The 41st Unlock London Walk will take place on Saturday April 27th 2024.
The 2024 Unlock Walk is visiting West London! Specifically the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham. The area we will explore in the 41st Unlock Walk is a bit further west of where we walked in 2001 and 2005 and south of where we visited in 2012. And going by these dates you'll see an Unlock Walk visit to west London is long overdue!
A big THANK YOU to everyone who supported the 40th Unlock London Walk.
2023 Unlock London Walk in numbers
7 churches on the route
7.5 to 8 miles (depending on who is measuring!)
11 Unlock Volunteers
Countless volunteers from route churches
3 salaried Unlock staff
Last (2022) year you raised £21K
How much will it be in 2023?
Donate here please
You can collect your sponsorship or make a donation online via GiveAsYouLive.
How to collect your sponsorship online with GiveAsYouLive >>
Unlock's Ethical Fundraising Policy >>
Please remember that it's all about raising much needed funds for Unlock's work across the UK and don't forget to send in your sponsorship or donation. Although giving in 2022 was generous, walker numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels, and we need to boost them to secure Unlock's future funding; so next year, please try to bring along some more friends.
We are dependent on the income from the Unlock London walk for around 50% of our annual funding, and without that income Unlock will not be able to continue its valuable work; so we really need you to donate.
Please note that Unlock is not
eligible for any government and most charitable funding streams, because they specifically exclude religion based charities. You, our direct donors, are our primary source of funding.
The 40th Unlock London Walk took place in fine weather on Saturday April 22nd 2023;
Woolwich, Abbey Wood and the Elizabeth Line.
40th Unlock London Walk, Map >>
Sponsor form 2023 >> Please note that pre-2022 sponsor forms have an out of date postal address on them!
40th Unlock London Walk, Information >>
40th Unlock London Walk, Route Church Factsheets >>
Quiz for the 40th Unlock London Walk, 2023 >>
Quiz answers, 2023 >>
Congratulations to Stephanie Wilson of Bedford who won the adult quiz prize, and we were also able to award a junior prize this year to Bryony McAllister of Petersfield.
Detailed Guidance for walkers with wheels, 2023 >>
The 2023 Unlock Walk took place on April 22nd in the Thamesmead, Plumstead and Abbey Wood area, in the boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley and ten miles East of the City of London. We were close to the Thames, which is much wider than in central London, and here, East of the Thames Barrier, the river banks have been built up for flood protection
This walk has been one of the trickier ones to plan, as the area is split by the railway and some major roads, and also contains the Belmarsh prison complex and major sewage infrastructure, both of which are obviously off-limits to walkers;but the route manages to weave under or over these obstacles and gives an idea of this very interesting area.
With the opening of the delayed but very impressive Elizabeth Line the area is now much more accessible than ever before, and much of it has seen significant changes since we last walked here in 1998. Thousands of new homes are being built amongst the existing mixture of housing. There are the brutalist 1960's concrete tower blocks of Thamesmead which are set next to cycle paths, streams, lakes and nature reserves, the Victorian terraces of Plumstead, and the redeveloped Georgian buildings of the Woolwich Arsenal - which just over a century ago was one of the largest industrial sites in the world, occupying most of the entire area and employing over 80,000 people. Oldest of all are the ruins of Lesnes Abbey (the Abbey in Abbey Wood) which was built in the 12th century.
The walk took advantage of the Elizabeth line and we were welcomed by a mixture of the local Churches, both old and new, which serve the people of the area.
A small team of volunteers plans the Unlock London Walk each year; they sign up the local churches, create the map and photos and collate all of the travel and tourist information that goes with it.
If are not already on our mailing list and want to be sure of getting further information please complete a form here Contact form >>
The 39th Unlock London Walk took place in Tower Hamlets on Saturday April 23rd 2022. Big thanks to everyone who came along, to the host churches and to all those who helped to deliver the event. Walkers reported having a good day; visiting the churches on the route and the Mosque as well, sharing their joys at the Unlock Base, and meeting other walkers for the first time since 2019.
