It all began because I wanted to go on an urban adventure in London. As some of my most loved views come from the bridges that cross the Thames, that gave me an idea……..would it be possible to walk them all in a day? With that, I came up with the concept for the Thames London Bridges walk, or what I’ve now coined the London Bridges Challenge.

The London Bridges Challenge is an epic hike snaking along the Thames, starting in the leafy outer zones and ending in the city centre. I put together this guide so that others wanting to walk all the Thames London bridges can easily follow in my footsteps.

This challenge begins at Hampton Court Bridge, the first bridge on the Thames. Thirty miles later (and with very achy feet), you’ll reach the final bridge of the challenge: Tower Bridge. (Note that there are shorter versions of this route, which I’ll cover below.)

This is a brilliant hike! It is diverse and full of surprises. The bridges are fascinating, each with its own history and character. The route promises endless people-watching and a surprising number of quiet and green spaces.

You pass numerous landmarks. From Battersea Powerstation, Shakespeare Globe to the London Eye. The route finally leads you into the city centre, past South Bank, before finishing by crossing one of the world’s most iconic landmarks.

This is not an easy feat to take on. Pounding 30 miles of concrete paths hurts.

But it is one of my all-time favourite micro-adventures!

London bridges Walk

If this is your first time visiting my blog, I’m Bex Band – a bestselling author, mountain guide and founder of Love Her Wild – the women’s adventure community.

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SUMMARY
Total distance
: 30.1
Number of bridges: 26
Start: Hampton Court Bridge (Hampton Court Station)
Finish: Tower Bridge (Tower Hill Station)
Duration: 10-11 hours

Guided or Self-Guided: London Bridges Challenge

Many people—from large corporate companies to small groups of friends—contact me for advice and help organising their own London Bridges Challenge.

If you are looking for a hiking guide to lead this challenge, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at [email protected]. I’m a qualified guide, and if I can’t lead the walk myself, I can put you in touch with one of my trusted colleagues.

If you want to do the challenge self-guided, I’ve put together a comprehensive pack with everything you need, with a lot more detailed information than I was able to include in this post!

The pack includes planning, training, and preparation tips, printable and downloadable GPX maps, suggested toilet and food breaks, a London Brigdes fact sheet, and a quiz to take along the way. It is perfect for any charity or team-building challenge.

Interested in purchasing a self-guided Thames London Birdges Challenge pack? CLICK HERE

London Bridges Challenge: The Basics!

The rules of the challenge are simple……to hike across all of the pedestrian bridges that cross the Thames River in London, starting at Hampton Court and finishing at Tower Bridge, in a day.

There are thirty-three London Thames Bridges in total. Seven of them are railway only, meaning that twenty-six are accessible to pedestrians.

Here are the bridges in order (bold are railway access only)

  1. Hampton Court Bridge
  2. Kingston Bridge
  3. Kingston Railway Bridge
  4. Teddington Lock Footbridges
  5. Richmond Bridge
  6. Richmond Railway Bridge
  7. Twickenham Bridge
  8. Richmond Lock and Footbridge
  9. Kew Bridge
  10. Kew Railway Bridge
  11. Chiswick Bridge
  12. Barnes Railway Bridge
  13. Hammersmith Bridge
  14. Putney Bridge
  15. Fulham Railway Bridge
  16. Wandsworth Bridge
  17. Battersea Railway Bridge
  18. Battersea Bridge
  19. Albert Bridge
  20. Chelsea Bridge
  21. Grosvenor Bridge
  22. Vauxhall Bridge
  23. Lambeth Bridge
  24. Westminster Bridge
  25. Hungerford Bridge & Golden Jubilee Bridge
  26. Waterloo Bridge
  27. Blackfriars Bridge
  28. Blackfriars Railway Bridge
  29. Millennium Bridge
  30. Southwark Bridge
  31. Cannon Street Railway Bridge
  32. London Bridge
  33. Tower Bridge, from

How many miles is the London Bridges Walk, and how long does it take?

