Read on for a handcrafted self-guided walking tour in London: Today I’ll be taking you through a quick stroll through Central. Enjoy!
Central London will always have a magic to it. The architecture, iconic buildings, and picturesque London scenes all fit for any travel book.
Although I love discovering the lesser-known gems of London, Central London will always have a place in my heart. Whether it’s for a tourist experience or to reignite your love of the city, a quick stroll in Central is all the remedy you need to get your London feels back.
Walking Time: 4 km, 54 minutes
This self-guided walking tour through Central London starts at Waterloo and ends at Buckingham Palace. Easy to do in a short afternoon or a whole portion of the day — depending how much you savor each sight.
With further a-do here’s a self-guided walking tour for a quick stroll through Central London to roam the city and take in beautiful and iconic spots along the way. I’ve also listed what to bring and detour suggestions at the end of the post. Let’s start shall we?
The UK’s largest and most iconic station, it’d be hard to visit London without a venture to Waterloo. Filled with busy Londoners and tourists alike it’s a great place to sit and watch the rush of the city.
Once you’ve had your fill of people watching and maneuvered the exit signs (there’s many) head out of exit 5. Reaching the bottom of the steps you’ll see a peaky view of the Shard on your right, and may want to take a minute to appreciate the station exteriors, they’re lovely!
A short stroll will lead you to Sutton Walk. Nothing particularly special aside from the odd art gallery displays and in British fashion, a row of pubs greeting you on arrival.
Met with post 9-5’ers of the city you’ll see blue-collared locals sipping away the work day under the arches of Waterloo Tap, Black Tap, and Azzuro to name a few.
Southbank Centre Food Market
But if you can hold your stomach I wholeheartedly recommend popping into Southbank Centre Market. Filled with every international food under the sun this market grabs every one of your senses — it’d be a shame to pass without grabbing a bite. It’s also apart of the Southbank Centre with interesting events always on offer.
Open Friday-Sunday be sure to grab something savory and sweet before making your way to our next stop.
Food in hand and a London Eye view to match Jubilee Park is the perfect picnic spot and a Central London favorite. A public park created to mark the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II you’ll often see visitors along the grassland taking in the riverside views and appreciating the city.
Soak in the rare London sun, watch the passerbyers and of course, take a snap of the London Eye.
The Queen’s Walk
Perhaps the most iconic of walks in London, the Queen’s Walk is where you’ll find yourself next. The movie backdrop to Doctor Who and Fantastic Four (to name a few) there’s definitely a cinematic feeling to having Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, and the London Eye all within your peripheral view.
Take a lazy walk down the pier and admire the spectacular views of the city. While minding your food and the notoriously hungry seagulls and pigeons at bay.
Big Ben & Westminster Bridge
Walking up the stairs at the end of the Queen’s Walk you’ll find yourself on Westminster Bridge. It’s hard to miss London’s claim to fame roaming anywhere along Central, but this is the crème de la crème of Big Ben views.
Roam to the middle of the bridge and take in a breathtakingly scenic snapshot of London on your right and Big Ben waiting on your left. Although Big Ben still finds itself scaffolded, a photo is still very much in order.
Victoria Tower Gardens
Tucked around the corner of Big Ben you’ll find a Central London gem, Victoria Tower Garden. A cozy little garden that feels hidden from the rest of the capital it’d be easy to miss but well worth the visit.
Nestled between the Lambeth River and Houses of Parliament take a lovely couple minutes amongst the memorial statues and a bit of tranquil from the city.
A Gothic abbey church famed for its monarch coronations Westminster Abbey is a mecca of British history. The cathedral grounds are a sight on its own so you won’t be disappointed between a leisurely peek or a proper view inside (you’ll need tickets beforehand).
St. James Park
My favorite park in London and a clear Central gem— St. James Park is postcard perfect. Chirping birds, lazy ducks, white swans, and vibrant flowers make wandering the park grounds feel like you’re in some kind of romantic film.
In the center of the park lies the Blue Bridge offering the most charming views you’ll find of the city. With Buckingham Palace to the West and London Eye, Big Ben, and the Horse Guards Parade to the East — any time you spend in St. James Park is time well-spent.
As utterly iconic as it gets. Although it’s become a rarity to make my way to the Queen there’ll always be something about Buckingham Palace. The official London residence of the monarchs it’s also the perfect end to your self-guided walking tour.
The classic British architecture, blood red roses and golden gates will all be a bit mesmerizing, and of course, very, very photo-worthy. During the summer you can also enjoy the staterooms and on a weekday (if you’re lucky) catch the changing of the guards.
What to Bring
- Comfortable shoes
- Picnic Blanket (for Jubilee Gardens)
- Coins for the restroom (the only restroom in route will be on the Queen’s Walk )
In the attempt to make this a quick stroll I may have left some spots out along the way. Here are some suggestions should you choose to continue your walk.
- Check out the Horse Guards Parade up close
- Head down to Trafalgar Square
- Catch the telephones booth on Great George Street
Whichever you choose I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this self-guided walking tour through Central London.
Curious for more? Head to my highlights @candaceabroad where I take you on the tour myself!