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How Fit Do I Need To Be? Part 1 - UK

If you’re considering a walking holiday but you’re hesitating because you’re not sure if you’re fit enough – don’t worry! It’s an understandable concern – and whilst it’s true that some of our trips require an excellent level of fitness, others are much more gentle on the legs. We’ve picked out a few UK-based trips for different fitness levels to help you work out your own level and find the one that’s just right for you. All of our trips include a suitability guide on the main trip information pages.

 

Gentle Trips for First Time Walkers

Exploring the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds, as well as being picture-perfect, are an ideal introduction to walking in the English countryside. The terrain is hilly rather than mountainous, and you’re rarely too far from a pretty village in which to stop for a rest and refreshments. The walking days are generally up to around 20km – comfortable for most reasonably fit people. The Cotswolds are a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, and as you meander through the countryside visiting medieval villages built in golden limestone, it’s easy to see why.

 

Although this trip is gentle on the legs, you will need to be a fairly competent map-reader.

 

This trip is available in 5-day and 8-day versions – and if you prefer wheels to feet, you can also explore the Cotswolds by bike.

 

The Cotswolds

Traditional Cotswolds houses

 

The Great Glen Way

If walking in the Scottish Highlands sounds like the preserve of the super fit, then think again! Despite taking in some of Scotland’s most dramatic and breath-taking landscapes, most of the walking on The Great Glen Way is actually fairly straightforward – much of it along canal towpaths and forest tracks. The walking becomes a little more challenging on the last 3 days – but you can avoid a particularly steep climb on the last day by taking an optional taxi transfer. The days range from around 13km to 29km. This trip is a great way to sample the splendour of the Scottish Highlands without pushing your body to the limit.

 

Great Glen Way
Along the canals of the Great Glen Way

 

Moderate Trips for the More Active

If you’re looking for a trip in this category, you’re spoilt for choice, as the majority of our trips are classed as moderate. But here are a couple you might like to take a look at.

 

St Cuthbert’s Way

Although the daily distances on the St Cuthbert’s Way vary from 8.5km to 22.5km, the walk includes some steep ascents and descents, and some boggy terrain, which make it a little more challenging than the distances suggest. But with that little bit of extra fitness comes the reward of some delightfully unspoilt countryside and historic towns. Starting in Melrose in Scotland, and stretching across to the Northumberland coast and the island of Lindisfarne, this is a walk deep in historical and religious significance, as well as a route that takes in some beautiful countryside away from the hordes.

 

This trip is available in 8-day and 10-day versions.

St Cuthberts Way

Lindisfarne (Holy Island) at the end of St Cuthbert's Way

 

Hadrian’s Wall

With some fairly long days (24 to 27km), and steep climbs and descents, not to mention some unpredictable weather, Hadrian’s Wall represents a moderate challenge – and you’ll need a bit of walking experience behind you to take it on. This is a walk rich in history – the Roman Emperor Hadrian began building the wall in 122AD to keep out his enemies to the north, and is now the world’s largest Roman artefact and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk in the Romans’ footsteps, you’ll discover some of England’s finest landscapes, towns and villages.

 

This trip is available in 8-day and 10-day versions.

 

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall

 

Challenging Trips for Experienced Walkers

The Pennine Way

The sheer length of the entire Pennine Way (429km) makes it a pretty serious challenge, before you factor in the long days, remote sections, some fairly basic accommodation and lack of shelter from weather that can be very unpredictable. But this classic of British walking is rightly regarded as one of the world’s greatest – stretching through three national parks and encompassing fells, rivers, dales and waterfalls. The Pennine Way should be on the bucket list of any serious walker with a good level of fitness.

 

You can make the Pennine Way a little less challenging by doing just the Southern or Northern sections.

 

Pennine Way

The Pennine Way

 

The Coast to Coast

Although the Coast to Coast is offered in extended versions (up to 18 days) for those that like to take things at a slightly slower pace, the classic 15-day version includes some long days (an average of 25km per day), with 6-9 hours a day of walking at a steady pace to cover the distances required. But the Coast to Coast is our most popular walk for a reason – three national parks, charming towns and villages, stunning landscapes, and the sheer achievement of crossing England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea has given this route legendary status.

 

We offer several versions of the Coast to Coast – both guided and self guided, ranging from 15 to 18 days, and you can also do shorter sections on their own.

 

Coast to Coast

The Coast to Coast

Cornwall with a Camera

For this month’s photo gallery, we’re delighted to have teamed up with photographer Andy Cox, whose website

cornwallwithacamera.com features some of the most stunning shots we’ve ever seen of this truly beautiful part of the UK. Andy has lived there for nearly all of his life – few people know the magic and charm of Cornwall’s breath-taking landscapes better than him. All of the photos you can see in this gallery, plus many more, can be purchased as prints and photo gifts from his website, and you can also find him on Facebook and Instagram. Andy has also taken many photos of other parts of the UK, most notably the Isles of Scilly, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.
 
