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Walking holidays near London

London is a big city, with lots of visitors circulating in and out from around the globe, many stopping over for meetings, family events or simply a holiday. I get a lot of requests for people looking to tackle long distance walks over a few, to several days from the city.

Fortunately, London is well placed for getting out onto the hills. Sure you won’t get the rugged mountain terrain found further in the North or Wales. But you will find varied woodland, upland and grassland terrain circumnavigating beautiful villages, hamlets, towns of significant interest and plenty of secluded, calm and restorative countryside.

And which walk offers this? The South Down’s Way.

The South Downs Way allows each of its walkers to experience some incredible countryside between Winchester (accessed by train from London and the first Capital of England) to Eastbourne (also accessed by train to London). This 100-mile route is easily completed over several days and treats you to a breathtaking walk over the Seven Sisters, the iconic white Chalk Cliffs that has become so synonymous with Britain.

So if you are planning on taking on a walk which allows an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke then I suggest this as a really great option.

Are you wanting to plan your walking holiday but don’t know where to start? Contact me at for a chat, I’ll see how I can help you.

Walking Holidays for Single Travellers

Walking solo is great.
It builds self-sufficiency, offers incredible opportunities for contemplation, meditation, and communing with nature, and delivers a real sense of personal achievement.
There are a couple of different approaches when looking for walking holidays for single travellers. Deciding which approach is right for you will probably come down to the reasons why you are travelling solo.

Guided walking tours for single travellers

There are now many specialist walking holiday travel operators who cater specifically for solo hikers. These guided walks offer the advantage of having everything planned for you, plus meeting new people, making new friends, and having someone there for you if something goes wrong.
Choosing a walking holiday for single travellers from such a company also ensures that you’re not going to feel out on a limb, because everyone is in the same boat. It’s also a good way to introduce yourself to travelling solo without going for full-on isolation from trek one.
If you are going to trade a truly solitary experience – and shell out for a guide – for a guided walking tour, it is probably worth looking for a route where you’d have to book and pay for a guide even if you weren’t walking alone.

Walking holidays for single travellers: Machu Picchu

Since the Peruvian authorities introduced limits to the number of visitors accepted along the Inca Trail and to the beautiful mountain-top UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu, it is mandatory for hikers to be accompanied by an official guide.
This is one of the most famous treks in the world, and for good reason. It’s a hard but extremely rewarding hike along ancient Inca trails through beautiful mountain scenery and subtropical forest at altitude. The dramatic ruins don’t require added hardship to be appreciated, but this hard-won arrival at the cascading Inca ruins at sunrise definitely does add to the experience.
Numerous walking holiday for solo traveller specialists offer this route as part of a guided walking package, or an alternative route via Salkantay mountain.

Walking holidays for single travellers: Everest Base Camp

The trek to Everest base camp with Sherpa Guides is another popular route for guided walking holidays for solo travellers, and is another classic trek where a guided tour is advisable. Again, there are numerous operators that offer this walk as a package holiday for single travellers, taking you along hilly passes and past traditional Buddhist monasteries and offering sparkling vistas under blue, blue skies and snowy Himalayan peaks.
It isn’t a trek you could do without support, so is a good option for solo travellers who want to make the most of being in a group.

Going solo: heading off alone

Of course, on a guided walking holiday for single travellers you gain convenience and company, but lose the solitude, silence and much of the self-determination you get from setting off truly on your own.
If the ability to go at your own pace and feel truly at one with nature is important, a guided walking tour isn’t going to be for you. But, if you haven’t hiked solo before, it can be a hugely intimidating idea.
Before you take the plunge, there are some basic safety principles you need to follow: make sure you leave a detailed itinerary behind before you go, have check-in points, and keep your family or friends informed of any changes to your plans. Do your research – understand the risks and how to deal with them. Take a first aid kit, and know how to use it; you might want to take a wilderness first aid course before you go. Pack a map and compass, and know how to use them – don’t rely on GPS, even if you have backup batteries and chargers.

