Updated: May 12, 2022
Living in Surrey Quays, SE12, today, I am sharing one of my favourite paths for a stroll in Sounth East London: a walk to Greenland Pier, and here is why. As I recently became a mum, I discovered the crucial importance of getting out in the daylight at least once a day, even when I’m not in the mood for it. Not only I have to force myself to do so - it’s January, it’s cold, I could stay in my PJs for a week - but my baby doesn’t seem to like much to be put on the pram, to get layered like a Michelin Man and to be laying down for maybe a couple of hours.
But when we finally are ready to get out, we both relax: if he is done with the feeding, he falls asleep pretty soon, and I enjoy the walk, the view, and listening to some music or podcasts. It’s a very good workout though, and it helps us both get some vitamin D, too.
Most of all, getting out helps ME not seeing how many things I could do staying at home, which are mostly housework, mostly not urgent, but mostly prioritised as important by my need of having everything under control (good luck with that little one).
Getting out helps me forget about that, and lets some fresh air blow into my mind. At the end of the day, I find myself more inspired, more confident, and also richer with something new to tell my husband in the evenings, rather than “laundry/nappies/grocery/bills”.
This morning, while I was congratulating myself on finally having made it to get out, as I was enjoying the walk, I thought I could share some of the routes I usually take. It will be a way for me to train my English writing skills and one more reason to help me get out of the home. Whether you live in the same area I live in - Surrey Quays, next to Canada Water, London - or you are just curious to have a look at what’s around here, just join me on this walk.
The best thing about this first route it’s that it’s so quiet and simple that you should drop off your phone. You won’t need Google Maps, as the itinerary is very straightforward: just follow the river path. If it suddenly gets interrupted, don’t worry, try to keep the water on your right-hand side, even if you have to diverge and walk by houses or residential estates. Just use your inner compass. Mine is pretty much broken, but I made it, so trust yourself!
I personally start reaching South Dock Marina, getting to the river path from there. As soon as I reach the Thames front, my baby is asleep, and I can put my headphones on, turn on aeroplane mode sometimes, and listen to music or the podcast I’m into at the moment. Watching the water is relaxing, but don’t think it’s boring: it’s plenty of wildlife, boats and - you know - the Thames is never still.
You won’t get across any shops or cafes, unfortunately. The path is mostly residential. You’ll find a lot of benches and places to enjoy the river view, but take it as a quiet, silent and meditative walk.
You'll head towards Greenland Pier: the riverbus to Westminster and Greenwich stops there, and I dream one day my commute will be by the river. If they just could improve water transportation, that would be great for London!
Then you’ll get to the Surrey Quays Farm, a quite peculiar place that is worth a visit all itself. There you’ll find farm animals, kids' activities, greenhouses and vegetable gardens. Apart from that, you can have the best coffee in the area at the Piccalilly Caf, the café within the Farm, which uses eggs, sausages and products of the farm for delicious brunches or snacks. Unfortunately, today the café was closed - better check prior to going. I can’t wait for my baby to be old enough to get excited about goats, chickens, pigs and donkeys, but in the meantime, I sit by the river, next to the lavender bush and enjoy a bit of this cold rare London sun.
As I pass by other people’s homes, I like to have a look and see how people decorate differently architectural elements they have in common. I mean, in a building where every apartment has a similar river-front window, I love to notice what people put in front of that same window. Most of all you can see dining tables, but also desks, ping pong tables, a piano, a Christmas tree, plants, and a telescope.
I am about to reach the Doubletree Docklands Nelson Dock Pier, where you can actually take a boat to cross the river and go shopping in Canary Wharf, but it isn’t my case, so I head back home, using the same path.
South East London walk: Greenland Pier
How long is this walk? 1 hour - 1 way, pram speed.
What days is it good for? For days when you want to relax, you need a pedestrian route, don't need to shop, just need to breathe and see a lot of water and the sky around you.
In case I didn’t make this obvious, writing is my job. If you are looking for someone to write your company’s website, blog, branding projects or advertising, have a look at my website luciaceccolini.com
Don’t hesitate to contact me for collaborating together, both in English and Italian.