ziptours walks and hikes
Why not take your Zipcar out of the city to stretch your legs in Britain's beautiful wide open green landscapes. Here are our top picks for where to walk or hike just a short drive away from a Zipcar city.
As always feel free to suggest your own ideas below, the best ones may even be rewarded.
Look out for these icons for advice on the trip's suitability:
= dog-friendly = young family-friendly
(Just remember to put your dog in a carrier when you take him or her in a Zipcar, them's the rules.)
Plus we've indicated the destinations' nearest Zipcar city and the closest Zipcar to the train station for Londoners making a real break away from metropolis.
Distance from Central London: 16.5 miles
Enjoy beautiful views, long walking paths, and some friendly deer in this 215 acre parkland, situated on the cusp of Essex. You can stop off at Bedfords Park’s café to grab some lunch and watch the deer go about their day, or better yet, bring your own and have a picnic while enjoying the long views across London and Kent. This park is perfect for family visits, both on foot or on your bike.
Broxhill Rd, Havering-atte-Bower, Essex, RM4 1QH
If you fancy a walk literally around London then the 78 mile Capital Ring Walk or the 152 mile Loop (broken down into bite-size chunks, of course) are spot on. Discover picture-perfect parks and palaces, wonderful woodlands and awe-inspiring architecture, all encircling London. And the best bit is, no matter where you live in London you’re always a short zip away from a section of the inner or outer loop. Our highlights included Parkland Walk (along a reclaimed railway line) and spotting a windmill (and maybe some Wombles) on Wimbledon Common. Plus you can print yourself out a nifty certificate once you’ve completed it!
Left to Right: Wandsworth Common, Richmond Park Deer, Wimbledon Windmill, Wimbledon Common
The North Downs Way stretches across Surrey and Kent from Farnham in the west to Dover in the east (a mighty 153 miles), with each section (around 10 miles) having unique character. Our favourite part stretches between Westhumble and Merstham, where you can release your inner child skipping between stepping stones across the River Mole before getting your legs in gear for a hike up Box Hill, Coley Hill and Reigate Hill – all with fabulous views. But check out the National Trails guide for other parts of the walk.
Distance from Central London: 10 miles
This ancient woodland just a hop and a skip from Greenwich dates back to the last Ice Age, with the trees a vital resource for the nearby ship-building docks for centuries. Meander steeply uphill through the trees for a while, into Castle Wood, and you’ll stumble upon the mysterious triangular Severndroog Castle – not a Nadsat haven of ultra-violence for Alex and his droogs, but the 1784 memorial to Sir William James. While you can’t currently go up the tower, it’s supposedly the highest point between London and Paris. While you're in the area, emerge from the trees and head a mile south west and you’ll find yourself at Eltham Palace and Gardens. Now an enchanting Art Deco wonderland, the grounds date back to Edward II in the 14th Century, and was once the home of the young Henry VIII. For the best route through the woods and onto the Palace, follow the Capital Ring signposts.
Distance from Central London: 15 miles
Back in the London/Surrey borders, not too far from cosmopolitan Croydon, you’ll find some of the most untouched chalk grass and downlands in Greater London in the shape of Farthing Downs. From Coulsdon South head further south into Neolithic Farthing Downs, home to many a sheep and cow (so watch out for stray dung!). If you’ve got your walking legs on for a full 9-mile hike, keep going south into the aptly named Happy Valley Park before looping round through the woods and back up via picturesque Chaldon. During the spring this walk is perfect for snapping pics of wildflowers, or slow down the pace in summer and take a picnic.