Five London Day Hikes for Winter

Richmond Park London day hikes

Limited daylight and wintry weather doesn’t mean your hiking plans have to go into hibernation. With a little forward planning and an early(ish) start, the following hikes can easily be completed from London in a day.

Seven Sisters a London day hike

For the Coastal Hikers – Birling Gap, the Seven Sisters and Exceat London Day Hike

Salty sea air and cold winds are the perfect remedy to sweep away the cobwebs after too much time indoors. While this route might require hikers to leave earlier in the morning (depending on where you live in London) to make the most of daylight hours, this walk is one of the prettiest stretches of the English coast in any weather. While the Seven Sisters attracts droves of visitors in the summer, it is quieter in the winter, giving you more space and quiet to appreciate its rugged beauty.

If you like to be beside the seaside for a hike, check the Beachy Head website, or check out my own route review for this route.

Deer in Richmond Park.

For the Lazy Sunday Hikers – Ham House from Richmond Walk London Day Hike

For those that like their walks with detours to cosy pubs and roast dinners, this route is ideal. This circular walk begins and ends handily at Richmond station, and if you’re lucky you might spot one of Richmond Park’s famous inhabitants. King Henry’s Mound still offers beautiful panoramic views of London, and there’s always the option to warm up with coffee and cake at Ham House, or The Dysart for those with deeper wallets. One of my favourite spots along this trail however is closer towards Richmond’s centre, along the Thames. Pubs line the riverfront, and in winter there’s a good chance you can stretch out and have a portion to yourself on a Sunday.  

For more information and to download the trail guide, check The National Trust website.

Slaugham Place historic remains.

For the History Buff Hikers – Balcombe Circular Walk London Day Hike

Located approximately 40 minutes away on the train from London Bridge, this walk takes London hikers through some of the prettiest sections of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The forests and walkways of Nymans gardens easily lull hikers into multiple detours around its stunning landscapes. The ruins of Slaugham Place, a 16th-century Elizabethan manor house, are also a beautiful place to stop for a breather. At the end of the walk in Balcombe is the quaint and hiker-friendly Half Moon Inn pub, to toast a successful walk.

To try this hike yourself, check out the Saturday Walker’s Club route directions.

Box Hill view London day hikes

For the ‘Tree Huggers’ – Mole Gap Trail Day Hike

While the Mole Gap Trail is famous in the summer for the fact that it includes a pitstop at the largest vineyard in England, hiking this in winter showcases the sheer variety of ancient trees located along this trail. Starting at Leatherhead station, the route meanders along the river before gradually climbing through forests, where old yew and box woodlands dwell. Towards the end of the trail hikers are treated to views from Box Hill after a lung-busting climb.

Box Hill London day hikes

If the thought of exploring hills and forests has you ‘leaf’ing the comfort of your sofa, check the route instructions from the folks at Explore Surrey or check out more things to see and do around Box Hill via my guide.

London winter day hikes ightham mote

For Historic House Hikers – Sevenoaks London Day Hike

For some strange reason, Sevenoaks is not featured too often in London guides. Despite being only a short distance from London and featuring Kent’s only deer park (think Richmond Park, but quieter), two expansive historic National Trust houses, not to mention an adorable high street with multiple lunch stops, it never attracts the same level of attention.

This is all the more benefit for hikers that venture on this route, as you can roam the deer park in search of its four-legged locals, admire the unusual architecture of Knole House and Ightham Mote, or count the number of oast houses (those houses with white caps on the pointy roofs that only seem to exist in Kent) you spot along the trail.

Knole park deer london day hikes sevenoaks

One of the benefits of hiking around Sevenoaks is the sheer number of footpaths in the area. Check some of my recommendations for extending hikes around this area, or follow through to the handy Saturday Walkers Club for route directions.

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2018 New Year Resolution in Review: Being More Eco-Friendly

Iceland adventures (90)

Yes, I am one of those people that make New Year resolutions. Nothing too unrealistic, such as ‘I will become a millionaire by March’, but I like to set myself challenges and goals to strive towards throughout the year. Of course, 2018 was no different.

