features a number of local pubs where you can stop for a meal or a drink.

The walk will take you to beloved places like Hampstead High Street and Hampstead Heath, as well as local museums and squares.

Hampstead pub in LondonHampstead pub in London

This is one of the best unusual walking tours in London if you enjoy history and pretty streets in equal measure. There are fun shops on places like Flask Walk, too.

This self-guided route is ideal if you want to get to know a part of the UK capital locals love and visitors rarely see. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the city, and it truly feels like a London village.

If you want to go on this one, you can find the complete directions, map, and photos on my Hampstead walk blog post. There’s a video if you want a sneak peek, too.

Street in Hampstead, LondonStreet in Hampstead, London

6. Literary walk

Since I love books, my next unusual walk in London is a self-guided literary walk. It’s perfect for you if you’re as much of a reader as I am.

This free walk will lead you to some of the most exciting places for books in the city. From sites where famous novels were set to beloved bookshops and important libraries, it has a great mix of things to entertain your inner literature lover.

This walk starts in Marylebone at one of the most famous bookshops in London. From there it will take you down Euston Road to institutions like the British Library and a canal boat that sells books from its mooring in King’s Cross.

Canal Boat Bookshop, LondonCanal Boat Bookshop, London

You’ll then go into Bloomsbury, a part of central London with a lot of literary history. Here you’ll see museums dedicated to celebrated British writers and visit another of the city’s best bookstores.

At the end you’ll pass through Soho, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly as you take in more literary sites and visit important bookshops.

If you like London and books in equal measure, you’ll love this tour. You can find the full route and map on my London literary walk blog post. If you want more, you can follow my London itinerary for book lovers, too.

Daunt Books, LondonDaunt Books, London

7. unusual walks in London: Dulwich

My free self-guided Dulwich tour is next on my list of unusual walks in London. This leafy part of south east London feels like it’s a million miles away from the city.

Dulwich is beloved for its grand houses, plethora of green spaces and cricket fields, magical woods, and historic picture gallery. It feels like a country village that’s been transplanted in south London.

Once you’re in the area, my self-guided walking route will take you through the beautiful expanse of Dulwich Park, alongside Belair Park, and through the tree-lined streets of the neighborhood.

Sculpture in Dulwich, LondonSculpture in Dulwich, London

If you can time your visit to coincide with when the American Garden is in bloom in the spring, you’ll be in heaven. The rhododendrons and azaleas here are nothing short of breathtaking. It’s one of the best spring gardens in London.

If you have time, it’s worth popping down to Dulwich Wood, too. Together with Sydenham Hill Wood, this is the largest remaining part of the ancient Great North Wood in the Borough of Southwark. Crisscrossed by walking trails and packed with trees, it’s enchanting and beautiful.

This is one of the best south east London walks if you like a mix of village atmosphere, gardens, and parks. You can find the full route, map, photos, and video on my Dulwich walk blog post.

Dulwich Park American Garden in London in SpringDulwich Park American Garden in London in Spring

8. unusual walks in London: Richmond

The next of my unusual walks in London is in Richmond. This area in south west London is worth a visit for its riverfront atmosphere and expansive green spaces. It’s one of my favorite parts of London to explore.

My self-guided walk will take you to Richmond Green, out to the Thames Path, through Petersham Meadows, up Terrace Gardens, and into Richmond Park, one of the largest green spaces in the UK capital.

Highlights of this London walk include charming alleys like Brewers Lane and great riverside pubs and restaurants. There’s good shopping along the way, too.

Richmond street in LondonRichmond street in London

While you walk, you’ll take in the best of Richmond, from the little lanes to the Thames Path. At the end, you’ll have options for continuing your walk in whatever way suits your tastes.

You’ll also come across everything from 17th-century Ham House and Garden (it’s a National Trust property) to Ted Lasso filming locations. It’s worth spending a day out in Richmond to see it all.

This walking tour is perfect if you like parks and waterfront areas as much as you love secret lanes and hidden corners. You can find the route, map, photos, and video on my blog post about a Richmond walk.

Ham HouseHam House

9. unusual walks in London: Regent’s Canal

The next of my unusual walks in London will take you along Regent’s Canal. Like my Little Venice tour, it will show you local parts of London and a different side of the city than most visitors see.

This walk guide take you from Maida Vale to King’s Cross. It’s a great way to take in the city from the towpath, and a fun experience overall.

My canal walk goes past everything from the colorful boats in Little Venice to the fun stalls in Camden Market. The latter is a great place to stop and browse.

Camden Lock, LondonCamden Lock, London

The route even goes through the London Zoo in Regent’s Park. You don’t have to buy a ticket to see the animals as you walk along the canal.

This loveliest of free London walks is perfect if you like to be on the water and take in a variety of sights and neighborhoods as you go. It’s a good alternative to the Thames Path, and a fun way to see some local London areas.

