November 21, 2023

Destination: London


Best Countryside Walks Near London

A scenic ramble, fresh air, and a meal in a traditional pub: nothing quite beats a walk in the English countryside. From the Seven Sisters Cliffs to the rolling hills of the South Downs, there are plenty of open, green spaces and quaint villages within easy reach of London.

So lace up your walking boots, grab your bag, and leave the ‘Big Smoke’ behind: these are the most beautiful countryside walks near London.

1. Epping Forest

Deer on the path in Epping Forest

Epping Forest, in northeast London, is home to the Oak Trail, a popular hiking route among runners and walkers.

But what’s even better about this 6,000-acre woods, is that you can get to it by tube! Simply take the Central line to Theydon Bois station, and within moments of stepping off the tube, you’ll find yourself among the leafy canopy that is Epping Forest.

Epping Forest Oak Trail route: 6.7 miles (10.8 km),

Closest station: Theydon Bois (Central Line)

Highlights: The route wends its way through ancient woodlands, passing by Queen Elizabeth I’s Hunting Lodge built in 1543. Keep an eye out for the diverse array of wildlife.

2. Box Hill

Stepping Stones over the River Mole

Famous among cyclists in England, Box Hill is also a great haven for walkers, too. As you might expect, it is quite hilly, but there are a variety of different walks you can do around Box Hill, making it suitable for the whole family.

At the top of Box Hill, there’s a cafe, where you can enjoy a drink and sausage roll while admiring the sweeping views.

Box Hill hike route: Long route, 11.9 miles (19.2 km),; or short route, 5.4 miles (8.8 km),

Closest station: Take the train from London Waterloo to Box Hill & Westhumble station (from 42 minutes).

Highlights: Offers superb views over the North Downs. This trail includes the well-known Stepping Stones across the River Mole.

3. Marlow

The River Thames and Marlow

On the banks of the River Thames, Marlow is a quaint, typically English sort of place. Home to some great cafes and traditional pubs, and surrounded by the Chilterns AONB, it’s the perfect place to visit for a day out of London.

Marlow Thames Path National Trail route: 8.3 miles (13.5 km)

Closest station: Take the train from Paddington to Marlow, changing at Maidenhead (from 1 hour 10 minutes).

Highlights: A serene walk along the River Thames, showcasing the charming town of Marlow and its delightful riverside views.

4. Tring & Wendover Woods

Harelane Bridge in Wendover Woods

Tring is a market town in Hertfordshire that can be reached from London in under an hour. Nearby Wendover Woods is famous for its steep hills, so you may wish to amend the route if you don’t want to do too much elevation.

Tring & Wendover Woods – The Ridgeway Trail route: 10.2 miles (16.4 km)

Closest station: London Euston to Tring (from 40 minutes).

Highlights: The trail winds through ancient woodlands and includes the beautiful Aston Clinton Ragpits.

5. Ramsgate to Margate

For fresh salty sea air, head to the Kentish coast and ramble along the coastal path from one station to the other.

There are plenty of stops on either side for a bite to eat. Make sure you take your swim stuff for a dip – if the weather’s playing the game!

Ramsgate to Margate route: 9.3 miles (15 km)

Closest station: St Pancras to Ramsgate (from 1 hour 30 minutes); Margate to St Pancras (from 1 hour 40 minutes).

Highlights: This lovely coastal path offers views of the sea and Victorian architecture.

6. Devil’s Dyke

Devil’s Dyke is an iconic landform in the Sussex countryside. History surrounds you everywhere with many remains of Iron Age forts and the site of Victorian funfairs.

Devil’s Dyke circular walk route: 10.6 miles (17.2 km), To make the route shorter, take the 270 bus from Hassocks to Pyecombe and begin the route from there:

Closest station: London Victoria to Hassocks (from 1 hour).

Highlights: Panoramic views of the South Downs and an area rich in folklore.

7. The Seven Sisters (Seaford to Eastbourne)

Seven Sisters Cliffs in East Sussex

The Seven Sisters are a series of chalk cliffs, stretching from Cuckmere Haven to Birling Gap. This coastal trail is a great way to see the iconic cliffs, as the best views start in Seaford.

Seven Sisters cliff walk route: 13.4 miles (21.7 km),

Closest train station: Take the train from London Victoria or London Bridge to Seaford, changing at Brighton (2 hours). Return train Eastbourne to Clapham Junction or London Bridge.

Highlights: A spectacular coastal walk along the iconic white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters.

8. Henley-on-Thames

A trip to Henley never disappoints. You can either do a circular walk along the river, stopping at the pub for lunch on the way, or stomp from station to station, through meadows and fields.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a walk through the town and admire the beautiful buildings and boutique shops.

Thames Path Henley to Pangbourne route: Henley to Pangboune, 11.1 miles (17.9 km),; or Henley circular, 6 miles (9.7 km)

Closest station: Paddington to Henley-on-Thames via Twyford (from 50 minutes). Return (if you’re doing the station to station walk) Pangbourne to Paddington via Reading (from 45 minutes).

Highlights: A picturesque stretch of the Thames Path, offering views of the river, traditional English villages, and the countryside.

If this has sparked your curiosity and you’re eager to delve further into the beautiful British countryside on foot, explore our walking tours of England and beyond.

Or, if you’re more inclined towards urban adventures, join our unique cultural tour of London to immerse yourself in the city.

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