London is one of the world’s great global cities, yet there’s a wealth of wonderful countryside on the doorstep. Here is our pick of the best hiking near London which you can do by train or car.

By: Mark Barnes | Published: 27 Sep 2023 | Last update: 20 Jan 2024

London enjoys easy access to wonderful green spaces. The edges of the city have grand Royal Parks, medieval hunting grounds, and age-old forests.

The National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are accessible by car or train in under 90 minutes and many can be done as a day trip from London.

We’ve lived in the area for over 30 years and we’ve enjoyed many beautiful walks near London.

This guide includes easy half-day country walks to more challenging day hikes. Each of our walks includes a downloadable map and instructions for arriving by car or train from London.

For walks in the city, read: best walks in London.

1. IVINGHOE BEACON

To the north and west of London, the Chiltern Hills rise above low-lying plains. Peaking at only 260 metres, they’re a small but beautiful location near London.

This lovely hike explores the far northern end of the Chilterns. It begins by climbing up the 233-metre-high Ivinghoe Beacon, the site of an early Iron Age Fort and an ancient signal point.

The path then continues through the forests of the Ashridge Estate before descending to the cute village of Aldbury.

There are a few steady ups and downs but nothing too challenging and there are plenty of places with good views to take a break.

HIKE DETAILS

  • MapIvinghoe Beacon Walk
  • Pub & Facilities — Aldbury has two great pubs, public toilets, a National Trust café, and a shop. During summer, there’s also an ice cream van.
HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndPitstone Hill Car Park (HP23 5RT)Tring Station
Distance12.5-km circuit (7.75 mi)14.5-km circuit (9 mi)
Time3 h, 45 min 4 h, 15 min
Elevation250 m (+/-) 280 m (+/-)
DifficultyMediumMedium

2. SEVEN SISTERS

This is one of the longest and most arduous of our favourite walks near London, but it is also the best.

The walk begins in Seaford and for the next 10 miles, it rises and falls over towering white cliffs.

With a blanket of green grass on top, the glow of the sea below, and the luminance of the cliffs blazing in front, the views are spellbinding.

Most routes take you on the full 13.5-mile route from Seaford to Eastbourne. But in our opinion, it’s much better (and shorter) to finish at East Dean.

All the details are in our Seven Sisters guide.

3. HENLEY & HAMBLEDEN

Perched on the edge of the Thames River and under the flanks of the Chiltern Hills, Henley is a great base for excellent hiking near London.

There are plenty of options, but this 9-mile hike is our favourite due to its sheer diversity. The path goes through the forest and then follows the river. Along the way, you’ll pass boathouses, historic estates, and cricket pitches.

Admire the grand architecture of Henley and the picture-postcard hamlet of Hambleden.

HIKE DETAILS

HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndMill End Car Park (RG9 6TL)Henley Train Station
Distance14.5-km circuit (9 mi)15.5-km circuit (9.6 mi)
Time4 h, 15 min4 h, 30 min
Elevation180 m (+/-) 180 m (+/-)
DifficultyMediumMedium

4 – ARUNDEL CASTLE

The centerpiece of this excellent walk is the imposing Arundel Castle.

This circular walk is about 8 miles and begins by visiting the cathedral and grand buildings of Arundel. Next, it heads into the landscaped gardens of the castle estate.

There’s a steady amount of up and down but the rewards are fine views of the River Arun winding its way back and forth across the valley floor.

The trail drops to the river and follows its right bank under a canopy of leaves to the quaint village of South Stoke. The village has an 11th-century church and graveyard bursting with daffodils in early spring.

HIKE DETAILS

  • MapArundel Castle Walk
  • Pub & Facilities – Following the river back to Arundel, stop at the Black Rabbit pub with tables set amongst the reedy banks of the Arun.
HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndMill Road Car Park (BN18 9PA)Arundel Train Station
Distance11.75-km (7.25 mi)13.7-km (8.5 mi)
Time3 h, 30 min 3 h, 50 min
Elevation200 m (+/-) 200 m (+/-)
DifficultyMediumMedium

5. BOX HILL

Box Hill is a steeply-sided wooded area in the Surrey Hills just outside the M25. Despite the very well-maintained paths, walking here takes more effort than you might think. There are plenty of ups and downs making this one of the more energetic hikes near London.

There are several different walks, but we have selected an 8 to 9-mile walk which is great for anyone who enjoys forest walks.

This route climbs up and down Box Hill four or five times, resulting in almost 500 metres of ascent and descent. This is a lovely country walk near London, taking in some interesting sites including the Norman church at Mickleham.

WALK DETAILS

  • MapBox Hill Walk
  • Pub & Facilities – Stop at the pub in Mickleham or the National Trust café at the summit.
HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndBox Hill Car Park Tadworth (KT20 7LB)Box Hill & Westhumble Train Station
Distance12.8-km circuit (8 mi) 14.5-km circuit (9 mi)
Time4 h 4 h, 30 min
Elevation400 m (+/-) 500 m (+/-)
DifficultyMedium to Challenging Medium to Challenging

6. THE CAM, CAMBRIDGE

Exquisite late-Gothic architecture with medieval stained-glass windows tower over immaculate streets on this unforgettable hike.

