If you’re looking for a great scenic walk in the UK capital city, then there are more options than you might think.
While London may be known for its bustling streets, many shops and iconic landmarks, the city also boasts some of the UK’s best hiking trails. London hiking trails range from easy strolls to challenging treks, with plenty of paths suitable for walkers of all abilities.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best hiking trails in London. Here are all the route details including difficulty levels, nearby cafes and what you can expect to see on each walk.
The Thames Path
One of the most popular hiking trails in London is the Thames Path. It follows the course of the River Thames from its source in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier in East London. The path is just over 180 miles long, but hikers can choose to walk as much or as little of it as they like.
The trail is easy to navigate and mostly flat, making it suitable for all hikers. Along the way, you'll pass through picturesque towns and villages, historical landmarks such as Hampton Court Palace and iconic sights like Tower Bridge and the London Eye.
The path has various entry points so you can get there by several train, bus and tube routes. There are also plenty of cafes along the Thames Path including The Pumphouse in Battersea and The River Café in Hammersmith.
Hampstead Heath is a famous park located in North London. It is a large open common that offers a variety of routes to explore.
One of the most popular London hike trails from here is the Heath Walk. Approximately four miles long, Heath Walk takes hikers through woodland, open fields and hills that offer stunning views of the city skyline. The route is moderate in difficulty, with some steep inclines, but is suitable for most hikers.
On the way, look out for historical buildings such as Kenwood House and the Hill Garden as well as natural features such as the famous bathing ponds.
You can get to the Heath Walk by taking the Northern line to Hampstead underground station or the overground service to Hampstead Heath station. There are also many cafes to grab a snack or drink in the nearby Hampstead Village area, such as Gail's Bakery and Ginger & White.
The Capital Ring
If you’d like to discover some well-known landmarks and hidden spots, look no further than The Capital Ring.
This 78-mile circular route passes through some of London's most picturesque neighbourhoods and green spaces. The route is divided into 15 sections, each of which you can complete in a day. The route’s difficulty level varies from easy to moderate, with some sections being more challenging than others.
Along the way, you'll see iconic sights such as the Tower of London and the O2 Arena and lesser-known gems such as the Walthamstow Wetlands and the Grand Union Canal.
Each section of the ring has its own start and end point which you can reach by several bus, train and tube routes.
If you get hungry or fancy a cuppa there are some well-known cafes along the Capital Ring including The Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park and The Old Post Office Bakery in Barnes.
Richmond Park is one of the largest open spaces in London and offers a variety of London’s best hiking trails to explore.
One of the most popular routes with hikers is the Tamsin Trail. This is approximately seven miles long and meanders through woodland, open fields and around the park's many ponds. The route is moderately difficult, with some steep inclines, but is suitable for most hikers.
On the route, you'll see herds of deer, historic buildings such as Pembroke Lodge and stunning city skyline views. Overall, it’s a great hike around London, with plenty to see.
You can get to Richmond Park by taking the District line to Richmond underground station or the overground to Richmond station. There are several cafes in the park, such as The Roehampton Café and Pembroke Lodge, if you need a bite or cool drink after your hike.
Epping Forest is a large woodland located on the edge of East London. With its beautiful scenery, it has some of the best hikes near London.
The forest covers 6,000 acres and has over 50 miles of trails ranging from easy ambles to more challenging treks. The forest is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, foxes and many species of birds.
Here, you’ll see historical landmarks such as Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge and the Temple of the Sun and natural features such as the River Roding and High Beach.
To get there, take the Central line to any of the Epping Forest stations, such as Loughton, Debden, or Epping. If you fancy something to eat along the way, visit one of the local eateries, such as The View Cafe or the Butler's Retreat.
The Green Chain Walk
The Green Chain Walk is a 50-mile walking route that takes you through some of London's most beautiful green spaces, including Oxleas Wood, Crystal Palace Park and the Thames Barrier Park.
The difficulty level of the route varies from easy to moderate. Tackling it is a great way to explore the city's green spaces and get some exercise at the same time.
You can access The Green Chain Walk via several train, bus and tube routes. Some cafes along the Green Chain Walk include The Gallery Café at Whitechapel Gallery and The Pavilion Café in Greenwich Park.
The Jubilee Walkway
Get ready to see some of the city’s most well-known landmarks and experience one of London’s best hiking trails at the same time.
The Jubilee Walkway is a 15-mile walking route broken down into sections. It takes you through some of London's most iconic areas and historic neighbourhoods. The difficulty level of the route is easy, making it suitable for hikers of all abilities.
Along the way, you'll see famous sights such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London. You’ll also pass lesser-known gems like the Old Royal Naval College and the Leake Street Tunnel.
You can take your pick of many train, bus and tube routes to get there. Plus, if you’re feeling peckish along the way, you can visit The Wolseley and The Orangery at Kensington Palace.
The Lea Valley Walk
The Lea Valley Walk is a 50-mile London hiking route that follows the River Lea from its source in Hertfordshire to the Thames at Limehouse Basin. The route difficulty varies from easy to moderate, making it some of the best hiking near London and a must-do for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.
Along the route, you'll see a range of landscapes, from the tranquil countryside to bustling city streets. Enjoy stunning views of the river and its wildlife too.
Train, bus and tube routes are all options for getting to the Lea Valley Walk. Some snack and drink stops along the way include The Princess of Wales in Clapton and the Springfield Park Cafe.
The London Loop
The London Loop is a 150-mile circular walking route. It takes you through some of the city’s most picturesque neighbourhoods, interesting districts and green spaces.
The route is divided into 24 sections, each of which can be completed in a day.
Along the way, you'll see everything from ancient woodlands to rolling hills and beautiful city skyline views.
Each section has its own start and end point which you can reach by taking several different train, bus and tube routes. Some cafes along the London Loop include Café Rouge in Chigwell and The Holy Trail Cafe in Chingford.
Hit the trails with Avanti
From easy walks to challenging terrain, there's a London hiking trail for you. Whether you're a local who wants to explore the city's green spaces or a tourist hoping to exercise while sightseeing, get ready to grab your hiking boots and hit the trails.
Plus planning a trip and getting to London by rail couldn’t be easier with the Avanti West Coast app. Whether you’re at the start of your route or fresh off the trail, with Avanti, all you need to do is sit back and relax.