I have so far walked a fair chunk of the coastline near London, so I have decided to put together this list of the best coastal walks. Now, I have to admit, whilst some of these coastal walks I love and have done numerous times, some of them I’m not crazy about. I have decided to still put them on this list, because at the end of the day, it’s all subjective. One mans junk is another mans treasure right?
What I will be doing is giving a brief description of each of the walks (including my honest opinion), and allow you to make up your own mind. I have also divided them up into sections based on whether you love cliffs, want something with a bit of history, or just want to find the best beaches.
Each walk I mention will have a link to the main walk guide with more detailed information about it, including logistics, a map, and a full description of the route with photos.
Oh, and every one of the coastal walks on the list can be reached easily as a day trip from London, and start and finish at a train station.
Read more: What to pack on a day hike
Anyway, let’s get to it….
Best coastal walks near London if you love cliffs
These coastal walks near London are the most hilly walks on the list, and all feature cliffy goodness.
1) Seven sisters – The most famous of the coastal walks near London
Start: Seaford Finish: Eastbourne Distance: 11-13 miles Time: 4 hours Difficulty: Medium Type: Linear
Probably the most famous walk on the list, and also the most cliffy. Each sister is a new hill on the cliff, which is deceptive, because although it is called the Seven Sisters, in reality, you will walk across more than seven.
Of all of the coastal walks near London, this is the one I have done the most. That should probably clue you in to how good it is.
Apart from the cliffs, you will see two lighthouses, including the picturesque Beachy Head.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Seven Sisters hike here.
2) Folkestone to Dover walk – The one following a long distance walking trail
Start: Folkestone Finish: Dover Distance: 7 miles Time: 3h Difficulty: Medium Type: Linear
This walk takes you across the cliffs from one port town to another, with gorgeous views along the way. This walk follows the final stretch of the North Downs Way, a long distance walking trail.
You will have some hills to tackle at the beginning and end, but the in-between is pretty flat and easy. It’s a nice length walk, if you aren’t used to the long ones, leaving you with time at either end to explore the towns. You also get a cool view down to the railway from this one.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Folkestone to Dover walk here.
3) Dover to Deal – The one where you might see France
Start: Dover Finish: Deal Distance: 10 miles Time: 4h Difficulty: Medium Type: Linear
In a bit over an hour from London, you could be walking up and along the famous white cliffs of Dover. On a clear day, you might even be able to see France.
Along the route, you will pass by the small village of St Margaret’s at Cliffe, where you will have the opportunity to walk down to the secluded bay, enclosed by cliffs.
Then you will finish at Deal with its quaint streets, and the last remaining fully intact pier in Kent.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Dover to Deal walk here
4) Hastings to Rye walk – My other favourite of all the coastal walks near London
Start: Hastings Finish: Rye Distance: 13miles Time: 5h Difficulty: Challenging Type: Linear
This is one of my favourite coastal walks near London. Although, you don’t get as much cliff view as some of the others, you really do get a feel of being away from it all.
The walk starts through the charming Hastings Old Town before taking you uphill. Then you will navigate through some woodland before following the coast path, across the very hilly green countryside landscape.
Of all the coastal walks near London on the list, this one definitely gives you the most secluded vibes.
The walk then finishes in Rye, with it’s cobblestone lanes and Medieval houses. It’s a long slog of a walk, so best start early, so that you will have enough time to explore Rye at the end. You can’t come all this way and not explore Rye.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Hastings to Rye walk here.
5) Newhaven to Brighton walk – The easiest of the cliffy coastal walks near London
Start: Newhaven Finish: Brighton Distance: 10 miles Time: 3h Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
This is the easiest of the cliffy coastal walks near London. For half of it you will be walking along clifftop, then you will have the option to walk on the under cliff path for the rest. How hilly it is is up to you. There is one hill at the start, then when you reach the under cliff path, you can choose to go down and then back up to clifftop, or just stick stay down there.
