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Who better to tell us the best short escapes from London than the inventor of the Microadventure concept himself, Al Humphreys?

About Al Humphreys

Al is a British adventurer, author and blogger. He has  cycled round the world, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, run 6 marathons through the Sahara desert and more. He coined the phrase ‘microadventure’ to describe small but rewarding outdoor escapes close to home. Read more about his philosophy at and on where Al aims to inspire yet more jeans-wearing adventures.


Al's pick of microadventures around London

Explore the Marshes around the Hoo peninsula

Beyond the financial skyscrapers of East London but less than 45 minutes away, you’ll find quiet world of farms and marshland. To get there, jump on the train at St Pancras and head for Gravesend, where it’s only a short ride to the Hoo peninsula. There’s quite a mesh of little roads to get lost along, but it doesn’t matter too much as the landscape is all the same. In fact, the appeal here is almost the absence of landscape – flat lands with giant skies and a welcome empty silence. The Fenn Bell Inn and the Windmill Hoo are both worth a detour if you’re after a pint and a meal.


Swim the Thames

Just an hour West of the city, London’s iconic river meanders through beautiful countryside. The water is clean and safe for swimming and there are plenty of bivvy spots along the bank.

Anywhere west of Reading is stunning, but Pangbourne station is an easy start point if heading from London on the train. A hot summer’s day is perfect, but don’t miss the beautiful wooded riverbanks in autumn time when the water isn’t actually as cold as you might imagine! Head from the station to the river and you will walk straight past the Swan Inn with its oak beams and open fires...


Cycle through Kent

The Pilgrim’s Way follows the route of one of Britain’s oldest roads south of the capital. Today there are tough hills, sweeping views of the Weald, and quaint pubs with beer from Britain’s oldest brewer. In Kent the route merges with the North Downs Way. You can follow the tracks on a mountain bike, or stick to back roads. For a day out from London take the train to Rochester, cycle to Otford, then catch a train home again. In the lovely village of Luddesdowne is the Cock Inn pub (adults only), old-school with cosy decor, bar games, and a massive stuffed salmon on the wall...