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Top Ten Dog Walks In & Around South East London

Updated: Jan 8

We are very fortunate to have as many lovely parks and green spaces as we do in South London. Never short of an adventure or two, and with four seriously energetic and bonkers dogs, I like to walk in places that hold their interest and bring me peace. Beagles are super-sniffy dogs, ducking in and out of hedges, thicket, and brambles at every opportunity. Wide open spaces hold very little interest to The Beags so we go big and make an adventure of it all. These are all walks that can be up to a few hours long if you're in the mood.

In no particular order, these are our favourites:

  1. Beckenham Place Park

  2. Lesnes Abbey Woods

  3. Elmstead Woods via Chinbrook Meadows

  4. Oxleas Woods

  5. Joyden Woods

  6. Footscray Meadows, aka Five Arches

  7. Jeskyns Community Woodland

  8. Blackheath and Greenwich Park

  9. Peckham Rye Park & Common

  10. Crystal Palace Park

Beckenham Place Park

Walking Time: 1-4hrs

The most frequently visited on our list, we will head to BPP at least twice a week. You can make this an hour walk or a four hour walk, it really depends what you want from it. BPP has a range of facilities catering to all needs and interests. Specifically for the dog people it has open spaces, woodlands, a river, cafe & restaurant, and there's even a pet shop in the old stable yard.

The park has had a lot of recent investment and redevelopment around the mansion house side of the park. The park can get busy with families at peak times and sometimes the park is host to events and festivals. You can easily avoid it all though, the park is HUGE!

There are many entrances to the park so make sure you know where you want to be meeting up with your friends beforehand. There's a pay to park car park (PayByPhone App) which you can access from Beckenham Hill Road,

Nearest train stations: Beckenham Hill, and Ravensbourne

Lesnes Abbey Woods

Walking Time: 1-2hrs

A more recent discovery for us, Lesnes is a lovely peaceful woodland walk which you can spill out to the Abbey Ruins which you can walk around and explore fully before heading back into the woods to do a huge loop.

There's no car park, I haven't found one anyway, but there is on road parking on both Abbey Road, and Knee Hill.

Nearest train stations: Abbey Wood

Elmstead, and Marvels Woods via Chinbrook Meadows

Walking Time: 1-4hrs

This is really three walks in one so you can do your own research here and find what works for you. Chinbrook Meadows is a lovely local park where you can do just an hours walk or you can follow the trail up via Grove Park Cemetery and into Elmstead Woods and Marvels Woods. This one for me is a winner to decompress from the stresses of the week and is the shortest drive from home of all the big walks. It's always a peaceful walk too, once you're in the woods you barely see a soul.

If you follow the route exactly as I've marked it on the map it'll be 5km.

Chinbrook has a small (free) carpark on Amblecote Road

Nearest train station: Grove Park

Oxleas Woods

Walking Time: 1-2hrs

It's got it all. The ancient Oxleas woods covers 77 hectares and is at least 8,000 years old. Take a walk through the woods of oak, silver birch, hornbeam and coppice hazel.

The Green Chain Walk runs through the site and the cafe at the top of the hill in the meadow is popular with visitors. There's a castle too! Severndroog Castle has reopened its doors to visitors (not sure it's dog-friendly though).

Parking: Crown Woods Lane SE9

Joyden's Woods

Walking Time: 1-3hrs

Joyden’s Wood is a tranquil, ancient woodland right on London’s doorstep. With its remarkable flora, abundant wildlife, and an intriguing history stretching back to Roman times, it’s a wonderful place to escape the hectic pace of city life.

If you've got a dog that likes to adventure then this one will certainly keep them busy. Ted once covered more than 27 kilometres in one visit here; his FitBark had never worked so hard!

There aren't any facilities so pack your thermos and biscuits before you leave the house. There's also no official car park so plan your route before you set off. The main entrance track can be difficult to spot; it is on Summerhouse Drive, next to the Squires Way bus stop.

Footscray Meadows, aka Five Arches

Walking Time: 1-3hrs

Really popular with walkers and families, especially in the summer because the river cray runs right through the middle. It's such a gorgeous space and I always feel at peace when I'm there. The river is shallow in most places for dogs to splash about, a couple of spots where it's deep enough to swim. Be mindful of walking your dog off lead near the Five Arches Bridge, in-season there are multiple nesting bird spots. There is also a popular horse trail so again, be mindful if your dog isn't socialised to horses.

