London on foot

Crossing the Millennium Bridge (Photo by Mariano Mantel)
Crossing the Millennium Bridge
Crossing the Millennium Bridge, Walk, London (Photo by Mariano Mantel)
Look both ways—but especially right—when crossing the street, Walk, London (Photo by Mirkuz)

Walking around London

London sprawls, and what appears to be a short jaunt may actually be an epic trek.

Walking can be a fine way to get between sights in a given neighborhood, but probably not so much to get between neighborhoods.

That said, walking is also the best way to discover the Real London. If you spend all your time tunneling about town on the Tube, all you'll really see are (a) the major sights, (b) those few blocks it takes to walk to and from them, and (c) a wide variety of Underground tunnels, escalators, and staircases.

There are loads of pleasant strolls throughout the city. Try out the Millennium Bridge between St. Paul’s and the Tate Modern in Southwark, or the colorful back streets of Soho.

Look right!

Just be sure you remember to "Look Right" before stepping off the curb.

Londoners drive on the left side of the road, so on two-way streets traffic will be hurtling at you from the right, not the left as it does in right-side-drive countries. You'd be surprised by how second-nature it is for Americans and others from right-drive countries to look only left before crossing. It will probably continue to startle you for several days before you get used to it (and do so anew each morning).

However, that's just on two-way streets. London is also full of one-way streets, so half the time cars will, indeed, be rushing at you from the left.

I find it's best to be overly mindful all the time and to look carefully both directions before stepping off the curb.

Consider a guided walk

Walking tours are also by far the best way to explore the city—whether geographic or themed, these remarkably cheap tours give you incredible insight into the deep, rich history and colorful characters of London (they're often led by colorful characters, too). Highly, highly recommended. » more

Activities, walks, & excursions tours


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