You can’t beat getting out of the city over the Bank Holiday, even if just for a few hours.
The good news is, you don’t have to look far away from London to get a healthy dose of nature this Easter.
There are loads of great trails where you can get in touch with nature and see the beauty of the British countryside.
Plus, this balmy weather is ideal for a casual spring walk, so get on your hiking boots and venture out of the capital to make the most of the sun.
Carla Khouri, a mountain leader, outdoor instructor and community manager at Merrell Hiking Club UK has shared her favourite day hikes in and around London to go on this weekend.
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A 10-mile linear walk following the River Chess, this flat and well-signposted walk takes around four to five hours and can be taken from Rickmansworth to Chesham or vice versa.
‘Along the walk, you will get to enjoy beautiful and varied scenery and landscape rich in wildlife,’ says Carla.
‘You’ll also pass through several cute villages, and at times throughout the walk, you get close to the clear sparkling waters of the River Chess, one of the Chilterns’ famed chalk streams.’
The walk starts and ends in towns that are on the Metropolitan tube line, making it easily accessible for city-dwellers.
Up in the Surrey Hills, Box Hill is a great place for both experienced and newbie walkers.
‘You can go from the station straight up to the summit, or you can take one of the longer, circular routes,’ says Carla.
‘At its highest point, Box Hill is 224 metres, but the Salomons Memorial, which is the most popular Box Hill viewpoint overlooking the town of Dorking, is 172 metres high.
‘You’ll get to enjoy beautiful countryside views and abundant wildlife throughout your journey.’
It’s an easy journey to Box Hill, with trains from Waterloo, Victoria and Clapham Junction taking under an hour.
The largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, Richmond Park is easily accessible and has loads of different walks to choose from. Plus, there’s deer.
Carla explains: ‘The Tamsin Trail is the main walking path, which goes all the way around the edge of the park and takes approximately three hours to complete.
‘The park is a top UK site for ancient trees and supports a range of rare species, including birds, beetles, bats, fungi, grasses and wildflowers.’
She recommends visiting the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens, taking a break at Pembroke Lodge tea rooms, or enjoying distant views of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.
You can get to Richmond via the District Line or by train from Waterloo, followed by a one-mile walk from the station to the entrance of the park.
‘Epping Forest offers a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city,’ says Carla.
‘It sits on a ridge between the valleys of the River Roding and the River Lee and has approximately 8000 acres of beautiful ancient wood pasture, home to over 50,000 ancient trees.’
There are a number of sign-posted circular walks you can do at Epping Forest, with different starting points close to a number of tube stations that you can access via the Central Line.
You can also take the Overground to Chingford from London Liverpool Street.
An iconic British landmark, the Seven Sisters’ white limestone cliffs in the South Downs National Park offer glorious views of the sea and countryside.
‘A range of distances can change the level of challenge from beginner-friendly to moderate,’ says Carla.
‘It’s a good idea to take a picnic so you can enjoy lunch on the beach at Cuckmere Haven at the foot of the cliffs.’
You can start the walk from Seaford and end in Eastbourne or vice versa, but the views are supposed to be the best when you walk east, Carla adds.
Get to either location via train, with regular journeys departing from London Victoria that take around an hour and a half.
If you fancy it, take a free guided tour of the Seven Sisters or Epping Forest with Carla via Merrell Hiking Club.
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