9 OF THE BEST LONG DISTANCE WALKS IN ENGLAND

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England has many fantastic long distance walks to choose from. In this guide we’ve picked out 9 of the best that were sure you’re going to love. 

From the easy going and quiet trail through the Yorkshire Wolds Way to the rugged and wild tracks of the Coast to Coast Walk there’s a hike in this list for every type and level of hiker. 

We’ve given you all the details (and hopefully inspiration) you need to choose one of them and go on an escapade of a lifetime! Enjoy the guide!

Hike
Distance
Days
Difficulty
More Info
South West Coast Path
630 miles / 1014km
30 – 56
5/5
Pennine Way
268 miles / 430km
15 – 19
5/5
Dales Way
81 miles / 128km
4 – 6
5/5
Coast to Coast Walk
192 miles / 309km
12 – 15
5/5
The Ridgeway
87 miles / 139km
5 – 7
5/5
Cotswold Way
102 miles / 164km
6 – 10
5/5
South Downs Way
100 miles / 160km
7 – 9
5/5
Hadrian’s Wall Path
84 miles / 135km
5 – 7
5/5
Yorkshire Wolds Way
80 miles / 129km
4 – 6
5/5

SOUTH WEST COAST PATH

St: Minehead

630 miles

30 - 56 Days

3.8/5

Difficulty

For: Intermediate +

Image credit: Robert Pittman

The majestic South West Coastal Path route was originally laid down to help coastguards intercept smugglers, but has become one of Britain’s most popular walks.  

From it’s starting point at Minehead it weaves a path along the coast of North Devon, encircles the entire coast of Cornwall and passes along the South Devon coast. 

Along this unforgettable trail walkers pass through two World Heritage Sites, five areas of outstanding natural beauty and one national park. 

With no two days ever the same and so much to take in, this walk will leave a lasting impression. 

Stage Breakdown

Stage
Start
End
Distance
Days
#1
Minehead
Westward Ho!
87 miles / 140km
5 – 7
#2
Westward Ho!
Padstow
78 miles / 126km
5 – 7
#3
Padstow
St Ives
66 miles / 106km
4 – 7
#4
St Ives
The Lizard
69 miles / 111km
4 – 7
#5
The Lizard
Par
72 miles / 116km
5 – 7
#6
Par
Torcross
94 miles / 151km
5 – 8
#7
Torcross
Seaton
72 miles / 116km
5 – 7
#8
Seaton
South Heaton
92 miles / 148km
5 – 8
Walk Details
  • Start: Minehead
  • End: South Heaton
  • 630 miles / 1014km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • Unique & stunning geology
  • Many quaint coastal towns
  • Delicious sea food!
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Amazing coastal wildlife
Terrain
  • Coastal paths
  • Forest Trails
  • Hill trails
  • Town paths

Gallery

PENNINE WAY

Start: Edale

268 miles

15 - 19 Days

3.6/5

Difficulty

For: Intermediate +

Image credit: Robert J Heath

The Pennine Way, a 268 mile route across the backbone of the Pennines.  Separating northeast and northwest England, it runs from the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. 

Not a walk for beginners – this trail can be challenging at times but the natural beauty and awe inspiring sites more than make it worth the effort. 

There are so many highlights as the route passes through several national parks, gritstone moors, remote stretches in North Pennines and the glorious bleakness of the Cheviot Hills. 

This route will have you challenging yourself, and making some unforgettable memories. 

Day Breakdown

Day
Start
End
Distance
#1
Edale
Crowden
16miles / 26km
#2
Crowden
Standedge
11 miles / 18km
#3
Standedge
Calder Valley
11 miles / 18km
#4
Calder Valley
Ickornshaw
16 miles / 26km
#5
Ickornshaw
Malham
17 miles / 27km
#6
Malham
Horton in Ribblesdale
14.5 miles / 23km
#7
Horton in Ribblesdale
Hawes
14 miles / 23km
#8
Hawes
Tan Hill
16.5 miles / 27km
#9
Tan Hill
Middleton in Teesdale
17 miles / 27km
#10
Middleton in Teesdale
Dufton
21 miles / 34km
#11
Dufton
Alston
20 miles / 32km
#12
Alston
Greenhead
16.5 miles / 26km
#13
Greenhead
Bellingham
22 miles / 35km
#14
Bellingham
Byrness
15 miles / 24km
#15
Byrness
Windy Gyle
14 miles / 22km
#16
Windy Gyle
Kirk Yetholm
13 miles / 21km
Walk Details
  • Start: Edale
  • End: Kirk Yetholm
  • 268 miles / 430km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • The Cheviot Hills
  • Hadrian's Wall
  • High Cup Nick
  • Stunning wildlife
  • Beautiful parks & landscapes
Terrain
  • Riverside paths
  • Forest Trails
  • Open countryside
  • Hill trails

Gallery

DALES WAY

Start: Ilkley

81 miles

4 - 6 Days

3/5

Difficulty

For: Beginners +

Image credit: chantrybee

When a route has pubs all along it that offer bed and breakfast, you know it’s a popular trail and this is exactly the case with Dales Way. 