Most importantly, every location featured in this gallery is visited on one or more of our Cornwall walking or cycling holidays – so you can enjoy the magnificence of these places in the flesh. Booking for 2019 is now open, so what are you waiting for?

 

Bedruthan

 

Bedruthan

 

Bedruthan

 

Bedruthan

 

Cheesering at sunset

 

Cheesering at sunset

 

Bottalack

 

Botallack

 

Droskyn Castle

 

Droskyn Castle

 

Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset

 

Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset

 

Godrevy Lighthouse in a storm


Godrevy Lighthouse in a storm

 

Bodmin Moor

 

Bodmin Moor in golden light

 

High tide sunset at St Michael's Mount

 

High tide sunset at St Michael's Mount

 

Holywell Sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Holywell sunset

 

Land's End

 

Land's End

 

The Lizard

 

The Lizard

 

Pentire

 

Pentire

 

Perranporth

 

Perranporth

 

Poly Joke, Pentire

 

Poly Joke, Pentire

 

Porthcurno Passage

 

Porthcurno Passage

 

Porthcurno

 

Porthcurno

 

St Agnes

 

St Agnes

 

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes

 

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

 

Wheal Coates

Travellers' Tales - Coast to Coast Guided Walk by Jan Clarke

Jan Clarke, from Western Australia, booked on to the Guided Coast to Coast walk in order to reconnect with her UK roots, and to feed her passion for walking. Here, she shares her experience, and her tips for looking after your most important piece of kit - your feet!

 

Guided Coast to Coast Walk - lunch overlooking the valley

 

What is your walking history?

I have enjoyed walking ever since I was a little girl growing up in Tasmania, Australia. I spent a lot of weekends in my primary school years free-ranging over the foothills of Mount Wellington and the National Parks in Tassie. As a family we hiked in to say farewell to the original Lake Pedder before it was dammed and flooded to feed the hydro-electric scheme. It was a local pilgrimage. I think dad used to like the freedom and fresh air of wide open space, and my brothers and I had lots of energy to get rid of. I guess it just got into my bones. I still work full time at 60, but in the last decade I’ve found time to hike in the Colorado and Canadian Rockies, the Italian Cinque Terre, Table Mountain in South Africa, the calderas of volcanoes in Bali and Hawaii, the summit of Cradle Mountain and Freycinet Peninsula, the Blue Mountains, Central Australia, the gorges in The Kimberley and Pilbara and parts of the Bibbulmun Track and the Cape to Cape in Western Australia. I have never walked 13 consecutive days before, though! I am more used to hiking in very hot, dry conditions than boggy, cold and rainy.

Guided Coast to Coast Walk - wheat field

 

Why did you choose to walk where you did?

This walk was for my dad. He was a “10 Pound Pom” who emigrated to Australia in the 50s. He gave me my love of hiking. I believe you have to “walk a country to know a country” and I wanted to feel my family roots and feel connected to my heritage. I love visiting National Parks and this walk had three in a row! I like a physical challenge so I chose something that would make me sweat. I figured the Coast to Coast would tick all those boxes – and it did. I gave myself the walk as my 60th birthday present and was happy to fly to the UK by myself to prove I could meet the challenge. My dad certainly came with me… in spirit, anyway.

 

Guided Coast to Coast Walk - descent to Patterdale

 

How did you prepare?

Preparation for mountains was a bit difficult where I live. I can walk forever on flat ground because there is a LOT of that in Perth and I have always enjoyed long walks. The most we have close by is a scarp, the Perth Hills, so I spent every weekend for 4-5 hours at a time hiking fast up and down stony, gravelly tracks just to make sure my leg muscles, reflexes and concentration were honed. Actually, I think it was an advantage to have practised on harsh stones because there are a lot of those on the Coast to Coast. Another advantage was being used to hiking in hot weather with hot feet. I think that saved me from getting blisters. I think some mental preparation is a good thing too. I have spent my life being stubborn. I don’t like to let things beat me!

 

Your favourite destination?

This was definitely St Sunday Crag! Everything about that day was perfect – the scenery, the weather, the vibe. It was a challenging, strenuous, heat-pounding walk but there was just something about standing on those rocks at the top that made me feel WOW! I love standing on top of any mountain, but that one was a real winner for me. That’s my mountain! 

 

Guided Coast to Coast Walk - St Sunday Crag

 

Best food and drink?

