10 London Walking Tour Books You Need On Your Shelf

10 London Walking Tour Books You Need On Your Shelf
London's Hidden Rivers, David Fathers

There's nothing better than a jaunt around London, to discover some of the city's beauty and history. Many love a tour guide to shepherd them about, but this isn't always for everyone.

For those who prefer to see London at their own pace, check out this list of first-rate walking tour books that will open your eyes to a city you never knew.

1. London's Hidden Walks, Stephen Millar

This box set of three volumes is a tried and tested favourite. The books are small enough to fit in your bag or carry comfortably in your hand as you follow the maps included. If you decide to veer from the suggested path, it's easy to rejoin at a later point and find your place amongst the fact-filled pages. Buy together or individually.

2. London's Blue Plaques, English Heritage

Blue plaques high up on the outer walls of buildings tease us with a tiny amount of information about the people who were born, lived, stayed, died, or did something extraordinary there. This book is a fantastic way to find out more about the people celebrated by over 900 plaques all over the city and bring home the fact that you are walking down the same streets that they once did.

3. London Pub Walks, Bob Steel

Next time you're planning a pub crawl, keep this book in mind and enlighten your drinking buddies with a little local knowledge as you follow the routes to some of London's best pubs. A favourite with connoisseurs of real ale, you may find yourself in that pub you've walked past 100 times and always meant to try and discover your new favourite watering hole.

4. London Walks: London Stories, David Tucker

If you love history and enjoy walking tour books, but find that they never have quite enough background and detail, then London Stories may very well be the book for you. The information is much more in depth than other books in our list, set out in a series of mini essays rather than points along a map. The lack of maps might be a hindrance to some, but the author gives suggestions of where to situate and engross yourself in each section.

5. Runner's Guide to London, Hayden Shearman

It's time to pick up the pace. Luckily the facts in this book are short and to the point because you'll be flying past them with this tour especially made for people looking for a good run through the city. Great for people trying to change from the same old running route, with much needed detail about encountering traffic, the terrain, and where to make a loo stop.

6. 33 Walks in London That You Shouldn't Miss, Nicola Perry

This photo-rich tour book gives walkers a great taste of London with fascinating tidbits, and even suggests the best time in the week to do each route. This means you won't miss out by choosing a walk that incorporates a fabulous market which — whoops, isn't on the day you picked to visit. The author's voice really comes through as Nicola Perry makes doubly sure you don't miss out on her top picks, even if they stray a little from the direct route.

7. London's Hidden Rivers, David Fathers

A veritable king of London walks, David Fathers produced this walking tour book to compliment his earlier volumes London's Thames Pathway and The Regent's Canal. Unlike these books which are one long walk broken up into sections that can be done a piece at a time, Hidden Rivers is intended to be walked from the source of each river (in most cases) ending up at the Thames — although they can be done in reverse. The illustrations on each double page spread are magnificent, and the book is a handy size for carrying with you as you go.

8. Thames Path in London, Phoebe Clapham

If you've walked the Thames Path before, you'll see it with fresh eyes with this book which covers the 50 mile walk from Hampton Court to Crayford Ness. Don't worry, you don't need to do all 50 miles in one go (though props to anyone who tries). Of course, by walking the Thames you're usually on one bank or the other, but you need not fear that you're missing out on something important as the book generously describes both sides, so read ahead to see which bridges you should cross over.

9. City Walks Deck: London, Christina Henry de Tessan

If you've only got time for a quick jaunt around London, then the City Walks Deck of 50 cards could be right up your alley. These shorter walks are captured on individual cards with a map on one side and the self-guided tour on the back. Not quite small enough to fit in your pocket, but certainly a lighter version to carrying a book around with you. Many of the walks are based on places to eat and drink, so its a natural pick for foodies.

10. Walking London, Andrew Duncan

Ending the list on a great all-rounder, this self-guided walking tour book has it all — easy to follow maps, lots of historical information, refreshment recommendations and great photography. We challenge you to pick an area you think you know like the back of your hand, and then be amazed when you follow this book's route through it.

Do you have any personal recommendations? Let us know in the comments below.

See also: Free App Explores Hatton Garden, London's Diamond Street and App Review: Soho Stories

Last Updated 04 July 2017

Geoff Lumley

Though it's not yet in print form, I have written a book of walks from outer zone stations through the countryside around London. There is one free walk and a description of all of them at www.geofflumley.org.uk/Oyst... Other walks are 99p each or £5.99 for all twelve.