Crossing some of the best known walking territory in Britain such as Wharfe Valley in Yorkshire and the Lake District, the path takes walkers through scenic landscapes: along mountain ridges, past stunning lakes, sheltered valleys, patchworks of moorland and beautiful forestry. 

There are some steep sections, but the abundance of accommodation means that days can be split up easily into manageable chunks, making it a great introductory long distance walk  for hikers. 

Day Breakdown

Day
Start
End
Distance
Ascent
#1
Ilkley
Grassington
16.3 miles / 26.3km
519m
#2
Grassington
Yockenthwaite
13.5 miles / 21.8km
474m
#3
Yockenthwaite
Dent
17.2 miles / 27.7km
355m
#4
Dent
Kendal
17.8 miles / 28.7km
513m
#5
Kendal
B-O-Windermere
11.3 miles / 18.2km
383m
Walk Details
  • Start: Ilkley
  • End: Bowness on Windermere
  • 81 miles / 128km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • Quaint & unspoiled villages
  • Stunning landscapes
  • Amazing food options
  • Historic landmarks & buildings
  • Beautiful forests
Terrain
  • Riverside paths
  • Forest Trails
  • Lakeside paths
  • Hill trails

Gallery

COAST TO COAST WALK

Start: St Bees Head

192 miles

12 - 15 Days

3.6/5

Difficulty

For: Intermediate +

Stretching across the entire north of England the Coast to Coast walk takes you through some stunning parts of the country. 

Assuming St Beesis your starting point, the walk quickly leads you into the beautiful Lake District valleys of Barrowdale, Grasmere, and Patterdale.

Leaving the Lake Distrct walkers then enter the gentler landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales with its hills, rivers, limestone cliffs, and traditional villages and farmlands. 

The final stretch goes through the alluring North York Moors before reaching the cliffs of the North Sea coast and traversing down to the cobblestoned streets of Robin Hood’s Bay. 

Day Breakdown

Day
Start
End
Distance
Ascent
#1
St Bees Head
Ennerdale Bridge
13miles / 21km
785m
#2
Ennerdale Bridge
Rosthwaite
14.5 miles / 23.3km
1409m
#3
Rosthwaite
Patterdale
15.4 miles / 24.8km
1651m
#4
Patterdale
Shap
15.5 miles / 24.9km
1224m
#5
Shap
Kirkby Stephen
19.3 miles / 31.1km
661m
#6
Kirkby Stephen
Keld
14 miles / 22.5km
831m
#7
Keld
Grinton Lodge
12.2 miles / 19.6km
358m
#8
Grinton Lodge
Catterick Bridge
14 miles / 22.5km
526m
#9
Catterick Bridge
Ingleby Cross
16.7 miles / 26.8km
151m
#10
Ingleby Cross
Clay Bank Top
11.2 miles / 18km
927m
#11
Clay Bank Top
Glaisdale
18.5 miles / 29.8km
463m
#12
Glaisdale
Robin Hood’s Bay
17.4 miles / 28km
652m
Walk Details
  • Start: St Bees Head
  • End: Robin Hood's Bay
  • 192 miles / 309km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • Pass through beautiful villages
  • Dramatic scenery of Lake District
  • Stunning Yorkshire Dales
  • Coastal views & landscape
  • Wildlife
Terrain
  • Coastal paths
  • Forest & field trails
  • Open countryside
  • Mountain trails

Gallery

Image credits: sagesolar, Robert J Heath

THE RIDGEWAY WALK

Start: Ivinghoe Beacon

87 miles

5 - 7 Days

2.7/5

Difficulty

For: Beginners +

Image credit: Andrew Bowden

Called England’s oldest road, the Ridgeway trail was the preferred route used by soliers, traders, drovers, and carts for 6,000 years. 

It was originally built across the chalk downs of southern England to allow safe and dry progress above the untamed woods and boggy countryside below. 

The trail can be taken from either direction and takes walkers through five counties: Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire. 