The walk details are below; if you'd still like to do it, you can.
39th Unlock London Walk, Tower Hamlets Map >>
39th Unlock London Walk, Tower Hamlets Information >>
Anticlockwise route description >>
Walk 39 route church factsheets >>
Quiz with answers for the 39th Unlock London Walk, Tower Hamlets >>
The 2022 Quiz prize went to
Simon Strachan from Camberley in Surrey.
Juliet Chaplin's account of her 2022 Unlock Walk >>
It’s possible you came on the 3rd Unlock Walk 36 years ago (!) in 1986 or the 27th in 2010, to visit Tower Hamlets. Maybe you came in 2016 to the Olympic Park; or maybe you joined us online for the Armchair (virtual) version during the 2020 Lockdown! But we hope that has all just whetted your appetite and you will want to join us for real (again or for the first time) in 2022 and you will find more fascinating contrasts between the past and the present, between stereotypes and reality. This is London’s East End: inner-city rather than suburban.
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets only came into being in 1965, a merger of the former metropolitan boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney. But the name is much older: the first written mention in 1554 was a catch-all description of the settlements north and east of the Tower of London (individual entry to which now costs £30!)
Remember Whitechapel on the Monopoly board costing £60? There’s no cheap property any longer: a flat that cost £50,000 thirty years ago can now sell for seven times that much! Poverty remains. If you only think of Jack the Ripper or the Kray twins in connection with the East End, find out more about the radicals and reformers like the Booths and Barnardo as well as the rogues. For anyone interested in historic buildings, this walk offers a huge selection including the magnificent Hawksmoor Christ Church, Spitalfields. If the history of housing appeals, you will want to see Arnold Circus on the Boundary Estate. For the nature-lover, the route will be along the Regent’s Canal and across the Green Bridge at Mile End.
Having provided refuge for Protestant French Huguenots in the late 1700s and to persecuted Jews in the late 1800s, Tower Hamlets now has a population which is one third Bangladeshi Muslim in origin. You can buy both bagels and curry in Brick Lane! 38% of the borough’s residents are Muslim – the highest proportion in the UK. You can visit a place of worship which has been a Huguenot Chapel, a synagogue and is now a mosque. High above the entrance on a stone sundial are the Latin words “Umbra Sumus”, we are shadows. Indeed we are, but the building remains after 250 years.
- It is estimated that there were 300,000 residents in Tower Hamlets in 2017
- It has one of the fastest growing and youngest populations in UK
- Poverty amongst children is the highest in the country
Tower Hamlets still needs the vision of contemporary Christians to be the radicals and reformers of the 21st century. Come and encourage some of the churches committed to London’s East End!
Virtual walks still available
The Tower Hamlets walk is still on our website (below) as one of the Virtual Unlock Walks (2020) and so if you’d like to walk the route virtually instead you can
scroll down the page to find it.
Donations still needed
The 2021 Virtual Walk around Lambeth, Southwark and the City of London is also below. The 2021 walk is just as good as the 2020 one but it has only raised £10,500 so far. That is £15,000 less than we usually raise; income we can hardly afford to lose. If you usually support Unlock through the walk, and have not yet done so since the pandemic (or even if you have!) please prayerfully consider making a donation to help us deliver Unlock support and resources to the places that need it most.
The 2020 & 2021 Virtual Unlock London Walks are here >>
We are very grateful to all those who support Unlock through our London walk. Your contributions make our work possible.
As well as raising up to 50% of the money that we need to fund our work each year, our sponsored walk is intended to raise the awareness of Christians from often more affluent areas of the UK to the potential (and the challeneges) of ministry in urban locations.
The walk's circular route visits several church checkpoints, representing a variety of denominations. Members of each church community are encouraged to be available to welcome walkers and a factsheet is provided.
We hope that as a result of each walk, practical links will be forged between urban and suburban churches.
