Hikes in the Surrey Hills AONB lead to castles, waterfalls, and hilltop lookouts.
Country walks and suburban market towns provide the ideal escape for Londoners in the Surrey Hills, just over an hour by train from the capital. Verdant downlands and woodlands blanket the landscapes of this AONB, where you can hike up to hilltop viewpoints, cycle along tree-lined trails, or enjoy horseback riding across open commons. Camping almost always comes with a great view, and the scenery is ever-changing. Visit in spring when wildflowers dust the valleys, or summer when the heathlands bloom with purple heather. Spring through autumn is best for camping, but the Hills’ towns and trails are easily accessible year-round.
The market town of Dorking is the gateway to the central Surrey Hills, where you’ll find some of the AONB’s most enchanting spots. Hike between historic landmarks at Box Hill, discover little-known sites like the Silent Pool and Tillingbourne Waterfall, or stop by a local winery or brewery for a tasting. To the south, the Greensand Hills climb up to Leith Hill, the highest viewpoint in southeast England.
West of Guildford, rolling hills stretch down to the Devil’s Punchbowl, one of the Surrey Hills most photographed viewpoints. Nearby, Frensham Great Pond is a bird-watching hotspot with boat cruises in the summer. After a day’s hiking in the hills, head to Haslemere, Farnham, or Godalming to browse the artisan shops and enjoy dinner at a traditional English pub.
The peaceful farmlands and rural villages of the eastern Surrey hills offer a chance to escape the crowds. Stop by Reigate to explore the castle ruins and picnic in the park, admire the landscaped gardens of Gatton Park, or hike part of the 108-mile Greensand Way. Wine lovers will also find one of Surrey’s most popular wineries here, Godstone Vineyards, where you can sip sparkling wines with a view over the vineyards.
The 153-mile North Downs National Trail is the ultimate challenge for hikers visiting southeast England. Winding its way through the Surrey Hills into the Kent Downs AONB, you’ll hike through wildflower meadows and woodland valleys, pass medieval castles and stately homes, and enjoy spectacular views of the White Cliffs of Dover. Picturesque Kent villages, country pubs, and campsites are dotted along the way.