If you’re like us, even the most basic of activities like going for a walk need to be planned around food. So, we find that a happy medium is to stuff yourself full of food and drink, and then go for a lovely walk afterwards to make you feel better about the ‘stuffing your face’ bit. And going for a walk counts as exercise, right? We call this beautiful harmony of activities pub walks, and we recommend making them a regular part of your routine.
You may think that most London pub walks consist of playing a game of dodgems on Oxford Street, or walking between platforms at a tube station, but there are in fact a number of lovely walks in London which often let you escape the hustle and bustle of the city. From Hampstead Heath, to Wimbledon Common, you’ll be surprised by how short a distance you actually need to go before you can only see grass and trees in every direction.
The good news is that a number of our favourite London pubs happen to be just a stone’s throw from these beautiful areas for walking, meaning that it’s incredibly easy to combine the two activities into one wholesome day out. Whether you’re wanting a big old Sunday roast followed by a little stroll, or a longer walk with a pint and a snack as a reward at the end, there are loads of different pubs and areas to pick from. However, because we know this sort of thing can require a bit of planning, below we’ve rounded up some of London’s best pubs with nice strolls near them to give you a quick answer the next time you find yourself questioning, 'where can I find nice pub walks near me?'. Maybe bring a brolly though as it’s Britain so we can’t promise it won’t rain…
The Spaniard's Inn, Hampstead
Why: Dating back to 1585, it is said that the garden of The Spaniards Inn is where John Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale, meaning that it is a pub steeped in history. Located right on the edge of the North side of Hampstead Heath it’s also an ideal place to either start or end a walk with numerous different paths to choose from, but if you don’t want to go too far we’d suggest going around the edge of the nearby Wood Pond.
Where: Spaniards Road, NW3 7JJ
The Cleveland Arms, Bayswater
Why: Based just around the corner from Paddington station in Bayswater, you may be wondering where the nice walk part comes into play with The Cleveland Arms. However, if you walk just a few minutes down the road, you’re on the edge of Kensington Gardens which is the perfect place to go for a wander after one of their amazing roasts. Head in through the Italian Gardens entrance and walk alongside the Serpentine and around into Hyde Park, and very quickly you’ll feel miles away from the busyness of the city.
Where: 28 Chilworth Street, W2 6DT
The Plaquemine Lock, Angel
Why: Over in Angel, The Plaquemine Lock offers a fun menu of Louisiana-style food – think shrimps, grits and cornbread – all in a traditional British pub setting. Whilst it isn’t near any big parks or green spaces, if you cross over the small bridge opposite the pub after your meal, you can find your way down to the canal-side towpath. There, you can walk alongside the Regent’s Canal for miles and miles, all the way to Hackney and Mile End if you so wish. There are also a few lovely coffee shops en route too, if you want to take a break!
Where: 139 Graham Street, N1 8LB
The Old Ship, Richmond
Why: At 2500 acres, Richmond Park is the biggest of London’s Royal Parks and is home to plenty of wildlife, including deer. This makes it an amazing place to go for a walk and what’s even better is that a lovely pub called The Old Ship is perfectly positioned nearby. There’s a trail which goes the whole way around the park called the Tasmin Trail and if you leave it at Sawyer’s Hill, you’ll be just a few minutes away from this lovely pub. Serving a mean fish and chips and a great selection of beers, it’s the perfect place to refuel.
Where: 3 King Street, TW9 1ND
The Marquess Tavern, Islington
Why: Just off the Essex Road, The Marquess Tavern is a pub bursting with character, from its huge white façade to its cute beer garden at the back, and it also has a decent food menu which mixes pub classics with some more refined cookery. However, just a minute or so from the door of the pub is the start of the New River Walk – a stretch of woodland lined pathways which hug the river and make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Where better to escape after a few pints?
Where: 32 Canonbury Street, N1 2TB
The Flask, Highgate
Why: If you’re wanting a slightly less traditional sort of walk, then a wander through Highgate Cemetery could be the one for you. As spooky as it may sound, it actually contains some incredibly impressive architecture and features a number of ivy-covered ancient tombs. You can then warm yourself up in The Flask just around the corner, a lovely 17th century pub with a large open fire, an appealing food menu, and a nice courtyard area too. You could even head over to Highgate Wood after stopping off at the pub, for a further walk.
Where: 77 Highgate West Hill, N6 6BU
The Warwick Castle, Warwick Avenue
Why: Serving an extensive menu of crowd-pleasing dishes as well as a cracking roast on a Sunday, The Warwick Castle is a favourite amongst locals. However, the extra bonus of this pub is that it’s based right in the heart of Little Venice meaning that after your food or drinks, you can go for a gorgeous stroll down the beautiful section of tow path. It doesn’t matter what time of year you go, this walk is always both beautiful and wonderfully tranquil.
Where: 6 Warwick Place, W9 2PX
People's Park Tavern, Hackney
Why: The People's Park Tavern in Hackney literally backs right onto Victoria Park. This means that once you’ve spent some time in one of London’s biggest beer gardens drinking one of their beers brewed onsite, and tucking into one of their burgers, you can leave through the gate of the beer garden and begin your walk immediately. Depending on how far you want to go, a walk around the entire perimeter of Victoria Park is just under 3 miles.
Where: 360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT
The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
Why: Famous for its multi-level beer garden and being the ultimate pub for watching rugby matches (the clue is in the name), what you might not know about The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park is that it also has the start of an amazing walk on its doorstep. The Parkland Walk, which follows an old railway line, starts a few minutes’ walk away from the pub and stretches for four and a half miles all the way to Highgate. Alternatively, you could start in Highgate and end up at the Faltering Fullback for a pint – the choice is yours!
Where: 19 Perth Road, N4 3HB
The Pembroke Castle, Primrose Hill
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Why: Another pub with ‘castle’ in its name, and another beautiful walk to match; The Pembroke Castle sits just over the bridge from Chalk Farm and serves a wonderful selection of beers, as well as benefitting from a lovely little beer garden. However, the biggest perk of this pub is the fact that it’s a matter of minutes away from Primrose Hill, meaning that after visiting you can go for a wander there and you can even time your walk so that it finishes with an amazing view of the sun setting.
Where: 150 Gloucester Avenue, NW1 8JA
The Prince Albert, Battersea
Why: Sat right opposite one of the entrances to Battersea Park, The Prince Albert is another pub with a beautiful walking spot right on its doorstep. With a food menu full of classic pub grub and a good choice of drinks available, it’s a great place to get cosy and slowly stuff yourself with food. Then, you can waddle your way around the beautiful Battersea Park to make yourself feel a little less guilty about the huge amount of food and drink you’ve just consumed.
Where: 85 Albert Bridge Road, SW11 4PF
The Crooked Billet, Wimbledon
Why: Based in the charming setting of Wimbledon village, The Crooked Billet is a homely pub which serves a range of warming dishes. The cosiness of the pub is further complemented by a roaring fire during winter and the incredibly friendly service. This makes it the ideal place to end up after a long walk around Wimbledon Common which is just around the corner from the Crooked Billet. Alternatively, you can start at the pub for a meal and then walk up towards Putney through the Common.
Where: 14-15 Crooked Billet, SW19 4RQ
Looking for a pub which does particulalry special food? Check out our list of London's best gastropubs.