You are never far from civilisation on this walk, passing by one village after another, then as you approach Brighton and Hove, it can get a little crowded, what with this being a popular place for London day-trippers. My recommendation would be to not doing this on a sunny weekend due to the crowds of Brighton.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Newhaven to Brighton walk here
Best coastal walks near London for beach lovers
These coastal walks near London feature lots of soft sandy beach. None of that shingle nonsense.
6) Margate to Ramsgate walk – The one linking three historic towns
Start: Margate Finish: Ramsgate Distance: 8 miles Time: 3h Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
This is the most beachy of all the coastal walks near London, with long stretches of sand one after the other. You also get some cliffy goodness thrown in.
The walk itself takes you between three historic towns, each with a train station linking each other, so you can shorten the walk how you like.
You will need to be mindful of the tide for this one, as some sections will be under the water at high tide. You can still do the walk though, it just means you will need to go up to clifftop for some of it.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Margate to Ramsgate walk here
7) Rye to Camber Sands walk – The one with the most quaint Medieval town
Start/Finish: Rye Distance: 6 miles (there and back) Time: 2h Difficulty: Easy Type: Circular
This is probably the easiest of all the coastal walks near London on the list. Actually, I’m cheating a little bit, as the bulk of the walk isn’t along the coast, it’s along a river. I wanted to include it on the list though, because it does take you to Camber Sands, which is a long stretch of sandy beach. One of the few sandy beaches near London.
This is the kind of walk you would do if you wanted a beach day, with only a little bit of walking.
The walk starts from Rye which is a place worth visiting in itself. A perfect day would be wandering around the medieval streets of Rye, before having brunch at one of the many eateries. Then a walk to Camber Sands for a day of beach fun. Then walk back to Rye for dinner, before heading back to London.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Rye to Camber Sands walk here.
Coastal walks near London if you don’t mind the shingle
If you don’t mind the shingle, first of all, who are you? Second, these walks all have long stretches of beach which are, well, shingle.
8) Whitstable to Herne Bay walk – The one with the most beach huts
Start: Whitstable Finish: Herne Bay Distance: 5 miles Time: >2h Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
Now, although this whole route follows a shingle beach, you don’t have to force it. There is a path you can walk on next to it.
What makes this walk unique, is the unusual amount of beach huts. I have never seen such a high concentration of beach huts on any coastal walks in England, let alone near London.
It’s a very easy walk, and due to the path, is quite accessible. Although these types of easy walks aren’t usually my thing, I did actually enjoy it. It’s a nice way to get in some seaside walking, if you don’t fancy a mega hike.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Whitstable to Herne Bay walk here.
9) Deal to Sandwich walk – The one with the famous golf course
Start: Deal Finish: Sandwich Distance: 11miles Time: 3h 30min Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
Of all the coastal walks near London, this is the second most…bland. You start off with a long stretch of shingle beach to the right, and golf courses to the left, with not much to look at along the way. Although you can walk on a path next to the beach for most of it, there are moments of being forced upon the shingle.
You will walk past one of the most famous golf courses in England (if that’s you thing), and alongside a nature reserve, before finishing off in the medieval town of Sandwich (more details about Sandwich a bit further down).
I’m not crazy about this walk, but it has it’s place….I’m not sure where. Sandwich is a cute little place though. I was actually in a lot of physical pain when I did this walk. So my judgement is tainted by that a little.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Deal to Sandwich walk here.
10) Littlehampton to Worthing – The one with the longest bench in Britain
Start: Littlehampton Finish: Worthing Distance: 8 miles Time: 2h 30min Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
This walk takes you past one of the largest seaside towns near London, and is probably my least favourite of the coastal walks. The whole stretch is shingle beach, however, you only need to walk on it a small amount, as there is either a path or grass to the side where you can walk. It is also pretty residential, with beachfront properties the whole way. There isn’t much in the way of views either.
On a positive note, a lot of it is dog friendly and it features the longest bench in Britain.
