What are the best locations near London for day hiking trips?

London: a bustling city teeming with life, history, and culture. But beyond the iconic landmarks and busy streets, London’s surroundings offer a wealth of natural beauty that often goes unnoticed by the urban dwellers. Whether you are an experienced hiker looking for a challenging trail or just someone seeking a day off from the city’s hustle, London’s outskirts provide a plethora of options for day hiking trips. Let us take you on a journey to explore some of the best hiking locations near London.

The Beauty of Hampstead Heath

Just a short train ride from central London, you will find one of the capital's most beautiful park: Hampstead Heath. This sprawling green space spans over 790 acres and offers a spectacular view of the city from Parliament Hill. It's an exceptionally peaceful spot, away from the city's noise, ideal for a leisurely day hike.

Hampstead Heath is a true treasure of London. Despite its proximity to the city center, this park offers a rugged and wild environment, with its dense forests, vast meadows, and beautiful swimming ponds. With various trails, it caters to both novice hikers and seasoned veterans. The park is a haven for wildlife, and if you are lucky, you may spot muntjac deer, woodpeckers, and a host of other creatures.

Hampstead Station or Gospel Oak Station are the best starting points for your journey. From there, a network of trails meanders through the park, each providing a unique perspective of the Heath's beauty.

The Surrey Hills

The Surrey Hills, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is an idyllic setting for a day hike. The area is about 31 miles from London and easily accessible by train. The best station to start your journey is Dorking, from where you can begin your adventure into the Surrey Hills.

The Surrey Hills are home to several hiking trails, including the popular North Downs Way. This circular route is about 153 miles long, but don’t worry, you can easily select a section that fits your time and energy level. Offering panoramic views and steep ascents, the North Downs Way is arguably the best trail in this area.

Another great trail is the Box Hill Hike. It's a 8-mile route that takes you through dense, beautiful woodland and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside from the top of Box Hill. It's a bit challenging, but the reward is worth every ounce of effort.

The Chiltern Hills

Another great location for a day hike near London is the Chiltern Hills. Located around 30 miles northwest of London, this beautiful area is home to several hiking trails that wind through ancient woodlands, rolling countryside, and quaint villages.

Tring Station is a convenient point of access to the Chiltern Hills. From there, you can follow the Ridgeway National Trail, which is one of the oldest trails in Britain. The part of the trail that runs through the Chiltern Hills is approximately 44 miles long, but it is divided into smaller sections that are perfect for day hikes.

Another beautiful route in the Chiltern Hills is the circular walk around Ivinghoe Beacon. This hike is about 5 miles long and provides stunning views of the Vale of Aylesbury. It's a relatively easy walk, making it ideal for families and less experienced hikers.

The South Downs

The South Downs, a range of chalk hills that extend across the southeastern coastal counties of England, is another excellent location for day hikes. The South Downs is approximately 60 miles from London and accessible via several train stations.

The South Downs Way is a long-distance footpath and bridleway that runs along the South Downs. It's about 100 miles long, but there are several shorter, circular routes that you can take for a day hike.

The Seven Sisters Cliffs walk is one of the most popular trails in the South Downs. This 14-mile trail takes you along the stunning white chalk cliffs that give the walk its name. It's a bit more challenging, but the stunning coastal views are worth every step.

Epping Forest

The last on our list, but certainly not the least, is Epping Forest. This ancient woodland is located on the border of Greater London and Essex and is ideal for a day's hike.

The forest spans about 2,400 hectares and is filled with centuries-old trees, open grasslands, and tranquil ponds. The best part? It's within the London Transport Zone 6, making it easily accessible.

Epping Forest boasts of several trails that cater to both leisurely walkers and avid hikers. The most popular trail is the Oak Trail, a 7-mile circular route that takes you through the heart of the ancient woodland.

While these five locations are fantastic for day hikes, it's important to note that the British weather can be unpredictable. Therefore, always check the forecast before heading out, respect the trail rules, and most importantly, enjoy the beauty that surrounds London.

Richmond Park: A Walk on the Wild Side

Just eight miles from central London, Richmond Park is a haven for nature lovers and a perfect destination for day hiking trips. Easily reachable via Richmond Station, the park is the largest of London's eight Royal Parks and is famous for its red and roe deer, which have been roaming freely since 1637.

Covering 2,500 acres, Richmond Park offers a diverse landscape of grasslands, ancient trees, and beautiful gardens that cater to hikers of all levels. One of the most popular trails is the Tamsin Trail, a 7.5-mile circular route that encircles the park, offering stunning views of the city and Thames Valley. This trail is perfect for beginners, families, or anyone looking for a leisurely stroll amid nature.

Other trails include the Two Storm Wood Trail and the Isabella Plantation Walk, each providing a unique experience, from walking through the lush woodland to exploring the park's most stunning garden.

Richmond Park is home to the protected view of St. Paul's Cathedral, one of London's most iconic sights. From King Henry's Mound, you can see the cathedral 10 miles away through a telescope, making it an ideal picnic spot after a day of hiking.

Day Trip to Windsor Castle

For those who prefer to combine history with hiking, Windsor Castle offers a perfect day trip from London. You can reach the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle within an hour from London Victoria or London Paddington stations.

The Long Walk at Windsor Great Park is a 5.3-mile straight path that leads directly to the castle from the Copper Horse statue. This walk provides stunning views of the castle from afar and the opportunity to explore its extensive and beautifully manicured gardens.

The Windsor Castle Park Trail, a 4.3-mile loop starting from Windsor & Eton Riverside train station, is another popular route. This trail passes through the heart of Windsor, allowing you to discover quaint streets, historic buildings, and, of course, the magnificent Windsor Castle.

Windsor Great Park also offers several other trails, from short walks around Virginia Water Lake to longer hikes in the Deer Park. Whichever trail you choose, you are guaranteed a day of impressive natural beauty combined with rich history.


London may be one of the world's most vibrant cities, but it's also surrounded by some of the most beautiful and accessible hiking locations. From the wildness of Hampstead Heath to the tranquil beauty of Epping Forest, from the idyllic Surrey Hills to the awe-inspiring South Downs, and from the wildlife-rich Richmond Park to the historic Windsor Castle, there are countless options for day hiking trips near London.

Whether you're an avid hiker or just someone looking to escape the city's hustle and bustle, these locations offer a much-needed break. They not only provide a chance to reconnect with nature but also offer a glimpse into Britain's rich history and culture. So, pack your hiking boots, take a train from London, and start exploring these incredible locations. The best part is, you don't need to travel far to find these hidden gems. So, why wait? Lace up your boots and get ready for your next adventure!