14 Best Hikes Near By London: Guide about Hiking Destinations in London
Just outside the busy streets of London, you’ll find some amazing places for hiking. These spots are perfect for taking a break from city life and enjoying nature. You can choose from different kinds of walks – some take you through beautiful woods, others offer great views from hills, and there are even paths that follow the river.
These hikes are not too far from London, so they’re easy to get to for a day trip. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk or a bit of a challenge, there’s something for everyone. It’s a great chance to relax, get some fresh air, and see some beautiful scenery.
Best Trekking Sites Near By London in The UK
- The Ridgeway
- Thames Path
- Ashridge Estate
- Box Hill
- High Weald Landscape Trail
- Cambridge Walk
- Richmond Park
- Coombe Hill
- Ockley to Leith Hill
- Mole Gap Trail
- Lewes via West Firle
- Waltham Abbey
- Epping Forest Oak Trail
- Chess Valley
1. The Ridgeway
The Ridgeway is a renowned long-distance trail in England, traversing the picturesque North Wessex Downs. It spans approximately 87 miles (140 km), making it one of the oldest walking routes in Europe. This trail is steeped in history, having been used for over 5,000 years by travelers, herdsmen, and soldiers. It runs through a varied landscape that includes open hilltops, dense woodlands, and tranquil river valleys.
How to Reach The Ridgeway?
The most common starting point for The Ridgeway is Overton Hill, near Avebury in Wiltshire. To reach there, you can take a train from London to Swindon, followed by a bus journey to Avebury. Alternatively, for those driving, parking is available at several points along the route.
Distance: 87 miles (140 km).
Height: The trail reaches its highest point at Barbury Castle, around 817 feet (249 meters).
Time: Completing the entire trail typically takes 6-8 days, but it can also be tackled in shorter sections.
Budget: Accommodation and food costs vary. Budget options like camping or hostels are available, and there are also more luxurious options. Transport costs depend on your mode of travel.
The Ridgeway is a journey through time, offering a glimpse into England’s ancient past. Highlights include the Uffington White Horse, a prehistoric hill figure, and the Avebury Stone Circle. The trail is suitable for walkers of all abilities, offering both challenging and leisurely sections. It’s a chance to experience the rural beauty of Southern England, with each section offering unique views and historical insights.
2. Thames Path
The Thames Path is a unique and scenic walking route that follows the River Thames, starting from its source in the Cotswolds and stretching to the Thames Barrier in Greenwich, London. The entire path is about 184 miles (296 km) long, offering a diverse range of landscapes. It passes through peaceful countryside, historic towns, and finally into the heart of London, providing a remarkable juxtaposition of rural and urban settings.
How to Reach Thames Path?
Access to the Thames Path is quite easy given its length and location. For sections near London, numerous train and bus services connect to various points along the route. For those starting from the source, Kemble in Gloucestershire is the nearest train station. For London-based sections, public transport like the Underground or buses provides convenient access.
Distance: 184 miles (296 km), but day hikes can cover smaller sections.
Height: Mostly flat, as it follows the river’s course.
Time: The entire path can take two weeks to complete, but day hikers can explore shorter sections in a few hours.
Budget: The budget varies depending on the sections hiked. Accommodations range from campsites to hotels. Transportation and dining costs depend on the chosen section.
The Thames Path offers a unique hiking experience, with the river guiding your journey. The path navigates through historical landmarks, vibrant markets, and serene nature reserves. Highlights include the stunning Windsor Castle, the historic city of Oxford, and the picturesque Henley-on-Thames. It’s an ideal trail for those who enjoy leisurely walks with plenty of opportunities to explore British culture and history. The path is also well-marked and accessible, making it suitable for hikers of all levels.
3. Ashridge Estate
Ashridge Estate, a sprawling 5,000-acre area located just 30 miles from London, is a haven for nature lovers. This estate is a part of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It boasts a rich tapestry of woodlands, commons, and footpaths. The varied landscape includes ancient trees, rolling chalk downlands, and lush meadows. It’s a biodiversity hotspot, offering habitats for a wide range of wildlife.
How to Reach Ashridge Estate?
