WanderlustBeautiful country walks near London

London is renowned for its thriving arts scene and buzzing nightlife but, when it’s time for a rural escape, several idyllic day trips are within easy reach

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Close to royal parks and leafy garden squares, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah  is ideally situated for an urban afternoon stroll. However, the English countryside is only a short drive away, so discover its villages, hills and ancient woodland with our guide to rural rambling.

Best for… panoramic views: Box Hill

Enjoy sweeping views of Surrey’s North Downs from the summit of this imposing hill, which gets its name from the ancient box woodland that thrives on its chalk slopes. An hour’s drive from The Carlton Tower Jumeirah , this natural landmark is managed by the National Trust, which has devised three walking routes for you to explore. Embark on a one-mile ascent to the summit, complete a 2.7-mile loop that runs past Broadwood's Tower – which was built in 1815 – or follow an eight-mile circular path. You’ll tackle steep steps and deep valleys along the way, but your efforts will be rewarded with wonderful viewpoints and countryside pubs.

Best for… raising your heartbeat: Seven Sisters

For an invigoratingly hilly hike, head to the sea-eroded chalk cliffs on England’s southern coast in East Sussex. This stunning section of the South Downs National Park is crisscrossed with walking trails just waiting to be explored. A 14-mile coastal trail runs from Seaford to Eastbourne, passing lighthouses, seaside promenades and historic coastguard cottages along the way, while you can descend the stairs at Hope Gap for a bracing walk along the beach. For a shorter ramble, the Seven Sisters and Friston Forest Circular Walk is an eight-mile trail that showcases the area’s dramatic coastal beauty. Have your camera close to hand as you pass Birling Gap, where white cliffs plunge into the sea.

Seven sisters cliffs

 

Best for… a stunning rural escape: The Cotswolds

Known for its country houses, castles and charming villages, the Cotswolds spans 800 miles and five counties. With more than 3,000 miles of footpaths just waiting to be explored – as well as one of the UK’s most popular long-distance trails, the 102-mile Cotswold Way – the only difficult part is deciding where to start your countryside adventure. Make your way from Broadway to Toddington with the Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Steam Railway running alongside you and pass through Stanton and Stanway – two of the Cotswolds’ prettiest villages due to their Jacobean manor houses. See mosaics at Chedworth Roman Villa before wandering through wildflower meadows along the banks of the River Coln, or admire 2,500 tree species as you stroll woodland trails in Westonbirt, The National Arboretum.

Stone cottages in Cotswolds

 

Best for… quintessential Britain: Marlow

Follow the River Thames as it flows west out of London and towards the Chiltern Hills and you’ll soon find yourself in Marlow. Life in this welcoming Georgian market town revolves around the river, and a walk along the Thames Path is the perfect way to experience this scenic stretch of water. Make your way across Marlow suspension bridge and stop to see flower-strewn canal boats navigate the historic lock. For lunch, try contemporary dishes in rustic surroundings at The Hand and Flowers by chef Tom Kerridge – the only pub in the UK to have been awarded two Michelin stars.

Marlow bridge in evening sun


Having embraced the countryside, return to London to explore the luxury boutiques in Knightsbridge and the smart dining establishments in Chelsea near The Carlton Tower Jumeirah. If you prefer an evening in, the hotel’s marble bathrooms are the perfect place to relax after a rural walk.