Well done everyone and thank you very much for your support.
Your faithful support enables us to continue to develop our work with the Bible in urban communities in the UK. Thanks to everyone who walked, helped, sponsored walkers, opened their churches, and so on. It is really encouraging to have such committed and generous supporters!
In 2022 you have raised £21,000
In 2021 you raised £10,500
In 2O20 you raised total of £19,000
In 2O19 you raised total of £23,628
In 2O18 you raised total of £25,500
In 2O17 you raised total of £22,885
In 2O16 you raised total of £24,994
In 2O15 we have reached a total of £26,596.
In 2014 you raised a record £29,723
In 2013 you raised £26,303.
In 2012 you raised £25,800.
2011 walk income £28,000!
2010 (27th) walk income £26,000.
The 2009 walk raised £22,500
The 2008 walk raised £25, 403.63
Volunteers are needed to represent Unlock at the churches on the route of the Unlock walk on Saturday the 22nd of April 2023. Volunteers will be fully briefed and provided with an Unlock staff T shirt. You can still be sponsored for the hours you spend staffing the walk. If you would like to support Unlock in this way please contact the Unlock National Office.
Churches That Support Unlock Through the Walk
Here is a list of church groups who have sent in their sponsorship for the 2022 walk, listed in order of the amount raised. (We have no league table for the vitual walks in 2020 or 2021.) Again a big thank you to everyone, whether you are on this list or not, and to the walk leaders who work hard at recruiting walkers to raise sponsorship. We value every single contribution however small, all combining to maintain and develop our work.
|St Mary's Church, Hadlow, Kent
|St Luke's, Bricket Wood
| Ashurst Drive Baptist Church, Ilford
Merrow Methodist Church, Guildford
| St Matthew's Church, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells
| Crofton Park Baptist Church
| St Andrew's, Sidcup
| St Peter ad Vincula, Wisborough Green
East Plumstead Baptist
| Oakridge Baptist Church, High Wycombe
| St Paul's Church, Marylebone
High Cross Church, Camberley
St Mary Magdalen, Sheet
Brandon Baptist Church
Dagnall Street Baptist Church
St John's, Moulsham, Chelmsford
St Pauls URC, Croydon
Welling Methodist Church
St Peter's, Burnham
| Treeton Baptist Church, Rotherham
The Avenue Methodist Church, High Wycombe
| Romford Baptist Church
Please note that the churches on the walk route write their own factsheets, so their views are not necessarily representative of Unlock's views, but they do reflect the rich variety of ways in which people live out their faith and ministry in urban communities.
The majority of Unlock's Funding is raised by an annual sponsored walk held in London each spring. These started in 1983 and have taken place every year since. Each year they raise thousands of pounds for Unlock's work. Anything from 600 to 800 walkers take part. The route usually includes urban churches and religious centres, a range of urban landscapes and housing, heritage locations and places of interest, places of rest and refreshment, and a place where walkers can encounter some of Unlock's work.
Each year we need several types of people to get involved: -
walkers - do the walk and collect sponsorship
sponsors - sponsor walkers
||Unlock promoters - people who will promote Unlock's work in thier churches and encourage support.
church walk leaders - recruit and co-ordinate a group of walkers from their own church(es) and liaise with the national office on their behalf.
volunteers who will represent Unlock at the churches on the walk route (see below)
Previous Unlock London Walks
The 36th Unlock London Walk took place in Merton, Morden and Wimbledon on Saturday April 27th 2019 and was attened by over 600 people.
Shining a light in Merton, Morden and Wimbledon
Over the 35 years of EUTP and Unlock walks we have never managed to visit this part of London, so the 2019 walk should offer something new to everyone including the old faithfuls. The area has its own interesting history; there’s an abbey/priory, some important political, royal, and railway history too.
You’ll see trams, trains and buses a-plenty, and as well as pounding urban pavements you will cross a National Trust Park, and elsewhere skirt a common. Twice you’ll find yourself walking beside water, though it’s often hidden behind greenery. And there’s a City Farm to visit if you have time.
