10 Best Long-Distance Walks in the UK

High above Lochness on the Great Glen Way Walk
High above Lochness on the Great Glen Way Walk

In the UK a trail is often considered ‘long distance’ when it is at least 30 miles (48km) long. However, we like to stretch this a little and will look in this article at those paths that are over 70 miles or about 100km. Spread throughout all corners of Britain, you can find a diverse range of long-distance walks.

A long-distance path in the UK is traditionally waymarked but won’t necessarily follow established footpaths and as such, walkers will often find themselves traversing pastures, fells, river shores or beaches. It's exactly why we love some of our walks so much.

At the same time, going on a long-distance walk allows you to really travel deep inside a region and experience the real character and spirit away from outside borders.

Inspired by iconic figures, historical boundaries or geographical regions, read on for some of the UK’s best long-distance walks.

1. Coast to Coast Walk

England's spectacular Coast to Coast Walk

Entire length: 309 km / 192 miles

Country: England

Best time to go: late spring until early autumn

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

One of Britain’s classic walking routes, the Coast to Coast, was originated and described by Alfred Wainwright, author of a well-known series of mountain-walking guide books on the English Lake District. Walk this trail for the feeling of crossing England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, and to explore the national parks of the Lake District, Pennines and North York Moors.

“High points were the challenge, the people we met, sense of achievement and hospitality. Keep up the good work.”F. O’Sullivan from Paynesville, Australia

2. Channel Island Way

 

Sark coastline across La Grande Greve |  <i>John Millen</i>

 

Entire length: 177 km / 110 miles

Country: England

Best time to go: walk the Channel Island Way between April and late October

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

Each of the eight Channel Islands have their own separate character, and in terms of scenery resemble some of Cornwall’s nicest features. This long-distance walk along the isles to the south of England takes you island hopping to see well preserved WWII fortifications, rugged cliffs, quiet villages and a fantastic range of pubs.

 

3. John Muir Way

 

Walking above Loch Lomond, Scotland


Entire length:
215 km / 134 miles

Country: Scotland

Best time to go: between April and early October is the best time to undertake this British long-distance walk


Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

The John Muir Way is a route that symbolically links Dunbar (John's hometown) with Scotland’s first national park (Loch Lomond) and the Trossachs with Helensburgh (from where John and his family departed for the USA) in the west. Both towns are located by the sea and as such the trail is known as the Scottish Coast to Coast. Along the way, you are rewarded by views over Ben Lomond, an exploration of Edinburgh, and lots of historical features. There are many highlights on the John Muir Way - read about 10 interesting sites.

 

4. Hadrian’s Wall Trail

 

Walking along the Hadrian's Wall trail nearby the wall itself |  <i>John Millen</i>


Entire length:
133 km / 83 miles

Country: England

Best time to go: the climate of Northern England is renowned for being unpredictable, but the best time of year to walk Hadrian’s Wall Trail is between April and early October, with June being the sunniest month


Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

A reason for hikers to choose to walk Hadrian’s Wall is the rich Roman history along the way, as it’s not just the wall itself that you will see, but also remains of important Roman forts and good museums. This walk brings you scenic variety that stretches from the modern, busy cityscapes of Newcastle Upon Tyne to the sandstone hues of medieval Carlisle and from the barren heights in Northumberland to the lime green pastoral scenes of Eden Valley.

“Great experience but hard work. However, the feeling of ‘we did it’, made it all worthwhile!” – M. Murphy from Tewantin, Australia

 

5. Rob Roy Way

 

Scenery on the Rob Roy Way in Scotland |  <i>John Millen</i>


Entire length:
124 km / 77 miles

Country: Scotland

Best time to go: for a long-distance walk in Scotland like this, travel in the UK's spring and summer between April and October

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

The Rob Roy (MacGregor) Way takes hikers through areas where the notorious cattleman & outlaw used to reside, and on routes where his family drove their cattle towards market towns. This long distance trail allows you to walk in the footsteps of a Scottish legend while taking in highland scenery, famous lochs, and pretty Victorian villages.

