While wearing our curiosity-oriented thinking cap the other day, a stray thought struck us. What are the two furthest points from each other within Greater London? We presumed someone else would have already calculated this, but a Google search later left us none the wiser. That's when we decided to grab the cartographic bull by the horns.
After some very scientific measuring including waving a ruler in front of our laptop — see, they do have practical use beyond your schooldays — we found the two most distant points within London. At roughly 58.9km apart, our two spots are... drumroll please... halfway down Fen Lane in North Ockendon (technically in London despite its position outside the Orbital), and a roundabout that connects Heathrow Terminal 5 to to the M25. Exciting, we know.
Here's where the real fun starts: we worked out how long it takes to get between the two of them.
Not for the faint of heart, according to Google Maps. Walking between the two takes a casual 13 hours and 36 minutes. Maybe if you're a particularly speedy strider, you can do it in 13. Still, that doesn't take into account resting, stopping for food or toilet breaks.
At least you can do some sightseeing along the way. The route takes you past: The Royal Albert Hall, Trafalgar Square, along the Embankment and past the Whitechapel Gallery. If you're feeling adventurous you can go to Man vs Food at the Western end of the trip; they let you try your hand/stomach at food challenges, but even they'd be taken aback if you ate there midway through a 65.3km voyage. Yep even though they're only 58.9km apart as the crow flies, following London's roads add another 6.4km to your journey.
Tiny hotel 40 Winks lies at the eastern end, if you're dedicated to the trip but not sure you can quite manage it in one go.
Neither Google Maps nor TfL quite knew what to make of this route at first; we had to calculate it from Heathrow Terminal 5 station and then add on the distance to the roundabout. The maze of windy roads means it's actually a 43-minute walk between the roundabout and the station. However, if you can bring yourself to separate yourself from London for a few minutes, you can walk outside the boundaries to Travelodge Terminal 5 and get a National Express bus to the terminal. This takes a far more reasonable 13 minutes.
From there you've got a number of options. Our calculations show that the fastest will take roughly two hours 18 minutes (dependent on traffic, delays, etc). From Terminal 5 take the Heathrow Express to Paddington. From there it's just three stops on the Bakerloo line to Baker Street. Switch onto the Jubilee line, riding it a solid 12 stops to West Ham. From West Ham take c2c rail all the way to Upminster, in a swift 14-minute section. It might be at this point that you've come to realise this isn't the cheapest London journey you've ever done.
Then take the 370 bus to Home Farm Cottage, London's easternmost bus stop. It's just another 33 minutes away, though you'll have to trek on foot for this final stretch. Eventually you'll get to a stream known as Mar's Dyke that marks the edge of London. Congratulations. You've spent just over two and a half hours doing the longest London journey. Pat yourself on the back.
This one's nearly the exact same route as walking, bar the odd diversion taking into account the rules of London's roads. Clocking in at just under four hours — one minute under to be precise — it's only for those with thighs of steel. We also suggest going from west to east for this one, giving yourself a slight overall downhill gradient on your side (62ft overall).
So this may come as no surprise, but if traffic isn't acting up — which is never guaranteed in London — it takes an hour and six minutes to drive. It's a very simple route around the M25. But that doesn't sound nearly as much fun as any of our other proposals, does it now?
Think you know any longer London journeys (by distance)? Let us know down in the comments. We're humble enough to admit that there might be some faults in our methods.