An urban hike along the Parkland Walk

The glorious bank holiday weekend weather gave us the perfect excuse to get outside and do one of our favourite things – explore the capital.  We’re always on the look out for outdoor adventures in the city, so when a colleague of mine talked about the Parkland Walk in north London, we knew we had to give it a try.  So, with a picnic, lots of water and sun tan lotion, we headed to Alexandra Palace to see what it was like.

I can’t remember visiting Ally Pally before, so we had a little wander around the grounds admiring the incredible views of the capital.

It wasn’t long before the sun got a bit too much for us, so we sought out some shade in the opening stretches of the walk.  It was much more comfortable under the leaf canopy, and the children found enough energy to run off ahead.

Considering that we were in zone 3, it was amazing how quickly it felt like we were in the countryside.  It was so quiet and there were long stretches where the woodland was dense enough that you couldn’t see any buildings or roads.

The children loved finding a rope swing in the trees.

It was one of the longest walks we’ve attempted with the kids – over 8.5km – and with the weather so hot, we took every opportunity we could to stop for drinks, snacks and ice creams.  We had to stop at the cute little Queen’s Wood Cafe, tucked away in the ancient woodland.

As we were enjoying a cool drink, the children explored their little rope bridge challenge!

From this point, we joined the capital ring path and encouraged the children to keep us on track by following the little signs.

Along the way, we found a pretty pond and watched the pondskaters on the surface…

…and enjoyed a spot of den building!

How grown up does this boy look?!

Soon we were back on the path, heading into Highgate and towards a bat cave!  These old tunnels used to lead to Highgate station, but now are home to the local bat population (who were thankfully snoozing when we were close by).

The final 1.7 miles of our walk were brilliantly mapped out like the London overground railway – and featured plenty of evidence of the long-vanished railway tracks that were once here, like old platforms!

I think this duo have quite long to wait for a train!

They loved clambering on the platforms and walls.  As we got closer to central London, the views became more urban.

There were several graffiti artists (vandals?!) hard at work along the way adding to the urban artwork – and I must admit, I rather liked the colours all over the old brickwork.  Check out this sculpture peering out of the bridge:

It was such a lovely walk – incredible at how green and peaceful much of the route was given where we were.

It had been a long walk in the very hot sunshine, so everyone was pleased to arrive in Finsbury Park and the tube station!  We stopped in at Granary Square in St Pancras on the way home to cool off in the fountains – the perfect end to our excellent city day.

3 thoughts on “An urban hike along the Parkland Walk

  1. You are such a great example of how to have fun with kids in London. I remember Ally Pally from our South East days and it’s commanding position up on the hill but I don’t remember those lovely paths and walks. The kids did so well walking that far, I’m sure mine would have winged even now! The old railway line reminds me of the Camel Trail here, plenty to see to distract from the walking!

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids


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