Love Walking? Then Read The Insider’s Guide To Walking In London

As you probably already know I’m quite the fan of walking in London. My personal walking adventures have taken me to the ends of each of London’s 11 tube lines, along several of its Overground routes, the length of the Regent’s Canal and most of the the Thames within London.

And still I find there’s always more to discover! The only problem is deciding where to walk next. Catherine from has partially solved this problem by asking 21 locals (myself included) for a recommended walk in her Insider’s Guide To Walking In London (PDF).

These are not step-by-step walking guides, but serve as inspirations for walks you might want to consider. Here are just a few of the types of walks included:

  • Walking a tube line (mine of course!)
  • The walk where you don’t have to cross a single road (by Victor Keegan)
  • Discover Coffee in the City (by Lera)
  • Walk from London to the Sea (by Chris Booth)
  • Learn about London’s industrial heritage (by Rob Smith)
  • Wander around Bloomsbury (by Noelle Poulson, who’s walked every street in central London!)
  • And plenty of other walks up hills, along canals and into the wilderness you never knew was so close to your doorstep.

The only problem now is deciding which one you’d like to do this weekend!

The Guide is completely free can be downloaded here or by clicking the image below:

Insiders Guide to Walking In London

What’s your favourite London walk? Share it with everyone else in the comment section below:

22 Amazing Historic Photos Of The Battersea Power Station

Coal Ships unload at Battersea, 1950

Now that the Battersea Power Station chimney dismantling has begun, I thought it might be neat to have a look at some historic photos of the Battersea Power station in its heyday and beyond.

The photos below all come from and copyright belongs to the respective photographer. You can learn more about each photo by clicking on it.

Continue reading 22 Amazing Historic Photos Of The Battersea Power Station

What The Tube Map Could Look Like With Crossrail and New Overground Lines Added (Unofficial)

London Underground Overground DLR Crossrail map
Click on map for a readable version

The map above was created by reddit user midandfeed and is an attempt to show what the tube map might look like with Crossrail and the new Overground routes added in. I think it’s a great attempt to solve a rather difficult issue.

While it adds a lot of extra useful information, it comes somewhat at the expense of readability. I’m not sure how TFL is going to solve the issue of putting ever more lines onto the tube map. It’s difficult to see how it will end up being much different from the one above.

Yet, as with all tube maps, geographical accuracy is sacrificed for improved readability. One example, pointed out on reddit, is that Willesden Junction and North Acton look very far apart, but are in reality are only about a mile away from each other.

Another minor issue is that the Croxley Rail Link is not included. This will open before Crossrail and so should be there. The Northern Line extension to Battersea is also not included, but is likely to open after Crossrail.

Here are some slightly enlarged views of the map:


View of central London. Notice the new interchanges between Farringdon and Barbican or Moorgate and Liverpool Street. The Waterloo & City line is also more geographically accurate than the current map.


View of how Crossrail will look at Heathrow. I’m not sure about the name, as the Crossrail website lists the name of the station as Heathrow T1, 2, 3 and not Heathrow Central (which is an existing station). Also nice to see the out of station interchange between Hanger Lane and Park Royal.


View of the map in East London. Especially like the 3 stop line between Upminster and Romford. On this map it actually looks useful. Also a few interesting out of station interchanges.


Finally, the new Overground lines in North London. Should be a vast improvement for people living in those areas.

So what do you think of this as a potential map? Notice any glaring problems or omissions? If so let me know in the comment section below:

Please Note: The Tube Map is copyrighted by Transport for London (TFL). The map above was not created by TFL and is an unofficial creation. I also did not create the map but am using it from Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Secrets of the DLR By Geoff Marshall

Not content to focus on just the tube, Geoff Marshall continues the wonderful secrets series with Secrets of the DLR. I especially like this video, not only because it focuses on the seldom discussed DLR, but also because I got to see it being filmed! (Any help I may have offered was minimal at best)

The video may only be 5 minutes long, but took over 5 hours to film. I don’t want to ruin any of the magic but a lot of thought and effort goes into the editing process and several good bits had to be dropped to allow the whole thing to flow so well.

I won’t spoil anything that’s in the video, just watch it! However, as an added bonus here 5 photos I took on the day.


DLR Ticket Machine rebooting, seems it runs on Windows


Make that Windows XP


Cool tower Spotted at that back entrance of Tower Gateway


The very punny Abbery Road sign


The Secret DLR Lift at Bank

For all the other videos in the series visit:

10 New & Unique Minimalist Artistic Maps Of London


The map above is one of ten new and unique minimalist artistic maps of London created by Project Jefferson; which was founded by two UC Berkeley students, “who wanted — nay, needed — artistic map prints of various cities but could not find any.”

They’ve created unique maps by using OpenStreetMap data and have then combined it with different minimalist artistic techniques.

