Are you looking for the best hiking near London? From the Chess Valley Walk to the Seven Sisters, check out these 10 incredible day hikes from London!
I always feel like I have a bit of a Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde personality when it comes to London. It’s my favourite city in the world and I am so happy to call this place home, but give me the chance to go hiking near London and I’ll bite your hand off.
Hiking is by far one of my favourite outdoor activities to do in the United Kingdom. All you need is a good pair shoes, a rough idea of where you’re going, and that’s basically it.
You don’t need expensive equipment or even a high level of fitness – everyone can do it. Hiking with kids near London is a fantastic family activity too for those of you looking to get the little ones out and about.
Hiking is just a really easy going and accessible activity for all. That’s why I love it so much!
If you stay in London for a while you start to develop ‘London fever’. This is a bit like cabin fever but you know, just in a massive city of 8 million people. Whenever you get ‘London fever’, the best thing to do is get out the city and into the countryside.
In this blog I’ll go through some of the best hikes from London. All these hikes are easy to get to and are all doable in a day. The longest hike I feature is 8 hours including transport, so you’ll be able to do all of these on a day trip from London. That’s the idea anyway.
It’s amazing, you really don’t need to travel far from London before you feel like you’re a million miles away from the city. And you really can’t beat that fresh country air on a clear day out.
So, if you’re looking to go hiking near London then this is the post for you. Get outside and enjoy the trail – in my eyes there’s no better feeling.
You can also check out some of my favourite adventures in London if you’re looking for something to do a little closer to the city.
– 10 Best Hikes Near London –
Contents & Quicklinks
Seaford to Eastbourne – The Seven Sisters Cliff Walk
Distance: 13.8 miles
Total time it’ll take: 7 to 8 hours. 3 to 4 hours of hiking, 3 hours for the journey, 30 minutes for fish & chips at the end
Walking along the coast from Seaford to Eastbourne is without a doubt one of the best day hikes from London. In terms of beautiful views, this is as good as it gets in the UK. Honestly, I can’t recommend this hike enough.
The route goes from Seaford to Eastbourne and is approximately 13.8 miles long, so it’s a really good hike that will take you a fair few hours. The best thing about this hike is you’re following the coastline. That means you’ve got constant views of the English Channel to your right which I just absolutely love.
You’ll also get to see Beachy Head and the infamous Seven Sisters, one of the most iconic images in the UK. They are a series of white chalk cliffs formed during the Ice Age. I’m sure you’ll recognise them from the photos.
One of the best things about this hike is you’ll end up on Eastbourne Pier where you can treat yourself to some fish & chips or an ice cream. I don’t think there’s a better way to end a hike than that!
Alternatively, you can do the opposite route from Eastbourne Pier to Beachy Head. You can find out all about the Beachy Head walk in my detailed guide packed full of information.
Getting to and from London: There are regular trains between London Victoria and Seaford, with one change at Lewes. The journey takes around 1h:30m. The return to London is a lot easier. There are regular trains from Eastbourne to London Victoria and the train takes around 1h:20m.
Leatherhead to Dorking – The Mole Gap Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Total time it’ll take: 6 hours. 3 hours for hiking, 1 hour for a wine tour and 1h:30m for transport
Who fancies visiting a vineyard while you’re out hiking for the day? I know I do!
The Mole Gap Trail is a really fantastic day trip from London as you can stop off at the Denbies Wine Estate, taste a few wines before hitting the trail again. The Denbies Wine Estate is actually the largest in England. If you time it right, you can include a wine tour with lots of tastings where you’ll learn all about how they produce wine here.
Starting at the train station in Leatherhead, this 6-mile hike will take around 3 hours of walking. However, there are plenty of places to stop off along the way such as The Running Horse pub in Leatherhead or The Stepping Stones pub in Westhumble.
The route follows the River Mole (great name for a river), past an 18th century manor house at Norbury Park and takes you past beautiful countryside of rolling hills and green fields. All in all this is such a fantastic place to hike near London.
Getting to and from London: The walk begins at Leatherhead station and ends at Dorking station. Trains from London Victoria take around 45 minutes and there are a number of trains throughout the day.
Rickmansworth to Chesham – The Chess Valley Walk
Distance: 10.3 miles
Total time it’ll take: 5:30 hours. 4 hours of hiking, 30 minutes for lunch and an hour for transport
When it comes to hiking near London, the Chess Valley Walk is without a doubt one of the most accessible and most popular.
