While there are plenty of great walks in London, sometimes you might feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers don’t need to travel too far, just beyond Zone 6 there are plenty of enticing walking trails to explore. In this article, we will ‘walk’ you through our top five hiking trails within easy reach of London, guaranteed to rejuvenate your mind and satisfy your thirst for adventure.
1: The South Downs Way
Located less than an hour from central London, the South Downs Way spans 100 miles along the South Downs National Park. One of the finest walks is the walk from East Dean which takes in Beachy Head and Birling Gap. This challenging trail is well-marked and can be adapted to suit different levels of hiking experience, making it accessible to both novices and seasoned hikers.
2: The Thames Path
For those who prefer a gentler hike with a touch of history, the Thames Path is an ideal choice. Following the course of the River Thames, this 184-mile trail winds its way through lush meadows, riverside towns, and iconic landmarks such as Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. One of the prettiest sections of the path is Richmond to Hampton Court.
3: Epping Forest
Conveniently located on the north-eastern outskirts of London, Epping Forest presents a lush and ancient woodland. Covering nearly 6,000 acres. Hikers can explore numerous well-marked trails that wind through centuries-old oak and beech trees, picturesque ponds, and diverse wildlife. The main trail is a 20.6-km circular trail near Buckhurst Hill, Essex. A moderately challenging route taking about five hours to complete.
4: Box Hill
Situated in the North Downs of Surrey, Box Hill offers hikers panoramic vistas and diverse flora and fauna. The circular trail to the summit offers a rewarding challenge, and once at the top, hikers are treated to breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside, including the River Mole valley. Box Hill’s prominence in Olympic history as part of the cycling route for the 2012 London Olympics adds an extra layer of interest.
5: The Chiltern Hills
Stretching across four counties, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, and Bedfordshire. The Chiltern Hills offer a diverse range of hiking trails suitable for all abilities. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) boasts rolling chalk hills, dense beech woodlands, and charming traditional villages. Hikers can enjoy a mix of short circular walks and longer hikes. See the national trust website for a guide of the hiking routes.
Grab your hiking boots
There are so many to choose from that you’ll find something to suit your level and age group either via the National Trust, Walking Britain or All Trails websites. We like to take a few essentials to keep us going and especially on longer walks:
- Ample water especially on a hot day
- Snacks like nuts for an energy boost
- Sunscreen and hat for hot weather
- Lightweight packable waterproof for changeable weather
- A Powerbank in case your mobile runs out of battery
And of course… how about some bespoke orthotics for ultra comfort!
If you love walking and you’d like all-day comfort then consider getting some bespoke orthotics made. You’ll get years of wear out of them and you’ll find walking more enjoyable, less tiring and easier overall on your feet.