New Year Walks in South East England


Even under Tier 4 there are some pleasures that aren’t restricted, such as heading outdoors for a bracing walk to start the New Year with a positive mindset and a vitamin-D boost. From family-friendly treasure trails, to woodland strolls and coastal wanders, we’ve picked some of the best walks in the South East for you to enjoy in January.

Margate to Broadstairs
Walk the 4-mile route between Margate and Broadstairs and explore their connections with artist JMW Turner and the novelist Charles Dickens. Whichever direction you choose, the route begins and ends in a picturesque Tudor harbour then follows an ancient pathway past historic sites including Crampton Tower, and Draper’s Windmill. Along the way you’ll pass a series of mosaics, created as part of a community art project with local schoolchildren, celebrating the work, life and times of Turner and Dickens. Download the route map here.

The Hurtwood
Covering over 2,000 square miles of privately owned Common land in the Surrey Hills, The Hurtwood has over 60 miles of paths and bridleways to explore, winding through magical pine woods, heathland, glades and wilderness. Try the 4-mile circular walk that climbs Holmbury Hill for stunning views across the Weald and South Downs, then passes through the quintessential English village of Holmbury St Mary before returning via ancient woodland.

Portsmouth Treasure Trail
Lure the kids away from the Xbox for an afternoon by taking them outdoors for a Treasure Trail. There are hundreds of themed routes across the South East, including spy missions and treasure hunts. Why not explore historic Portsmouth with a murder-mystery which passes through the city’s cobbled streets, taking in the Cathedral, Gunwharf Quays and Spice Island? For £9.99 you simply download your map and clues and take to the streets to unlock incredible stories and (hopefully!) solve the mystery!

South Down’s Way
East Sussex
It takes approximately 9 days to walk the South Downs Way, the 100-mile long route along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the Sussex downs but if you’re pushed for time, you’ll find some of the most breath-taking scenery on the 7-mile stretch from Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke. Starting from the highest point in East Sussex, Ditchling Beacon, you can explore remains of an Iron Age fort and take in panoramic views from the summit, before following a trail across farmland, passing the Clayton Windmills and the ancient hamlet of Saddlesworth.

Bedgebury Pinetum
The National Pinetum at Bedgebury is home to a world-leading collection of conifers and provides a beautiful setting for peaceful, accessible walks. There are many walking and running trails signposted across the 600-acre site, including the tranquil Be Here Now Trail, a gentle 1.5 mile walk created to invigorate the senses and promote mindfulness by connecting you to the natural world.

East Head
West Sussex
Take a breath of bracing sea air with a 4-mile circular walk from West Wittering past the salt marshes and sand dunes of the East Sussex coastal path. En route you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Chichester harbour from the northernmost point of the East Head. Duck into the bird hide at Snowhill Creek and you might glimpse wading birds feeding in the muddy marshland – at low tide this is a favourite spot for oyster catchers, curlews, godwits and even the occasional egret!

Windsor & Runnymede
This historic corner of Berkshire is great to explore on foot, on an all-day 11.5-mile circular walk starting and finishing at Windsor Castle. The route includes an amble along a section of the Thames Pathway, takes in the Magna Carta monument and John F Kennedy memorial at Runnymede and returns via Windsor Great Park, where you’ll find stunning views of the castle, framed between trees at the end of the aptly named Long Walk. Download a map here.

Your inbox deserves a little culture! Get our monthly newsletter