The Chess Valley walk is just over 10 miles long and takes you past some stunning scenery and picturesque landscapes.
One of the best things about this hike is both Rickmansworth and Chesham are on the Metropolitan line. This means train ticket prices are a lot cheaper than a few other places featured in this list, so it’s definitely up there for those of you on a budget.
Along the marked route you’ll walk past an ancient Roman villa at Latimer which dates back to the 1st century AD. The Chenies Manor, roughly half way on the route, has an incredibly beautiful garden that’s open to the public if you fancy stopping by.
If you get this walk on a bright sunny day it’s just incredible. I’ve written all about the Chess Valley walk – again, this guide is packed full of information on the route and where to stop off along the way.
Getting to and from London: The overground train from London Marylebone to Rickmansworth takes just 22 minutes on the Metropolitan line. Chesham is also on the Met line, so the return back is easy too.
Henley via Stonor – Chiltern Hills Hiking
Distance: 13.6 miles
Total time it’ll take: 7 hours. 4 hours of hiking, 1 hour for lunch and 2 hours for transport
Even though Henley is famous for its annual regatta and cobblestone high street, there are some top quality hiking trails here too.
There are 3 varieties of hikes here – the main trail is 13.6 miles, but there are two shorter trails at 11.9 miles and 8.9 miles. It all depends of the type of day you’re after, but I would recommend the full Stonor Circular hike.
The walk takes you up one side of the valley and down the other leading to Stonor, a gorgeous little village right in the heart of the English countryside. Also, keep your eyes out for red kites and other birds of prey overhead. This is a great spot for those bird enthusiasts among you.
A slight word of warning. There is only one pub in Pishill on this route so make sure you pack lots of snacks and water as you won’t be able to stop as often as a few other hikes near London.
Getting to and from London: There are regular trains from London Paddington to Henly-on-Thames with a change at Twyford. This train takes around an hour. If you want to get to the pub for lunch, try and aim for the 9am train from London Paddington. That should leave you with plenty of time.
Ockley to Leith Hill
Distance: 7.9 miles
Total time it’ll take: 5 hours. 2 hours of hiking, 30 minutes for lunch 2h:30m for transport
This is one of the shortest hikes I’m going to feature, but it is one of my favourites too. This is the one for those of you who want to quickly escape London and be outside.
This hike takes you from Ockley on a path to Leith Hill. On a good clear day you can even see the London skyline off in the distance.
It’s also worth taking in Vann Lake along the way too. This is a really beautiful man-made lake by the side of a forest. The lake was originally created to power a 18th century mill that was never built. Today, the lake is an amazing hotbed for nature. It’s hard to believe this is just a short distance from London because it feels so far away.
At the top of Leith Hill is Leith Hill Tower. This tower was built in 1765 by Richard Hull as “a place for people to enjoy the English countryside.” Nearly 250 years later and it is still doing that today.
If you climb the 74 stairs to the top of the tower you’ll have one of the finest views around. This view is why the Ockley to Leith Hill is one of the best hikes near London!
Getting to and from London: There are regular trains from London Victoria to Ockley, and take roughly 1h:10m.
Distance: 5.9 miles
Total time it’ll take: 5h:30m. 2 hours of hiking, 30 minutes for lunch and 3 hours for transport.
It’s such a shame Hastings isn’t a lot closer to London otherwise I would do this hike a lot more.
Located in East Sussex, this hike starts in Hastings Old Town and then takes you along the seafront at Rock-A-Nore before following the coastal walk.
A bit like with the Seven Sisters Hike, it’s so nice being close to the water, especially on a sunny day. The views from the top of the cliffs are just spectacular. For me, it’s view like this which is what hiking in England is all about.
One of the best things about this hike is it also takes you past the old castle ruins at Hastings. This is a really fantastic spot for a packed lunch and for a few photos too.
Getting to and from London: There are two trains per hour from London Charring Cross to Hastings. However, as I mentioned, Hastings is quite far away. The journey will take you around 1h:30m each way, so 3 hours is spent on trains. I feel like that’s pushing it a bit, but this really is a fantastic hike.
Box Hill Circular
Distance: 9.2 miles
Total time it’ll take: 8 hours. 4 hours of hiking, 1 hour for lunch and 3 hours for transport.