There are no facilities here, literally none, not even a little coffee van in the summer; someone really is missing a trick!

Parking is free for all users. The small car park is located off Rectory Lane and down the narrow road then hang a left towards the stables.

Jeskyns Community Woodland

Walking Time: 1-3hrs

It's a bit of drive, but absolutely worth it. Jeskyns has multiple mapped out routes which take you through woodland, community farmland, and there's even an orchard. It's a wonderful green space that appeals to the whole family with the Gruffalo trail for the kids.

A big bonus of Jeskyns is that they have two really good sized enclosed training fields. Perfect if you're wanting to work on your dogs recall. They also have a small lake which is open to dogs for a swim.

There's a great sized pay to park car park, a great little cafe and toilets too.

Location: Henhurst Road, Cobham, Kent, DA12 3AN

By Public Transport: Closest bus routes are the Arriva 490 and 455. Both stop just the other side of the A2 and Jeskyns is 15minute walk from this point.

Jeskyns walking map
Download PDF • 339KB

Blackheath and Greenwich Park

Walking Time: 1-2hrs

Does this even need a write up? You've all heard of it and you all know where it is. Blackheath Common and Greenwich Park (a Royal Park) were my go-to walks when I first moved to London; the heath mostly because it's accessible no matter the time of day so I was able to run the beags before and after work without issue. The park has fantastic views of the city, and is a great space to walk and meet other dogs and their humans. It has an abundance of facilities; Toilets, Cafe's, Coffee Hut etc. It can be an absolute circus though, especially on the weekends. It's more than a dog walking spot so be sure to have trained and socialised your dog to picnics, children, cyclists etc or keep them on a lead. Both Greenwich Park and Blackheath Common are frequently host to events, always check what's happening before you plan a trip.

Parking is available in the park though prices are steep! You can park on-street around the parks many entrances (PayByPhone) for a little less.

Opening times are subject to seasonal changes.

My route: Park the car on Hare and Billet Road (PayByPhone) walk across the heath to the Blackheath Tea Hut at the top of Goffers Rd where it meets the A2, grab a cuppa, and cross the road into the park via the pedestrian entrance on Chesterfield Walk. You can do any combination of paths throughout the park and either loop before heading home or head into Greenwich or Blackheath for a spot of lunch.

Peckham Rye Park & Common

Walking Time: 1-2hrs

I love this place! This is my 'we need a good walk but I can't do too long' kinda place. It's super popular with dog walkers including professionals. You can walk up to six dogs at any one time in Southwark so you'll never be short of finding a dog pal for yours to play with Monday to Friday while the professional walkers are out.

The park is subject to seasonal opening and closing times, though the common is always accessible.

Facilities: Cafe and Toilets

Pay & Display Car Park: Accessible via Strakers Road on the East side of Peckham Rye.

Crystal Palace Park

Walking Time: 1-4hrs

This place is HUGE! Famous for having an actual Crystal Palace (that no longer exists) and dinosaurs (that still do exist but are on their last legs) it has a really nice mix of woodland (albeit small) and enormous open spaces. We can spend hours here and still not cover all of it.

The National Sports Centre is in the middle of it all which is maybe a bit weird when walking the dog over open air volleyball and athletics but it's great to socialise your dogs to all aspects of London living right! It's all dog-friendly, even the cafe!

There is a huge restoration and regeneration plan in place for this park so expect huge changes over the coming years.

Getting there...

By train: The park is a short walk from Crystal Palace Station or Penge West Station.

By bus
: Routes serving the park and its surrounding area include 3, 122, 157, 202, 227, 249, 322, 358, 363, 410, 417, 432, 450.

By car: Free parking is available at the Thicket Road and Anerley Hill and Crystal Palace Park Road entrances to the park.

Let us know which of these walks you do with your dog and whether you enjoyed them. We love to hear what you're doing with your dogs outside of training. If you have a walk you'd like to share with us then please drop it in the comment section below or tag us on any of our social platforms; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, we're on them all! You can find them all HERE

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Georgi, The Beags, and Elsie x

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And Sausage didn’t carry octopus for most of the walk. 😄


Having fun in the woods at Lesnes Abbey and making new friends!! 😁



Hey Georgie great article, thanks. I’m going to try some of the ones we haven’t done yet. There is also Horniman’s Museum and Garden, maybe not as long as the ones you have mentioned but definitely a nice walk with the dogs and a little market on a Sunday 😊

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