Best shortest and longest walks

The best walking trails in the South West

In this article, you'll learn the following:
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, the South West has an enticing variety of walking trails. Discover some of England’s most stunning scenes as you go, from dazzling cityscapes to gorgeous coastal backdrops.

 

From the London skyline to the Avon Valley walk, there’s so much to see. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready to be wowed with spectacular scenery.

Walking trails in London

Richmond Park

Richmond Park & Sidmouth Wood Circular

Richmond Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks, offering relief from the bustling city. This circular trail is popular with joggers, cyclists and birdwatchers who enjoy the plentiful wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for parakeets, fallow deer and red deer. Along the way, you’ll pass the park’s largest ponds (the Upper and Lower Pen Ponds) and White Lodge, a Grade I-listed Georgian house built for George II.

Difficulty: Moderate
Approximate length: 1.5 to 2 hours
Dog-friendly? Yes, on the lead
Starting point: Ham Gate
Closest SWR station: Richmond

How to get there: Take the 65 bus from Stop D Richmond Station to Ham Gate Avenue, walking 10 minutes from there.

Tamsin Trail, Richmond Park

Another popular Richmond Park route, the Tamsin Trail, circles the park’s perimeter, offering the best deer-spotting opportunities. Deer have roamed Richmond Park since 1637, and there are now over 600!

A slight detour takes you to King Henry’s Mound in Pembroke Lodge Gardens and one of the best panoramic views of London[DF2]. On clear days, you’ll see the Thames Valley to the west and St Paul’s Cathedral to the east.

If you don’t fancy the full 11.7km, join the path from any of the park’s gates. There are plenty of cafés along the route to refuel at.

Difficulty: Moderate
Approximate length: 2.5 to 3 hours
Dog-friendly? Yes, on the lead
Starting point: Richmond Gate
Closest SWR station: Richmond

How to get there: Richmond Gate is a 19-minute walk from Richmond Station. Or, hop on the 371 bus from Stop D to St Matthias Church, walking 7 minutes from there.

Wimbledon Park to Richmond Bridge

Enjoy stunning, varied scenery, from woodland to riverside, as you pass through Wimbledon Common to Richmond Park, ending up at the River Thames. The route is just over 11km, making it popular with long-distance runners. It’s the sixth section of the 15-segment Capital Ring Walk and one of the best walks along the Thames[DF4]. The route is easy, but there are occasionally hilly sections along gravel and cinder paths.

Difficulty: Moderate
Approximate length: 2.5 to 3 hours
Dog-friendly? Yes
Starting point: Wimbledon Station
Closest SWR station: Wimbledon Station

How to get there: South Western Railway has regular trains to Wimbledon Station, where this route starts.

Walking trails in Hampshire

Lymington coastal path

Solent Way Walk


The Solent Way is one of the most picturesque walks in Hampshire. At 60 miles, this long-distance walk is perfect for those looking to combine exercise with breathtaking views and local attractions, from the historic Hurst castle in Milford-on-Sea to the famous Netley pier on Southampton Water. 

 

Along the trail, you’ll enjoy shingle beaches, deserted coastal marshes, promenades and two ferry trips. You’ll also pass some of the best waterside pubs in the South West.

 

Since this walk is quite long, it should take you between 4 and 6 days to complete. You can choose how much of the trail you walk and where your start and finish points are, so adapt the route as needed.   

Difficulty: Easy
Approximate length: 4 to 6 days
Dog-friendly? Yes
Starting point: Lymington Quay
Closest SWR station: Lymington Pier

How to get there: The route begins at Lymington Quay. To get there, catch the train to Lymington Pier, then walk east along the coast, away from the shops.

Fort Widley Nature Trail

Built between 1860 and 1870 to protect Portsmouth from attack, Fort Widley now houses an equestrian centre. Towering atop Portsdown Hill, it’s the focus of this looping trail. Keep your eyes peeled for ponies, butterflies and badger tracks on route. From spring onwards, you’ll spot beautiful wildflowers, including orchids, bellflowers and tansies.

