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My Trip Across the City: A Self-Guided Walking Tour Through London

November 18, 2022
by Kathleen Gorman

This semester while studying abroad in London, I am living in the Whitechapel neighborhood right near the Aldgate East Tube stop. Although I normally commute on the Tube to the CEA CAPA Center for my classes, today I had the idea to walk from my flat to CEA CAPA. This way, I would be able to see all the sites I miss while commuting on the Underground, but also get my exercise in for the day! I have always loved walking and spending time outside, so I was excited to take on this challenge.

From my flat in Whitechapel to CEA CAPA, it takes about 5.2 miles, which is about two hours of walking. I mapped out my path with many stops to see some of London's most well-known landmarks, so the mileage to CEA CAPA didn't seem too intimidating of a number. One of my roommates also decided to come with me, so we woke up, got our coffee, and set off on our walking journey to CEA CAPA.

Stop #1: Tower Bridge

Our first stop was Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge, located about a half mile from my flat, runs over the River Thames and is 800 feet long. The area surrounding Tower Bridge is very cute, with lots of food trucks, restaurants, and green space. What I also love about this bridge is it lights up and changes colors at night! When first coming to London and hearing about the Queen's passing, the bridge was lit up purple at night to honor her.

Tower Bridge opening for boats to pass through
Tower Bridge opening for boats to pass through.

Stop #2: St Paul's Cathedral

We were then off to St Paul's Cathedral. I enjoyed this part of the walk the most, because on our way there we walked right along the River Thames. It was a very sunny and not too chilly of a day out, and given that it was on the earlier side of the morning, it was pretty quiet as well. Definitely a nice start to the morning!

St Paul's is located in the heart of the City of London, and it was beautiful! All the details along the sides of the cathedral, up the columns, and on every inch of the statues on and surrounding the area made it breathtaking to look at. While we were walking by, there were lots of food trucks coming to set up for a music festival they were having in the area later in the day as well. Many people were sitting outside and on the steps, reading, reflecting, and resting.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral.

Stop #3: Trafalgar Square

Next we were off to Trafalgar Square. This is the halfway point between my flat and CEA CAPA, and the spot where we were meeting another one of our flatmates! While walking the mile over there, we happened to stumble into a few stores and a donut shop for a quick snack. This "incident" was unplanned, but none of us were surprised that we stopped here, given this happens quite often when we walk and it was definitely still enjoyable! Trafalgar Square was definitely the most crowded area we walked through that day. Given that Trafalgar Square is surrounded by museums, galleries (The National Gallery being one of them!) statues, fountains, and historic buildings, this comes as no surprise.

Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square
Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.
The fountain outside of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square
The fountain outside of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.

Stop #4: Parks and Green Spaces

After walking around Trafalgar Square, we were off to The Mall, St James's Park, Green Park, and Hyde Park. It was a beautiful fall day in London, and The Mall and these parks reflected just that. When walking down The Mall, you also get a perfect view of Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial. What I thought was interesting when walking through all the parks and down the Mall was how quiet it was. When walking in similar spaces back home in the US, I would typically hear kids screaming or see them running around, but this was just the opposite. It was a very peaceful and calm environment with lots of people sitting, eating their lunches, and reading.

The Mall
The view while walking down The Mall.
Hyde Park
Walking through Hyde Park.

Stop #5: Royal Albert Hall and The Albert Memorial

We then were off to our final destination before arriving at the CEA CAPA Center. Our last stop was Royal Albert Hall and The Albert Memorial. While walking there, it started to rain a bit, which meant our leisurely pace started to turn into a speedwalk and mini sprint to take cover. Once getting there, we took a quick peek and then were off to CEA CAPA-our ending spot!

Royal Albert Hall
Our last stop at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Albert Memorial
The Albert Memorial across from Royal Albert Hall.

Final Destination: CEA CAPA London Center!

Once arriving at CEA CAPA, we immediately sat on the steps to take a deep breath because by this time our bodies were exhausted and we were starving. This now called for a much-needed lunch and coffee break!

In the end, with a few pit stops for coffee, pictures, and some spontaneous shopping trips, it ended up being about eight miles and a four-and-a-half-hour trip. Overall I really enjoyed the experience walking around London with my friends and seeing all the sights I miss while commuting on the Tube. Definitely a Saturday morning well spent!

Kathleen Gorman is the Content Creator - Blogger.
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