The Congestion Zone Project

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Once upon a time, I walked all the streets of London. Yep. All of them.

I wrote this blog along the way to chronicle the journey and found my way on to some lovely websites, TV shows and radio interviews (with the BBC!). The site you’re on is my account of 400 miles of London on foot! If that’s not enough for you, click the logos below for interviews and other write-ups. Enjoy, get inspired and get out walking!

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Stats and Such

Hello again.

I wanted to share the final stats with you about the project before I start talking about some of the other things that came out of the walks (mainly because it gives me an excuse to play with a big spreadsheet). I also threw in a little Q&A session for some of the most commonly asked questions I get about the walks.

At the end of the post, there is a video I put together for you too. It is not the fanciest thing you’ll ever watch, but it was quite exciting to see it all come together.

So Here We Go!

It seems fitting to start with all the totals because they look huge and impressive…

  • Total distance walked: 399.80 miles
  • Total distance on Thames Clipper: 3.84 miles
  • Total distance if I cheat and add those two together so I break the 400-mile mark: 403.64
  • Total number of walks: 65
  • Total walking time: 175 hours : 37 minutes
  • Total word count on blog: 64, 487 words

In the category of Longest/Shortest we have:  Continue reading

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Day 65

You can find the map for today’s 7.07 mile walk here and the 3.84 mile Thames journey here

Oh my god! This is it!! The LAST walk! I thought this post would never come. The last couple of weeks have been full of work, procrastination, laziness and holidays. It’s about time I got down to it and finished this up though because I have a new adventure starting soon! More on that later though… For now, may I present:

Day 65! 

I’m not going to pretend to be cool here, I was absolutely jubilant on this walk. Everything I saw was beautiful. Every new discovery was magic. And everyone was my new best friend. It was heaven. I wish I could have that last-day-of-a-big-project feeling every day.

I can’t imagine a better place or a better day to end this challenge. I had a perfect mix of experiences: the Thames, quiet corners, bustling high streets, London icons and hidden secrets. My favourite place of the day was so charming that London Live used it as the backdrop for the interview they did with me a few days later (I was on TV!). I also found a Michelin star restaurant in an old toilet and a surgical theatre in the roof of an old church.

Lots to tell you about! Continue reading

Day 64

Click these links for the maps of part 1 and part 2 of today’s 9.73 mile walk.

The penultimate walk.

I never really thought I would get here.

I set aside the whole day for this walk so that I would not feel rushed on my last day out. I knew this would be a long one and a physical push, but I didn’t expect to feel so mentally overwhelmed by it. I was an emotional wreck all day.

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Maybe part of my mental exhaustion was that I was really, really tired from all the walks I had crammed in the previous couple of weeks (four per week, one which was nearly 14 miles), or that I was starving because I couldn’t find a place to eat for most of the day (London definitely has its food deserts).

The truth is probably closer to the fact that I am not good at finishing things, particularly things that are meaningful to me and only me. It was a really big deal to suddenly find that I might actually get through it all and be able to say I did it, and that I did it entirely for me. It was kind of exciting and terrifying and empowering and overwhelming. Continue reading

Day 63

You can find the map for today’s 9.06 mile walk here.

This is the first walk where I both thought to myself and said out loud, “Why the hell am I doing this?” We had record-breaking heat, high levels of humidity and no clouds to provide even a minute of shade. I was mostly miserable. Couple that with the fact that I didn’t find much of interest (probably because my brain was so exhausted from trying not to shrivel up and die that I couldn’t focus on much else), and you get 9 miles of zombie-walking.

Oh well. They can’t all be Day 62, can they?

The few pictures I took prove that I wasn’t really into it that day. I found:

  • more phone boxes.

Day 63

  • A friendly guy wearing some rainbow loom bracelets (shock!) with good colour combos.

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  • And a lot more houses.

Day 631

It was a long, hot, boring day. The one highlight was my excessively long lunch at Sobo Cafe. The food was really tasty, the fresh juice was delicious and the server brought me endless glasses of ice water – glasses the size of my face. I might not have survived the day without that place.

When I finally got back out walking and the end was within sight, I ended up saying hello to the most chatty (though very nice) gentleman, and as a result spent a phenomenally long time, well, I would say talking to with him, but I will go with listening to him. He meant well and it wasn’t his fault the sun had murdered me already and taken away any chance I had at caring about anything other than water and shade. But apparently fate was trying to tell me it was high time I knew about the four CIA members who took down flight 17 over the Ukraine and their ties to Malaysian Airlines. I still don’t really get how that all pieced together…

Perhaps my favourite part of the conversation was when a little girl who was walking by with her mom saw the motorcycle the chatty guy was working on and ran up to it, hugged it and shouted, “Pony!”

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And that’s about the last thing I remember before I blacked out.

See you next time! 

You can find the map for today’s 9.06 mile walk here.


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Quick update from the future: now that this project is finished, I’m off on another adventure! Keep in touch on my new blog at Three Miles an Hour. See you there!

Day 62

You can find the map for today’s 8.75 mile walk here.

Oh my god I have lots of cool things to tell you about today! I had such a great day out and I found all kinds of hidden spots to share. I never know if I should reveal the best place first so you don’t miss it, or put it at the end so you have to see all the other stuff along the way. Let’s just say, I found a place today that is in my Top Five finds from all of the walks. I guess you’ll have to read on to see which place it might be…mwahahahaha.

Borough Market

Ok. You know this place. It isn’t hidden at all, but I loved it as much as ever and found a cool new part that’s only been there a few months!

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We all know this market and why it is wonderful: the salt beef sandwich with mustard and pickle. If I am ever near London Bridge when Borough is open, I make a point of stopping by just to wander through. I love the atmosphere, the sounds, the smells, the visuals and, of course, the samples.

The one thing that can be a little tricky is finding a place to sit and eat though, particularly if it is raining. But in the last few months the market has added a new indoor-but-feels-like-it’s-outdoor seating area that is absolutely gorgeous. They also threw in a welcome desk with really friendly staff to answer all of your questions and give you maps so you can find your way to the salt beef sandwiches. Continue reading

Day 61

You can find the map for today’s 6.86 mile walk here (the recording stopped for a bit so it’s missing a couple of streets, but I have faith you can work it out).

It’s weird how two neighbourhoods right next to each other can be so different. Even though the area I was in today was still mainly residential, it was broken up by a couple great little streets

that made it feel so much more lively and interesting than, say, Day 59. The street that made me smile most was Great Suffolk Street. It was exactly what I hoped to find amongst all these houses: a cute little secret high street full of locally owned specialty shops.

Day 61

I stopped for a delicious fruit juice (only £2.50!) at the Fruit Tree, a gorgeous little greengrocer at the end of the shops. And I drooled over the fry ups the locals were devouring at Terry’s Cafe. This place is British through and through and as such takes pride in using only fresh British produce. Their meat is from Smithfield (where the owner used to work before he started the café), their fruit and veg from Borough Market, and they cook all their meals on site.

You can’t get much more local than that. If you need more reviews to believe me, check out their Trip Advisor page here. I will absolutely be back here for a meal in the near future!

The other street I loved was Union Street, the eastern extension of The Cut from Day 59, which was itself the eastern extension of Lower Marsh Market from Day 58. It’s proving to be a pretty fantastic street across the board!  Continue reading