Beautiful Hikes Close to London
London’s great; it’s diverse, lively and hectic. Most of the time, that’s what I love about this city. But it’s also the thing I hate about it. Sometimes it exhausts me and I just need to get away from the chaos for a bit.
Of course, there’s an endless list of places you could go for a weekend getaway around Europe. But what’s often overlooked is that there’s plenty to do in the UK too. If you’re a little bit organised and book your train a few weeks in advance, it’s not too expensive either.
When I want to get away from London, I generally want to breathe in some fresh air and stroll around in big open spaces. I like to head to the good old English countryside: where a walk always ends at a pub.
So, with all this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite countryside day trips and weekend getaway spots that involve a good hike.
Train to: Chorleywood – this one is on the tube! 50 minutes from Kings Cross on the metropolitan line.
In the eastern-most part of the Chiltern Hills area, this little town is easily accessible from London but has a real countryside feel. As you walk out of the tube station, you’ll notice artwork by local school kids and then as you get further away from the town itself, you’ll be amazed by how spread out everything is. So close to the city, and yet such a contrast.
A leisurely walk, barely involving any hills, will take you around the countryside and provide opportunities to meet lots of cows and sheep. They’re friendly, I promise!
Train to: Wendover – 40 minutes from Marylebone
Also a part of the Chiltern Hills area (but way over on the other side to Chorleywood) there’s lots of walking trails around here. The village of Wendover itself is worth exploring, too. It’s full of antique shops and local crafts.
I walked the ‘Wendover Woods’ hike – useful information here. The path is very well marked and easy to follow. It takes you from the village, through the woods and up to some lovely views.
Train to: Dorking or Box Hill – 45 minutes from Waterloo
This is without a doubt my favourite day trip from London. The scenery here is stunning and the hike is a little more challenging than the two mentioned previously. Walking towards the national park from either railway station, you’ll cross the ‘stepping stones’ and make your way up to Juniper Top – the best view of the area! Right nearby, there’s a visitor centre where you can plan the rest of your walk. There’s tons of options for different trails, ranging in length and difficulty. Read more.
Train to: Seaford or Eastbourne – 1.5 hours from Victoria, changing at Lewes.
Stay at: Camp at Buckle Caravan Park just outside of Seaford. If you’re looking for something more comfortable, there’s plenty of options in Seaford or Eastbourne.
The Seven Sisters is a series of white chalk cliffs on the south-eastern coast of England. Without a doubt, this is one of the most striking landscapes I’ve seen around the UK. The 21km hike from Seaford to Eastbourne follows the coast and takes you up on the cliff top, providing picture-perfect views all the way along. There’s a bus that goes regularly between the two towns, meaning that you don’t have to walk all the way back at the end! It also means you can pike out just about whenever you like and jump on a bus back to town.
Though doable as a daytrip, I enjoyed making this adventure into an overnight adventure, camping right by the ocean. The extra day can also be used to explore Seaford, Eastbourne or even Brighton.
Train to: Edale – approximately 3-4 hours from St Pancreas, change at Sheffield
Stay at: The YHA in Edale (or Castleton – but Edale will be much more convenient for walks)
Known for its abundance of walking trails and breath-taking views, the Peak District is exactly my kind of escape from the city. Days here are spent exploring countryside towns and climbing up to various peaks. Some walks are challenging, others are more of a countryside stroll. There’s something here for everyone.
Its distance from London makes it difficult to do as a day trip but certainly doable as a weekend trip…or longer! Read more.
Though reachable by public transport, this is one place I definitely recommend hiring a car. You’ll see so much more!
Stay at: one of the many YHAs that surround the peak. I stayed at the one in Pen-Y-Pass and one of the trails up to the peak starts on their doorstep, so it’s super convenient. If you’re there in the (slightly) warmer months, camping is a great option too.
Snowdonia National Park is full of ridiculously stunning scenery. Waterfalls, lakes, mountains – all the good stuff. A hike up to Mount Snowdon is a must. If you go in winter like I did, the peak is certain to be covered in snow and therefore you’ll need appropriate gear to get to the peak. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the very top, the views along the way are worth the trek.
Stay tuned for tales of my road trip around Wales – coming soon!
Do you have any other getaways spots that you love around the UK? I’d love to hear about them!