5 Of The Best Day Hikes From London

Posted 13th Jul 2019
5 Of The Best Day Hikes From London

If you haven't noticed, hiking seems to be 'on trend' at the moment. And it doesn't surprise us. Not only is it great for your physical and mental health, but it has also been scientifically proven to elevate your happiness levels. Wohoooo.

After spending 8 years living in London, a city that literally never sleeps, I know first hand how important and beneficial it is to escape into nature every now and again. Which is why I have put together my 5 favourite hikes that can be done in a day and easily reached from London. And with Summer firmly upon us, what better time to jump on a train, leave London behind and explore the rolling hills and English coastlines for a day?

 

As a side note, if you are spending some time in London, why not check out our London Travel Guide - written by 3 residents, with all the insider tips you need to explore the real London

1. West Lulworth, Durdle Door and Daggers Gate.

Not the easiest walk to reach from London, but in our opinion, one of the most beautiful - making the journey time from London 100% worth it. Trust us.

This Dorset walk will take you up onto the white cliffs of West Lulworth permitting incredible views over the Jurassic coastline. Whilst there are some steep ascents, you can take it at your own pace and stop along the way to breathe it all in. You will walk across open fields and along the cliff edges above Daggers Gate and Durdle door, before finishing down at Lulworth Cove, where you can grab a delicious ice cream or refreshing drink!

Location:

West Lulworth, South East England, along the Jurassic Coast.
 

Walking Distance:

4.5 miles (6.75km)
 

Walking Difficulty:

Moderate with fairly strenuous ascents. 
 

How To Get To West Lulworth:

Direct train from London Waterloo to Wool (2.5 hours). Then take the Number 30 Breezer bus or X54 from Wool station to the War Memorial (12 minutes) **
 

Time It Will Take To Walk:

4-5 hours.
 

Walk Starting Point:

War Memorial Bus Stop, West Road.

** We suggest getting the 8.05am train from London Waterloo to Wool. Once you arrive in Wool, take the 10.39am X54 Weymoth bound bus to War Memorial. Starting the hike at 10.50am. You can then take the walk at your own pace and stop for refreshments, before getting the 6.14pm 30 Breezer bus from the War Memorial to Wool. Once in Wool, take the 6.45pm train back to Waterloo. Arriving at 9.21pm.

Route: Click here for walking route

Why This Is Hike Is For You:

You are looking for a challenge whilst being surrounded by beauty, and open ended views of the sea. Make sure you take a picnic to saviour those cliff top moments. 

2. The Mole Gap Trail

The Mole Gap Trail is an easy going 6 mile walk alongside the River Mole, linking the towns of Leatherhead and Dorking. You will stroll through open fields, farms and quaint villages, before stumbling upon The Manor House at Norbury Park and the largest vineyard in England, Denbies Wine Estate - adding a little something extra to your walk - an impromptu wine tasting session! All you need to do is follow the hard to find metal arrows and hidden pathways - Sounds easy right? Remember, it is all part of the fun!

Location:

Leatherhead / Dorking, Surrey.

Walking Distance:

6 Miles (10km)

Walking Difficulty:

Easy - Moderate

How To Get To Leatherhead:

Take the train from Waterloo Station to Leatherhead station (40 mins)

Time It Will Take To Walk:

3-4 hours. 

Walk Starting Point:

Leatherhead Train Station. Once you arrive in Leatherhead, you will see the silver arrows that will take you along the route to Dorking. 

Route: Click here for walking route

Why This Hike Is For You:

If you are looking for a nice easy stroll and an adventure as you follow the hidden trails, with the added bonus of tasting some wine at the end!

3. Ockley to Leith Hill

The Ockley to Leith Hill walk will take you through meadows, open fields, charming woodlands, and past quaint chocolate box cottages and villages. There are plenty of places to stop along the way for refreshments and with an easy journey from London, it is a real winner for us in terms of instant gratification!

Location:

Ockley & Leith Hill, Surrey.

Walking Distance:

7 Miles (11km).

Walking Difficulty:

Moderate with some steep ascents.

How To Get To Ockley:

Take the Thameslink from London Bridge to Rehill (30 mins) and then jump on the 433 bus from the High Street, stop B. Get off at the Inn On The Green (55 mins). Or you can take a direct Arriva bus from Horsham (number 50).

Time It Will Take To walk:

4 hours not accounting for refreshment breaks!

Walk Starting Point:

In the town of Ockley (off the A29).

Route: Click here for walking route.

Why this hike is for you:

You are looking for a little challenge and to be rewarded with beautiful views from the highest point in the south east - all within an easy distance of London. 

4. The Seven Sisters, Sussex

The Seven Sisters's is the name given to a series of magnificent white chalk cliffs that line the Sussex South Downs coast, directly south of London. Depending on the time you have, there are many variations of the Seven Sisters walk across the South Downs National Park. But whichever you choose to do, we are sure you will be left speechless. This walk comes a close second to West Lulworth and Daggers gate, but it is easier to get to, so if you are tight on time, opt for one of the shorter walks along this route. 

Location:

Eastborne, South Downs National Park, Sussex.