Walking holidays for single travellers: Cinque Terre

If you are heading off on your own for the first time, choose a route that isn’t too challenging and that offers plenty of opportunities for hopping off the trail if necessary. This gives you an opportunity to test out your skills, your preparedness, and how much you enjoy the experience, as well as building your confidence.
The five beautiful villages that make up the Cinque Terre on Italy’s Ligurian coast are the perfect spot for this, especially if you choose to go in Spring or Autumn to avoid the worst of the summer heat. These clifftop paths take you past scented lemon and olive groves, vineyards, rocky coastal vistas, and panoramic sea views.
Walk from Monterosso towards Rio Maggiore and you will enjoy the stunning views of the pretty pastel-hued towns as you wander the coastal path towards them. These well-marked, populous routes are a rewarding hike without being too challenging. There are trains and boats connecting the villages, so you can hop off the trail if you need to. You could even take the route in sections and stay at one hotel for the duration of the trail – returning every evening. As well as saving weight in your pack, this gives you the added peace of mind that you know the person who is expecting you to check back in every evening.

Walking holidays for single travellers: GR10

If you are used to walking alone and want to extend this to a long-distance route, the GR10 is a great choice. This 538-mile route stretches the length of the Pyrenees from Hendaye on the Bay of Biscay to Banylus-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean.
The entire route requires a commitment of at least 52 days, but with careful planning you can easily enjoy sections of it at a time to create a shorter walk. Late Spring and early Autumn are the best times to enjoy it; without the snows or the punishing sunshine. It has a sister walk on the other side of the Pyrenees, but the French path is better maintained and marked, so is preferable for a solo hike.
It is also dotted with Refugios, staffed CAF cabins, and pastoral huts that offer places to stop or stay, plus, in many sections, hotels just off the route. The beautiful snow-capped peaks, flower-filled mountain meadows, waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes offer perfect moments for contemplation and simply enjoying the scenery for the solo hiker – you can’t feel alone with views like these.

Other options for single hikers

If you want to enjoy the benefits of hiking solo, but aren’t sure where to start, or would like the peace of mind that comes from someone knowing where you are going, a good hybrid approach is to use a professional route planning company to plot and organise your walk.
This enables you to combine the joy of trekking solo through the wilderness with the comforting knowledge that someone knows where you are (or are supposed to be), as well as being able to tailor your itinerary exactly as you want it.

Walking holidays for single travellers: the South Downs Way

One of BookMyTrails’ most popular routes is the South Downs Way. It’s great for international visitors who want to combine a visit to London with an authentic experience of the rural idyll that is the English countryside.
On the 100-mile route that leads from Winchester to Eastbourne, you’ll hike through green river valleys, shaded ancient woodlands and flower-festooned chocolate-box villages, before culminating in the dramatic white chalk cliffs of the south coast.
The great thing about choosing the hybrid approach that Book My Trail offers, is that you can choose from luxury glamping yurts, basic campsites, welcoming country pubs, or luxury guesthouses and hotels, and know that your hosts are expecting you at the end of a tiring day walking – gaining the convenience and peace of mind of a guided walking tour without compromising your schedule or your sense of solitude and achievement.

Which walking holiday for solo travellers is right for you?

Ultimately, deciding which approach is right for you will probably come down to the reasons why you are travelling solo and what you want to get from the experience.
The Book My trail team are on hand to help and offer advice if you would find it useful to talk through your trekking goals with us.

Wanders for Women: A Day in The Lake District

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”

As a solo female traveller, I’ve wandered and walked in some truly amazing places. From the stunning pathways that meander around Lake Como, Italy, to the breathtaking views from the summit of the Montserrat mountains, Catalunya, Europe has a lot to offer. I never thought I would find beauty to match mainland Europe in the UK, until I reached the Lake District.

Growing up in Newcastle upon Tyne, I was always relatively close to this countryside utopia, but it took 28 years for me to reach it! It’s the ideal place for a solo female traveller, no matter what age you are, which country you’re from or how much experience you have in walking and hiking. There are friendly faces waiting in each of its towns who are happy to help. Speaking of which…

First Stop, Windermere!