Difficulty: Easy
Approximate length: 1 hour
Dog-friendly? Yes
Starting point: The Churchillian Pub, Cosham
Closest SWR station: Cosham

How to get there: From Cosham Station, find Stand F and ride the 20 bus to The George. It’s an 11-minute walk from there.

Walking trails in Salisbury

Stonehenge

Avon Valley Path

Fans of old English architecture will enjoy the Avon Valley Walk, which begins in one of the most beautiful cathedral cities in England, Salisbury. On your 34-mile walk, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you stroll down the riverside pathway, leading to vibrant meadows buzzing with wildlife. You might even spot some grazing New Forest ponies!

The route is well signposted, and if you’re getting tired, there are plenty of quaint pubs to stop and recharge. It’s split into five sections, and it’s best to complete it over several days or even a week so you can enjoy this walk and all its beautiful scenery.

Difficulty: Moderate
Approximate length: 1+ days
Dog-friendly? Yes
Starting point: Salisbury Cathedral
Closest SWR station: Salisbury

How to get there: It’s a 13-minute walk or short bus journey from Salisbury station to Salisbury Cathedral, where the route begins.

Durrington Walls to Stonehenge

This is a must-walk for history buffs, featuring five miles of Neolithic landmarks! Starting near the Woodhenge timber posts and passing the banks at Durrington Walls, you end up at Stonehenge. Building on Stonehenge began more than 5,000 years ago and took over 1,000 years, making this two-hour trail seem like a breeze!

Look out for wildlife, including hares, deer and butterflies, and stop at the Stonehenge visitor centre halfway around for tickets to the monument.

Difficulty: Challenging
Approximate length: 2 hours 15 mins to 2 hours 30 mins.
Dog-friendly? No
Starting point: Durrington Walls, Woodhenge
Closest SWR station: Salisbury

How to get there: South Western Railway has trains to Stonehenge via Salisbury. From there, hop on the Stonehenge Tour bus, which takes 35 minutes.

Walking trails in Bournemouth

Bournemouth beach huts

Boscombe & Hengistbury Head Trail

 

Combining stunning coastal views with gorgeous greenery, you don’t want to miss the Bournemouth, Boscombe & Hengistbury Head Trail. This trail is ideal for all skill levels, so the whole family can get involved. A highlight of this route is the not-to-be-missed view of The Needles and Hengistbury Head from the South West Coast Path.

 

Begin your journey in the beautiful coastal town of Bournemouth before heading east towards Boscombe Pier. From there, continue until you reach Hengistbury Head, a gorgeous viewpoint which receives one million visitors annually.

Difficulty: Easy
Approximate length: 4 hours
Starting point: Bournemouth
Closest SWR station: Bournemouth

How to get there: The nearest train station to this trail is Bournemouth. From there, it’s an 18-minute walk or a short bus journey to the top of Bath Hill, where the trail begins.

If you’re feeling inspired to get outdoors, discover our pick of the best free self-guided London walks and the best bike trails in the South West to see where your next journey will take you. Alternatively, why not plan your own walking tour? Use our guide to London’s Heritage Quarter, which features popular landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and more.

If you’re planning a weekend in London, let us do the driving and book your train tickets in advance to get the best price. Search our ticket types to find cheap train tickets, and see if you can save with a Railcard or GroupSave. Travel at any time on Sunday with a Sunday Out ticket.

While you’re here, sign up to our newsletter for monthly travel inspiration, exclusive offers, competitions and more.

The best sushi and Japanese restaurants in London

Use our guide to discover the best Japanese restaurants in London for every taste and budget, from world-renowned reputations to hidden gems.

Find out more

A guide to The Hundred cricket tournament

Looking to grab a ticket to the Hundred this year? Learn everything you need to know about the UK’s most fast-paced cricket tournament here.

Find out more

The Best Walks in the New Forest

Discover New Forest’s best walks from woodlands to marshlands and the wildlife that resides there, from birds of prey, ponies, deer, and fungi!

Find out more