Ashridge Estate is accessible by car and public transport. The nearest train stations are Tring and Berkhamsted, from where you can take a taxi to the estate. If driving, the estate is near the town of Berkhamsted, with parking available on-site.
Distance: Ashridge Estate is a vast area located approximately 2 miles north of Berkhamsted and about 23 miles northwest of London. It covers about 5,000 acres (20 km²) and is situated in the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Height: The estate is nestled in the Chiltern Hills, with varying elevations across different trails.
Time: Depending on the chosen trail, hikes can last from an hour to a full day.
Budget: Visiting the estate is generally cost-effective. There’s no entry fee for walking, but parking charges may apply. The cost will depend on transportation and any dining or activities in the area.
Ashridge Estate is a perfect destination for those seeking a blend of history, nature, and scenic beauty. The estate is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna and offers some of the best views of the Chiltern Hills. Notable features include the iconic Bridgewater Monument and the ancient woodlands, which are particularly stunning during bluebell season. It’s an ideal spot for leisurely walks, photography, bird watching, and family outings. The estate also has a visitor center and café, providing a great starting point for exploring the area.
4. The High Weald Landscape
The High Weald Landscape Trail stretches across the serene landscapes of West Sussex and Kent. This picturesque trail covers a variety of terrains including rolling hills, lush meadows, dense forests, and distinctive sandstone outcrops. Spanning a significant part of the High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it offers a rich display of England’s classic countryside.
How to Reach
The trail can be accessed from various points in West Sussex and Kent. Public transport options like buses and trains are available to reach starting points such as Horsham in West Sussex or Rye in Kent. For drivers, there are parking facilities near major access points along the trail.
Distance: Approximately 95 miles (153 km) in total.
Height: Varies, as the trail traverses through hills and valleys.
Time: It can take several days to complete the entire trail, but there are shorter sections suitable for day hikes.
Budget: Costs will mainly involve transport, food, and accommodation if planning a multi-day hike. The trail itself is free to access.
The High Weald Landscape Trail is an adventure for those who appreciate natural beauty and historical landscapes. It passes through areas rich in
history and nature, with each step offering a new view or discovery. The trail crosses through ancient woodlands, over streams, past old farmsteads, and through historic villages, making it an excellent route for those interested in England’s rural heritage. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the ever-changing landscape and the tranquility of the countryside. This trail is ideal for bird watchers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs. It’s also a great choice for families looking for a day out in nature, offering various spots for picnics and rest.
5. Box Hill
Box Hill is part of the North Downs in Surrey, England. It’s famous for its extensive network of over 10 miles of trails through woodlands and meadows. This area is celebrated for offering some of the most stunning views of the Surrey countryside. The hill’s rich natural habitat supports diverse wildlife and boasts a variety of plants and flowers.
How to Reach Box Hill?
Box Hill is easily accessible by public transport and car. The nearest train station is Box Hill & Westhumble, and there is a car park available for visitors. The area is also well-connected through local bus services.
Distance: Over 10 miles of trails.
Height: The hill provides a moderate climb, offering viewpoints over the Surrey landscape.
Time: Hikes can vary from short walks to longer excursions, depending on the chosen trail.
Budget: The area is free to access; costs mainly consist of travel and any refreshments.
Box Hill is a favorite for both casual walkers and seasoned hikers. It offers a variety of trails suitable for different fitness levels. Key attractions include the breathtaking viewpoint at Salomons Memorial, the natural play trail for children, and the Stepping Stones across the River Mole. The area is also a popular spot for cycling and picnicking.
6. Cambridge Walk
The Cambridge Walk offers a unique experience that combines the urban sophistication of Cambridge with the serene beauty of its rural surroundings. This walk takes you through the city’s exquisite historical architecture, including world-renowned colleges and classic English gardens, and extends to the tranquil flower-strewn meadows nearby.
How to Reach Cambridge Walk?
Cambridge is easily accessible by train from London and other major cities. Once in Cambridge, the walk can be started from various points within the city, making it convenient for visitors.
Distance: The walk varies, but a typical route is around 3-4 miles within the city.