This year, after watching Blue Planet and growing increasingly frustrated at the amount of rubbish I kept finding when hiking around the UK, I decided to make a change. I would break several bad habits to be more eco-friendly and reduce the amount of waste I was producing each day.

In all honesty, it seems convenience and waste go hand-in-hand, and forcing myself to practice more organisation and time management in my own schedule helped me reached my resolution to be more eco-friendly. The past year taught me it was habit more than anything else that prevented me from making most of the changes, and actually after making them I found other improvements in my life were made, such as stressing less about money that was usually wasted on takeaway coffee and snacks.

So guys and gals, listed below are the biggest changes (for me anyway) I made for 2018 in my goal to be more eco-friendly:

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Guide to Hiking the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand

The Tongariro Crossing is one of New Zealand’s designated Great Walks, and commonly listed as one of the ‘must-see’ destinations to visit in the North Island. With its volcanic alpine landscape and sulfur lakes, it is little wonder Peter Jackson chose it as the location of Mt Doom for the Lord of the Rings films. Continue reading

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Hike the Rob Roy Glacier Track near Wanaka

Only 33 miles from Lake Wanaka lies the Rob Roy Glacier Track, one of the most scenic (and achievable!) hiking trails in this region of the South Island. With waterfalls, rock cliffs, meandering river landscapes, all ending with a spectacular glacial view at the end of the trail, it is easy to get distracted by the beauty of the Roby Roy Track. Just remind yourself the views become increasingly breathtaking the further you venture. Continue reading

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A Magical Kayak Tour Through Milford Sound

After spending the past few weeks sharing all of my adventures in Canada, I am back to talking about New Zealand, and what better place to return to than Milford Sound? Tagged as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Milford Sound’s rainforest-covered peaks and dramatic waterfalls attract nearly one million visitors a year. While it is possible to catch a ride on one of many cruise ships sailing through the sound each day, early risers with a sense of adventure can have the whole of Milford Sound to themselves, with a sunrise kayak tour.

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Escape the Snowdon Crowds on Cnicht, The Welsh Matterhorn

While Snowdon’s size draws the crowds, nearby Cnicht lies in relative obscurity, despite its beautiful landscape. This ‘Welsh Matterhorn’ offers archaeology, wild swimming and scrambling that can all be enjoyed within a day’s hike, without having to share with others.

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Whale Kayak Tour Adventures in Vancouver Island

Do David Attenborough documentaries leave you wishing for your own Blue Planet adventure? Then I would suggest heading to the northern coast of Vancouver Island, where I spent several days on a kayak tour in search of whales, dolphins and bears.

Our group spent mornings sipping coffee and watching orcas glide past the beach, and afternoons paddling the coast in search of bears. Luckily dolphins made a (very) surprising visit for us during evening paddles!

I booked our trip with Wildcoast, which is a good option for adventurers that like a bit of luxury with their travels (natural hot tubs and saunas, that is). Watch the video for some more David Attenborough-inspired excitement, and then read below to learn more about booking your own Canadian whale watching kayak tour.

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Hiking the Boston Ridge Trail & Mount Becher Loop in Forbidden Plateau, BC

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Vancouver Island’s Forbidden Plateau region features lots of opportunities to experience the scenery and wildlife Canada is renowned for, without the crowds. If you’re short on time but have a big adventurous spirit and energy, take on the challenging yet beautiful Boston Ridge Trail and Mount Becher Loop.

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Wild Pacific Trail: Vancouver Island’s Rugged and Beautiful Coastal Route

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Rugged black rock coastline, pebbly beaches and an abundance of wildlife – there’s a good reason the Wild Pacific Trail is consistently voted one of the top attractions in Canada.

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Hot Springs Cove – a Canadian Boating, Soaking Adventure

A secret cove with naturally bubbling hot springs, hidden deep in a forest, and accessible only by boat? Explorers, don your life vests and set your course for Hot Springs Cove, Tofino.

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