I'm very fond of the London Loop1. Sure, it's a recreational path rather than a proper long-distance walk and an awful lot of the trail plods through suburbia, but the Loop has a definite charm. I've lived in and around London since 1991 and I've spent ages wandering up and down the Thames and exploring the city, but the London Loop introduced me to the capital's suburban surroundings and the lush countryside on the edge of town.
Not only is the Loop a great walk that's full of variety and fascinating history, it's been designed to be really easy to reach. The Loop is split up into 15 day walks, ranging from 7.25 to 11.75 miles, and all of the start and end points lie within travelcard zone 6, which helps keep the costs of transport right down. For those living in London the Loop is therefore perfect for tackling in stages, and although it's obviously possible to do the whole Loop in one go, it's just as rewarding to spread it over the different seasons.
It's surprising just how much greenery there is out there. London's Green Belt forms a ring around the capital, and the Loop traces the edge of the conurbation to take in some wonderful scenery. On most Loop walks you'll reach a point where you could be anywhere in the country and London seems a world away, but round the next corner you'll effortlessly slip back into the suburbs. The Loop takes in all sorts of different terrains, from rolling hills to royal parks and canals to concrete jungles, and while some parts are grotty and others palatial, as a whole the walk is a treat.
If you want to discover more about London and have had enough of the tourist attractions in town, I thoroughly recommend the Loop. It's a delight.
1 Technically this walk is called the LOOP, which stands for the London Outer Orbital Path, but too many capital letters make my eyes swim, so I'm going to stick with the more readable 'Loop'.