Doing the full distance from Hampton Court Bridge to London Bridge clocks up a total of 30.1 miles. If this distance is too daunting, it’s easy to adapt the route while still taking in the central London bridges (more on that below).

How long this takes to complete depends greatly on your walking speed and how many breaks you take along the way. But completing the challenge in a day is very doable.

When I first did this hike, I completed it in just under 10 hours total. 7.5 hours of this was hiking at a good consistent pace. And 2.5 hours of this was used for breaks and lunch.

London bridges challenge
London bridge Walk

London Bridges Walk: logistics

Logistically, this is a really easy challenge. It’s a safe hike to do solo, as you are never far from help if you get stuck. The start of the route takes you through some quieter sections, but the paths get busier as you near the centre.

At any point, if you get injured or can’t continue, you can simply call a taxi (make sure you download a taxi app to your phone in advance).

I downloaded the route to my phone so I could navigate offline, saving my phone battery. This also meant there were no issues if I found myself in a busy London spot where phone service suddenly slowed. I used an app called Komoot. If you want the route’s downloadable GPX, you get a copy of my London Bridges Challenge pack.

If you are confident of the route, you can use Google Maps to navigate. However, this is definitely more faffy than having the downloaded route on your phone ready to go.

Most of the time you can easily follow the Thames via riverside footpaths (especially as you reach more central London). But there are a few trickier sections where the path next to the Thames ends, and you need to head inwards to navigate around buildings.

The Start and Finish

The challenge starts at Hampton Court Station, which is right next to your first bridge. Doing this hike west to the east means you get to finish in the buzz of central London and with the most iconic bridges.

You can easily get to Hampton Court Station on the overground from Waterloo (changing at Surbiton). Oyster cards are accepted. The station is very close to the first bridge.

Start nice and early to give yourself the best chance of finishing. I began the hike at 7.30am, which got me into Tower Bridge at 5.30pm – the perfect time to grab a celebratory drink and three-course meal before the pubs got too busy. (Then back to the hotel for a hot shower and early night)

The walk ends at Tower Bridge, where you can jump on the tube at Tower Hill Tube Station (on the Circle and District line) to Waterloo or anywhere else in London. The station is just a few minutes walk from the end of the last bridge.

NOTE: For you to start and end on the station side of each bridge, one of the bridges en route needs to be crossed twice (ie, you walk across it and then turn around and come back. Tower Bridge is a huge and busy bridge that you won’t want to cross twice – so make sure you plan for this. More on this below.

Where to take breaks?

There weren’t as many cafes or pubs on the route as I expected, so it’s worth planning ahead for breaks so you don’t get caught out. When you pass a pit stop, make the most of the opportunity and always go to the toilet.

I’ve included a printable London Bridges Walk map with suggestions on the best places to stop for toilet, food, and water breaks in my Thames Bridge Challenge pack.

I decided to take my lunch break in Vauxhall where there’s a conveniently located Pret A Manger. I always like to stop after the halfway mark so I have less miles in front of me than behind.

Because there are few convenient shops or cafes, you must take plenty of snacks with you. Always take more than you think you need. You should also take 2 litres of water, or more if it’s a hot day. You can plan to re-stock your water bottle on your lunch break.

There was no shortage of benches along the way for a quick stop. Although my walk was on an especially frosty day, so I kept these breaks short!

Where to Stay?

If you live outside of London, it might be possible to catch the train home at the end of the hike. (I wouldn’t recommend driving as you’ll end the day with achy legs and probably too exhausted to drive)

I’d recommend staying in London, though, if you can. This means you can start the day nice and early in Hampton Court to give yourself the best chance of taking on the challenge. It also means you can take off the pressure of finishing by a particular time.

For convenience, you will want to stay somewhere close to Tower Bridge. And somewhere that doesn’t involve a lot of walking to get to (trust me…..you are going to be done walking by the end!!!!!).

Here’s what I recommend:

*TIGHT BUDGET*

Park Villa
Price: Starting from £26
This boutique hostel is in Mile End, just 20 minutes on the tube from the end of the London Bridges Challenge (it’s direct by tube, with just a few minutes of walking at the end to reach the hostel). It’s a clean and quiet hostel, and they offer both shared and private rooms.

