A walk-up Box Hill is perfect for a day trip from London: it takes 50ish minutes on the train from Victoria or Waterloo, you don’t have to walk too far for the hike and nature, and there are lots of different walking trail levels available. This is not new information of course, as people have been walking this path for centuries – yes going all the way back to the Iron Age, while the spot also featured in Jane Austen’s Emma.
When I started to look into the different walks for Box Hill, I had a list of things I was looking for in a walk: I wanted to climb uphill uphill through the fields at the start and then take the stairs going downhill, and I wanted to explore the woods and see the tower, fort and viewing point at the top before going downhill. I mashed a few of the available walks together and can now present you with the unofficial Tea’s Box Hill Circular Trail starting with a walk to the Broadwood’s Tower via the Surrey Hills View, followed by a woodland bit towards the Fort and the Cafe, the Viewing Point, then down the stairs to the Stepping Stones, and then back to the station.
Train Station to Surrey Hills View
Arriving at Boxhill & Westhumble train station, turn right and follow the path, go under the A24 via the short Subway, then past the Mercure hotel and turn right.
Keep in mind there are no toilets at the station or on most of the SouthWestern Trains, so if you need to go then this is your chance to go to the public toilets next to Rykas Boxhill.
It’s a steep-ish walk uphill and if you’re like me you’ll curse yourself a few times, but know that it’s worth it and that the Surrey scenery gets better and better the higher you go, I can imagine it must look even more breathtaking when the hills are in bloom during the summer.
When you’ve reached the top of this hilly area, take the path which goes down for a bit, and then curves around next to the Zig Zag Road. Follow this and it’ll later cross the Zig Zag Road, and you’ll head up a steep walk to reach a long path which heads right (south) to the Viewing Point of Box Hill. But before you head that way, turn left (north) to reach Broadwood’s Tower (or Folly), enjoy the views and take a breather on the bench.
Broadwood’s Tower To Viewing Point & Cafe
Once you’ve seen the tower and enjoyed the views, walk back through the fenced gate and follow the wooded trail towards the Viewing Point.
The woodlands are perfect when the weather is hot and you want a bit of shade and offer a contrast to the views on the previous section of the walk. I would love to go here in autumn as there were a few sections that looked like a good place for a witches’ gathering and had my name written all over it.
When you reach the small meadow (Donkey Green), cross it and you’ll reach the Salomons Memorial Viewpoint, which is the main viewing platform overlooking places such as Dorking, the South Downs and Gatwick Airport.
After that it’s just a short walk to the Box Hill Café where you can enjoy a slice of guilt-free cake or savor a freshly brewed coffee and take a well earned break on one of the many benches. They also have toilets and a water filling point. They don’t advertise it, but it’s also a great place to spot dogs.
From The Fort To The Stepping Stones
Fueled up, make your way to the Box Hill Fort, which is a late 19th-century fort built into the hillside as part of London’s outer defensive structures. The overgrown nature around the old fortifications would be a perfect post-apocalyptic filming location.
Walk back to the path and make your way to the stairs. Walking down I came across a lot of people going up and was happy I chose to do it the other way round as I did not want to take this vertical route, as it seemed a bit much for me.
Once you’re at the bottom of the hill it’s only a short walk to the scenic Stepping Stones where you can cross the River Mole. Stepping Stones are one of my favourite things, bringing back a childhood innocence and excitement, and I was so happy to close off my walk this way. Spotting a dog being carried over was an added treat.
Stepping Stones to the Train Station
Cross over the Stepping Stones and turn right around back through the woods back towards Boxhill & Westhumble train station (taking the subway as before).
How long is this walk?
All in all it took me just under 2.5 hours from and to the station, including royal breaks when going uphill, photo breaks and a stop at the cafe.
How to get to Box Hill from London?
Boxhill & Westhumble has regular train services from both London Waterloo and London Victoria stations. The journey takes about 45-50 minutes and trains run twice hourly on weekdays and hourly on weekends.