The Best Country Parks Near London

By Martha Davies

5 months ago

Gorgeous green spaces just a stone's throw from the capital


In the mood for a stroll? If city scenes aren’t quite cutting it, you can take your pick from a variety of lush country parks near London. Here are some of our favourites.

Country Parks Close To London

The Surrey Hills

Park with grassland and trees.

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Just 27 miles from London, the Surrey Hills are the perfect place for a country walk. They were named an Area of Outstanding Beauty in 1958 and they span more than a quarter of Surrey itself, so there’s plenty to explore. Highlights include Betchworth Castle, Frensham Ponds, and Gatton Park, a magnificent section of parkland designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

VISIT: The train from London Waterloo to Box Hill takes just under an hour. surreyhills.org

Epping Forest District

From the Royal Gunpowder Mills to the ancient market town of Waltham Abbey – the resting place of King Harold – the Epping Forest District is brimming with history. If you’re after a simple hike, however, you can stroll along the Essex Way, which is right on the doorstep of Epping Station.

VISIT: The train journey from Liverpool Street to Epping Station takes just 35 minutes. visiteppingforest.org

The Kent Downs

The Kent Downs National Landscape is an AONB that reaches from the white cliffs of  Dover to the Surrey and London border. Head for the ancient bluebell woodlands, tackle a valley walk or spend a day at the beach – the possibilities are endless.

VISIT: The quickest train route from London runs from St Pancras to Ashford International, taking approximately 40 minutes. kentdowns.org.uk

The South Downs

Bluebell copse

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This gorgeous spot is the newest of the UK’s 15 National Parks, and it’s the closest to London. Covering more than 1600 square kilometres, it encompasses hills, heathland, river valleys and ancient woodland, not to mention the picture-perfect white cliffs of the Heritage Coast. The best part? The South Downs were granted International Dark Sky Reserve status in 2016, meaning they’re one of the best places to stargaze in the country. 

VISIT: Take the train from London Waterloo or London Victoria to a number of stations across the South Downs, including Winchester, Lewes and Petersfield. The journey takes 60 to 90 minutes. southdowns.gov.uk

High Weald

Lying just south of the capital, this verdant medieval landscape is the fourth largest AONB in England and Wales. It stretches across Kent, Sussex and Surrey, covering more than 1,400 square kilometres. The entire region boasts thirty manor houses, castles and parks gardens, nine of which are managed by the National Trust.

VISIT: Parts of the High Weald including Ardingly Reservoir and Sheffield Park are only a 40 minute train ride from London. You can reach Central High Weald by catching a train from Charing Cross to Uckfield, which takes around two hours and 20 minutes. highweald.org

The Chilterns

As another Area Of Natural Beauty, the Chilterns are a great choice for a hike. Situated north-west of London, they boast some gorgeous features: over half of the woodland in the area is ancient, and you’ll spot nine chalk streams which are home to endangered species like otters and water voles.

VISIT: You can hop on a train from Marylebone, Paddington, Euston or Kings Cross and get off at stations including Beaconsfield and High Wycombe. chilternsaonb.org


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