While London may an awesome city to set up camp in, those living in the Big Smoke’s urban sprawl may sometimes find they yearn for the opportunity to escape to the country, if only for a hipster-free afternoon of mud and cheaper beer in country pubs. Here’s a quick guide to 10 walks that are easily accessible from the capital:
Ten country walks near London
Best for Energetic Families: Saunderton via West Wycombe Circular
This is a fantastic walk for families who are reasonably fit. Lasting around five hours in length, it’s just 50 minutes away from London and ambles through the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. The National Trust’s Flagmore Wood forms part of the walk, and the route is dotted with countryside cafes and pubs for pitstops.
Best for Pub Lovers: Pluckley Circular, Kent
Pluckley Circular is just 20 minutes away from London, and is dotted with fantastic alehouses and inns – perfect if your idea of a wonderful country walk includes a pint or three at the end, It’s also rather fairytale-like, wandering through apple orchards and past ancient oaks.
Best for Easy Walking: Guildford to Chilworth
If you’re new to walking but want to escape the hustle and bustle of London all the same, this walk through Surrey will up your quota of fresh air through lush meadows and dappled woods without wanting to keel over at the end of it.
Best for Literature Fans: Alton Circular, Hampshire
Hey Jane Austen fan! You’ll love this walk. As well as taking you along a path that runs past her old gaff, it is also rich with the history of fellow author Gilbert White. Wear a petticoat and indulge in all your Pride And Prejudice fantasies a short hop away from London town.
Best for Riverside Strolls: Henley via Stonor Circular, Oxfordshire
Walk along the water past lush meadows, hungry ducks and the glittering water on this pretty circle walk, then stop in Henley for a cream tea. Just darling, darling.
Best for Sea Air: Seaford to Eastbourne
Want a proper bracing walk that’ll put hairs on your chest? This is a proper trek – a seven hour walk that will take you along the Sussex coast, past glorious seascapes as well as pretty piers and authentic fish and chip shops for essential walking carbs. Nom.
Best for Autumn: Hurst Green to Oxted
Hurst Green to Oxted runs through Kent and Surrey’s hills and wooded groves, which are wonderful when decked out in all their gorgeous autumnal hues. The start is only 40 minutes from Victoria station, too, so it’s a doddle to get to.
Best for Flexibility: Lewes via West Firle Circular
As an extensive Sussex countryside walk, the Lewes route can be taken in thirds. This means that those who fancy a brisk trip can enjoy one, and those who are fit can take on the full challenge (and then boast all over Instagram afterwards).
Best for Plantlife: The Bluebell Woods, Kent and Surrey
After somewhere a little bit magical? The woods of Kent and Surrey are also home to the world-famous bluebell railway. This walk is at its prettiest in late spring and early summer, when the woods are a riot of flowers. You won’t believe that this Disney-esque wood is within an hour of London.
Best for Sunday Afternoons: The Park Circular Walk at Ankerwycke
Great bus connections make this is the perfect walk for a Sunday afternoon, as you won’t struggle to get home for tea. As a National Trust owned area, it is also steeped in history and filled with guides to the years that have passed in the area.