Village London: A walk from Blackheath to Greenwich

There are other lovely villages in South London beyond Dulwich, hard as it is to imagine… Yang-May Ooi suggests a walk to discover two of them.

The sprawling mass that we call Greater London is actually made up of lots of little villages, which is often easy to forget as we are worn down by trying to get around this built up metropolis. But every now and then, it’s nice to be reminded that there are in fact many green spaces and quaint little corners to enjoy – especially when you get out to the farther edges of the city when the original ancient villages still bear some traces of their rural origins.

Dulwich Village is of course one of those but if you fancy a pleasant walk to discover other villages in London, we did this good one is from Blackheath to Greenwich. It’s around 2 miles as the crow flies but you can extend it by taking meandering detours around either of the villages and exploring Greenwich Park.



Take the train from London Bridge to Blackheath (about 10 mins) and from the station, turn left and walk up the slope towards the heath. There are plenty of smart boutiques, cafes and restaurants to browse en route. At the heath, take the little path to the left of the church and aim for the rooftops of Canary Wharf across the open expanse where Wat Tyler gathered his men to invade London during the Peasants Revolt in 1381.

Cross the main road towards the ornamental gates of Greenwich Park. (There are toilets here for those of you who worry about that sort of thing – I do!) If you then head straight on down the avenue, you’ll get to a viewing point over the river but it’s much more fun to have a wander round the park first – heading right will take you alongside a charming flower garden, for example.

We found One Tree Hill where Elizabeth I apparently came to think and meditate. In her day, she would not have had the site of the Millenium Dome or the Maritime Musuem or Canary Wharf or the Gherkin to clutter up the view north across the river to London!

From here, you can head downhill to the University of Greenwich and it’s rather grand buildings before making your way into Greenwich village by the Thames path, via the Cutty Sark (sadly still under wraps for restoration). There are food stalls in the covered market and also restaurants and coffee shops, though the latter seemed less smart than the ones in Blackheath (no doubt primarily catering to tourists and students).

The train from Greenwich takes you back to London Bridge – again around 10 mins.

My verdict: A pleasant morning out, with gentle walking and great views. But next time, we’d do it the other way round – climbing the hill from Greenwich and ending up in Blackheath for lunch at one of the smarter restaurants there, good food being one of our priorities on such excursions!

Do you have a South London walk or outing you would recommend? Pls email us (dulwichonview[at]googlemail.com) with a description such as the one above and include any photos and map* and if it’s right for the blog, we’ll publish it!

* To create your map, you can use Gmap Pedometer, save the route of the map you create and send the link to us.


About this article

Yang-May Ooi

About Yang-May Ooi

Yang-May Ooi is a bestselling author and storyteller based in Dulwich. She is also the creator and founding strategist of Dulwich OnView. Her new blog, StoryGuru.co.uk, documents her ongoing creative inquiry into “What makes a rich and fulfilling life?” through stories, interviews, and essays. She is currently working on her fourth book “Rebel Heart: How to Discover your Courage and Create a Meaningful, Authentic Life”.

5 Comments

  1. shapa begum 6 Mar 2010

    Blackheath and Greenwich are truly two beautiful areas, the pictures are amazing! I definitely should try this walk out myself. Thank you Yang-May

    • Yang-May 6 Mar 2010

      Thanks, Shapa!

      BTW, you’re doing a great job as editor, esp putting up the pics for the art exhibition.

      I hope to catch up with you properly at the next DOV get together, if you can make it.

  2. Ingrid 6 Mar 2010

    Inspired by your description of this walk, I thought I would do a similar one today. We decided to walk to Greenwich from Dulwich. It took about 1 1/4 hours and was really interesting – some very strange houses, great adventure playgrounds, a row of Sri Lankan restaurants… At Greenwich we saw the Thames path sign, and followed it and followed it and followed it.

    It also is so varied. One minute you are in a disgusting building site, then bijou river housing, and, I kid you not, the sign pointed to a path that ran straight through a football pitch. We decided not to obey these instructions as there was a game going on. There was a one legged player (with crutches) among all the others who seemed to be from West Africa.
    Around another corner was the strangest bronze sculpture of Peter the Great of Russia and his dwarf, and a very large bronze chair. Peter has a ridiculously small head and long pointy shoes and the dwarf was carrying a model of a rowing boat and an astrolabe and had flies all over his clothes, and I sat in the huge chair as I had been walking for some hours by then!

    We found a great pub on the Thames path called the Dog and Bell – almost empty, but selling the best prawn sandwiches ever.

    Then we hit the tourists around Hays Galleria, Design Museum etc., and carried on to London Bridge from where we took the train back to Dulwich. Walking in London is such fun!

    I wish I had had a pedometer like yours, as I would love to know how far we walked.

  3. Yang-May 7 Mar 2010

    Hi Ingrid – what an amazing – and amusing – walk you had! Your account deserves to be a full post in itself. Did you take pics? If so, what about putting them on the DOV Flickr site?

    Re the pedometer – go to Gmap Pedometer, and retrace your route with your mouse. It will count out the miles for you. (Surely you must know by now that I don’t use real world things like a pedometer on the hip if an online gadget will do it for me…!)

  4. Ingrid 8 Mar 2010

    Sadly I didnt take my camera! I thought I might do the walk again, backwards to make it different, and take a camera that time.

    Im ‘training’ for the Moonwalk, a midnight marathon in aid of breast cancer, in May. One of 15,000 women walking the streets of London in decorated bras and pink caps! http://www.walkthewalk.org/AboutUs/Media/TheMoonWalkLondon

    Will try the online pedometer!

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