Best Hiking Areas Near Central London

We associate London with art galleries and pubs, palaces and comedy clubs. The city centre is also awash with glorious green spaces perfect for a gentle walk and a summer picnic. If you feel like an even more immersive experience in British nature, check out these best hiking destinations near London. All are accessible via Tube or a train ride from the Central Park Hotel Bayswater.

Hampstead Heath

Located in North London, Hampstead Heath is a huge nature park comprising woodlands and meadows. It’s less tamed than the royal parks of London and at times you will forget that you’re in the big city. Hampstead Heath features several swimming ponds and a lido. The views are wonderful from Parliament Hill and it’s central enough to reach via bus or the London Overground. 

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is not one of the top London places to go for hiking per se but it’s wonderful for a zero-effort urban walk. It’s one of the largest royal parks in London and is set around two lakes and a series of gardens. Comprising paved, flat walking paths Hyde Park is one of the best places near Central Park Hotel Bayswater for a walk with elderly relatives and young children. 

Richmond Park

Once a hunting ground, Richmond Park is now a safe haven for deer. The meadows stretch for miles and a pond marks the very centre. Richmond Park has a flat terrain although it feels very remote and vast. Visit early in the morning for calm conditions and deer sightings and take precautions in summer as there is minimal cover to guard against the fierce sunshine. Richmond village is perfect for a post-hike bite to eat. 

Epping Forest

This mysterious urban woodland off the Central Line marks the border between Greater London and Essex. The longest trail is a 15-mile circular however it’s possible to tackle a smaller hike. All tracks take you deep into the forestland and past old forts. It’s particularly special during spring when the flowers bloom or autumn when the foliage turns scarlet and orange.

Box Hill

Located a short train ride from Waterloo Station, the Box Hill hike in Surrey takes you on a steep climb through the woodland to a sublime viewpoint overlooking the rolling hills typical of the English countryside. It’s a gruelling hike and decent footwear is required. After completing the trail, you can visit the vineyard and pick up a bottle of local wine. Box Hill & Westhumble is the nearest railway station.

Devil’s Punch Bowl 

A little deeper into the Surrey Hills, the Devil’s Punch Bowl is a radiant valley that claims the second-highest point in the county. There are several hikes in the valley to accommodate different abilities and ages. These range from one mile to six miles. The best ones take you along the rim of the “bowl” and the Hidden Hindhead track enables you to see the London skyline on a clear day. It’s possible to hike in Hindhead Commons at the same time. The closest train station is Haslemere.

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