Frolicking in fields, and getting lost in the woods ...
Need an escape from the city or want to see another side of England but don’t want to travel too far from London? Then Box Hill might be just what you’re after.
Box Hill, located in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), offers up plenty to visitors any time of year. Popular amongst mountain bikers, families, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts the site has something for everyone.
The nearest railway station to the park lands is Box Hill & Westhumble which is served by Southern Railways. The station lies on the link between Dorking and London Victoria.
Trains run every 30 minutes, with a journey time of only 50 minutes. Yes, beautiful countryside is less than an hour outside the capital!
Off-peak return tickets cost a mere £9. For those with a railcard, the fare can be as low as £6 return.
Tip: If you’re aged between 16-25, sign up for National Rail’s 16-25 railcard to save 1/3 on all rail fares, including Oyster.
Which trails to follow
There are multiple trails throughout the AONB, the main trail being the North Downs Way which runs between Farnham and Dover. Smaller trails within the area include the Box Hill Hike, Stepping Stones Walk, Juniper Top Walk, Happy Valley Walk and Riverside Walk. I didn’t follow a singular trail, rather walked small components of each. They all overlap and intertwine throughout the park, making it impossible to get lost.
A short walk from the train station and under the subway get you to the park entrance. I started my walk through Burford Meadows, a nice easy stroll beside the river. In hindsight, this route seems the most direct route to the Box Hill summit. After crossing the river, the never-ending stairs ahead lead to the summit.
On a beautiful, sunny day the park is alive with young families, couples and puppies; so many puppies! The views over the downs were spectacular, just what you want from a city escape.
With the numerous trails throughout the area, you could easily walk the entire day and still to have explored the area in its entirety.
There are a few pubs dotted nearby the parks for the perfect Sunday roast, or a pint after a weekend workout. The Stepping Stones, on the way back to the train station was where I chose to treat myself to a pint. Enjoying the last rays of sunshine and brisk fresh air, before heading back into the city.