With the Olympics in town the streets of London are deserted. A great time, says Kathryn the Trip Stylist, to discover this great metropolis by foot
One of the unexpected side-effects of the Olympics in London has been the huge drop in traffic on the city's usually crowded and busy roads. Walking the streets of the once-teeming metropolis has become an unexpected joy.
Kathryn, the Trip Stylist,creator of a set of bespoke London walks, tells Peter Moore that there hasn't been a better time to put on a pair of comfy shoes and explore London's hidden corners.
What makes a good walking tour in London?
Good planning! Useful information that takes the hassle out of organising your walk, combined with interesting and informative details about the places you visit. And throwing in a few surprises along the way – things you might not have found or seen otherwise.
What are your favourite parts of London?
I love Marylebone and Primrose Hill – a tranquil, greener side of London that many visitors don’t see. It's a great escape when city life gets a bit overwhelming. A stroll through Regents Park and up to Primrose Hill would cheer anyone up!
What is the most surprising thing you have discovered in London?
Postman’s Park – one of the City’s many hidden little gardens. It's an amazing memorial to heroic self-sacrifice and well worth checking out.
What should visitors avoid while they are in London?
I do get a bit sad when I see hordes of tourists queuing outside Madame Tussauds and London Dungeons on a beautiful sunny day.... There’s so much of real London to see just around the corner from each of them!
What is London’s best kept secret?
London’s neighbourhoods are definitely overlooked by tourists – venture out to zones 2 or 3 and you can find some great places without the crowds. Brixton’s great foodie scene, parks and river walks in Richmond, Dalston’s bars and nightlife.
Why did you create The Trip Stylist?
I love London and discovering its hidden corners so I figured why not create easy-to-follow walks that help people get off the beaten track and discover new places, see things they might not have found otherwise? Each walk includes maps and step-by-step walking route, great recommendations on where to stop for coffee, lunch, dinner etc and interesting facts along the way.
How are your walking guides developed?
The walks are designed by area so I started by choosing the areas I knew the best. I’ve gradually added walks over the last few months so I now have 11 London walks available to download.
I wanted to be able to combine visiting popular tourist sights with lesser known places – for example the “East End Sunday” walk which visits the Columbia Road market and Brick Lane and also detours via fascinating Arnold Circus, lesser known Broadway market and a farm – places visitors (and many Londoners) would probably never visit, despite them being very close to major tourist destinations.
For each walk I plan out the route, add in refreshment breaks along the way, research the destinations and then draw the maps – and then design the PDFs.
Are they themed, say for people with interests in food, pubs, parks etc?
They aren’t themed by interest as such, rather by area. But in the overview I highlight what type of people they are “good for” – so the “To The Tower” walk visits Borough market and Maltby Street market so is great for foodies.
Have you created any specific walks for the Olympics?
I have teamed up with Sales Gossip to create a series of London shopping walks for people coming to the Olympics who want to see some of London as well as the sporting action. They are guides to London’s best shopping areas, highlighting favourite shops and sights in the area.
Where would you suggest visitors go in London during the Olympics?
The Southbank is a great summer destination – there’s always lots of outdoor entertainment and you can see many of London’s iconic sights by taking a stroll from Westminster Bridge to London Bridge. There is also loads of free entertainment along the river during the summer – theatre, music, acrobatics – you name it!
Or escape the hustle and bustle for a while, grab a picnic and enjoy the sunshine (fingers crossed) by visiting one or two of London’s Royal Parks – St James’s Park and Regent’s Park are my favourites.
As Trip Stylist, Kathryn creates self-guided London walks that combine hidden gems and great places to eat and drink with more popular London sights. Her special Olympic walks can be found at Sales Gossip.
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