*BUDGET*

The Tower Hotel
Price: Starting from £161

The Tower Hotel is a 15-minute walk from the end point and is a very fair price for such a good location. You can celebrate your hike with a meal in the on-site restaurant or grab a drink in the bar.

*MID-RANGE*

Leonardo Royal Tower Bridge
Price: Starting from £248

The best thing about Leonardo Royal Tower Bridge is it has a pool! Perfect for soaking those achy legs after your hike. The hotel is a 19 minute walk from the end point (or 13 mins if you use the tube and jump 1 stop).

*I DESERVE TO SPLASH OUT*

Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square
Price: Starting from £870

What can I say about Four Seasons at Trinity Square? Plush, luxurious, excellent views and comes with a spa. You’ve worked hard to reach Tower Bridge….why not treat yourself?!

Map London Thames Bridge Challenge

London Bridges Walk Map – What’s the best route?

For the most part, I snaked along the Thames river, which usually also meant I was taking the shortest route.

There are 2 sections in the earlier part of the hike that I take a direct route from one bridge to the next, rather than following the river. The first is straight after crossing Hampton Court Bridge, the second as we head into Twickenham. This is to cut out unnecessary millage:

Map London Bridge Challenge

If you look closely at the full map above, you will see that on Albert Bridge (the bridge before Battersea Park) I cross the bridge twice, turning back on myself. I did this for a number of reasons.

It meant that I could walk through Battersea Park (which is a nice walk) and could also avoid having to walk the detour around Battersea Power Station in Vauxhall.

It also meant that when I finished the challenge, I would be on the ‘right side’ of Tower Bridge to make jumping on the Tube at Tower Hill convenient. You’ll also find more places for dinner and a celebratory drink on the Tower Hill side.

You could double back on any bridge before Battersea, but Albert is a nice one as it’s short and allows for better views early on in the hike.

How fit do you need to be?

This was a long day of walking 30 miles predominantly on concrete paths. The stairs up and down the bridges were always a welcome break from the gruelling, never-ending flat.

By mile 15, my feet and lower back were sore. The second half was tougher.

If you aren’t a regular long-distance hiker, you’ll want to do some training! I include training tips in my Challenge Pack.

The Thames is a beautiful river with many parks along the way. I liked that it gets busy with tourists and street performers when you reach central London, so there is plenty of distraction for the last push.

A Shorter Version Crossing the Thames London Bridges

This is a very easy route to adapt for a shorter challenge. Really, you can opt to start the route on any bridge, but I’d recommend the following:

HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE – TOWER BRIDGE
Distance: 14 miles

VAUXHALL BRIDGE – TOWER BRIDGE
Distance: 5.5 miles

The great thing about either of these shorter versions is that you still cross all the major iconic central London bridges. And you still get the grand finale of finishing on Tower Bridge!

Putting a spin on the challenge….

If you want to put a spin on doing this challenge you could:

  • Run it instead of walking (after reading this post, Adam decided to take on the epic challenge of running this route)
  • Do it as a relay (each bridge makes a good relay point)
  • Do it at night (when I finished the walk, it was dark – I loved seeing the city centre all lit up at night)
  • Or bringing the same concept – all-the-bridges walk – to a different city?

The London Bridges Hiking Challenge….a Comprehensive Pack:

I’ve put together a comprehensive pack to make taking on this Thames bridge walk as easy and fun as possible. This is intended as a self-guided adventure with everything you need, including maps and even a fun quiz to do along the way.

As part of the package, I will be on hand to answer any questions or worries you have in the build-up to taking on the challenge:

Options:

Individual Hikers – Solo hikers and small groups of friends
Charity Challenge – Organised charity challenges and charity corporate groups
Corporate Teams – Team building events and workplace challenges

Pack include:

  • Planning and preparation pack
  • Training Advice
  • Maps (printable and downloadable GPX)
  • Bridge Fact Sheet
  • London Bridges Quiz

If you do decide to do the London Thames bridge walk, I’d LOVE to hear how you get on – drop me a line or tag me in your social media posts (I’m on Facebook and Instagram). Or let me know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to find out what my next adventure will be!

