Time-strapped hikers and campers, take note: less than two hours away from the bustle of London lies a wealth of tranquil long-distance paths. Better yet, these weekend hikes can be completed for less than £100 per person. All you have to do is beg and borrow the essential camping/hiking gear.
The Way of St Augustine
Distance: 19 miles
Route Details: Explore Kent webpage
Follow in the footsteps of early Christian saints and explore the stunning Stour valley along The Way of St Augustine. The route meanders along various ancient picturesque Kent villages and even the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve, which is home to a wide variety of birdlife. Camping and glamping accommodation can be found a short distance from Stodmarsh Nature Reserve at Hatcher’s Farm campsite, or you can stay in the theme of the trail and go ‘champing’ in one of the Churches Conservation Trusts’ churches.
Approximate total cost for transport and accommodation: £34.90 per person (with camping).
The Beane Valley Walk
Distance: 14 miles
Route Details: Walking Britain website
This trail is more of the ‘lazy Sunday wanders’ variety, with gentle sloping valleys and flat, scenic riverside walks through sleepy villages. Pubs aplenty are located along the route, making this trail ideal to spend with friends, and its low elevation gain of 242 metres makes it accessible for a wider variety of hikers. To reach the start of the route a train to Stevenage and then a short bus or taxi ride to Walkern village is needed. Overnight accommodation via Airbnb can be found for between £50-60pp, or more experienced hikers can try wild camping.
Approximate total cost for transport and accommodation: £73.70 per person, via Airbnb.
Distance: 17 miles
Route Details: ChalkUp21 website
Modern 21st century architecture combines with the south coast’s famous white cliffs to create the ChalkUp21 trail. Between Chapel-le-Ferne in Folkestone and Deal lie nine modern buildings that appear almost futuristic compared to the neighboring Tudor castles, Napoleonic forts, and WWI-II fortifications dotted along the coast. There’s much to explore, both manmade and nature-wise on this trail, so make sure you have an early start to the morning to squeeze everything into the weekend! An abundance of holiday parks offering camping, glamping and caravanning options are available along the coast, for around £45 per night.
Approximate total cost for transport and accommodation: £67.70 per person, via average holiday park price.
Distance: 14 miles
Route Details: Long Distance Walkers Association website
The Cuckoo Trail has a rather sweet backstory. The original railway line, which opened in the 1800s, used to ship attendees to the Heathfield Festival each year to hear the first cuckoo calling of spring. The railway line shut in the 1960s, and nature has transformed it into an oasis of calm while connecting the three towns of Heathfield, Hailsham and Polegate. The trail begins in Heathfield, which will require a 20-minute taxi journey from Uckfield rail station. For accommodation, camping is available at Knockhatch Campsite near Hailsham.
Approximate total cost for transport and accommodation: £44.10.
Have you completed any weekend hikes from London? Share below!