Along the way are World Heritage Sites, ancient monuments, woodland, leafy paths, views from the ridge, and the occasional quaint village.  

Day Breakdown

Day
Start
End
Distance
Ascent
#1
Ivinghoe Beacon
Hastoe Cross
6.3 miles / 10.1km
213m
#2
Hastoe Cross
Chinnor
16.6 miles / 26.7km
549m
#3
Chinnor
Wallingford
15.1 miles / 24.2km
334m
#4
Wallingford
East Ilsley
13 miles / 20.9km
260m
#5
East Ilsley
Ashbury
17.1 miles / 27.5km
467m
#6
Ashbury
Ogbourne St George
11 miles / 17.7km
246m
#7
Ogbourne St George
Avebury
12.3 miles / 19.8km
255m
Walk Details
  • Start: Ivinghoe Beacon
  • End: Avebury
  • 87 miles / 140km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • Stunning views from the ridge
  • White chalk horses
  • Beautiful english countryside
  • Incredible natural landscapes
  • Wildlife
Terrain
  • Valley trails
  • Forest Trails
  • Open countryside
  • Hill trails

Gallery

COTSWOLD WAY

St: Chipping Campden

102 miles

6 - 10 Days

2.6/5

Difficulty

For: Beginners +

This much loved long distance trail has become one of England’s quintessential hikes, giving those who venture it views of idyllic villages, and jaw-dropping landscapes such as the limestone grasslands of the Cleeve Hill Ring and the Leckhampton Loop. 

Starting in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire what follows is ridgelines and escarpments overlooking stunning countryside, deep valleys, rich meadows, and numerous traditional Cotswold villages before coming to an end in Somerset’s World Heritage city of Bath. 

If you’re looking to experience English countryside as well as a wealth of history along the way then this is the walk for you. 

Day Breakdown (Quick Version)

Day
Start
End
Distance
Ascent
#1
Chipping Campden
Winchcombe
18 miles / 29km
708m
#2
Winchcombe
Birdlip
22 miles / 35km
1181m
#3
Birdlip
Dursley
24 miles / 39km
1209m
#4
Dursley
Hawkesbury Upton
15 miles / 24km
793m
#5
Hawkesbury Upton
Cold Ashton
13.5 miles / 22km
431m
#6
Cold Ashton
Bath
10 miles / 16km
333m
Walk Details
  • Start: Chipping Campden
  • End: Bath
  • 102 miles / 164km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • Many picturesque villages on route
  • Roman heritage sites in Bath
  • Belas Knap Neolithic burial chamber
  • Sudeley Castle
  • Diverse landscapes
Terrain
  • Open meadows
  • Woodland Trails
  • Village trails
  • Hill trails

Gallery

SOUTH DOWNS WAY

Start: Winchester

100 miles

7 - 9 Days

2.3/5

Difficulty

For: Beginners +

Image credit: Southdownswayu3a.com

Possibly the least intense long distance walk on this list, the South Downs Way is not only a gentle introduction to multi-day hiking but a route in some beautiful English countryside. 

The route opened in 1972 and connects Winchester in Hampshire with Eastbourne in Sussex. 

Walkers on this route will view and pass through meadows, dense woodlands, pastures, windmills, and beautiful golden wheat fields.

There’s plenty of history on the way too with Iron Age dikes, mounds and lynchets as you stroll by on old Roman trails along which legionnaires once marched on to Londinium. 

Day Breakdown

Stage
Start
End
Distance
#1
Winchester
Exton
12 miles / 19.5km
#2
Exton
Buriton
12.5 miles / 20km
#3
Buriton
Cocking
11 miles / 18km
#4
Cocking
Amberley
12 miles / 19km
#5
Amberley
Upper Beeding
13 miles / 19.5km
#6
Upper Beeding
Housedean Farm
15.5 miles / 25km
#7
Housedean Farm
Alfriston
13 miles / 22km
#8
Alfriston
Eastbourne
10.5 miles / 17km
Walk Details
  • Start: Winchester
  • End: Eastbourne
  • 100 miles / 160km
  • Permission needed to wild camp
Highlights
  • Varied landscapes
  • Views of English Channel
  • Views of Isle of Wight
  • Beautiful rivers & woodland
  • Stunning wildlife
Terrain
  • Open countryside
  • Forest Trails
  • Riverside paths
  • Hill trails

Gallery

HADRIAN'S WALL PATH

St: Wallsend

84 miles

5 - 7 Days

3/5

Difficulty

For: Beginners +

Image credit: Magnus Hagdorn

The Roman Emperor Hadrian built an extraordinary fortified wall right across the northern border of England almost 2,000 years ago, a defensive barrier against hostile Scottish tribes that was manned and mainained for almost 300 years. 

