friends hiking near london
September 27, 2023

The best day hikes from London

If you’re in need of a change of scenery and some fresh country air, there are plenty of hiking trails near London which are within easy reach by Zipcar. Book a Roundtrip, lace up your boots and get ready to discover some magical hikes in Kent, the Cotswolds, the Chilterns and the South Downs.


Rollright Stones Walk

Rollright Stones Walk

This beautiful hike near London follows a section of Shakespeare’s Way – a route which runs all the way from Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to Shakespeare’s Globe in London. For those who prefer short hikes it’s about 3 miles from the historic town of Chipping Norton to the mysterious stone circle, taking in beautiful Cotswolds countryside along the way. Alternatively, you can start the walk from the nearby village of Salford to make a longer loop, coming back along footpaths from Brighthill Farm.

Distance from London – 73 miles

Hurley Loop panoramic, chiltern hills

Hurley Loop

This hike in the Chilterns has it all – hills, a meandering stretch of river, woodland, open fields, and a historic village. Although it might not quite be a mountain hike, with 127m of incline it’s still fairly hilly for a day hike from London! The free village cark park in Hurley marks the start and end of the walk, and just minutes from The Rising Sun pub. See full details of the walking route here.

Distance from London – 33 miles

View from Dunstable Downs Circular Walk

Dunstable Downs Circular Walk

The Chiltern Hills have some of the best hiking trails near London, and it’s easy to see why. The Dunstable Downs are the perfect example of archetypal English countryside: rolling hills, a patchwork of fields and meadows, woodlands, and streams. This 4 mile circular walk is an easy hike near London that takes in the highest point in Bedfordshire, with amazing views over the vale of Aylesbury.

Distance from London – 35 miles

Sunrise at Harting Down

Beacon Hill and Harting Down Circular Walk

Enjoy views across the stunning South Downs National Park from Beacon Hill, Harting Down and Pen Hill on this scenic loop which is just under 10km. Along the way you’ll find an Iron Age Fort which was converted into a telegraph station during the Napoleonic wars, but the best part? The walk starts and ends at a pub! What more could you need for hikes outside London?

Distance from London: 63 miles South Downs

Ancient yew tree in Kingley Vale

Kingley Vale & Woodend Walk

On this 8km loop you’ll take in views across Hampshire, Sussex and the south coast. Kingley Vale boasts one of the most impressive yew forests in Europe, with ancient trees considered some of the oldest living things in Britain. Their gnarled branches give the wood a spookily beautiful atmosphere and make for a great photo opportunity.

Distance from London: 74 miles South Downs

Whitstable harbour

Crab and Winkle Way

From the historic cathedral city of Canterbury to the harbour in Whitstable, the Crab and Winkle Way in Kent is a 12km walking and cycling path. You’ll pass through ancient woodland, undulating hills with impressive views over Whitstable, and finally be rewarded with a picturesque seaside town on arrival. Stop for lunch before heading back the way you came – a perfect day hike from London.

Distance from London: 62 miles

North Downs Way path

Charing Circular Walk

On this 11km circular hike in Kent, you’ll pass through charming villages, ancient sites, windmills, ruins and manor houses along a well-trodden and signposted route. Starting in Charing, a charming village just a stone’s throw from the M20, you can park at the station car park before joining the North Downs Way.

Distance from London: 50 miles