When living in central London it can be difficult to remember that it’s quite a hilly city, and a new guidebook to the hills of London has been written showing off the best spots to get vistas of the London skyline.
London is nominatively a city of hills though, with Muswell Hill, Shooters Hill, One Tree Hill, and many you might not realise are hills, at least they are compared to their surroundings, such as right in the heart of the City at Ludgate Hill or Garlick Hill.
This new guide to London’s Hills, written by Caroline Buckland, Hillwalking London provides ten routes, all around Greater London with helpful tips to get to the best vantage points.
Along the way, you’ll meet the Seven Hills of Croydon; the Sewardstone Hills north of Chingford; the string of former telegraph stations stretching from New Cross Gate across to Forest Hill, as well as familiar ascents like Hampstead Heath, Greenwich Park and Richmond Hill.
It’s quite an easy book to follow, with helpful maps and tips about crossing roads, local eateries and bus services to get back to the tube station at the start of walks if you want to cut a trip short part of the way along.
There are a lot of candid descriptions of the less idyllic stretches, as you’re never that far from a busy road in London, and the description of the concreted canal in Lewisham as the lowest point in that walk may have been a reference to its height or appearance. You can decide on that.
There are also a number of literary diversions in the book, darting off to the history of Croydon’s seven hills, water towers, lost hills, notable people and artificial hills.
As with any walking guide, they tend to appeal to people who want to follow a set path to a pre-determined location, whereas I am more of an ambler around town. That is more relaxed, but I wonder now how many vantage points I’ve accidentally missed on my perambulations because I didn’t know there was one a few hundred yards off from where I was walking.
As such, this could be seen as a walker’s guide for routes to follow, or a handy book to pull out when visiting an area to see if there’s a local vantage point to keep an eye out for.
There are ten walks to follow, or you can mix and match to fit in with where you end up on the day.