To be honest, everything was amazing and a real taste of so many things “English”. I did not expect little places to have such excellent meals. Truly. Part of my concept of “knowing a country” is also to try local foods and drink, so I did. A memorable one was bacon chop with black pudding and stilton cream sauce at the pub at Ennerdale Bridge. Absolutely delicious – and something I would NEVER have tried at home. Rachael’s fresh berries and rhubarb yoghurt at Gillercombe B&B in Rosthwaite – oh YUM! The beef and ale pie at The White Lion in Patterdale was outstanding. The Wainwright beer and rhubarb gin were winners everywhere. Oh, and the blueberry and cream ice-cream at the PO in Patterdale and the scones, jam and cream everywhere, but especially at the little café with the penny-farthing bikes in Gunnerside. Thumbs up, too, to the publican at The Station Tavern in Grosmont who made extra space for ten of us for dinner, served up a cracking meal at a cracking pace, and then gave four of us a lift home. Above and beyond the call! 

 

Guided Coast to Coast Walk - woodland path

 

Biggest surprise?

I probably shouldn’t admit to this. The thing that surprised me the most was that I managed to fully recover every morning and be ready to go again! I know that should be a given expectation when you sign up for a long hike. Seriously – by the end of every day the balls of my feet were so sore I thought I would never walk again, but every morning they were perfectly fine and raring to go again. So I think my nanna body pleasantly surprised me the most. As for the knees - so pleased I was a hockey player and swimmer and not a netballer or tennis player in my youth!

 

What aspect of the trip did you find most challenging?

I think the 2 very long days towards the end of the walk were pretty challenging, mentally and physically. Every single day had its little challenges, but that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want an easy wander. I wanted to have to work at it. Having the sole of my hiking boot detach unexpectedly at the top of Kidsty Pike in a sleet storm was a little north of “interesting”. However, my husband calls me “Mrs MacGyver” because I enjoy the satisfaction of creatively solving problems. John also had duct tape and clever ideas in his emergency box of tricks, so between us we worked it out and the group never skipped a beat. Gotta love a good challenge. Keeps you young on the inside. Like All Bran for the soul.

 

Guided Coast to Coast Walk - the group

 

Do you have any other advice for travellers thinking about travelling on this trip?

My best tip sounds like the most obvious. Look after your feet! They need to be your friends. If they’re not used to walking for two weeks solid, then tape them up with Fixomull (or slap on the Compede) BEFORE you start. Any investment in being kind to your feet will pay off ten-fold. If you feel hot-spots developing then stop and patch them immediately. Don’t be shy! Poles were also really useful. There are plenty of places where the pressure they take off downhill hiking or help with stability on uneven ground is really useful. I also had magic butterscotch lollies. Pop one at the beginning of a hill and it’s amazing how a little sugar buzz powers you up a hill (unless you are one of the good souls who have sworn off the evil of sugar, of course). Take every kind of clothing in your day-pack as the weather can change in an instant. Oh - and take a spare pair of hiking boots. Your faves might give in well before you ever do! 

 

>> Find out more about Sherpa Expeditions' Coast to Coast walking and cycling holidays.

Hadrian’s Wall Walk: 7 Facts About the English Icon

Protected by UNESCO since 1987, Hadrian’s Wall today stands as the largest remaining artefact from Roman times anywhere in the world. 

 

Follow Hadrian's Wall walk with Sherpa Expeditions


A must-see for history aficionados, this Roman wall in England can also be explored on foot along the adjoining 83-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path. The undulating, well-waymarked walk follows the ancient Roman Wall with a largely rural feel – we believe that the middle three days in the south Northumberland National Park are the most spectacular!


7 facts about hadrian's wall path in england - sherpa expeditions


Learn about Hadrian's Wall - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

Below are 7 Hadrian’s Wall Walk facts you may not yet know about the celebrated British icon:

 

1. The history of the Hadrian’s Wall goes back to 122AD

The Hadrian’s Wall is a defensive fortification conceived by Hadrian, who ruled the Roman Empire for more than 20 years (117-138AD). It was constructed in the province of Britannia, which at that point marked the northernmost border of the Empire, to “separate Romans from Barbarians”.

 

2. The Roman Wall is built across northern England’s narrowest point

Hadrian’s Wall originally ran between the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea and the banks of the River Tyne, close to the North Sea; this is the narrowest point in northern England. It took 6 years to complete and, in its original form, it covered 80 Roman (73 modern) miles.

 

follow hadrian's wall walk with sherpa expeditions

 

Hadrian's Wall - alternative coast to coast walk in England - Sherpa Expeditions

 

3. Post forts were built on every Roman mile…

…although Hadrian's Wall mainly served as a military construction: huge garrison forts were built at intervals, allowing for a counter attack or a raid to be organised at short notice. A deep ditch, known as The Vallum, was dug alongside it, while gatehouses would control access over the frontier forests and moors.

 

4. It was extended and enhanced with impressive stone defences over the years

Initially, stone was brought in on the Tyne by boat to supply those areas where it could not be cut locally. At later stages, much of the stonework was mortared, allowing the Wall to survive the centuries to become one of the oldest structures in the country today.

