While there’s a lot of nice walking routes that are accessible by public transport, ones that you can get to on just one train are rather scarce from my station. In previous years, I’ve walked most of the sections of the Green Chain Route in South East London, so with those out of the way, I’ve started to look further afield, on areas between the Blackfriars and Sevenoaks Thameslink/Southeastern Train Line, which runs from central London south-east out towards Kent.
So far I’ve been to several areas along the Blackfriars-Sevenoaks line and am hoping to get to explore more especially next spring, when the paths are drier, there’s a little more sun and the trees have leaves again.
Kent Walks near South East London
Shoreham to Otford Walk – Kent Walks Near London
Shoreham to Otford – or vice versa – is perfect for a bit of meandering. Not far from London, but it does give you the feeling of being in the countryside. It has hills, cottages and lots of dogs. You can also make a stop at the Hop Farm year-round for some fresh produce and cute little gifts. In summer, you’ll find a famous lavender field here and in autumn you can pick apples in a special orchard. Speaking of fruit, there’s also lots of blackberry bushes along the way. You can also visit the historic Lullingstone Castle & Gardens, the even older Lullingstone Roman Villa and gaze in awe at the rather incredible Eynsford Viaduct.
Trainstop: Shoreham or Otford
A Walk Around Petts Wood and Hawkwood – Kent Walks Near London
You can’t go wrong with taking a stroll through the varied landscape of Petts Wood and Hawkwood, with heather, farmland and woodland all on offer. And the best thing is that all of this can be found just in Zone 5! In late summer you can enjoy the heather in bloom, while later in autumn you return to see the colours change. And most importantly, in October and November, you’ll find chestnuts, lots of chestnuts! What’s nice is that it’s not too busy, so you can get a bit lost!
Trainstop: St. Mary Cray or Bickley (or Petts Wood on another line)
Beckenham Place Park to Crystal Palace – South Eat London Walk
You can take a walk around Beckenham Place Park, have a drink at the park café or take a peek inside the grand Beckenham Place Mansion. And when the weather allows, perhaps even take a dip in the swimming lake.
If you want to extend your outing, add on a walk from Beckenham Place Park to the Crystal Palace section of the Green Chain Walk. This 3.9 miles/6.3 km section takes you from Beckenham Hill Park via Cator Park all the way to Crystal Palace Park – where you can enjoy the collection of 1850s dinosaur sculptures, a challenging maze and the station cafe with the best millionaire’s shortbread in London. And yeah, it might be less green than some of the other sections of the Green Chain, but it’s still nicer than the local parks you’ve over-explored in the last 12 months.
Trainstop: Beckenham Hill / Ravensbourne
Walk The Waterlink Way – Walks in South East London
The Waterlink Way winds through 8 miles of parks and green spaces in SE London. If you get off at Crofton Park you can combine it with a walk around Brockwell and Ladywell Cemetery and Hilly Fields before heading down to Ladywell Fields and following the Pool and Ravensbourne rivers south for some stunning views, street art and the riverside. Alternatively, go to Bellingham and explore the whole Waterlink Way section to Greenwich.
Trainstop: Crofton Park, Catford or Bellingham
Nunhead Cemetery Walk – Walks in South East London
Take a wander through one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London with its impressive church ruins and hidden walking paths and trails. You can keep it to a walk around the cemetery, but can also go a bit further checking out nearby Camberwell Old Cemetery, or instead by joining the Green Chain Walk route to Crystal Palace Park via The Horniman Museum and Gardens, which is one of my all-time favourite routes on that major walking network.
Western Loop of The Jubilee Walkway – Roundwalk in Central London
The Western Loop section of the Jubilee Walkway is the perfect circular walk to explore central London’s top attractions: the 9.5 kilometre route takes you from Tate Modern to Freemason’s Hall and Big Ben. All you have to do is follow the Jubilee Walkway discs on the pavement as you go round – and once things are back to normal remember to look up from the discs occasionally to avoid bumping into people!
Other South of the River London Walks