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Top 10 Walks in South East, England

Great news for those you based in, or visiting London… the south east of England, which is easily available from the capital, has some of the best walks in the country.

Boasting some glorious and ancient countryside, along with great coastal scenery, the South East of England (which includes the counties of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey and East Sussex) has a great network of trails many of which you can quickly get to using public transport.

From day walk by the seaside, to epic multi-day adventures in the national parks, including the famous South Downs, there’s loads to choose from in the region.

So to help you make your decision about where to hike in this part of my country, here’s my list of the top 10 walks in the southeast…

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#1 Seven Sisters, East Sussex

England, Sussex, Seven Sisters Cliffs

Coming in at number 1 on this list of the 10 best walks in the south east of England, it has to be the iconic seven sisters.

One of our favourite day walks in the whole of the UK, the dramatic scenery and bucket loads of coastal air you get from this top hike makes it a thrilling and dramatic day out, which also will having you ticking a major bucket list site in the UK off your list too.

There’s several different trails and way to tackle the clifftop walk of the Seven Sisters that sends you up and over their giant undulating limestone peaks, but the most popular is a linear trail from Birling Gap (a National Trust site with a  car park) to the pebbly beach of Cuckmere Head.

You can retrace your steps over the cliffs, take an inland route back to Birling Gap or head back via local bus or there’s a car park here if someone is willing to meet you.

Learn more about the Seven Sisters Walk here.

#2 The Needles, IOW

England, Isle of Wight, The Needles

Coming in at number 2, it’s another classic on this list of the top south east walks, that also builds another iconic view into its offering.

Yes The Needles are a row of 3 large chalk stacks that jut proudly off the Isle of Wight. On the outermost stack there is a lighthouse and beyond the mainland coast of England.

Because yes, you will have to travel to the Isle of Wight to enjoy this walk, but if you’re visiting the island are looking for a day trip and a good ramble from the New Forest, this could be just the ticket!

You can’t actually walk out to The Needles – they’re in the middle of the sea for starters – but you can enjoy many trails that lead you along the southwestern coast of the Isle of Wight and finish with their dramatic view.

Find out more about walking on the Isle of Wight here.

#3 White Cliffs of Dover, Kent

England, Kent, White Cliffs of Dover

Gosh we really are hammering the coastal walking options in the southeast here aren’t we, but quite simply, that’s because they are some of the best.

And sticking with the theme, number 3 on this list of the top walks in the southeast is iconic number – the glorious White Cliffs of Dover.

Etched into the narrative of England thanks to the famous wartime song that made reference to them, the White Cliffs of Dover are down in Kent and strolling along these cliffs is a great day walk you can enjoy if you’re in the area or if you’ve come down from London for the day.

The whole area is National Trust and there’s a car park (and café) at the beginning of this well-marked trail where you can park, before you follow the trail along the top of the white cliffs to enjoy wonderful coastal views, including a clear impression of nearby France on a clear day.

Discover more about walking the White Cliffs of Dover here.

#4 Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke, East Sussex

But with number 4 on this list, we start taking things inland, because there’s plenty of beautiful countryside walks to enjoy in the south east of England too.

And one of our absolute favourite’s is the glorious day trail from Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke in the South Downs National Park.

Easy to access via public transport or car from Brighton, you can start at either end of this trail (which makes up a section of the South Downs Way) and from there enjoy the well-marked trail which gives gorgeous elevated views over both the South Downs and the East Sussex coastline.

If you’re down in Brighton for a couple of days, or want to escape London for a bracing day hike, Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke makes for a super option.

Learn more about walking in the South Downs National Park here.

#5 Box Hill, Surrey

England, Box Hill, NT Sign

Located very close to London and easy to access form the capital, Box Hill is another National Trust site that provides some great trail options through the Surrey Hills – an Area of Outstanding National Beauty.

It’s best to head to the main visitor centre at Box Hill – where there’s a café and toilets too – before you then choose a trail based on the length of walk and difficulty rating you’re up for.

Either way, making sure you can in the elevated view from the top of Box Hill itself – either at the start or end of your walk – is a must.

Mentioned in Jane Austen’s novel Emma, the views from up here across the countryside of the South East are glorious and should not be missed.

A great family walking option in the south east of England, there’s also a car park at Box Hill if you’re driving too – just be ware things can get very busy at weekends and holidays!

Check out the top 6 Box Hill walks to enjoy here.

#6 South Downs Way, Hampshire & East Sussex

We touched on this one when we mentioned the Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke walk as one of our favs in the South East, but the whole of the South Downs Way is why much worth a mention too!

Taking you 160km from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex, this trail is a normally completed in around 6-9 days and takes walkers along old Roman routes and droveways that cross the chalk escarpment and ridges in one Southern England’s most dramatic landscapes.

The trail provides peace and solitude as well as great views and tons of heritage, but there’s plenty of towns and villages, which lots of eating and accommodation options as you head along… meaning you’ll never be too far from civilisation too!

Read out ultimate guide to waking the South Downs Way here.

#7 1066 Country Walk, East Sussex

And if the South Downs Way tickled your history fancy, then the 1066 Country Walk could be another great option for you.

A 50 km walk through the High Weald – an Area of Outstanding National Beauty – this well-marked and fairly new tail takes you from Pevensey Castle to the quintessential town of Rye.

From here you can then even head on to the magnificent sandy shores of Camber Sands too.

The 1066 Country Walk is named after the iconic Battle of 1066 and follow the footsteps of William the Conqueror from the Normans’ landing point at Pevensey to the site of the Battel (in aptly named Battle), throughout the ancient coastal towns of Winchelsea and Rye.

Most people walk the trail in 6 sections – so if you’re looking for a great week’s worth of walking in the South East, this could be the one!

Discover more in our ultimate guide to 100 Country Walk here.

#8 North Downs Way, Surrey & Kent

And another multi-day walk that makes it onto the list of the this 10 strolls in the south east of England is the magnificent North Downs Way.

At almost 250km long, this is a real adventure of a walk that traverses ancient pilgrimage routes and charming villages as it makes its way from the market town of Farnham Surrey, along the way along the through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs to spit you out at the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent.

The trail also incorporates with Pilgrim’s Way walk which takes hikers between the 2 ancient cathedral cities of Winchester and Canterbury.

If you’re a Cathedral or history buff, this walk is a must for you, otherwise those looking for glorious country and coastal views on a fairly easy trail will enjoy it too!

Check out our ultimate guide to walking the North Downs Way here.

#9 Dungeness Coast, Kent

Kent, Dungeness, Fishing

Ok, so this is definitely the most unique option of this entry of the top walks in the South East of England but, if you’re down in this part of the country, it really can’t be missed!

Part apocalyptic landscape complete with a nuclear power station, part made fishing village and all together off the beaten track, artistic residence, Dungeness straddles the coast between Kent and East Sussex and offer an entirely different experience to almost anything else in the UK.

You’ll need to drive to the Hamlet of Dungeness to access this one, as public transport is very limited, but once there you can enjoy bracing coastal walks along the pebbly coast in both directions to take in the entirely unforgettable slice of the South East.

#10 Solent Way, Hampshire

And last but not least, number 10 on this list of the top walks in the South East of England has to go to another multi-day classic, the lovely Solent Way.

At just under 100km, most people complete this trail in around 5-6 days along the Hampshire coastline, although there are 8 official sections.

Running from Milford on Sea to Emsworth Harbour, you’ll also pass through the New Forest as well as the maritime cities of Southampton and Portsmouth and enjoy some great views across to the Isle of Wight too.

Here’s our top resource if you want to tackle the Solent Way.


And there you have it, our list of the top 10 walks in the South East of England.

Which have you tried and which is next on your list?

Please let us know in the comments box below…

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