Height: Mostly flat, as it traverses through the city and meadows.
Time: A leisurely walk can take a few hours, including stops to admire key sights.
Budget: The walk itself is free. Costs may include transportation to Cambridge and any dining or shopping in the city.
Cambridge Walk is an ideal way to explore the historic and cultural essence of the city. You’ll pass iconic buildings like King’s College Chapel and the Cambridge University Library. The route also offers a chance to experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere and bustling marketplaces. The contrast between the urban environment and the peacefulness of the meadows along the River Cam provides a diverse and enriching experience.
7. Coombe Hill
Coombe Hill, part of the Chiltern Escarpment near London, stands as one of the most scenic spots in the area. It offers grand viewpoints, including the summit of Coombe Hill itself and Beacon Hill. The area is known for its picturesque landscape and panoramic views over the Aylesbury Vale and surrounding countryside.
How to Reach Coombe Hill?
Coombe Hill is accessible by car and public transport. The nearest towns are Wendover and Great Missenden, with public transport options available to reach these towns. From there, a short taxi ride or a scenic walk can lead you to the hill.
Distance: The main walk to the summit is relatively short but can be extended by joining nearby trails.
Height: Coombe Hill is the highest point in the Chiltern Hills.
Time: A typical walk to the summit and back can take around 1-2 hours
Budget: Visiting Coombe Hill is generally free, although there might be parking charges if you’re driving. Costs will mainly consist of transportation and any refreshments or meals.
Coombe Hill is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and historical significance, marked by the Boer War Memorial at the summit. The area is perfect for those who enjoy hiking, bird watching, and photography, offering peaceful surroundings and some of the best views in the Chiltern Hills. It’s a great destination for a day out in nature, suitable for families and individuals alike.
8. Richmond Park
Richmond Park, located in London, is a remarkable expanse of nature that retains a wild and rustic feel. It’s the largest of London’s Royal Parks, renowned for its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife including free-roaming deer, and scenic views of the River Thames.
How to Reach Richmond Park?
The park is accessible by public transport, with several buses serving the area. For those driving, there are car parks within the park. The nearest train stations include Richmond, Kingston, and Norbiton.
Distance: The park covers an area of 2,500 acres.
Height: It’s mostly flat, with gentle undulations.
Time: Visitors can spend a few hours to a full day exploring.
Budget: Entry to the park is free. Costs may include transportation and refreshments.
Richmond Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. It offers a variety of activities including walking, cycling, and wildlife watching. The park ranges from open grasslands to dense woodlands, and it’s especially known for its ancient trees and large deer population. The views from King Henry’s Mound to St Paul’s Cathedral are particularly famous. With its rich history and natural beauty, Richmond Park provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, making it a cherished spot for both Londoners and visitors.
9. Mole Gap Trail
The Mole Gap Trail is a scenic 6-mile hike located in the Surrey countryside. This trail is known for its picturesque landscapes, winding through lush fields and woodlands. A significant highlight of the route is its passage by Denbies Wine Estate, the largest vineyard in the country.
How to Reach Mole Gap Trail?
The trail can be accessed from Leatherhead or Dorking, both of which are reachable by train from London. The trail is well-signposted, making it easy to follow.
Distance: 6 miles.
Height: Mostly flat with some gentle slopes.
Time: Approximately 2-3 hours to complete.
Budget: No cost for the hike; optional expenses include refreshments or a visit to the vineyard.
Mole Gap Trail offers a delightful experience for walkers who appreciate both natural beauty and a taste of local culture. Along the route, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and explore the charming towns of Leatherhead and Dorking. The proximity of Denbies Wine Estate also provides a unique opportunity to combine hiking with a visit to one of England’s premier vineyards.
10. Ockley to Leith Hill
The hike from Ockley to Leith Hill is a 7-mile journey that leads to the highest point in the southeast of England. This trail is celebrated for its extraordinary views, encompassing lush countryside and woodlands.
How to Reach Ockley to Leith Hill?
The starting point in Ockley can be accessed by train from London, with the nearest station being Ockley Station. The trail is well-marked and navigable.
Distance: 7 miles.
