There’s nothing I enjoy more than getting out and exploring a new place and the best way to do that, in my opinion, is on foot… but what’s wrong with an open top bus tour I hear you ask – surely you get to see more in a short space of time? Well, maybe…
I can see the attraction of bus/sightseeing tours if you are short on time or if you have restricted mobility… you get to see all the major tourist attractions in a city with very little effort on your part. But how much of the city do you truly experience whizzing around on a bus with lots of other tourists?
I love wandering the streets because you see a different side to a city that you won’t necessarily experience on a tour… you mix with locals as well as tourists, you find hidden side streets, restaurants and bars, etc as you walk around. You see things that you can’t possibly see from a bus which sticks to the main roads and drops you right outside the main tourist attractions! I have stumbled upon some great places whilst wandering aimlessly round the backstreets of various cities: markets, bars and restaurants, quirky galleries and fascinating museums…
I’m also keen on street art (or graffiti art if you prefer) and wandering the streets is a great way of finding interesting pieces of art on the walls. And what about all the talented street performers you can find in most towns and cities…
But nowadays you can have the best of both worlds by checking out some of the guided walking tours on offer in many cities, focusing on all different aspects of the area – from ghost walks to street art tours – there are walking tours to suit every interest! And this is what we plan to do on our next visit to London… pick a walking tour which focuses on an area of London we are interested in finding out more about (blog post coming soon!).
My tips for exploring on foot:
- Make sure you have comfortable shoes on if you plan to spend most of the day on your feet!
- Make sure you check the weather forecast before you head out – wandering the streets in the pouring rain is no fun!
- Pick an area to explore – in a big city like London you can’t hope to cover it all on foot, so choose an area that appeals to you.
- Pick up a map and see what there is in the area you are planning to explore – you don’t want to miss anything interesting.
- Do a bit of research first to ensure the area is safe (particularly if you are heading out in the evening) – all big cities have areas that are best avoided!
- Find out about guided walking tours in the area you are interested in – they are normally reasonably priced and you can learn a lot in a couple of hours.
So what are you waiting for – lace up your trainers and get out there and explore!