This walk combines Cambridge with a gentle country stroll along flower-strewn meadows. Half in town, half in the countryside, this walk is a great way to explore one of the most beautiful university cities in the world.

The walk is almost entirely flat and about 3 hours long, so it’s quite easy. Less than 1 hour from London by train, this hike can be incorporated into a day trip to Cambridge.

WALK DETAILS

HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndNewnham Meadows Car Park (CB3 9JJ)Cambridge Train Station
Distance10.5-km (6.5 mi) 12.5-km (7.75 mi)
Time3 h 3 h, 30 min
ElevationNegligibleNegligible
DifficultyEasyEasy

7. RICHMOND PARK

Despite being consumed by the city, Richmond Park still retains a wild, rugged feel. Tucked within the sweeping grasslands you’ll find wild deer and stag, as well as colourful gardens complete.

From Henry’s Mound, Windsor Castle can be seen glimmering in the distance. To the east, the skyscrapers of the city loom above the trees.

Taking advantage of its proximity to the Thames, this walk heads along the banks of the river. You’ll visit Richmond town at one end and Ham House – a giant 17th-century pile peering over the water – at the other.

WALK DETAILS

  • MapRichmond Park Walk
  • Pub & Facilities – There are plenty of food vans and cafes in the park for refreshments. For a special occasion try the cafe at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond.
HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndSpanker’s Hill Wood Car Park (TW10 5HZ)Richmond Train Station
Distance12.5-km (7.75 mi)13.75-km (8.5 mi)
Time3 h, 30 min3 h, 50 min
Elevation110 m (+/-)  110 m (+/-)
DifficultyEasyEasy

8. COOMBE HILL

This is another excellent opportunity for hiking near London that makes use of the Chiltern Escarpment.

The walk winds its way up and down the escarpment passing several grand viewpoints. These include Coombe Hill, the 15th-century Ellesborough Church, and Beacon Hill.

Just over halfway around it passes the striking gate and imposing facade of Chequers, a residence of the Prime Minister.

It’s a diverse three-hour walk. About a third of the time in thick woodland, a third on ridge-top trails, and another third in grassy fields.

WALK DETAILS

  • MapCoombe Hill Walk
  • Pub & Facilities – There are no pubs or toilets on this walk.
HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndCoombe Hill Car Park (HP17 0UR)Wendover Station
Distance9.25-km (5.75 mi) 12-km (7.5 mi)
Time2 h, 50 min 3 h, 40 min
Elevation280 m (+/-) 370 m (+/-)
DifficultyEasy to Medium Medium

9. LEWES & FIRLE BEACON

This hike begins in Lewes with its medieval streets, hilltop castle, and tiny alleyways, then heads up onto chalk hills before dropping down to the charming village of Glynde. Tracking along the valley floor, you’ll soon arrive at West Firle where the Ram Inn is perfectly positioned for lunch.

After lunch, there’s another climb back onto the ridge to reach Firle Beacon where views stretch in all directions.

For the next hour and a half, the path sticks to the summit of a grassy ridge with the sea shimmering on the horizon.

The route now drops to the town of Southease where trains run hourly back to Lewes (check times in advance).

WALK DETAILS

HIKEBY CAR & TRAIN
StartLewes Train Station (BN7 2UP)
EndSouthease Station
Distance17.75 km (11 mi)
Time5 h 15 min
Elevation450 m (+/-)
DifficultyChallenging

10. EPPING FOREST

Epping Forest is almost 6,000 acres of ancient woodland.

Cutting a narrow green corridor in the urban landscape, it’s a wonderful place for hiking near London.

Most of the walking is under a gentle swaying canopy of leaves. Periodically the trees part to reveal small patches of heath or ponds – home to a variety of wildlife.

There are plenty of routes to choose from in Epping Forest. The Oak Trail is one of the most popular but spends most of the time in trees without much variation.

So, our favourite is the 7-mile walk which starts and ends at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge near Chingford.

WALK DETAILS

HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndBarn Hoppitt, Mount Pleasant or Earls Path Car Park Chingford Train Station
Distance10.75-km circuit (6.7 mi) 11.75-km circuit (7.3 miles)
Time3 h, 10 min3 h, 30 min
Elevation150 m (+/-) 160 m (+/-)
DifficultyEasyEasy

11 – MARLOW

The section of the Thames upstream from Marlow is a particularly lovely spot for hiking near London.

Leaving the smart market town of Marlow, the trail proceeds along the riverbank with views across to grand houses. Keep an eye out for Bisham Abbey, where the England hockey, football, and rugby teams often train.