 

6. Great Glen Way

 

Urquhart Bay on Lochness


Entire length:
117 km / 73 miles

Country: Scotland

Best time to go: walk this long-distance trail between April and October

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

The Great Glen Way long-distance trail was opened in April 2002 and passes the foot of the UK’s highest mountain (Ben Nevis), follows the shores of Loch Ness (will you spot Nessie?), and crosses the Scottish Highlands. The forts and castles scattered along the way are witness to Scotland’s turbulent past.

 

“This was our first multi-day walk so we were a little apprehensive but we had a fantastic time and will definitely be doing more in the future.” - J. Taylor, Bolton, UK

 

7. South Downs Way

 
Looking towards the Seven Sisters, South Downs Way


Entire length:
161 km / 100 miles

Country: England

Best time to go: as the south of England is one of the sunniest places in all of the UK, you can enjoy the South Downs Way from as early as mid-March and until the end of October

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

Most of the route of the South Downs Way is ancient, made up out of the old droving roads that took animals and goods between the market towns of the region. On the way ‘Dew Ponds’, ring forts, cross dykes and tumuli reflect a history stretching back into the mists of time. What better way to take in the rolling landscapes and areas of outstanding natural beauty of Southern England than on foot?

 

“A wonderful range of terrain & experiences. Lovely scenery. Gorgeous villages full of history. We loved it! Terrific walking - challenging & interesting. Thank you for a great holiday. We'll be back.” – M. O'Rourke, Auckland, NZ

 

8. South West Coastal Path

 

Hike along Cape Cornwall on the Cornish Coastal Path |  <i>John Millen</i>


Entire length:
579 km / 360 miles

Country: England

Best time to go: late March until the end of October


Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

Cornwall is very much a holiday county with beaches, famous Cornish pasties, pirates, shipwrecks and the roaring sea. It has been voted Britain’s favourite holiday region for many good reasons. By following on foot one of the UK’s longest walks, you can let yourself be surprised by the tropical scenery.

“Loved how the walking tour created a more intimate connection with the towns, people, area & community. High points: scenery of coastal Cornwall and The Tinners Arms - loved it! Would have liked to have another day included at the end of the tour to get to St Michael's Mount.” – R. Masters, Dodgeville, Wisconsin, USA

 

9. Offa’s Dyke Path

 

In Lower Redbrook |  <i>John Millen</i>


Entire length:
285 km / 177 miles

Country: Wales

Best time to go: the best time to walk Offa’s Dyke Path is between April and September

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

Offa’s Dyke Path takes you through patchworks of fields, over windswept ridges, across infant rivers, by ruined castles and into the old border market towns. Traditional farming methods have more or less remained intact and the hedgerows, oak woods and hay meadows form good wildlife habitats. Add to that historic castles and abbeys and you have yourself a fantastic introduction to Wales.

10. West Highland Way

Walk the historical West Highland Way with Walkers Britain


Entire length:
155 km / 96 miles

Country: Scotland

Best time to go: from late March until the beginning of October

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

Embark on a hike on the West Highland Way and you step back into history - most of the stages follow the famous droving and military roads that linked the Scottish Highlands to the Lowlands. Many of the hotels you find today have originated from the droving inns that have operated for centuries. On this long-distance trail you’ll also walk to the foot of Ben Nevis and past the shores of the UK’s largest lake, Loch Lomond.

And a bonus 11th long-distance walk: The Pennine Way

The original Hebden Packhorse Bridge |  <i>John Millen</i>


Entire length:
268 miles / 429km

Country: England

Best time to go: late spring to early Autumn

Why is this one of the best long-distance walks in the UK?

The Pennine Way, a mountain journey across the backbone of England, became the very first British National Trail on April 24th 1965. It stretches from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. It crosses some of the finest upland landscapes in England, from the Peak District, through the Yorkshire Dales, across the North Pennines and over Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, through the Cheviots and down into Scotland. It is iconic because it was the product of the post First World War mass trespass movement of often working-class walkers with a socialist outlook.

We hope your bucket list hasn’t grown too much after reading about these favourite long-distance walks. If you'd like support to plan your next walk, choose the best hike for you or have any other queries, please feel free to contact our team in London directly. 

united kingdom

Comment (0)



Comments are closed.
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Youth Adventures"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Youth Adventures</div>
World Youth Adventures is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips