Escape the city and get active outdoors in the south of England
Home to some eight million people, London is one of the world’s most vibrant cities. But it’s also one of the most crowded cities in the west where the hectic pace of life means it’s essential to escape into the great outdoors on a regular basis.
Whether you’re into walking, running or cycling, the options for getting active outdoors in southeastern England are endless: from short, scenic hikes through ancient woodland, challenging cycle sportives featuring some genuinely tough climbs to triathlons, 5K and 10K runs, there is plenty on offer pretty much every weekend throughout the year.
London is encircled by a green belt of surprisingly unspoilt countryside, where outdoor enthusiasts can find respite from the hustle and bustle of city life and tune into the slower rhythms of nature.
National Parks like the South Downs and the New Forest are within an hour’s drive of the centre of London, while Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty like the Chiltern Hills, Surrey Hills, Kent Downs and High Weald are even closer. And for those who don’t own a car, many of the AONBs are easily accessible via public transport.
These tranquil green oases are traversed by thousands of miles of footpaths, bridleways, green lanes and byways which open up quiet routes that are perfect for walking, cycling, running or simply enjoying a break from the stresses of the city.
So after a demanding week in the office, it’s remarkably easy to hop on to a train and be striding out through the woods, riding through some of the highest hills in southern England or taking your place on the start line for any number of mass participation outdoor events.