Sporting Weekly

Your ultimate London bucket list: 5 incredible hikes you should not miss


By Luby Chow / 17 Sep 2021


"Looking to escape to a life of nature and take a city break? Here are some of the best hikes near London that you should definitely experience."


What is better than stepping away from the city and indulging in the beauty of nature? Be inspired with our list of tranquil hikes without going too far!

Best for magnificent coastal views
The Seven Sisters (Seaford to Eastbourne), East Sussex

This breathtaking cliff-top hike along the Seven Sisters is perhaps one of the most famous coastal walks for Londoners. You will be able to admire the stunning chalky white cliffs along with the dramatic views of Beachy Head, Cuckmere Haven and Eastbourne. The entire journey takes about 6 hours to walk over all seven of the Sisters, and it is more like a “hike” than a “walk”. I know what you are thinking, but no worries! There are many shorter routes you can take, for example, you may simply go to Birling Gap and back. And you will find nice cafes where you can eat and relax. 

Getting there:
Take a train from London Victoria to Seaford (1.5 hours). Get a train from Eastbourne back to London (1.5 hours).

Did you know?
The famed White Cliffs of Dover is England’s iconic landmark, but the views of the Seven Sisters are often considered more spectacular than those at Dover because of the extensive chalk cliffs

The Seven Sisters


Best for wildlife spotting
The Oak Trail (Epping Forest), Essex

Spanning an area of 6,000 acres, Epping Forest is one of London’s largest green spaces and is probably the closest hiking trail you can find in London. Here you will feel much further away from the city yet you are still in Zone 6! There are plenty of routes in and around the forest, among them Oak Trail is a real gem that we cannot highly recommend enough. The Oak Trail is an easy and gentle circular route, passing through a mix of ancient woods, open fields, lakes, ponds, and a deer sanctuary where you can spot black fallow deer and Muntjac deer if you are lucky enough. The walk takes no longer than a few hours. Other longer walks are also mostly flat. It is an ideal day hike for those who want a quick getaway to embrace nature and take a breath of fresh air.

Getting there:
Take the Central Line to Theydon Bois.

Did you know?
Along the way you will find the Ambresbury Banks, which is the remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort. This is where Queen Boudicca battled the Romans.

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The Oak Trail


Best for challenging uphill climbs

Box Hill, Surray

Managed by the National Trust, the Box Hill Circular is a challenging hike with steep climbs and loads of steps. Be sure to tell yourself that the incredible views across the North Downs from the top are totally worth it as you walk through the deep valleys! 38 species of butterfly can be found on Box Hill. The pub in Mickleham is a popular spot for lunch, where you should let go of food guilt after the climbs! The best time to visit and explore is spring and autumn. Avoid the rainy seasons when the steep sessions get slippery.

Getting there:
Take a train from London Victoria to Box Hill & Westhumble (50 minutes).

Did you know?
Children love the Stepping Stone path of Box Hill which is an adventurous outdoor playground with log bridges, rope swings, and wildlife!

Box Hill


Best for beautiful river scenery

Chess Valley (Rickmansworth to Chesham), Chilterns

Great news for history enthusiasts! The Chess Valley Walk in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a peaceful riverside landscape with captivating villages and historical treasures. There are full of sights along the way. Explore the sight of a Roman farm-villa at Latimer, pass the 13th century Chenies Manor visited by Elizabeth I, and check out the only commercial watercress farm left in the Chilterns at Sarratt. The Chess River itself is renowned for its clear chalk streams. Lucky hikers may spot kingfishers, water voles, brown trout, orchids and dragonflies. The refreshing walk is very accessible for beginners as it is clearly marked with signposts.

Getting there:
Take the Metropolitan Line to Rickmansworth or Chesham stations.

Did you know?
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a designated exceptional landscape that is protected in the national interest. There are 46 AONBs across the United Kingdom, and they are perfect for city breaks. 

Chess Valley


Best for gorgeous autumn leaves

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

A walk in the Ashridge countryside is not complete without enjoying its autumn charm, with all the magical yellow-golden leaves! Situated within the Chiltern Hills of Hertfordshire, the Ashridge Estate trail is highly acclaimed for its palette of colours. The National Trust has curated a special Autumn Colour Trail, starting from the Ashridge Estate Visitor Centre. Expect to be fascinated each corner you turn!

Getting there:
Take a train from London Euston to Tiring (40 minutes).

Did you know?
The blooming bluebells here in spring is also perfect for a dazzling stroll!

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Ashridge Estate



Luby Chow Head of Content Somerton S.C.

Published By

Luby Chow
/ Head of Content