Thanks for reading and GOOD LUCK taking on those 26 Thames bridges!!!

22 thoughts on “London Bridges Walk // Complete Guide + Map [2024]

  1. Hi Bex, what a great challenge! I can imagine the sore feet and lower back ache. I did a similar thing on New Year’s Eve 2016 – I walked from Eastbourne to Brighton overnight. That was only 26 miles but it was very up and down. I admire your tenacity!

    1. “only 26 miles”!!! That sounds epic and such a cool way to celebrate the new year. I like it!!
      Thank you Julia 🙂 x

  2. I love absolutely everything about this. What a wonderful challenge and Ive already sent this to several friends as a suggestion for the next time I’m down in London. We need a hashtag #bexbandbridgechallenge !!

    1. Amazing. I hope you do it too!! I’m also thinking of organising it again but doing it at night and will invite people to join me (I’d much prefer company next time!). I used #LondonBridgeChallenge ……no way I’m important enough to have my name in there 🙂 xx

  3. This is great! Thanks for the detailed rundown. Doing this walk over Christmas with the hubby and will # the hell out of it! x

    1. Amazing!! Good luck….Christmas is a great time to do the walk as you’ll get to see all the lights!

  4. Great post, what an achievement. We are hoping to do this in September so it’s so interesting to read about your experience and see the route you took. Such a great thing to do.

  5. I hope to achieve this in 2021. Hopefully international travel will be up and running.

  6. I just visited couple of bridges yesterday and planned to do a walk some and here I found your inspirational blog.
    Thanks a ton, this is really helpful. I m planning to do one soon.

  7. I’ve done organised London bridges walks a few times for a local charity about 10 years ago and keep saying I’d love to do them again.

    Thanks for sharing this. If you do another one, I’d love to tag along.

    1. Thank you Sheila! Make sure you join the Love Her Wild community online – if I do it again that’s where I’ll invite others to join me.

  8. How inspiring! Thank you for sharing this. I’m planning a shorter walk, probably about 15 miles. But I cant decide from where to where! Any hints and tips?

  9. Hi Bex- we finished the London Bridges walk yesterday. Was an amazing way to be outside and socialising despite the rising covid levels in London, and beautiful crisp December weather meant we stopped in lots of pub gardens for a pint 🙂 thanks so much for the recommendation

    1. Amazing!! Thank you for letting me know – sounds like you got the perfect balance of pubs/walking. Congratulations! 🙂

  10. Hi, we are Adapt Prembabies a Leicestershir based charity that supports families with premature and poorly babies, we are completely self funded and one of our fundraisers is an annual walk. We have just come across your 30 mile trek and love it, have to say we wouldnt want to do anything that arduous though as may put people off taking part. You said youd love to do it again but with others, do you fancy joining us? Anyway, we will have a proper look at the route and my take your advice with starting further down and doing 15 miles. Any advice? Thank you

    Look forward to hearing back from you.

    Lindsay
    [email protected]
    http://www.prembabies.co.uk

    1. What a great cause – it definitely sounds like the 15 mile route is the best option for you.
      It’s not the right time for me as I’m on maternity, but I wish you lots of luck. Let me know how you get on 🙂

  11. Great guide, thank you. We will be taking part in a bridge walk next month so this was a really interesting read. 🙂
    Have a great day!

  12. Hi I am looking to do this with a group of friends. With regard to the £30 pack does this include details of where you can grab a coffee/cafes nearby on route/toilet facilities? Just looking for those sort of things so wanted to check! We will probably do a shorter route from Battersea to Tower Bridge. Thanks

    1. Great to hear you are keen to do the London Bridge Challenge Lucy!

      The pack includes a map with suggestions on cafes and toilet stops. And is very easy to adapt if you’d like to do a shorter route. Battersea is a good option 🙂

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

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