Hiking London: 10 BEST walks near London [2023]

If you’ve been stuck in the city during the lockdown, you will probably be yearning for some fresh air and space to stretch those legs.

Hiking London has never been easier, and with some of the most beautiful counties only an hour away, here are some of the best walks near London. 

And most of these walks near London are between 1-2 hours from the city, so can be completed in a day, or over a weekend. 

If you are after an escape from the city for a day or two, then these hikes in London are the perfect way to get outdoors and into nature. These hikes just outside London include wandering down the Thames, exploring Hertfordshire’s cute villages and heading up Box Hill in Surrey.

Here are my favourite spots to go hiking near London…


A great place to start for your walks outside of London is The Thames Path between Marlow and Taplow. If you join the Thames Path at Marlow Bridge you can then follow the river downstream, passing through Temple Marina, Cookham Dean Chalk Pit and riverside paths. A great addition to any weekend hiking in London.

The Berkshire stretches of the River Thames inspired The Wind in the Willows offers visitors a really enjoyable hike, besides the world-famous river, and foaming weirs and wooded islands.

During the three-hour hike, you could stop for a wander around Cliveden House, one of the UK’s most iconic historic houses, before heading onwards towards Cliveden Woods, and heading down the Thames again towards Taplow. The walk takes around three hours and is 10 miles long. One of the best hiking near London.


2. Ockley to Leith Hill

If you are hiking London, you should take on the walk from Ockley to Leith Hill, to the highest point in southeast London. The hike takes around 4 hours and is a distance of 8 miles, starting from Ockley at the bottom of the hill, passing through open green fields, and past quaint villages, before you head up Leith Hill. One of the best walks near London.

You can see all the way back to London from the top of Leith Hill and on a good day, you may be able to see The Shard or Big Ben. 

The first part of the walk passes Jayes Park, before heading into the parkland, pass The Green Escape Glamping and up towards Leith Hill. At the top of Leigh Hill, you will come across Rhododendron Wood, the perfect spot to stop for lunch on one of the best hikes in London.

leith hill hiking in london

Image by kellogem on Pixabay

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3. Tring Circular, Hertfordshire

Main walk 16.3km (10.1 miles), five hours walking time. For the whole outing, including meals and trains, allow eight hours. It’s said to be one of the best circular walks in England.

The first part of the Tring Circular route starts at the Ridgeway along the Chiltern escarpment to Ivinghoe Beacon and here you can see the Beacon itself. Further along the route, you can find ancient Chiltern beechwoods of the Ashridge Estate, which are part of the National Trust. 

You will also find Dockey Wood, just off the main walk and is well worth a stop here if you’ve got a picnic, but sometimes has an entry fee. You can also find fields of bluebells in this area in April and May, some of the best in the UK. 

Don’t worry if you are exhausted from the hills, as the second part of this walk flattens out or is downhill from here. The walk is around 10 miles and takes about 4 hours with lunch stops included. This is one of the best walks near London.


4. South Downs Way National Trail

The South Downs Way is one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales and was the first bridleway National Trail in England. One of the best hikes in London, it is also the only National Trail to lie entirely within a National Park so it’s well worth a visit if you live close to London and love hiking. 

Stretching from the ancient cathedral city of Winchester in the west, first capital of England, through to the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head at Eastbourne in the east, almost all of its stunning 160-kilometre length is blissfully off-road.

The South Downs Way National Trail stretches for 100 miles from Eastbourne to Winchester and is an impressive hike to undertake if you love hiking near London. If you plan to hike the entire trail, you will need to find accommodation on route, or bring a tent, as the whole hike can take 8-9 days in total. This is an incredible hike near London, and one to add to your hiking bucket list if you are hiking London. 

If you are looking for another walk on the south coast? I’d also highly recommend Seven Sisters Walk!

south coast best walks near London

Photo by Stephanie Ferkl from Pixabay

5. Hampstead Heath Circular Walk

For hiking near London, an important circular walk to complete is the Hampstead Heath Circular Walk, which starts and finishes at Hampstead Underground Station and is around 6 miles, taking around 3 hours for one of the best hikes in London.

The walk around Hampstead Heath explores one of London’s most loved open spaces. The hike begins by offering incredible views from Parliament Hill, at a height of 98 metres (322 ft), and with incredible views of many major London landmarks such as Canary Wharf, the Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral.

before skirting the edge of the Heath, alongside the town of Hampstead and Highgate Ponds, which include three open-air public swimming pools. Once you’ve wandered through the heath you will end up at Whitestone Pond and the famous Highgate Cemetery.

At the northern end of the heath, you’ll find Kenwood House, but this is currently closed due to COVID-19. This former stately home is run by English Heritage and consists of gardens, ancient woodland and sculptures.


6. Oak Trail, Epping Forest

Located only 13 miles outside of the city of London, Epping is home to the Oak Trail at Epping Forest, and one of the best hikes in London. Epping Forest is one of the capital’s largest green spaces spanning an area of 6,000 acres, and one of the best walks near London.

To get to the forest, you will need to take the Central Line eastbound on London Underground (tube) to Theydon Bois station in zone six (the penultimate stop on the line).

On this stunning route, you can see some magnificent areas of wood pasture, lakes, ponds, Ambresbury Banks and a Deer Sanctuary. The hike takes around 3-4 hours and is around 7 miles long. 

The Oak Trail is an easy circular route that winds through a mix of woodland and open farmland, through Great Gregories, Epping Thicks and Furze Ground. One of the best of England walking trails and a great place to go hiking in London

south downs hiking outside london

Photo by Neil Morrell of Pixabay

7. Box Hill Circular, Surrey 

There are lots of different walks to try at Box Hill, but the most famous is the Box Hill Circular. Box Hill is located just outside London in Surrey and is a 10-mile walk, taking around five hours but could potentially kate up an entire day with stops for lunch and sights. Hiking London is such a great way to explore outside of the city.

It’s a challenging hike with relatively long uphill climbs and includes two major climbs up Box Hill and Juniper Hill. Near the start of the route is the famous stepping stones that cross the river, before you start your first hill climb for views at the summit of Box Hill.

From there, you’ll trek through forests and eventually begin to go downhill, however, don’t relax too much, as not long after you begin to climb Juniper Hill, which takes around 20 minutes.

About three hours into the hike, you will arrive at The Tree, where you can stop for a drink or a loo break, before heading back towards the station via the stepping stones. This is one of the best hikes in London! The perfect place to go hiking near London.


Did you enjoy my list of the best hikes in London? Have you completed any of those listed?! Where will you go hiking near London?


Photo credit: Pixabay.

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