Thanks to the Green Belt Policy in London, there is actually quite a bit of unurbanized land surrounding the metropolitan London area. This makes London and the nearby countryside great locations for scenic day hikes with tons of historical sites that are definitely a must see. Whether you live in the UK or are just passing through, the list below is just a handful of all the beautiful hiking trails London has to offer!
1. Hastings Circular, East Sussex
Looking for the best coastal views around? This 5.9 mile hike begins in Hastings Old Town, takes you along the seafront at Rock-A-Nore and then brings you to a cliff-top coastal walk through Hastings Country Park. This 2 hour and 40 minute route also features plenty of historical sites including the house of 1678 fraudster Titus Oates, the entrance to St. Clements Caves and the Hastings Castle (pictured below) at the end of the loop. The terrain is varied with a few steep sections but altogether a fun and scenic experience.
2. Hurst Green to Oxted, Surrey/Kent
One of the best routes for a nice autumn stroll is from Hurst Green to Oxted. This walk takes you along the hills of North Kent and Surrey with the majority of it passing through wooded areas of Greensand Way, which makes it such a beautiful walk in the fall months. There are also a couple of spots to stop at for lunch during your walk!
3. Richmond Park
As the largest enclosed space in London, Richmond Park is a major draw for tourists and Londoners alike. This 3.69 mile national nature reserve is home to the Isabella Plantation, Pembroke Lodge, and 630 red and fallow deer. Richmond Park is a great spot for a leisurely afternoon walk!
4. Box Hill Circular
This rather strenuous hike goes through a very beautiful part of North Downs. The main walk is approximately 4 and a half hours and 9.3 miles long, however, you also have the option shorten it by cutting out the section to Headley Heath and taking a direct route through Box Hill Country Park. For the entire day trip, it is recommended that you give yourself about nine hours to accommodate train travel, sightseeing, and meals throughout the hike. The Box Hill loop offers rolling hills with plenty of things to see along your way. This part of North Downs gets very popular on the weekends so be prepared for a crowd!
5. Salisbury to Amesbury via Stonehenge
At 15.6 miles long, this is one of the longer hikes in the area. The route features plenty of gentle inclines through the rolling countryside. It is a great hike for the springtime when all the flowers are in bloom and awesome in the summer months when you can see all of the wheat and barley fields. There is plenty of sightseeing to do on this walk but how much you see depends on how far you go and what paths you take. Close to the end of the hike is where you will be able to see Stonehenge, which you can view from off site.
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My boyfriends 24th birthday is coming up and I want to plan a day of hiking near London but I don’t know the area at all since I live in Bedfordshire. I would love some help in trying to plan where we should go. We’re both very adventurous so I want to surprise him with somewhere beautiful yet not without difficulty to get to. If I could get an email back with some guidance that was be fantastic!
Try picking one of these, Charlea… http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/walks/map.shtml
There’s an ordnance survey map with hike routes, photos, descriptions and more. Or look for public footpaths and pick your own route. Blenheim Palace or Woburn Abbey would be speactacular waypoints near you. I like to add other points of interests such as high points, good views, nice meal at the end etc. Good luck.