Day hikes within travel distance of London
Want to escape the city for a day and go for a long walk through the countryside? Here is a list of our favourite day hikes that are within a reasonable travel distance from London.
Distance: 10.5 miles
Take the Metropolitan Line to Chesham then walk through the beautiful Chess Valley to Rickmansworth, where you can then get the tube back to London. The walk mainly passes through woodlands and fields with a few lovely river crossings, but there's also a short section that runs alongside the M25 which is fairly unusual for a hike. It was slightly unsettling walking so close to a busy motorway, but we were given a whole new perspective of it and I found it rather fascinating.
Cambridge and the River Cam
Cambridge is a very picturesque city with amazing architecture, particularly the old university buildings. I'd recommend wandering around the city before following the river Cam towards Granchester. On a sunny Summer's day, there will be lots of people punting along the river and picnicking in the meadows. If you don't fancy carrying a picnic though there are a few country pubs with nice beer gardens to stop at. The train for London takes just over an hour and is fairly cheap if you plan ahead and get an advance fare.
Ashridge and Ivinghoe Beacon
Distance: 10 miles
This is a circular route starting and ending in Tring, just North of London. This hike passes through woodlands and grasslands up to the top of the beacon where you'll get great views over Hertfordshire's rolling hills. It's perfect in Spring when the thousands of bluebells are flowering, but there's a good variety of wildlife all year round. You can find out more about this walk HERE.
Distance: 6.2 miles
The Blackwater Valley passes through the Moorgreen Nature Reserve on the border of Hampshire and Surrey. From London, you can get the train to Sandhurst in 1hr10, then walk towards Horseshoe Lake to start your circular walk, or there's a car park next to the lake. Heading North first you'll wander through several woodlands before looping back around towards the Blackwater River, following this back to where you started. There are lots of lakes and marshes providing homes to wildlife including around 30 species or dragonfly and damselfly. If you have enough time during your visit you can also try watersports, horse riding or fishing. More information about the Blackwater Valley can be found here.
Distance: 7 miles
This walk follows the River Stour through the Dedham Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Manningtree to Dedham village. The artist John Constable grew up nearby and completed many famous paintings of the landscape, giving the area the name 'Constable Country'. The landscape has barely altered since Constable's time and the cottages he painted are still standing by the river edge. This walk is fairly easy and flat but floods occasionally when there have been heavy rains. Once you've reached Dedham you can head back towards Manningtree, where you can visit one of the quaint country pubs while you wait for your return train back to London. The train journey takes around 1hr30 to Liverpool Street.
If you don't want to stray too far from London or would like a walk that ends up back in the city, the Thames Path is perfect. Get the train, bus or tube anywhere along the Thames and walk back towards the city. Or if you're feeling more adventurous you can try walking the whole thing. We got the train to Surbiton and walked along the South bank of the river back towards Hammersmith. Our aim of walking to Waterloo was probably a bit too ambitious on an extremely hot day, especially as we hadn't packed any snacks. There are a few pubs along the route, but not many between Richmond and Putney so I'd advise checking beforehand to work out where you want to stop. If you'd prefer to start in central London and walk out of the city, heading East is very interesting as you can walk through the spectacular Greenwich area out to the Thames Barrier.
This hike is particularly special to Chris and I because it was where we went on our third date and became the first of many more hikes for us. We completed the 12-mile circular route of Box Hill, which was pretty tiring on one of the hottest days of the year in 2016. There are lots of different routes you can walk though, including a riverside walk, a circle of the hill and a several nature walks. The visitor's Centre has all the information you need to plan your walk, as well as a cafe and toilet facilities. From London you can get the train to Box Hill and Westhumble in around 1hr30. More information can be found on the National Trust website.
Have you completed any of these hikes? Tell us what you think in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it using the social media buttons below.