Walk 2360 - printer friendly version
Green Park to Westminster via Sloane Square Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km
Ascent - 200 feet / 61 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference TQ290803
Lat 51.506916 + Long -0.14264417
Postcode W1J 8HS (approx. location only)
London's parks cover a remarkable area and offer a pleasant change to the hustle and bustle of the streets. Visiting Green Park and Hyde Park this route also includes a lengthy section of the Thames Path and a number of interesting, historic buildings. The start is Green Park underground station (Grid ref. TQ290803) and exit on the south side of Piccadilly. Follow the signs for Green Park and almost immediately you will reach a broad tarmac path, Queen's Walk, which leads to the Mall and Buckingham Palace.
On your left you will some fine examples of large houses including Spencer House and Lancaster House. Just before the latter you reach a six way junction of paths. Turn half right here and walk the short distance to the beautiful wrought iron gates, beyond which lies Buckingham Palace. You may wish to cross to the Queen Victoria Memorial from where an excellent view of the Queen's London residence can be enjoyed. Return to the gales and bear left following the path that runs parallel to Constitution Hill. Alongside is one of the horse rides.
Reaching the busy traffic island at Hyde Park Corner, use the pedestrian crossings and walk under the Wellington Arch. A further set of crossings takes you under the arches and into Hyde Park. Bear left and join the Serpentine Road with its adjacent horse ride. Follow this as far as the Serpentine Lake where you turn left and follow the path around the eastern end of the Serpentine. Cross straight over Rotten Row (another horse ride) to reach South Carriage Drive.
Using the crossing continue ahead through Edinburgh Gate. Rather than cross this busy junction at street level descend the underpass that provides access to Knightsbridge Tube station and follow the signs to exit on Sloane Street. Walk south passing some exclusive shops. After a short way you will notice the private gardens on the left hand side and some interesting statues and garden ornaments. Sloane Square is soon reached. Cross straight over this busy square into Lower Sloane Street, which soon becomes Chelsea Bridge Road.
Do not cross Chelsea Bridge instead turn right and walk along the Chelsea Embankment. On your right are the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea - the home of the Chelsea Pensioners. You can visit the grounds free of charge and get a closer look at the buildings. In fine weather you may see the red uniforms of the Chelsea Pensioners as they relax in the gardens. Retrace your steps to Chelsea Bridge and follow the river downstream. Across the river is the disused Battersea Power Station with its four chimneys. A masterpiece of industrial design it is one of the many iconic buildings in London.
The onward route is never far from the River Thames with only short sections where the river is not in sight. Across the river at nine Elms are many new apartment blocks and modern commercial buildings. Passing Pimlico Gardens, a small park on your right, keep a careful look out for the entrance to Crown Reach Riverside Walk. This narrow path takes you Vauxhall Bridge. Cross over the road and continue on the Thames Path. Riverside Walk Gardens contains a modern sculpture and this perhaps reflects the contents of Tate Modern, which lies across the road to your left. Quite often there are installations in the gardens in front of the gallery which you can see free of charge.
Lambeth Bridge is the next landmark and it is worth walking part of the way across to get an excellent view downstream to the Houses of Parliament. Return to the west bank and walk through Victoria Tower Gardens named after the tower at this southern end of the Houses of Parliament. Exit the gardens and walk north with an improving view of Big Ben on your right and Westminster Abbey on your left.
Cross the road and walk along the north side of Westminster Abbey to view its grand west front. Alongside the Abbey is the smaller St Margaret Church. For those of you wishing to take photographs of Westminster Abbey it is worth going through the archway into Dean's Yard from where you get a very different perspective of the Abbey.
Return to the west front and retrace our steps towards the Church of St Margaret. Turn left in front of the church and cross to Parliament Square where statues of a number of notable people can be seen. Re-cross the road to Big Ben and walk a short distance onto Westminster Bridge from where you once again can get some fine views of this part of London. Across the road is Westminster underground station from where there are convenient links to most parts of central London.