Over the past few months, I have been trying to reconnect with the outdoors while COVID-19 restrictions were eased and it was safe to be outside. Since I had mostly been in London this year, I wanted to get outside the city and explore nature. However, I was still worried about contracting the illness and wanted to limit my exposure to public transportation or large groups of people, so I decided to take some trips close to London. As it turns out, there are some great hiking trails not far away, which, if you’re interested, you should check them out:
Box Hill – Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Box Hill hiking trails located southwest of London in Surrey, about an hour on the train from Victoria Station, are great if you are looking for some easier routes that are amenable to all sorts of people. I went with some friends over the August bank holiday weekend and it was a fantastic experience. Once you reach the summit of Box Hill, you have spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the quaint village of Dorking. If you’re looking for something rather low-key, this is a good choice.
Crab and Winkle Way – Canterbury, Kent
Ok so this is technically a cycling route, but it can also be walked! If you’re looking for something more ambitious, grab your bike and take the train out to Canterbury in Kent, which is about a 50-minute train ride from central London. From there, there is a magnificent 7.9-mile trail called the Crab and Winkle Way that takes you on a tour of some beautiful countryside in the area. It leads all the way to the seaside town of Whitstable. The trail has some magnificent views and if you don’t feel like riding/walking back (which would be understandable!), you can take the train from Whitstable back to London.
Chiltern Hills Area of Natural Beauty – Buckinghamshire
The Chiltern Hills area has a lovely assortment of hiking and walking trails that are all near each other if you’re looking for several to do in one trip. You can get to this area by car or you can take the train to High Wycombe and use that as a base. When I was there, I went on the West Wycombe Trail, the Hughenden Rocks tour, and the Bradenham Beech Woods walk. They were all slightly different from each other, but equally beautiful and magnificent. It’s always nice to get out of London once in awhile and see some beautiful nature!
This post was written in September 2020. Please consult the UK government website for the latest coronavirus guidance.