Category Archives: Walks

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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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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Summiting Snowdon Via the Rhyd Ddu Path

With Mt Snowdon literally on our doorstep, it seemed only right to pay its summit a visit on a trip to Snowdonia National Park. But with a dizzying array of paths to choose from, we went on the advice of our B&B hosts and chose the Rhyd Ddu path to the summit. And it was a wise choice, as getting there was turned out to be as adventurous as summiting Snowdon itself….

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Alternative Walks near Mt Snowdon

Most people flock to the Mt Snowdon area to reach its summit, but just a stone’s throw from the foothill of the mountain lies Lon Gwyrfai. With quiet pathways, panoramic views and abandoned mining quarters waiting to be discovered, Lon Gwyrfai valley offers an excellent alternative to the Disneyland-esque queues going up Mt Snowdon.

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Weekend Walks from London: The Ridgeway National Trail


Once a popular route used since prehistoric times by shepherds and merchants, today The Ridgeway National Trail is traversed by hikers, families and their furry friends – and Londoners. With only a 40-minute train ride between the trail and London Euston station, this 87-mile route features some calf-burning hills, panoramic countryside scenery, and plenty of stops for ice cream and pints – enough to make city dwellers satisfied they have left the Big Smoke.

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Weekend Walks from London: Grand Union Canal Trail

Only 40 minutes away by train from London lies the Grand Union Canal Walk, a trail that incorporates picturesque English landscapes, weird and wonderful canal boats and more pubs than you can shake a pint at along the route.

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#take12trips challenge, The Speyside Way: Boat of Garten to Aviemore

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After seeing the Cairngorms peeking at us from the horizon the day before, we were eager to reach the end of The Speyside Way and begin on our next adventure: exploring the Cairngorm National Park. And so, the early morning light found us briskly walking through the residential part of Boat of Garten and towards Aviemore, the last stop of the trail. Continue reading

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#take12trips challenge, The Speyside Way: Grantown-on-Spey to Boat of Garten

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When deciding how to divide up the different walking sections of The Speyside Way, the trail between Grantown-on-Spey and the Boat of Garten left us perplexed.  Unlike the previous days’ sections, this portion was flat and straightforward, and as a result many people had combined it with the last section to Aviemore, the end of the trail and only an additional six miles. Given that we had walked 25 miles in the past two days though, we decided our legs had probably earned a rest day and decided to only do the 11 miles to Boat of Garten.

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#take12trips challenge, The Speyside Way: Ballindalloch to Grantown-on-Spey

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After a heavy session of hiking the day before, our eyes and limbs were reluctant to recognise the morning light coming through our window. This unwillingness was further exacerbated when we remembered that today was the most difficult section of the Speyside Way: 13 miles of hillwalking in the searing heat. However the rumbling sounds of trucks from the Cragganmore distillery next door soon alerted us to rise and shine. Continue reading

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#take12trips challenge, The Speyside Way, Craigellachie to Ballindalloch

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The next section of The Speyside Way, from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch, was a long, fairly straight stretch of 12 miles that followed the old railway route. In fact, throughout most of it, the old station platforms, railway arches and even remnants of discarded railway machinery remained, yet to be claimed by nature.  Continue reading

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