For example the map above is titled “The Orange Honeysuckle” and is described by the Project Jefferson team as “an exercise in boldness. We dared to paint a red-orange map and contrast it with blues. The Orange Honeysuckle has a very noticeable personality and dares you to make it a centerpiece.

All maps can be downloaded for free as phone wallpapers or you can buy high quality prints from their website here.

Here are the rest of the maps with descriptions provided by the Project Jefferson team.

The Blue Elderberry


“This style evokes that of a nighttime aerial scene over a city. Streets, forests, and parks are the primary items rendered. This style employs a cool-toned color palette, easy to complement with almost any home themes and settings.”

The Showy Phlox


This high contrast style attempts to portray the feel of looking at a negative of a nighttime aerial photo. However, water areas remain dark to further strengthen the contrast. This beautiful piece makes for a perfect centerpiece in a home.

The Mountain Brome


The Mountain Brome style melds the old with the new. This style conveys the feeling of looking at an antique parchment map. However, you’ll notice the streets are bold and dark, supplying contrast and balancing the antique-ness with a modern feel.

The Maiden Blue-Eyed Mary


Looking for a map that carries a wireframe feel? For this style, we took a highly stylized map and stripped it down to its bare bones. Inspired by a 3D wireframe figure, this style utilizes light colors, few solid areas, and many lines. Water areas are filled with a light grid pattern. A fantastic lightweight design piece for a bright home.

The Chocolate Lily


The Chocolate Lily is our journey into the abstract. Using just two colors, it highlights the blocks of land bounded by our streets and that make up our cities. This is one of our most striking and versatile styles.

The Aromatic Aster


An exercise in color, the Aromatic Aster paints a city into what might resemble capillaries. The color scheme is a tribute to Andy Warhol and one of his famous soup cans.

The Golden Currant


For anyone looking for a more traditional map, the Golden Currant is that. One of the few designs we felt necessary to add labels, this map inspires a certain nostalgia for the old city maps hung on walls during the last century. Simple and light, this is a charming map fit for many occasions.

The Varileaf


A conservative style, the Varileaf relies on a healthy does of mellow colors while still being able to accent a city’s grid. The roads are the highlight of this style, dark and bold. This is another beautiful map style that is easy to utilize with most home interiors.

The Pacific Madrone


We went all out trying to achieve this truly antique feel. This has minimal labeling, utilizes a mellow color palette, and embodies strong parchment essences. This style displays its character and history proudly and is sure to turn heads in any rustic setting.

Which is your favourite?

Why Is It So Expensive To Build In London?

Ever wonder why it costs so much more to build in London compared any other city in the world? The video above from The Economist explains why.

A few of the reasons why London is the most expensive include:

  • Tunnels: London has more tunnels, including sewers, the Tube and Mail Rail, compared to other cities.
  • Bombs: There are still a worryingly large number of unexploded World War 2 bombs scattered all over London.
  • Archaeology: The Roman City of Londinium was founded almost 2,000 years ago and has been inhabited off and on ever since. Most major projects in the City require an archaeological dig as part of the building process.
  • Streets: Narrow streets make it difficult to access building sites and also build buildings with standard 90 degree angles.
  • The Planning System: To preserve London’s historical character, different levels of government have all sorts of planning rules. These can include anything from conservation areas that specify what colour your front door has to be, to protected views of London’s major sights such as St. Paul’s and The Tower of London. Each restriction adds just that little bit more to the cost.

Despite the high costs I think they’re worth the price of living in London. Given that there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of new buildings going up, I’d say those doing the building agree.

You can read the full analysis on The Economist website here.

How Crowded Will The Tube Be in 2031? This Map Shows How Bad It Could Get

Projected crowding levels on the tube in 2031
Click for full sized image

Let’s face it, the Tube in 2014 is crowded enough! So how much worse is it likely to get by 2031? Well if the map above from the London Infrastructure Plan 2050: Transport Supporting Paper is to be believed, probably a fair bit worse.

Several sections look to have more than 4 people standing per square meter during the AM peak. If you already commute into busy hubs like London Bridge, Waterloo, Bank, etc. in the morning, you probably won’t notice a huge difference as trains are already at capacity. However, you may end up spending more of your journey time cheek by jowl with your fellow commuters in 2031.

Some interesting and unexpected bits set to be extremely crowded include:

  • The Northern line near Kentish Town (not good if I’m still working in the area 17 years from now).
  • The Central line starting all the way out at Leytonstone (not good if you’re only getting on a Stratford)
  • The Central line also bizarrely looks set to get a bit busier between Grange Hill and Hainault.
  • Small sections of the shared Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines between Baker Street and Euston Square and also from Liverpool Street to Aldgate look to be very crowded.
  • The Metropolitan line also looks to have a small busy section in zone 7 until Moor Park.
  • The District line looks to be crowded from Putney Bridge to St. James’s Park.
  • Finally, the Victoria line looks like it will be just as busy as ever.