Walking Distance:

3.9 miles - 13.6 miles (6-21km; multiple routes available).

Walking Difficulty:

Moderate - Hard (depending on which route you take).

How To Get To The Seven Sisters:

Regular trains leave from London Victoria (2-4 per hour depending on the day). Take a train from London Victoria to Seaford, changing at Lewes. If you are returning from Eastborne, there are two direct trains every hour to London Victoria (1.5 hour journey time). If you are doing the longer round trip walk, we suggest purchasing a return ticket from London to Lewes, a single from Lewes to Seaford, and then a single from Eastbourne back to Lewes to complete your round trip.

Time It Will Take To Walk:

Depends on the route length you take (1-7 hours). 

Walk Starting Point:

Seaford**

**Shorter walk options: Seaford to Exceat (3.9 miles | 6.3km), Seaford to the Birling Gap (7.9 miles | 12.7km), Seaford to East Dean (9.3 miles | 15km), Exceat to Eastbourne (9.7 miles | 15.7km). 

You can take a bus in between any of the places mentioned above - Take the number 12 bus from Seaford via Exceat and East Dean to Eastbourne. On Sundays and bank holidays between April and late September, there is also the 13X bus that runs hourly along the same route, with an extra detour via the Birling Gap.

Route: Click here for walking route.

Why This Hike Is For You:

You are looking for a challenge whilst being surrounded by sea views. The chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters are one of the UKs most photographed coastlines and it is not hard to understand why. Make sure you pack your camera and a picnic! 

5. Epping Forest Oak Trail

Definitely the easiest walk to reach outside of London and the easiest in terms of difficulty as most of it is flat. Epping Forest is a 2,400 hectare ancient woodland that straddles the border between Epping in Essexs and Forest Gate in Greater London. Along this route, you will walk through open fields and woodlands, across babbling brooks and narrow walkways. You will also pass the Black Fallow Deer sanctuary, where, if you are lucky, you will catch a glimpse of these majestic animals. 

Location:

Epping Forest, between London and Essex.

Walking Distance:

7 Miles (11.26mm)

Walking Difficulty:

Easy

How to get To Epping Forest:

Theydon Bois station, one stop before the end of the eastbound Central Line (Red line). 

Time It Will Take To Walk:

4 hours.

Walk Starting Point:

Theydon Bois Station. 

Walking Route:

1. Exit Theydon Bois station, turn right onto Forest Drive 

2. Walk to the end of the street. On your left you will find a small opening and narrow walkway between a fence and a little creek (easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled) go through there.

3. Follow the overgrown path along the fence, before you see a wooden walkway gate to open fields.

4. Go through the paddocks and continue to follow the walkway signs. You will go across the M25, and a couple of local streets, up a little hill, past a cricket ground, before you arrive at Epping Forest. 

5. Stroll through the Ambresbury Banks, an Iron Age plateau fort in Epping Forest.

6. Continue along the path, crossing the Coppice Row road before stopping at the deer sanctuary to see if you can spot some of the family of black fallow deer. 

7. Continue to follow the markers before following the road back to Theydon Bois station. 

8. Stop at The Bull Pub for a refreshing drink.

For a walking route map: Click Here.

Why This Hike Is For You:

You want to submerge yourself in nature but don’t want to commit to a whole day’s hike. This easy walk will take you along the Ambresbury Banks and across bright green pastures and magical woodlands. 

As a Bonus Suggestion....

As a bonus and if you don’t fancy a spending your weekend away from London hiking, why not visit the beauty of Hever Castle??

Hever Castle and gardens offers a perfect day out of London. Located in the stunning countryside of Kent, you can experience over 700 years of enchanting British history, dating back to 1270. From the romantic double-moated castle, once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, to the award winning gardens, Hever offers a fantastic day out. You can explore inside the castle, enjoy the 125 acres of gardens, go boating on the lake or find your way through the 100 year old Yew Maze. 

Location:

Edinbridge, Kent 

How To Get To Hever Castle: 

Trains run from London Victoria and London Bridge to Edenbridge Town Station. From here you can walk or take a taxi for three miles to Hever. Or take a direct train from London Bridge Station to Hever (45 minutes) and walk for 20 minutes to the grounds (1 mile, super easy and all flat).

If you are driving use this post code: TN8 7NG

Ticket Price:

Tickets for the castle and garden are usually around £16 for an adult. Concession prices available for senior citizens and students. 

Why You Should Visit Hever Castle: 

You fancy doing something a little different with your weekend, either with your mates, going solo, or on a romantic date, Hever offers it all. Over the summer months, they throw events, such as ‘Hever in Bloom’, or why not join a jousting contest?

Final Thoughts....

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, just as much as I enjoyed doing the research for it! Remember, hiking and getting out of the city and your normal routine, is brilliant for your health and happiness. So next time you have a free weekend, why not give one of these hikes a whirl and share your pictures with us via our Instagram and Facebook accounts!

And if you are spending some time in London, why not check out our London Travel Guide - written by 3 residents, with all the insider tips you need to explore the real London

Enjoy!