When it comes to a bustling metropolitan city like London, the mind tends to go straight to indoor activities. The corporate ambience of the city lends itself to West End bars and candlelit dinners at hotels in Shoreditch, but you will be surprised by how much there is to do outside in the capital. Appropriate for most seasons if you wrap up warmly in the colder months, here is a wide range of things to do in London for the outdoor adventurers amongst us.
Hyde Park is the largest park in London and attracts around 12.8 million visitors per year – for a reason! A visit to Hyde Park is a memorable experience for both the first-time traveler and The Montcalm Club guests who return regularly to the city, who can enjoy the impressive Serpentine Lake, the blooming wonderful flower displays, and all the statues, fountains and memorials in between. If the weather permits, renting a rowboat and viewing the park from the middle of the lake is a view that you will never forget.
Regents Park and Primrose Hill
Another of London’s royal parks, Regents Park and Primrose Hill make for a splendid day outdoors. Whether you are spying in to the camel enclosure of the London Zoo while walking alongside the Regents Park Football Club, admiring the birds bobbing along the Boating Lake, or enjoying the panoramic views of the city from the top of Primrose Hill, a day of adventure awaits.
Richmond Deer Park
While Richmond Park is slightly further afield than the other London royal parks, animal-lovers will not want to miss out on the opportunity to walk among the local deers in this sprawling hub of wildlife conservation. Thankfully, Richmond is on the District line, meaning a trip out from central 5 star hotels London may be long, but they are very simple.
Spitalfields and Brick Lane Market
Hotels In Shoreditch are in prime position for anyone wanting to visit the Spitalfields and Brick Lane markets – both of which are thoroughly recommended. Both markets can be accessed via Liverpool Street Station and Shoreditch High Street. Spitalfields is an energetic outdoor market which is open every day and is where independent sellers offer up clothing, jewelry, home goods, art and more. Weave in and out of different buildings and down vendor-lined streets until you have found what you are looking for. The quirky nature of the market means you may even find something you weren’t looking for! On Sundays, you will eventually move out of the Spitalfields Market and into the Brick Lane Market on Brick Lane. At the heart of the east end’s Bangladeshi community, you will find street food, second hand books, clothing, art and more.
By the Regent’s Canal, you will find the pride of Camden Town: Camden Market. The area is famed for its counter culture, and its population of tourists, teenagers and punks, which is reflected in the eclectic market. Amy Winehouse was known to enjoy the market, which is why you will also be able to visit the Amy Winehouse Statue, which was mounted in 2014, three years after the icon’s death.
Portobello Road Market
Located in West London’s Notting Hill area not far from the The Montcalm Club’s Devonshire Terrace, Portobello Road has been selling its fares and wares in the late 1940s and ’50s, and over time antiques have become the primary reason visitors flock to this market. Trading is in full swing on Saturdays between 8 am and 4pm.
Being outdoors in London doesn’t necessarily have to equate to exercise, though there is plenty of it if that’s your preference. A beer in the sunshine (or under a blazing heater) in a bright garden is sometimes exactly the sort of outdoor activity you’re after – especially on holiday! Edinboro Castle is situated near Camden Town – perhaps a pitstop between a Regents Park walk and a Camden Market shop? Enjoy long communal tables in the garden or the more intimate wood cabins which line the area.
Flat Iron Square
Near London Bridge, you will find Flat Iron Square, a large outdoor dining area with breathtaking views of The Shard and a wide range of street food stalls and bars to order from. Lit up by fairy lights by night or the open sky by day, this is a great outside space for those looking to unwind with good food and drink.
The Edge Shoreditch Beer Garden
Guests of Montcalm Shoreditch are seldom desperate to leave their hotel given the Moor & Mead bar is located inside the hotel, but it’s worth the outdoor adventure for The Edge Shoreditch Beer Garden. There is both a garden and roof terrace, so your outdoor perch can vary depending on whether it’s ambience or view that impresses you most.
The Jubilee Greenway
Come rain or shine, a solid walk in London is just what you need to clear out the cobwebs. While the parks are perfect for meandering, The Jubilee Greenway is a great option for those who prefer some milestones or goals when walking. The Jubilee Greenway was established in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It is 60km long which links the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venues with parks, waterways and other attractions. The routes include:
Section 1: Buckingham Palace to Little Venice
Section 2: Little Venice to Camden
Section 3: Camden Park to Victoria Park
Section 4: Victoria Park to Stokes Road
Section 5: Stokes Road to Woolwich Foot Tunnel
Section 6: River Thames to Greenwich
Section 7: Greenwich to Tower Bridge
Section 8: Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge
Section 9: Westminster Bridge to Buckingham Palace
Section 10: Victoria Park to Limehouse Basin
If you love walking but 60km seems a little excessive, The Parkland Walk is a more sensible 5km walk along what used to be a railway line between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace, which is know an overgrown pathway that has a bit of an apocalyptic feel when you stroll passed abandoned platforms which are now residences of a family of foxes. The walk goes through Stroud Green, Crouch End, Highgate and Muswell Hill.
The Thames Path
The Thames Path is a National Trail which is roughly 300km long – don’t worry, you’re not expected to do it all in one go. It was opened in 1996 and follows the River Thames from its source (near Kemble in Gloucestershire) to the Thames Barrier at Charlton in south east London. You can simply pick a spot along the path and walk whatever distance you are comfortable with, enjoying the majesty of the city’s main water source.