Walk the Walk is back!
The Walk the Walk section of Travellous World is back: the series in which we hope to inspire you with interesting walks that pique your wanderlust.
So where are we off to today? Today’s walk starts at the tube station of North Greenwich in South-East London. You might have heard about Maritime Greenwich, and North Greenwich is just around the corner. It is home to the O2 Arena and the Emirates Airline. But more about this later.
When we exit the North Greenwich Tube Station we are greeted by the great dome that is the O2. Music concerts and other events are being held here on a daily basis, and it is even possible to climb to the top. Only for daredevils of course!
We now walk towards the Thames where we can enjoy some lovely views to our left, where the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf loom up in the distance. We also see Emirates Airline: London’s one and only cable car crossing the Thames. Built originally as a commuter service to connect the Greenwich Peninsula with the ExCel Exhibition Centre in the Royal Victoria Dock, it is now used more by tourists than by locals. We have to hold our excitement here, as we will turn right and not take the cable car right now. But more to follow, promised!
Farmopolis – London’s first floating garden
The Greenwich Peninsula and the area leading to Woolwich are quite industrial. But before we explore the wharves, we make a quick stop at recently introduced Farmopolis.
Located on the North Greenwich Jetty we find thousands of plants that were rescued from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, now on display in London’s very first floating garden.
During both of the times I visited the jetty, I must say that some of the plants didn’t look very healthy. On the other hand, the bar, the City views and the events that are being organised here very much making it worth a visit.
Thames Barrier – protecting London
Following the Thames Path eastbound will lead you to wharves, to an ecology park and to a local pub until we finally reach the Thames Barrier. This is the world’s second largest moveable flood barrier and protects a large area of London from flooding. The construction might look a bit funny, but we wouldn’t want to imagine what would happen if we didn’t have the Thames Barrier protecting us! For more information about the barrier and its use, visit the Thames Barrier Information Center a bit further down the road.
Naval and military Woolwich
When you have reached the Thames Barrier, the Thames Path sadly gets interrupted. But don’t worry, because we will re-enter it just a bit further down the route. Before you exit the path, don’t forget to look back as the London skyline looks pretty spectacular from this point!
Simply follow the signs leading you back to the Thames Path. We have now entered Woolwich, a historic naval and military town. The latter becomes clear when we have re-entered the river path and see some threatening cannons looking out over the Thames. If you are interested in this topic, the Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum might be of interest.
If military and history are not really your thing, you can continue to follow the Thames Path. We have now reached the Woolwich Free Ferry which will take us to the other side of the Thames, to North Woolwich. Walk a bit further up however and you can also opt to take one of London foot tunnels underneath the river.
The area we enter now is slightly more rough and even more industrial. This area – also called Silvertown because of the Silver rubber factory that used to be located here – is home to the famous Tate & Lyle Sugar refinery, the Royal Docks and London City Airport.
After exiting the foot tunnel, we turn left and follow the road. A very interesting building that is situated in Silvertown is Brick Lane Music Hall: a unique music hall located in a former Gothic style church. Unfortunately with the construction of the Elizabeth Line on the way, the area suffers a lot from these works and it does not look pretty. Only the top from the Brick Lane Music Hall is visible above large temporary walls that ‘hide’ the construction works.
We now quickly reach the entrance road to City Airport, and not much further to the left there is the Thames Barrier Park. With this walk you have the opportunity to see the barrier from both sides of the river. The park is great for a little rest or a picnic even on sunny days.
When we follow the road, you will see a daunting and slightly creepy building on your right. This is a former flour mill that is called the Millennium Mills. The building is in a severe state of decay. However, this inspired a lot of artists – including Coldplay, The Smiths and the Arctic Monkeys – who filmed their music videos here. The latest we know is that the building will be renovated, so we are curious to see what will happen to it!
Royal Victoria Dock
We are now nearing the end of the walk. But not before we have taken a look in the Royal Victoria Dock, which used to be one of London’s largest industrial docks. Now it is home to the ExCel Exhibition Centre and some very nice looking ships, including the SS Robin. We found that it was also a great spot to film airplanes landing on the nearby London City Airport.
We are almost back to where we started our little walk. But instead of taking a ferry or foot tunnel, this time we will cross the river via the Emirates Airline cable car. Cameras at the ready?
As always, photos and opinions are my very own