Other things to note include:

  • The lack of Overground and Crossrail (which should hopefully be open by 2031) on the map; but the inclusion of the DLR.
  • Looks like the Metropolitan branch line to Watford Junction has been included (and will thankfully not be too busy) but the Northern line to Battersea has not.
  • Those living at the ends of most lines will still be able to get a seat in the morning.

Still want to live here in 2031? Then Read:

Moving to London? The Ultimate Living & Working Guide

Do you think you’ll be better or worse off in 2031? Have your say in the comments section below:

How The Proposed London Orbital Railway Would Look On Google Maps

Click on the link for the full interactive Map

For reference, here’s what the various colours mean:

  • Orange Lines – Existing lines
  • Blue Line – Existing lines (going more central)
  • Purple Lines – Lines to be built (a guess)
  • Red Pinpoint – Existing stations
  • Green Pinpoint – Stations to be built (these are also a guess in terms of position)

Seems I’m on a bit of map kick lately. Today I present a map created by reddit user lifeless2011 of how the proposed London Orbital Railway might look on Google Maps.

In case you haven’t heard, Boris Johnson has proposed spending at least £200bn on transport infrastructure, in London, by 2050, as part of a wider £1.3tn infrastructure plan.

The Orbital Railway, already nicknamed the R25, is but one of many projects that will likely not see the light of day. On the bright side, if by some miracle it does get built, I’ll be old enough for a Freedom Pass and will be able to ride it for free.

Map Showing The Most Commonly Spoken Language Other than English by Borough

Map Showing The Most Commonly Spoken Language Other than English by Borough

The map above quite simply shows which language, besides English, has the most speakers in each of London’s 32 boroughs + The City. The map was found via reddit and is based on data from the 2011 UK Census found here (excel spreadsheet; 1mb).

My guess is that you’re probably not shocked by the second languages in the boroughs you’re familiar with, but you may be a bit surprised by others.

I’ve walked all over London and I’m still slightly surprised by the following:

  • French being the second language of the City. Not sure what I expected to be honest.
  • Portuguese being the second language of Lambeth and Spanish being the second language of Southwark, especially given that Portuguese speakers are to the west of Spanish speakers.
  • Despite living in Camden, I’m a little surprised to see Bengali as the second language. If I’d had to guess I would have said Arabic.
  • Greenwich is probably the biggest surprise of all, I would not have thought there would be a big enough concentration of Nepalese speakers to be the second most common language.

And just in case you’re wondering how the numbers breakdown:

  • Polish: 7 boroughs – (Barnet, Bromley, Ealing, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, and Wandsworth)
  • Turkish: 4 boroughs – (Hackney, Islington, Haringey, Enfield)
  • Bengali: 3 boroughs – (Camden, Newham and Tower Hamlets)
  • French: 3 boroughs – (The City, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea)
  • Punjabi: 3 boroughs – (Bexley, Hillingdon and Hounslow)
  • Tamil: 3 boroughs – (Croydon, Kingston and Sutton)
  • Gujarati: 2 boroughs – (Brent and Harrow)
  • Urdu: 2 boroughs – (Redbridge and Waltham Forest)
  • Lithuanian: 2 boroughs – (Barking and Havering)
  • Arabic: 1 borough (Westminster)
  • Nepalese: 1 borough (Greenwich)
  • Portuguese: 1 borough (Lambeth)
  • Spanish: 1 borough (Southwark)

In total, 14 boroughs have second languages from within the EU, 14 boroughs have second languages from countries in the Indian sub-continent and 5 have speakers from elsewhere.

Want to join us in one of the world’s most diverse cities? Then read:

Moving to London? The Ultimate Living & Working Guide

Why Is London’s Traffic So Bad? Jay Foreman Explains In Unfinished London

In episode 2 of Unfinished London, Jay Foreman tackles the history of the unbuilt ‘Ringways’ that would have surrounded London with not one but four! – M25 style motorways. Fortunately, this idea seemed as insane to Londoners back then as it does to us today.

In his usual comedic style Jay looks at:

  • How London was not designed for the car.
  • How he can run faster than London traffic.
  • The Abercrombie (aka Greater London) plan.
  • Where the Ringways would have gone.
  • Why we only ended up with the M25.
  • The evidence you can see today for the unbilt sections of motorway.
  • Why north London is better than south London.
  • What would have to happen to make the South circular happen today.
  • Why the Westway was built and how its construction helped halt further building.
  • And finally how all this affects our roads and traffic planning today.

So why is London’s traffic so bad? Well to put it simply, Londoners would prefer to have walkable streets and use public transit than drive on large motorways. This may be a pain if you’re a car owner, but it is a far better alternative than the proposed ‘Ringways’ of the 60s and 70s.

For more Unfinished London watch episode 1, episode 3 part 1 and episode 3 part 2.