Height: Climbs to the summit of Leith Hill, the highest point in southeast England.
Time: Approximately 3-4 hours to complete.
Budget: The hike itself is free; costs may include transportation and any refreshments.
This hike is renowned for its stunning panoramic views from Leith Hill Tower, where on a clear day, you can see London’s skyline and even the English Channel. The trail offers a blend of gentle and steep sections, making it a rewarding challenge for hikers. The area is rich in flora and fauna, offering a perfect opportunity for nature lovers and photographers.
11. Lewes via West Firle
The Lewes via West Firle hike is a 14.5-mile trail in the South Downs of England. This route is known for its picturesque green landscapes and a stretch along the River Ouse. It offers a blend of charming countryside views and the serenity of the river.
How to Reach Lewes via West Firle?
The starting point in Lewes is accessible by train from London. The trail can be commenced from the town center of Lewes, which is well-connected and easy to navigate.
Distance: 14.5 miles.
Height: Varied, with some gentle elevations.
Time: Approximately 5-7 hours, depending on pace.
Budget: Mainly travel costs and any food or drink along the way.
This hike is perfect for those seeking a full day’s walk through diverse landscapes. The trail passes through historic towns and villages, offering a glimpse into the local heritage. The path along the River Ouse adds a tranquil dimension to the experience. The hike is suitable for seasoned walkers due to its length and varied terrain.
12. Waltham Abbey Trail
The Waltham Abbey trail is a 6-mile trail located in the Lea Valley. It’s distinguished for its integration of nature and art, featuring unique sculptures along the way. This trail offers a blend of natural scenery and artistic displays, creating a unique hiking experience.
How to Reach Waltham Abbey Trail?
Accessible by local transport from London, the trail starts near Waltham Abbey, a town rich in history and culture.
Distance: 6 miles.
Height: Mostly flat, suitable for all ages and abilities.
Time: Around 5-6 hours to complete.
Budget: The trail is free to access; expenses may include transport and any refreshments.
The Waltham Abbey trail offers a unique experience as it combines the beauty of nature with the intrigue of art. Along the trail, hikers can enjoy various art installations and sculptures, adding a cultural dimension to their walk. The trail is ideal for those who enjoy leisurely walks with an artistic twist. It’s also a great opportunity to explore the natural and historical aspects of the Lea Valley.
13. Epping Forest Oak Trail
The Epping Forest Oak Trail is a delightful 7-mile hike located in one of London’s most notable woodlands, Epping Forest. This trail is especially known for its impressive oak trees and diverse natural scenery.
How to Reach Epping Forest Oak Trail?
The trail is accessible from various points in Epping Forest, which is well-connected to London by public transport and has several car parks for those driving.
Distance: Approximately 7 miles.
Height: The trail offers varied terrain with some gentle elevations.
Time: It typically takes about 3-4 hours to complete.
Budget: The hike is free; costs may include travel to Epping Forest and any refreshments.
Epping Forest Oak Trail is ideal for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape. The trail provides a fantastic opportunity to explore the ancient woodlands of Epping Forest, rich in wildlife and natural beauty. It’s a great place for bird watching, photography, and enjoying the tranquility of the forest. The Oak Trail, specifically, is celebrated for showcasing some of the oldest and most majestic oak trees in the area.
14. Chess Valley
The Chess Valley trail is a scenic 10-mile path running through the Chilterns from Rickmansworth to Chesham. This trail is known for its picturesque landscapes, encompassing beautiful villages and abundant wildlife.
How to Reach Chess Valley?
Accessible by train, the trail can be started from either Rickmansworth or Chesham stations. It’s well-marked, making navigation straightforward for walkers.
Distance: 10 miles.
Height: Varied, with some gentle hills.
Time: Around 4-5 hours to complete.
Budget: Free to access; costs include transport and any dining or refreshments along the way.
The Chess Valley trail offers a delightful mix of natural beauty and historic charm. It passes through quintessential English countryside, alongside the River Chess, and through areas rich in wildlife, especially birds and butterflies. The trail is perfect for a day’s hike, offering tranquil settings and picturesque views, ideal for nature enthusiasts and photographers.