In addition to a special Place of Interest there are seven checkpoint churches reflecting a variety of traditions and with some exciting approaches to ministry in the community. These include such enterprises as regular Christian Theatre, provision of laundry and shower facilities, and offering catering training to local college students.
36th Unlock's London Walk brochure cover 2019 >>
36th Unlock's London Walk brochure map 2019 >>
2019 Walk Quiz >>
Walk 36 Quiz Answers >>
The quiz winners in 2019 are
Mary Ellwood from Croydon and Amelie Dunn aged 11 from Battle (junior prize).
The 35th Unlock London Walk took place on Saturday 28th April 2018 in Tottenham.
‘Together in Tottenham’
The 35thUnlock London Walk, 28th April 2018.
Walk 35 2018 map side >>
Walk 35 2018 brochure cover >>
Route Church Factsheets 2018 >>
Welcome to Broadwater Farm Estate >>
Walk 35 Quiz Sheet >>
Walk 35 Quiz Answers >>
The 2018 London Walk revisited a corner of north west London which was on the 21st Walk ‘Palace and Peacemakers’. Fourteen years later much has changed and much has stayed the same in Tottenham. Our 7½ mile route around Bruce Grove, Tottenham Hale, the High Road, Seven Sisters and West Green will go along a canal towpath and an old Roman Road, several green parks as well as by a retail park, and past interesting buildings old, new and in-between. The very new includes the site of a skyscraper planned for Hale Village and a world class football stadium being built by Tottenham Hotspur. The very old includes a 12th century church and 16th century manor house.
The churches we visited before are still going strong but will are going to new ones (except one which is now in a different location); two of the churches we’re visiting this time are very new. One is the first new build Church of England church in London for 40 years, ‘St Francis at the Engine Room’ in the Hale Village development. We heard about the dream/vision for the other new church, when we visited the big Broadwater Farm Estate and its community centre in 2004. Since then prayer and perseverance has led to ‘Church on the Farm’ in the heart of the estate.
What hasn’t changed over the years is the commitment and love in action that the local churches have, reaching out to their multi-cultural and vibrant community through often tough conditions and difficult events; as the ‘Pray Haringey’ website (www.prayharingey.org.uk) puts it “one church, many congregations…together transforming Haringey.”
I remember Bishop Peter Hall (Unlock’s former chairperson) telling me in the run up to the 21st London Walk how impressed he was by how the churches in Tottenham work together and that the leaders knew each other well. It meant a lot from Bishop Peter who visited many churches and planned lots of Unlock Walks. As I have been putting together this coming London Walk, I too have been encouraged and inspired by the churches in Tottenham. Hope you will be too. Come on the 35th London Unlock Walk – Saturday 28th April 2018.
Sarah W.I. (Unlock Walk planning team)
The 34th Unlock London Walk 2017
A Walker's account of the 2017 walk in Battersea and Clapham >>
With thanks to Juliet Chaplin
Over 700 people took part in the 34th Unlock London Walk in and around Clapham & Battersea on Saturday April 29th 2017.
Walk Quiz >>
Quiz Answers >>
Route Church Factsheets 2017 >>
Congratulations to Stephen Rawlinson of Belvedere who had a full set of correct answers to the 2017 walk quiz.
Walkers please note
The Unlock checkpoint was relocated to St Mark’s instead of Battersea Central Methodist Mission, due to their building work not being completed in time.
The answer to quiz question 20 was also moved to St Mark’s i.e. between questions 4 & 5.
The 2017 London Walk on 29th April will not be starting at Llanfihangel-y-pennant, although it might be argued that’s where the story started, nor will it be 26 miles long and we don’t expect anyone to do it barefoot!