If this London walk sounds good to you, you can find the complete directions, map, video, and photos on my blog post about canal walks in London.

If you’re looking for a longer route and you want to see parts of east London, you can combine it with my Regent’s Canal walk from King’s Cross to Hackney.

Regent's Canal in Regents Park, LondonRegent's Canal in Regents Park, London

10. unusual walks in London: Islington

Next on my list of unusual walks in London is one in Islington. This local area in north London has great shopping streets, peaceful waterways, and lots of colorful doors to take in.

My self-guided Islington walk will lead you through the vibrant Camden Passage Market, into pretty squares, and down side streets full of heritage details.

It will also show you Upper Street, one of the best shopping streets in London. It’s a great place to stop if you like a bit of retail therapy.

Mural on Upper Street in IslingtonMural on Upper Street in Islington

This walk is perfect for you if you enjoy a mix of high streets and side streets, secret passageways, and great local atmosphere.

It’s also fun if you want to explore a local part of London a lot of visitors never see. Islington has so much to offer, and it’s worth a special trip.

If you want to go on this tour, you can take a look at the route, map, photos, and video on my Islington walk blog post.

House on Barnsbury Street in Islington, LondonHouse on Barnsbury Street in Islington, London

11. unusual walks in London: Spitalfields

The next of my unusual walks in London is in Spitalfields. This neighborhood is one of east London’s most exciting areas, and there are great restaurants and markets here.

From the famous Brick Lane to Old Spitalfields Market, this east London walk goes through the area’s most atmospheric streets and local landmarks.

Whether you love vibrant market stalls or strolling past cool restaurants, bars, and pubs (and stopping at one or two, of course), you’ll find a lot to love about doing this walk.

Spitalfields shopsSpitalfields shops

No matter if you’re looking for things to do alone in London or if you want to do this as a night walk with friends, you have a lot of options.

If you’re flexible, I recommend taking this walk on a Sunday. That’s when all the best markets in the area are open. They make this one of the best Sunday walks in London.

If you’re interested in taking this tour, you can find the detailed route, map, photos, and video on my blog post about a Spitalfields walking tour.

Old Spitalfields MarketOld Spitalfields Market

12. unusual walks in London: Clerkenwell

Next on my list of unusual walking tours in London is one in Clerkenwell, Smithfield, and Hatton Garden. These local areas not only show off historic London at its best, but they’re also home to some of the top markets and restaurants in the heart of the UK capital.

This self-guided London walk in Clerkenwell will show you everything from skinny passageways to centuries-old stone arches. It will take you through one of the most historic markets in central London, too.

As you go from Clerkenwell to Smithfield and Hatton Garden, you’ll see an abundance of London architectural heritage. From the 16th-century St Bartholomew’s Gatehouse to the 13th-century St Etheldreda’s Church, it’s impressive.

Smithfield gatehouseSmithfield gatehouse

You’ll also walk down Exmouth Market, one of the best foodie streets in London. It’s a great place to stop for a meal or drink along the way.

This walk is ideal if you’re into heritage architecture and great food. There are excellent coffee shops on the route, too.

If you’re curious about this free London walking tour, you can find the complete directions, map, photos, and video on my Clerkenwell walking tour blog post.

Cowcross Street, LondonCowcross Street, London

13. unusual walks in London: Shoreditch

The next unusual walk in London on my list is in Shoreditch. This east London neighborhood is one of the coolest parts of the city and it has a hip vibe.

The walk will take you past colorful murals, down atmospheric side streets, and alongside stylish shops and restaurants. It’s perfect if you like street art and history and you want to explore a hipster London neighborhood.

Starting at Old Street Station, the route will guide you to famous spots like Hoxton Square, Shoreditch High Street, Rivington Street, and Great Eastern Street.

Shoreditch High Street cyclistShoreditch High Street cyclist

It will also lead you to otherworldly places like Bunhill Fields, a former burial ground. Now a public park, it’s the final resting place of notables like William Blake, John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, and Susanna Wesley.

This tour is great to do on a Sunday because it’s close to the markets in Spitalfields and Hackney. From the ones on Brick Lane to the Columbia Road Flower Market, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

If you’re interested in this free self-guided London walk, take a look at my blog post with a Shoreditch walking tour for the route, photos, video, and map.

Redchurch Street building in LondonRedchurch Street building in London

London walking map

As promised, I’ve created an interactive map of all the unusual walks in London on my list. You can see it here. If you click on the pins, you can find my blog posts about each one.

You can also take a look at my London walking map to see all my free self-guided tours in one place.

Holly Village House, HighgateHolly Village House, Highgate

unusual walks in London

I hope my list of unusual walking tours in London has made you want to get outside and discover the best quirky and hidden areas in the city. Whether you’re a local or you want to live like one, these walks will help you explore the areas Londoners love.

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