Box Hill to Leatherhead (Book 1, walk 49)
Length: 11.5km (7.1 miles) - but see ** below
Toughness: 7 out of 10 9.31
train from Victoria
(9.37 Clapham Junction
, 9.59 Sutton
) to Box Hill & Westhumble, arriving at 10.21
Buy a day return to Box Hill & Westhumble
For walk directions
. For GPX
Back in the early days of the SWC, when the world was young and Saturdays were always sunny, this was a popular outing in the run-up to Christmas. An energetic (there are two big steep hill climbs) but exhilarating morning, including fine views from Box Hill
and Juniper Top
, takes you Mickleham where the Running Horses is a great place for a festive lunch. After lunch there is just a short walk up the valley (an hour or so at most) to Leatherhead for tea. In short, a perfect outing for the shortest days of the year.
Latterly, as we have become more energetic ourselves, some find this original ending a bit tame, but the walk directions now includes a ** more vigorous afternoon option
, which is to loop back through wooded hills to Box Hill station. This is a bit longer than the Leatherhead route but mainly just more hilly. (It could be extended a bit further, map-led, to have tea at Denbies Vineyard, if we can get there before it closes at 4.30pm. It is possible that my good friend Will Emerge may pop up to guide you on this route).
One word of warning
about the morning route: as well as two big steep climbs (both on steps), it has one steep and rather treacherous descent
to Mickleham. Take care on this: wet leaves on slippy chalk are not a good combination. Whether a less steep route is available on the alternative paths zig-zagging to the right is something a public-spirited person might check out.
The Running Horses
is a deservedly popular pub. I have picked a train to get us there early so as to have a better chance of getting fed (and also made a modest booking).
The alternative nearby is the not-unpopular King William IV.
Otherwise, the Smith & Western
, an American-themed restaurant about halfway through the morning (just before you turn inland off the Box Hill escarpment) is not a bad place to eat. It might be a good idea to phone to check availability at these places at the start of the walk. Leatherhead
is not short of tea places. Allow ten to fifteen minutes to walk from the high street to the station. Trains back
from here are at 05
past the hour, the 05 and 33 going to Victoria, the others to Waterloo, with no major difference in travel times.
If you end at Box Hill
trains are at 28
past till 18.28
, then 19.01
past, though if you get to Denbies
for tea it probably makes more sense to walk to Dorking
which has several trains an hour. (Easiest route: walk down the driveway out of the estate, then veer right just after the railway bridge to shadow the main road to a roundabout, then keep ahead on pavements until the station entrance appears on the left: about 25 minutes walking: doable in the dark). T=1.49