Box Hill is one of the best places in the UK to go cycling (it’s where they held the men’s road race at the 2012 Olympics), but there’s a brilliant hiking trail here too.
If you take the train to Box Hill Park in Surrey (often you’ll share the train with cyclists), you can follow the well-marked trail to the Box Hill Circular. This is a 8 mile circular route taking you through the Surrey Hills.
A bit of a word of warning though – some of these hills are very steep, so this hike is for those of you looking to get the blood pumping.
Conveniently, there’s a restaurant halfway along the trail, so this is a great place to stop after working up a sweat. The views at the top of Box Hill are something else though. Makes all the steep hills totally worth it.
Getting to and from London: There are regular trains from London Victoria and London Waterloo to Box Hill Park and Westhumble Station (another place you can hike from). This journey takes around 1h:20m.
Hassocks to Lewes
Distance: 10.4 miles
Total time it’ll take: 7 hours. 4 hours of hiking, 1 hour for lunch and 2 hours for transport.
This hike is for those of you looking for something a little more strenuous. The hike starts in Hassocks, a village in the heart of West Sussex, and takes your through the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park.
The Hassocks hike starts out with a pretty tough climb of 10-20% up a hill for half a mile. It is a bit of a calf burner but it is worth it. Once you get to the top, you’ll be greeted by the Jack and Gill Windmills. These windmills date back to 1765 and are one of the most picturesque spots in the South Downs. There’s a post mill, a tower mill and the roundhouse of a former post mill, all three of which are Grade II listed buildings.
As you continue this hike you’ll be on the South Downs Way, one of the most popular hiking trails in the area. This route takes you past Ditchling Beacon and you’ll also be able to see Lewes Castle on the horizon too.
This is still one of the best day hikes from London though and I’d really recommend it. You can check out my blog post on some of the best things to do in the South Downs too if you’re in the area for longer.
Getting to and from London: There are regular trains from London Victoria and London Bridge Station direct to Hassocks. The train takes around 50 minutes. The return train is from Lewes and takes around 1 hour to get to Victoria.
Epping Forest Oak Trail
Distance: 6.6 miles
Total time it’ll take: 3 hours. 2 hours of hiking and an hour for lunch
This is what hiking near London is all about – getting outside and immersing yourself in nature. The Epping Forest Oak Trail is one of those places that feels like it couldn’t be further from the city centre on London. In reality, it’s super quick and easy getting here.
At 6.6 miles in length, this hike is a lot shorter than some of the other London hiking trails. All in all, you can do this hike in 2 to 3 hours.
Starting at Theydon Bois Tube station, the Oak Trail leads you through Epping Forest. I’d really recommend visiting the deer sanctuary and saying hello to the deer. Also, The Old Bull is a fantastic pub waiting for you at the end of the trail.
I really enjoy this hike and I’d really recommend it for those of you with kids. They will especially love the deer too!
How to get there: Take the Central Line up to Theydon Bois Tube station. Very easy.
Hampstead Heath – The Hampstead Circular Hike
Distance: 6.4 miles
Total time it’ll take: 3 hours. 2 hours of hiking and an hour for lunch
Okay, so is *technically* in London, but it is still one of the best London hikes you can do. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone walking around Hampstead Heath – it’s definitely one of the most accessible that’s for sure.
This hike begins and ends at Hampstead underground station on the Northern Line. It takes around 10 minutes to walk to Hampstead Heath, and then you’re in this amazing place that’s full of forests, green fields and lakes.
If you’ve got time, I’d recommend visiting Highgate Cemetery too. This is a cemetery adjacent to Hampstead Heath and is the final resting place of Karl Marx. It’s also supposed to be one of the most haunted places in Britain.
In Hampstead Heath itself, foe of the best viewpoints of London can be found at the top of Parliament Hill. This is a really good picnic spot too.
Otherwise, you can walk around the perimeter of the park is a couple of hours. Be warned though, it can be very busy on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice.
Still, you get to end up in Hampstead Heath afterwards which have some quality pubs and restaurants. A good boozer is the Holly Bush so I recommend that one!
How to get there: Take the Northern Line up to Hampstead. Depends on where you’re coming from in London but it will take you around 20/30 minutes.
So there you have it, the best hiking near London! Which one of these hikes would you go on? Let me know in the comments below!
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