The path then diverts inland before going up through a forest into the Chiltern Hills and then descending back into Marlow.

The entire walk takes just over three hours and it’s relatively flat (except for a short climb up into the hills).

WALK DETAILS

HIKEBY CARBY TRAIN
Start & EndPound Lane, Marlow (SL7 2AQ)Marlow Train Station
Distance10.25-km circuit (6.4 mi) 11.5-km circuit (7.2 mi)
Time3 h3 h, 20 min
Elevation90 m (+/-) 100 m (+/-)
DifficultyEasyEasy

12. WINDSOR CASTLE & GREAT PARK

This interesting hike near London explores the majesty of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

The path is split into two sections: The Long Walk (2.75 miles each way) and Windsor Great Park Walk (an 8-mile circular route).

The Long Walk is a straight path that runs between Windsor Castle and the Copper House. Windsor Great Park Walk connects all the intriguing sights within the landscaped park.

The walk itself is along mostly flat, easy-to-follow paths, but there is a short climb up to the copper horse.

WALK DETAILS

  • MapWindsor Castle Walk
  • Pub & Facilities – There are cafes dotted along the route, so allow 6 to 7 hours for a leisurely stroll.
HIKEBY CAR & TRAIN
StartWindsor & Eton Riverside Train Station or King Edward VII Car Park (SL4 2JQ)
Distance21.75-km circuit (13.5 m)
Time5 h
Elevation120 m (+/-)
DifficultyModerate

13 – MARGATE TO BROADSTAIRS

This excellent coastal walk near London connects two of Kent’s prettiest seaside towns along an attractive section of the coast.

It begins in the seaside town of Margate and then stays next to the coast for almost the entire way switching between the esplanade (just above the sea) and higher up on the coastal path.

The route passes the chalk stacks of Botany Bay and the ruined folly of Neptune’s Tower. You’ll also visit the sweeping sandy beaches of Kingsgate Bay, Joss Bay, and Stone Bay.

The trail ends at Viking Bay, where colourful huts sit above a pretty sandy beach enclosed by cliffs.

From Viking Bay, it’s a short walk along the High Street to Broadstairs Station where you can get the train back to Margate or London.

WALK DETAILS

  • MapMargate Walk
  • Pubs & Facilities – In Margate, Wildes does a good brunch and coffee. The Botany Bay Hotel has a restaurant overlooking the chalk stacks. The Tartar Frigate is right on the harbour in Broadstairs and a great spot for an end-of-walk pint. 
HIKEBY CAR & TRAIN
StartMargate Train Station (CT9 5AD)
EndBroadstairs Train Station
Distance10.75 km (6.7 mi)
Time3 h
Elevation175 m (+/-)
DifficultyEasy to Medium

14. HAMPSTEAD HEATH

This lovely easy walk begins at Hampstead Underground Station and heads down the narrow Flask Walk, passing tiny pubs and cute delis. It’s one of our favourite walks in London.

The trail winds up to Kenwood House passing sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The house itself (free to enter) is one of London’s hidden gems.

The walk now heads back through forest and heathland and past the women’s and men’s bathing ponds where you can stop for a dip if the weather is good.

Stop at Parliament Hill for city views before passing the mixed bathing ponds on the way back to Hampstead Village.

WALK DETAILS

MapHampstead Heath walk

Pubs & Facilities – There are two great pubs in Hampstead. The Flask has a traditional Victorian dining room. The Wells Tavern is our favourite pub lunch in the area. Kenwood House (about halfway around) has an English Heritage Café, Brew House Cafe.

HIKEBY CAR & TRAIN
Start & EndHampstead Underground Station (NW3 1QP)
Distance7-km circuit (4.35 mi)
Time2 h
Elevation120 m (+/-)
DifficultyEasy

15. LONDON THAMES

While we often hear the call of the green spaces and country views, this walk along the Thames River captures some of London’s best landmarks.

You’ll visit Battersea Gardens and the Battersea Power Station. Admire the modern architecture of Tate Britain. Bow before the majesty of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

Returning via the South Bank, St Paul’s, the Shard and the City of London dominate the skyline.

Stop at Borough Market to try some tasty morsels before the final leg of the walk passes the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

End at St Catherine’s Dock, an attractive inner-city quay.

WALK DETAILS

HIKEBY TRAIN OR TUBE
StartBattersea Power Station Underground (SW11 8BN)
EndTower Hill Tube Station
Distance12.75 km (8 mi)
Time3 h, 45 min
ElevationNegligible
DifficultyEasy

MAP | HIKING NEAR LONDON

Our favourite walks near London are spread across each corner of London. No walk is further than 90 minutes away from the city centre.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


MORE LONDON GUIDES


A BIG THANK YOU

We’ve been providing free travel content on Anywhere We Roam since 2017. If you appreciate what we do, here are some ways you can support us.

Thank you!

Paul & Mark

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

USE OUR RESOURCES PAGE

bmc button
best walks from central london