At 215 miles in length, the river Thames is the longest river in England. Running alongside it for 184 miles, is the Thames Path, a long distance walking trail. Today I’m going to tell you about one of my favourite sections. Covering just 2 mile, this walk takes you through Battersea park riverside, along Chelsea Embankment and across two beautiful bridges. Chelsea Bridge and Albert Bridge.
It’s a short walk, making it perfect for a little Sunday afternoon stroll. At one end you have a pub, and at the other, you have a more modern arrangement of restaurants and cafes.
As it is a circular walk, it doesn’t really matter where you start, but let’s say you start at Chelsea Bridge because that is nearest to train links.
I use the word nearest loosely as Battersea is known for being a bit off the grid, in that it doesn’t have the London underground (yet). The nearest tube is Chelsea, or alternatively Queenstown Road and Battersea Park overground stations. If you are being
I’m not even joking.
Oh, and one more thing. I went back to do this walk so I could track it and get some photos, but I started from a different point to which I’m describing. I have also used some photos taken on another day. As such you will notice the sun is setting in some photos then next thing it becomes daytime again. Ignore that. In reality, the sun will not set, then rise as it seems to do in the timeline.
I will give more detailed instructions on how to get here at the end.
Chelsea Bridge walk
Starting at Chelsea Bridge,
This is the second Chelsea Bridge. The first one,
I actually used to live in the building next to Chelsea Bridge, and once a week there would be hoards of motorcyclists gathered here. I never thought anything of it, they were just always there. Well, my friends, I have just for the first time looked into it. Why it took me over a decade to ask ‘why’, I don’t know.
So, the tradition started in the early
Chelsea Embankment walk
Once over the bridge turn left to walk along Chelsea Embankment. At present there are road works on a small part of it, but once past those you will get a feel for the poshness of the area. The borough of Kensington and Chelsea is known as the poshest neighbourhood of London, with some of the most expensive residential streets in England.
Walking along Chelsea Embankment you will walk past Cheyne
Fun fact: This used to be a very stinky area, then in 1874 the embankment was built to cover sewer system.
Walking along the Chelsea Embankment, there are a number of benches if you wish to rest and admire the view across the river of the green of Battersea Park and the peace pagoda (more on that later).
You might even catch some people kayaking along the river. I didn’t know this was a thing until I saw it. I immediately looked it up and (some time later) booked myself on a tour to kayak on the River Thames right up to Big Ben and the London Eye.
Painted baby pink, blue and green and lit up with 4000 (low energy) light bulbs at night, I would argue that it is the prettiest bridge in London.
I find Albert Bridge quite peaceful, leading from the immaculate Chelsea Embankment to the green of Battersea Park, it is one of the least car traffic heavy bridges in central London. But there is a reason for that….
It has earned the nickname ‘the trembling lady’, because, well, it’s a bit shakey. I walk or cycle across this bridge almost every day and I can confirm that fact.
Measures have been put in place to restrict the size and number of vehicles that can cross it, you know, so it doesn’t collapse.
With its proximity to the (now closed) Chelsea Barracks, signs were put in place to warn troops to break step when marching across the bridge.
Built in the 1800’s, Albert Bridge was originally a toll bridge, however, this only lasted a few years as many people contested it. The tollbooths remain in place and are now the only surviving bridge tollbooths in London.
I mentioned earlier that this is my favourite bridge, more so than the famous Tower Bridge, well, interesting fact, these two bridges are the only two original road bridges in central London. All the others have been replaced.
Just like Chelsea Bridge, it is grade II listed.
Once over the bridge, you have the Prince Albert pub. A very traditionally English gastropub, here you can stop for a drink or maybe Sunday Lunch.
Battersea Park walk
Turning into Battersea Park, keeping left, you will be walking along the riverside promenade. Now, I have to say, Battersea Park is my
I could talk a lot about all the things Battersea park has to offer, but that’s a story for another blog post. For now, we will focus on the promenade. A well kept path, running alongside the River Thames. Popular (but not too popular) for walkers and dog owners.
With views across the river to Chelsea, the house boats, both Chelsea Bridge and Albert Bridge, and even the Shard way in the distance.
Continuing along, you will walk under a mini wooded area. before
Where to eat or drink
As mentioned earlier, you have the Prince Albert pub, located on the Albert Bridge side. On the Chelsea Bridge side, across the road from the park is a food truck, which is quite popular. People come from all over to get a burger or hot dog from here. Or you can walk on the footpath under the bridge (from inside the park) which will take you to the Circus West village for a selection of cafes and restaurants.
Top Tips for the Battersea Park river walk
- Do this walk late in the afternoon as the sun is setting. It creates a beautiful glow over the river. Then stop for dinner in one of the restaurants or pubs, so that when you have finished, it will be night time and you will get to see the bridges lit up in all their glory.
- Do it in autumn for autumn goodness. The leaves of the trees in Battersea Park will be shades of orange and red, and crunchy on the ground.
- If you are here during the summer, then take a book and stop on one of the benches on the embankment or in the park. Or even take a picnic to have in the park.
- If you have the time, take a walk through Battersea Park.
How to get to Battersea Park
The London Underground is coming to Battersea Park, I don’t know when. But it’s coming. For now you have a few options:
Chelsea underground. Go straight out of the station, then take a left at the traffic lights. At the first bus stop you can take the 137 or 452. It’s actually not too far to walk, about 1 mile. So instead of getting on the bus, just continue on this road and you will soon reach Chelsea Bridge.
Queenstown road overground. You can catch a train here from Waterloo. Turn right out of the station, then at the park corner, turn right. At the end you will be at Chelsea Bridge.
Battersea Park overground. You can catch a train here from London Victoria.
The boat. The MBNA Thames Clippers lines RB6 and RB2 stops at Battersea power station. Once off the boat, turn right and you will reach Chelsea Bridge.
I’m very fond of the river, so much so that I chose my latest home specifically because it is next to the river with access to a pier so that I could commute to work on a boat.
This is true.
I have walked along lots of it, north side, south side, east, central, west, under, over. Basically, it’s my home…that was meant to be a joke, but as I live next to it, it kind of is. Where I am leading with this is that I know it well, and although the Battersea Park walk is my favourite section, it is not the only great one. If you head more central I recom