We shall in fact be walking in Battersea and Clapham, and part of the walk takes us across Clapham Common. We shall see both signs of prosperity and indications of poverty. Checkpoint churches will include two flourishing Anglican churches with rather different ministries and at least one small mission church, each one seeking to serve the needs of differing communities in the area. There’s older social housing contrasting with newer high rise developments. There are two interesting old town centres in Clapham and Battersea to enjoy, and the possibility of a stretch along the Thames. The many railway tracks in the area pass through the throat of Clapham Junction which, with more than 2000 trains a day, is Britain’s busiest train station.
So what is the Welsh connection?
Mary Jones (16 December 1784– 28 December1864) was a Welsh girl who, who lived at Llanfihangel-y-pennant, Abergynolwyn, at the foot of Cader Idrisnear Dolgellau. At the age of fifteen, Mary walked twenty-six miles barefoot across the countryside to buy a copy of the Welsh Bible from Thomas Charlesin Bala because she did not have one.
The story ofMary Jones and her Bibleinspired the founding of the British and Foreign Bible Society and Unlock’s partnership with the Bible Society has been crucial to our work and development in recent years.
The Clapham Sect, or‘Clapham Saints’; including Thomas, Charles and William Wilberforce;were a group of Church of England social reformers based in Clapham, London at the beginning of the 19th century (active c. 1790–1830). They are credited with the founding of, amongst other organisations, The British and Foreign Bible Society.
The plan is that, as well as one of the churches on the walk route showcasing Unlock’s work as usual, another will showcase the work of our valuable partners, the Bible Society.
The 33rd Unlock London Walk took place in fine weather on Saturday April 23rd 2016 with at least 725 walkers.
Walk 33 - Around the Orbit 2016
In 2010 the Unlock Walk was in the Stratford area of East London. Part of the route ran along the Greenway from where walkers had a view of the construction work going on in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. In 2016 the Walk returns to what is now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. There’s still a great deal of construction work going on in the area. The Park is open, but not all the features and facilities are yet complete. People are now living in the former athletes’ village, and the building of “legacy” housing continues. At the moment access to the southern edge of the park is restricted by Crossrail works.
There’s lots to see in the Park, and the 2016 walk will cross it twice, linking churches in Stratford and Hackney. Within the route (but not on it!) will be Westfield and what is, by size, the largest urban shopping centre in the European Union. Stratford is now a huge transport hub, with three bus terminals and three stations including Stratford International.
Walk Quiz >>
Walk Quiz Answers >>
Route Church Factsheets >>
Paragon Chapel Factsheet >>
The 32nd Unlock London - Peter Hall Tribute - Walk took place on April 25th 2015.
Bishop Peter Hall tribute slideshow >>
Route Church factsheets >>
Walk Answers >>
"The 47 Bus”
The 2015 London Walk is being planned as a tribute to Bishop Peter Hall, and so we are returning to Bermondsey, Lewisham and Deptford which were part of his patch when he served as Bishop of Woolwich. The walk will be linear, very roughly an elongated Z shape, with the ends connected by the 47 bus route which also serves various points along the way. The walk route takes us across lock gates, through a riverside farm and by lots of green places. We pass through some imaginative redevelopment in the Rotherhithe docks area, and there’s water and views as we follow part of the Thames Path. Some of the checkpoints are ones we have used on earlier walks; others are new this time, such as the Norwegian Church with which Peter had warm relations.
The 31st Unlock London Walk took place in ideal weather in the Camden/Kentish Town area on May 3rd 2014. it's difficult to be certain of numbers but staff counted 777 walkers which is an impressive turnout.
2014 Route Church Factsheets>>
Locks, Lock-ups and Unlock.
The 31st. Annual Walk is back in north central London, once again made use of the Grand Union Canal, different parts of which have featured in many of our walks. We will visit a church which is almost on the canal, and in 1989 was a stop on the only linear (as opposed to circular) walk we have ever done. So limber up, you walk veterans who remember that year, and bring some new walkers with you. It will be a circular route as usual, taking in the popular Camden Lock, Primrose Hill, and two famous prisons. For the first time at one stop we will be hosted by the Lutherans – the Luther Tyndale Memorial Church. Tyndale is one of the Bible martyrs we remembered on the walk we did in 2011.
