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Discover London’s hidden green spaces — Capital Ring

Tom Mrazek (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Discover London’s hidden green spaces — Capital Ring

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson

5

Tours

32:30 h

77.2 mi

3,100 ft

The Capital Ring is a circular hike around London that crosses the city's leafiest suburbs and explores some of its most prized parks, woodlands, marshlands, lakes, reservoirs and wildlife-rich nature reserves.

Whilst London might be perceived as a vast urban landscape, this hike shows just how much green and semi-rural space is hidden amid the ancient streets; affording a wonderfully-fresh perspective on England's capital city.

Starting and finishing at the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, the 77-mile (124 km) loop encircles inner and central London, taking in the city's best scenery, many historic places, plus some of London's most enchanting viewpoints.

The walking is leisurely throughout. Whilst there are hills, they are gentle and the trail is generally flat, well-maintained and well-signposted. Whilst there are significant sections on hard surfaces, there is a good proportion of walking on more natural terrain.

The Capital Ring is split into 15 short sections by Transport for London (TfL). However, in this Collection, I combine three TFL sections per stage; making for five stages of between 12.5 and 17.6 miles (20.1 - 28.3 km).

Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation. Public transport links are excellent throughout and accommodation is abundant. There is nothing to stop you from walking the route counterclockwise either.

King George V tube station is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from the start of the hike. From the station, you can access the full London Underground network, taking you to any train station or coach station you require with ease.

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Capital Ring

77.2 mi

2,950 ft

2,950 ft

Last updated: October 10, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Woolwich Foot Tunnel to Crystal Palace — Capital Ring

    Difficult
    07:09
    16.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    800 ft
    675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage of the Capital Ring explores the South East London Green Chain; a linked system of open spaces between the River Thames and Crystal Palace.

    

    You begin by crossing underneath the Thames via Woolwich Foot Tunnel and emerge on the south bank near the mighty Thames Barrier. Follow the river

    by Dan Hobson

    View
  • Difficult
    07:29
    17.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    850 ft
    950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage takes you into a landscape where herds of deer skip through ancient woodland and wildlife-rich grasslands thrive.

    

    You begin by exploring Crystal Palace Park, a Victorian parkland that boasts one of the largest mazes in the country, a farm, boating lake and more. Next, continue along residential

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:36
    13.3 mi
    2.4 mph
    700 ft
    350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Spellbinding city views, wildlife sanctuaries and tranquil walking all combine on this hike, which brings you to the historic borough of Harrow on the Hill.

    

    Right at the start of the route, it’s well worth an extension to see Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to 50,000 different species

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    07:10
    17.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    650 ft
    925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage takes you right across North London through an array of parks and nature reserves.

    

    From Harrow on the Hill, you drop into school playing fields, cross Preston Park and continue along residential streets to Fryent Country Park. A designated nature reserve, Fryent is home to more than 80 species

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:05
    12.5 mi
    2.5 mph
    125 ft
    200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final stage takes you back to a time when the Thames Valley was not a vast urban metropolis but a place of gentle grasslands, woodlands and marshlands.

    

    You start along Stoke Newington Church Street and soon enter Abney Park, one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ garden cemeteries of London. In the park

    by Dan Hobson

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    77.2 mi
  • Duration
    32:30 h
  • Elevation
    3,100 ft

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