THINK: Walking in NW London

Is there anywhere better in London to walk than NW? And especially with weather like this it seems silly not to get out and about. I mean we’ve got lovely, lovely Regent’s Park with its manicured gardens, roses, fountains and vast green spaces, the cool, hip Primrose Hill perfect for a lazy Sunday picnic, and the wild, dramatic Heath which stretches out to Highgate and beyond. and, because it’s NW, there’s always a fabulous watering hole or eatery to be found at the end. So, how do you pick your fave?

Here’s some of my favourite walks to do in London.

1) Camden via the canals to Regent’s Park and on to Marylebone

This is lovely for a lesiurely Sunday stroll, we join the canal path just opposite Sainsbury’s in Camden, but you can also join at Camden Lock (in the food market) or as far back as Caledonian Road (or even Angel, though this involves some non-canal walking). The bit around Camden can be a bit full of THE odd homeless drunk and some randoms, and is busy, but once you’re past it it calms down and becomes a relaxing easy walk, of about 20 minutes or so, and there’s usually one barge navigating the locks which always makes for an interesting ten minutes. Come up from the canal by Regent’s Park, walk through the park, and down towards to Marylebone High Street, admiring all the lovely John Nash architecture on the way. Make a beeline for The Providores and settle in for a tapas lunch.

2) Hampstead Heath to Highgate

This is often an early Saturday afternoon walk in our household; we have a late breakfast and the head up towards the Heath, entering by the Lido on Mansfield Road. You can walk from here to Highgate one of two ways – either by following the paths and walking around and through the various ponds which takes about half an hour, or for more something more cardio, go off-road and across the middle of park, over and down a few hills before circling round to your right and heading out both times onto Merton Lane. This is where your legs will really start to ache, but trust me it’s worth it, you’ll come to a busy road (Highgate West Hill) take a left upn the hill, it’s a little bit brutal, before you come to a sweet looking green and a welcome Fullers pub sign. You’ve reached The Flask, one of our fave local drinking spots. Grab a spot outside, or in the winter an armchair by the fire, and order a pint of Honeydew. Relax. Repeat as needed.

3) Parliament Hill, Farmer’s Market, Pub

Ok, this is more of an expensive stroll than a walk, but it forms the basis of at least two out of every four weekends of the month. We head through the Heath from the Savernake Road entrance and walk along the bottom of Parliament Hill to the Farmers’ Market at William Ellis School, tucked away just before the tennis courts. Here, browse the stalls selling traditional and amazing French loaves, the always busy fish stall and the variety of fresh and cured meat stands, as well as sampling some cider, fruit juice and buying in season veg. We pop it all into a back pack and head past the tennis courts to The Bull & Last on Highgate Road, where we share a freshly made Scotch egg and a sausage roll and both have a pint of ale.

What’s your ideal weekend walk?

(Main image courtsey of Dipity, and Hampstead Heath image courtesy of London Walks. Thanking you kindly.)

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