The easiest way to get to Windermere is through the local line that runs from Oxenholme train station, which is accessible from most of the UK. If you’re travelling from abroad, the nearest airport is located in Manchester.

Windermere is England’s largest lake and should be the first stop on your journey. Head to Bowness-on-Windermere and be greeted by true northern hospitality. There’s a Tourist Information Centre which is a great first port of call when you’re travelling solo. A friendly Scouser helped me prepare for my chosen walk. I asked him what equipment I would need and he told me he used to run up Scafell Pike (the highest mountain in England) in his trainers when he was a kid, but he advised against this! He recommended proper hiking shoes, outdoor clothing and a trekking pole. I didn’t invest in these but, in hindsight, I should have. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Head down to the lake and you will be met with awe-inspiring views. The lake itself is majestic, swans lie peacefully on the lakeside and green hills roll up on each side of its shores, making for one of the most picturesque images I’ve ever witnessed. If you have time to take a stroll through the town, there are plenty of cafes and bars to relax with a book or have a chat with the locals. I met some true characters. And dogs. There are so many dogs.

Adventure Time!

I chose my walk from Lake District: Low Level and Lake Walks by Vivienne Crow. I would recommend using a guidebook if you’re travelling solo as there were times I found myself wandering alone for a long time. I took a few wrong turns along the way and Vivienne’s book became my bible.

Orrest Head

Orrest Head was my first stop-off after a relatively easy climb. There are benches here for you to sit and admire the view over the lake and its surrounding fells. Alfred Wainwright, a famous British fell-walker and author, is known for his writings about Orrest Head. He wrote,

“Quite suddenly, we emerged from the trees and were on a bare headland, and, as though a curtain had dramatically been torn aside, beheld a truly magnificent view.”

In my opinion, it’s a really inspiring panorama and one of the most intimate of the Lakes. As you head higher, the views are spectacular but can be a little bit daunting at times. There’s a high chance you’ll be met with other walkers at Orrest Head. Photo opportunity time!


Before you reach Troutbeck, you’ll pass by Dubbs reservoir and through the Limefitt Holiday Park. As you ascend towards Wansfell Pike, you start to become aware of the height. I did this walk in May and the winds were high which was a new experience for me. Also, at this point, I lost my way with the guide, so I headed to Troutbeck for a quick stop-off. I found a cosy local cafe owned by a Londoner – it appears that everyone in the Lakes is running away from city life! He helped me back onto the route. There’s also a pub in Troutbeck called the Mortal Man. I didn’t stop as it sounded like a dangerous move for a Geordie, but I’ve heard they do great food and (obviously) drink.

Wansfell Pike

Okay, now the book says that this is a low level walk, but I found Wansfell Pike to be quite a challenging one. The winds were really strong by this point and, when you reach the summit, the paths are not as clear as you would like. It really is quite a steep and arduous ascent so, like I said earlier, bring equipment. Saying that, I seen an elderly couple and even a man with a baby attached to him attempting the climb, so you should be fine!

Oh, and the views are phenomenal. Really phenomenal.


The path back down towards Ambleside is long and winding, but there are a few fantastic features to keep you motivated. As you head into the woodland, you’ll come across the Stockghyll Force waterfalls. Surrounded by ravines in the heart of the forest, they are a dramatic ending to the walk and the perfect finale.

Should you stay or should you go?

Once you get down to Ambleside, there are plenty of options. You can take the 555 Lakeslink bus back to Windermere or, if you want to stay over in Ambleside, there are some hostels that cater perfectly to solo female travellers. Try the YHA Ambleside or Ambleside Backpackers Hostel. Of course, there are also hotels and, if you want to splash the cash, plenty of lodges to stay in close to the lakes.

The end is near…

When it was time to leave the Lake District, I felt very inspired by what I’d seen. It’s such an incredible spot for walkers, hikers and climbers, and I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable as a woman travelling solo. There is an abundance of books available for you to plan your walk, and the amiable locals will make sure you enjoy your adventure every step of the way. Happy hiking!

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