The 30th Unlock London Walk took place on the 20th of April 2013.
Around 700 walkers enjoyed a day of bright sunshine and gentle breezes to walk 7.5 miles around Eltham visiting parks, residential areas and shopping streets and 7 varied churches on their way.
Unlock London Walk No.30, Eltham, South -East London.
Walk No. 30 is in exactly the opposite side of London from our very wet 2012 visit to Willesden. We are going to Eltham, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It has huge contrasts. We will pass a former royal palace, which you can see from its bridge over the moat. We will walk through very extensive between- the- wars council estates, human-sized, but with the same social problems as the tower block era. We will be alongside a massive controversial regeneration scheme in what was the much-hyped, but finally notorious, post- war Ferrier Estate, (named for reasons unknown to me after a world famous contralto from my home town of Blackburn!) We will pass the paving stone in memory of the teen-ager Stephen Lawrence, whose tragic death and its aftermath has had such an impact on the attitudes of our police. There will be a connection with our last walk, where Sir Thomas More went on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Willesden. He often went to Eltham Palace, and his favorite daughter, Margaret Roper, had a house nearby, now a historic popular venue called the Tudor Barn, which we shall visit. After Willesden, the law of averages should give us a dry day!
Magazine article about the 2013 Unlock Walk (30th) by Juliet Chaplin of Cheam.>>
Magazine article about the 2012 Unlock Walk (29th) by Juliet Chaplin of Cheam.>>
Magazine articles about Unlock walks from 1999 t0 2009 by Geoff Coggins of St Andrew's, Sidcup. >>
Walk 29 (2012)
Around 600 cheerful and faithful Unlock supporters turned out in wet weather to support the 29th Unlock London Walk, which took place in Willesden on Saturday the 28th of April 2012.
Thanks to our committed supporters the 2012 Unlock walk income has reached £25,400 - in spite of the rain! Thank you everyone. In 2011 you raised £28,000 by the middle of October.
We visited new territory in 2012 in north-west London. Willesden was an ancient Anglo-Saxon village, known then as Willesdune, or Wellesdone in the Domesday Book, meaning “The hill of the spring”. It all sounds very romantic, and was indeed a rural village until the coming of the railways. Today there is little to remind us of Willesdune, but a great deal of the 21st century with its global migrations. The churches reflect that cosmopolitan mix which is London today, but there is one that connects us with its early history. You may recognise many a name that begins with “Our Lady of...”, but I will be surprised if you know about “Our Lady of Willesden”! But that is the name of a Roman Catholic church and shrine which is likely to be one of the host churches on the walk. During the 14th-16th centuries, it was a very popular shrine much visited by pilgrims, until it was despoiled during the Reformation troubles featured in our 2011 walk about the King James Bible. Other host churches will include Pentecostals, an Elim bi-lingual group, and an inter-faith, ecumenical centre. Yet again the churches will reveal to walkers the astonishing ways that Christians in a changing urban world respond to Christ’s call.
The 2010 (27th) Unlock London Walk, 'Twin Stories', took place on April 24th 2010.
Unlock walkers outside St Paul's Church.
World's End Estate viewed from across the Thames
2007 Unlock London Walk
Over 700 people supported Unlock's work by taking part in the (24th) Unlock London Walk, which took place on Saturday the 21st of April 2007 in Bermondsey and the Isle of Dogs.
This is one of 80 photographs of the 24th Unlock London walk, taken by Yorke Rodda.
The 24th London Walk was in memory of Basil Cracknell, the originator of the Unlock London Walk who died in March 2006.
Basil Cracknell - February 1925 – March 2006
Basil Cracknell >>
London Sponsored Walk No. 23
Saturday April 29th 2006 - Unlock Walkers in Charlton
Click here for a free PDF viewer >>
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