Today, the wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and this coast-to-coast long distance trail follows its route from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. 

The route is relatively easy to traverse throughout, so is more than doable for newbie hikers. Apart from the wall itself, there’s some other attractions along the route as well as attractive wild scenery. 

Day Breakdown

Day
Start
End
Distance
Ascent
#1
Wallsend
Newcastle
5 miles / 8km
60m
#2
Newcastle
Heddon on the Wall
10 miles / 16.1km
258m
#3
Heddon on the Wall
Chollerford
15.3 miles / 24.6km
306m
#4
Chollerford
Burnhead
15.1 miles / 24.2km
644m
#5
Burnhead
Walton
13.8 miles / 22.2km
408m
#6
Walton
Carlisle
11.5 miles / 18.6km
82m
#7
Carlisle
Bowness on Solway
14.5 miles / 23.4km
116m
Walk Details
  • Start: Wallsend
  • End: Bowness on Salway
  • 84 miles / 135km
  • Wild Camping not allowed
Highlights
  • Seeing a World heritage site
  • Various Roman Forts
  • Preserved Roman masonry
  • Amazing wildlife
  • Solway salt marshes
Terrain
  • Coastal paths
  • Rolling fields
  • City paths
  • Hill trails

Gallery

Image credits: Magnus Hagdorn, Claire Cox

YORKSHIRE WOLDS WAY

St: Hessle

80 miles

4 - 6 Days

1.8/5

Difficulty

For: Beginners +

Image credits: puffin11k

The Yorkshire Wolds is a little-known, picturesque corner of England with wide expanses of rolling chalk landscapes dotted with small market towns and quiet villages. 

The Yorkshire Wolds Way cuts right across the heart of these rural downs.

Walkers will experience an area characterized by big skies, sweeping panoramas and secluded hidden valleys.

The main attraction of this walk is the relaxed landscape with open farmland and neat patches of leafy woodland. 

The highlight of the trail is Wharram Percy, a deserted medieval village.

Day Breakdown

Day
Start
End
Distance
Ascent
#1
Hessle
South Cave
11.7 miles / 25.1km
379m
#2
South Cave
Nunburnholme
15.6 miles / 28.5km
486m
#3
Nunburnholme
Thixendale
15 miles / 24.1km
703m
#4
Thixendale
West Heslerton
14.2 miles / 22.9km
538m
#5
West Heslerton
Filey
19.7 miles / 31.7km
153m
Walk Details
  • Start: Hessle
  • End: Filey
  • 80 miles / 129km
  • Some wild camping allowed
Highlights
  • Stunning landscapes & scenery
  • Peaceful surroundings
  • Dry chalk valleys
  • Londesborough parkland
  • Wharram Percy (Medieval village)
Terrain
  • Green valleys
  • Hill Trails
  • Woodland paths
  • Riverside paths

Gallery

Honorary Mentions

THAMES PATH
SAXON SHORE WAY
VIKING WAY
Hike
Distance
Days
Difficulty
More Info
South West Coast Path
630 miles / 1014km
30 – 56
5/5
Pennine Way
268 miles / 430km
15 – 19
5/5
Dales Way
81 miles / 128km
4 – 6
5/5
Coast to Coast Walk
192 miles / 309km
12 – 15
5/5
The Ridgeway
87 miles / 139km
5 – 7
5/5
Cotswold Way
102 miles / 164km
6 – 10
5/5
South Downs Way
100 miles / 160km
7 – 9
5/5
Hadrian’s Wall Path
84 miles / 135km
5 – 7
5/5
Yorkshire Wolds Way
80 miles / 129km
4 – 6
5/5

FAQs

How do I know which walk is right for me?
Choose a walk that fits your experience level. If you've never done a long distance walk before, stick with the easier ones. West Highland Way is always a great option to start.
Do I need to be really fit to do all these hikes?
It depends on the walk. The longer ones will be quite draining and require good endurance levels, as do the more intense walks such as the Skye trail.
Do I need special clothing or gear to do these hikes?
Definitely get the essentials for any of the walks - good footwear, backpack, clothing etc.. For the more intense walks you'll likely need more gear.

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Sam McCraw

Sam McCraw

Raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sam has lived in Germany and now Melbourne, Australia. He loves nothing more than to be outside on an adventure.

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