Although it’s my least favourite, I actually used this time to get good and deep into a podcast series. Due to the ease of navigation and nothing much to look at, it’s good podcast listening. Kind of like reading a book at the beach, except you are walking.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Littlehampton to Worthing walk here.
Coastal walks near London with some history
These coastal walks near London feature either ruins or medieval towns. Note: Some of the previous walks mentioned also feature medieval stuff, such as, Rye to Camber Sands, Deal to Sandwich and Ramsgate to Margate.
11) Ramsgate to Sandwich walk – The one where the Sandwich was invented
Start: Ramsgate Finish: Sandwich Distance: 8miles Time: 2h 45min Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
This walk takes you from the historic town of Ramsgate to the very Medieval town of Sandwich. It is actually one of the best preserved medieval towns in England.
The food sandwich was actually named after here, not the other way around, as one might suspect. Well, technically it was named after the Earl of Sandwich. He would stick some meat between two bits of bread, so he didn’t have to stop playing cards to eat. And here the Sandwich was born.
You will also pass by Pegwell Bay, which is the location of 3 of the 5 British invasions.
One negative about this walk, is that there is a few miles of walking next to a busy road. If you can get over that, then it’s a lovely walk.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Ramsgate to Sandwich walk here.
12) Herne Bay to Margate walk – The one with the Roman Fort
Start: Herne Bay Finish: Margate Distance: 12miles Time: 3h50m Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear
This coastal walk is a mix of shingle beach, sandy beach, grass and concrete. There are some nice cliffy bits and lots of beach huts.
The history is the Reculver Towers and Roman Fort. The Roman Fort is one of the first forts built against the Saxon raids. The Reculver Towers were built in the 12th Century and are part of the Medieval church built in the year 669.
I was pleasantly surprised by this walk. Prior to doing the walk, I had read that it’s not that great, but I actually quite enjoyed it.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Herne Bay to Margate walk here.
13) Rye Camber Castle walk – The one with the arty photogenic huts
Start/Finish: Rye Distance: 9 miles Time: 3 hours Difficulty: Easy Type: Circular
This walk starts in the Medieval village of Rye, then takes you along the river to reach the coastline. After a bit of coast path walking you will head back inland to walk past Camber Castle before returning to Rye.
Ok, I admit, it’s not fully coastal, but it’s close. It features a couple of cool sheds, one of which is very photogenic with a red roof. The walk also takes you around nature reserve…for nature stuff.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Rye Camber Castle walk here.
Coastal walks near London with a nature reserve
These coastal walks near London all feature nature reserves and protected lands (Also see Rye Camber Castle, and Deal to Sandwich, for other nature reserve walks).
14) Faversham to Whitstable walk – The one which is famous for oysters and salt
Start: Faversham Finish: Whitstable Distance: 9.5 miles Time: 3h Difficulty: Easy in theory Type: Linear
This walk take you along a creek with old boats, past a nature reserve, protected mud flats, and marsh land. If nature is in your favour, it’s pretty easy. Nature was not in my favour when I did it. I had to fight my way through weed bushes and headwind.
You will walk past Seasalter, which was the hub of salt production in the Iron Age. This area is also famous for oysters. If you like beach huts, then you will see quite a few on this one.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Faversham to Whitstable walk here.
15) Thorney Island walk – The one on MOD land
Start: Emsworth Finish: Southbourne Distance: 8.7miles Time: 3h Difficulty: Easy Type: Circular
Thorney Island is a designated site of special scientific interest. It is one of the most unusual of the coastal walks near London, in that a chunk of the island belongs to the MOD, and you need to ring the buzzer to be let in. You must also stick to the coast path when inside.
Despite some troubles at the end of the walk, and some mega mud along the way, I quite enjoyed this one. Each side of the island is quite different, which kept things interesting. There is also the possibility to do some seal and tank spotting. I didn’t see the seals, but I did see the tanks.
For more detailed information including a map, logistics, photos and tips, read about the Thorney Island walk here.
Pin it for later: 15 Best Coastal Walks Near London
For more walking ideas in South East England, you can check out the National Trust website.