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10 of The Best Long-Distance Walks in the UK

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 such walks. If you are looking to learn about some of the best, in the overview below you can find 10 of our favourite long distance walks in the UK.

 

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 is exactly that 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.

 

Coast to Coast Walk

Wainwright's Coast to Coast in England - Sherpa walking holidays


Entire Length: 309 km / 192 miles

Country: England

Best time to go: late spring until summer, which is between April and September in the UK

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

One of Britain’s most 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 sea to 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

 

Channel Island Way

Channel Island Way with Sherpa Expeditions

 

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.

 

John Muir Way

Scottish coast to coast long distance walk UK - Sherpa Expeditions

 

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 Cost 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 and you can read about 10 interesting sites.

 

Hadrian’s Wall Trail

follow Hadrian's Wall Path in England - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

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

 

Rob Roy Way

long distance walks uk Rob Roy Way

 

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 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.

 

Great Glen Way

walking the Great Glen Way with Sherpa Expeditions

 

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 (who will 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

 

South Downs Way

South Downs Way long distance walk in UK - Sherpa Expeditions

 

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 already 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

 

South West Coastal Path

walk the South West Coastal Path - Sherpa Expeditions

 

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

 

Offa’s Dyke Path

Offa's Dyke - walking in the UK - Sherpa expeditions

 

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.

 

West Highland Way

walk historical west highland way with sherpa expeditions

 

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 day 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.

 

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


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