Thames Path: Blackfriars to Battersea Walk

Following the Thames Path offers a variety of walking routes through London, with other stretches taking you through different boroughs and past various landmarks.

One of the best Thames Path walks for those looking for a casual stroll that doesn’t take you far from central London is the walk from Blackfriars to Battersea.

We’ve previously covered the Thames Path from London Bridge to Greenwich and then from Greenwich to Woolwich, which takes you out east. This route follows the river west and is short enough (taking roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes without breaks) to be worked in between other activities in the city.

This Blackfriars to Battersea walk takes you from one busy hub of activity on the Southbank and ends at another – Battersea Power station.

We completed this walk on a cold but dry January day, with the bright sun keeping us warm enough during the short hike.

Where to set off from

We arrived in London at Blackfriars station, taking the exit onto the south bank of the Thames. It is possible to do this walk along the north bank, but sticking to the south takes you past more exciting landmarks and means that you’re on the right side of the river to visit Battersea Power Station at the end.

A view of London from the Southbank near Blackfriars Station
The view from the Southbank near Blackfriars Station

London Bridge Station is another good starting point to arrive at. Located further east along the river, you’ll see other interesting sites like the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern before reaching Blackfriars.

Walking along the Southbank

For the first section of the walk, following the Thames west. This area of the Southbank is often busy, and on weekends especially you may find yourself having to navigate large crowds of tourists.

However, because of the many sights you’ll see along the way, this is one of the best walks along the Thames in London.

A mosaic of the Thames river just by Blackfriars Station
Wall art of the Thames near to Blackfriars

You’ll pass by a skatepark before seeing the distinctive Brutalist architecture of the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre.

The Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre

Afterwards, you’ll pass under Waterloo Bridge. There is often an impressive selection of books, posters, and other items on sale here, so it’s a cool place to stop for a moment to browse what’s on offer.

Books for sale under Waterloo Bridge
Books for sale under Waterloo Bridge

Passing major landmarks

With the river bending southwards, you’ll soon see two of the most famous landmarks in London, and unsurprisingly this can be the busiest stretch of the walk.

A view of the London Eye with Big Ben in the distance
Coming up to the London Eye

Firstly, you’ll pass under the London Eye, which will often have throngs of people queuing outside for it or one of the other nearby attractions such as the London Dungeon and the London Aquarium.

Then, on the other side of the river, you’ll be able to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. There will be plenty of great opportunities for a photo, but head right under Westminster Bridge and you’ll find one of the most popular spots to capture the Palace of Westminster in all its glory.

The Palace of Westminster viewed from across the Thames
The Palace of Westminster

Continuing south

From Westminster Bridge, keep following the Thames Path as it takes you along the river. Now that you’re leaving the more touristy areas, the walk will be a lot quieter.

You’ll head past St Thomas’ Hospital on your left, then the historic Lambeth Palace.

A memorial to French Resistance fighters outside Lambeth Palace
A memorial to French Resistance fighters outside Lambeth Palace

The walk is easy to follow as you can just keep along the Thames Path with the river to your right, but when we did the walk there was a temporary diversion that took us away and along the road next to the MI6 building before being able to rejoin the river at Vauxhall Bridge.

The MI6 building near Vauxhall
The MI6 building near Vauxhall

The final stretch to Battersea

By now, Battersea Power Station will be well in view and a good indicator of how close you are to the end of the Blackfriars to Battersea walk.

This is one of the quietest stretches of the walk, with fewer sites to see and much of the surrounding area being filled by apartment complexes.

Moored boats by the Thames
Moored boats you’ll pass on the Thames Path

As you approach the power station, however, it will soon get busier. With the redevelopment of the area, this part of Battersea is now a thriving commercial hub with plenty of shops and other things to do. 

A view looking up at Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station

What to do once you’re in Battersea

Now you’re at the end of the walk, it’s worth exploring the area. We grabbed lunch then headed into Battersea Power Station. The impressive redevelopment offers plenty of cool bars and cafes, as well as a great range of shops.

Looking at Battersea Power Station from Electric Boulevard
A view from Electric Boulevard

If you want to continue your walk, return to the river and keep heading west a short distance to Battersea Park. Here you can have a stroll around to stretch your legs more or check out some of the many things to do in Battersea Park.

The return journey

If you’re aiming to return back to the Southbank or other parts of central London, there are a few options for how to get there:

  • Get a boat along the Thames. You can hop on a Thames Clipper back down the river. Blackfriars and Bankside are the two nearest stops to the start of the walk. The boats leave roughly every 30 minutes and offer the quickest way back. We took this option as it was also a great way to see sights like the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament from different angles.
  • Take the Northern Line. The new Battersea Power Station tube station is at the end of a branch of the Northern Line, so it provides a handy way to get back into central London to a major station like Waterloo or Euston.
  • Make a circular walk. If you still have the energy, you can always walk back along the river too. The good thing about this walk and the Thames Path is that you can follow along on either side of the river. So, if you walked along the southern bank of the Thames, you can head back up on the north bank to get a different view of the landmarks across the river.
Battersea Power Station shot from the Thames
Heading away from Battersea on a Thames Clipper

Other walks to try

If you’re looking to explore other parts of the city, you can read more about the best walks in London which include the following:

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