 

5. UNESCO describes Hadrian’s Wall as “a striking example of the organization of a military zone”

Hadrian’s Wall was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1987 as an “outstanding example of Roman military architecture”, protected for its “extraordinarily high cultural value”. According to UNESCO, much of it remains “in an exceptionally good state of preservation, surviving as part of a landscape which still contains significant visible traces of the Roman military presence”.

 

walking hadrian's wall path with Sherpa Expeditions

 

On Hadrian's Wall in England - Sherpa Expeditions

 

6. The Hadrian’s Wall Path celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2018

Classified as a ‘National Trail’ in the UK, the Hadrian’s Wall Path officially opened in May 2003 after many years of negotiations with landlords and farmers to finalise the exact route. A Hadrian’s Wall walk will take you to follow 83 miles across English town and country, forest and moorland, World Heritage Site and National Park.

 

7. It is often described as an alternative English Coast-to-Coast route

More than just tracing the history of England’s North, the Hadrian's Wall Path offers abundant scenic variety, from the modern cityscapes of Newcastle upon Tyne (North Sea) to the red sandstone hues of medieval Carlisle and from industrial Tyneside to the quiescence of Bowness on Solway (Irish Sea). With that, it can be seen as an alternative route to the famous Wainwright's Coast to Coast trail. Expect barren blustery heights in the Northumberland National Park and lime green pastoral scenes in the Eden Valley… omnipotent along the route, Hadrian’s Wall snakes its way!

              

If you feel inspired to walk the Hadrian’s Wall Path, at Sherpa Expeditions we offer two options to follow the Roman wall in England over 8 or 10 days.

 

Follow Hadrian's Wall Walk in England

>> Hadrian's Wall Trail - 8 Days

>> Hadrian's Wall Trail - 10 Days

 

Top 10 Places to Visit in Cornwall

In the southwest of England, you can find the longest and, perhaps, the finest trail of the country: the 630-mile long South West Coastal Path. Almost half of which covers the stunning county of Cornwall. Made famous through the Doc Martin TV series and the Poldark books & TV series, there is a plethora of interesting places to visit in Cornwall.

 

walking in Cornwall with Sherpa Expeditions

 

White sandy beaches, turquoise waters, rugged cliffs and even palm trees dot the long coastline that also has kept enough space for cute fishing villages to try a famous Cornish pasty. With a mild climate (that is classed as oceanic according to the Köppen classification), Cornwall is a holiday region that comes with many things to do for the active visitor.

 

If you are searching for holiday inspiration, we believe that the below ten places to visit in Cornwall will certainly trigger your interest.

 

See Marazion

Bustling with people aspiring for St Michael's Mount, Marazion has some claim to be the oldest town in Britain. At least it was mentioned by Siculus in the 1st Century BC as the port from which tin was shipped to Brittany in France. The monastery sits on the civil parish of St Michael’s Mount and can only be reached via man-made causeway during low tide. It was probably built sometime between the 8th-11th Centuries under the rule of Edward the Confessor. Not surprisingly, it was a dependence of Mont St Michel in France that you can visit on one of UTracks’ cycling trips in Brittany.

 

Explore Porthleven

Porthleven is a pleasant harbour town that mainly developed during the last century. Today it is still a working port and one of the great places to visit in Cornwall. It houses a fascinating three-section harbour that gets closed off with wooden baubles in stormy weather, usually out of season. Loe Bar, Loe Pool and Penrose Estate are all worth to explore on foot if you arrive early.

 

Marazion in Cornwall with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Discover Gunwalloe

If you are looking for some charming places to go on your visit to Cornwall, may we suggest to consider Gunwalloe to the west of Lizard peninsula? It is here that the first transatlantic radio signals were transmitted by Marconi, the inventor of the radio. Visit Poldhu Point Monument and the Marconi Centre for more information on this achievement.

The Church Cove right between Gunwalloe and Poldhu is where the Church of St Winwalloe squats beside the beach. The church has a separate bell tower, which is dug into the cliff wall and also well worth a visit.

 

Portloe: Step Back in Time

A very popular place is Portloe, which, thankfully, due to the lack of horizontal space has changed little over the years. It is said that only one new house has been built since the Second World War, leaving the layout and feel of the town virtually as it was over 200 years ago. This harbour of an inlet sits in a 'cramped and dramatic situation' where smuggling, fishing and drinking used to go hand in hand. You can almost still smell the rum when you navigate its picturesque old streets.

 

things to do in Cornwall - Sherpa Expeditions

 

places to visit in Cornwall - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Relax in Falmouth

Falmouth is a leading resort on the south west coast and allegedly the third largest natural harbour in the world. The Cornish town has many things to do and you can for example wander its bustling waterfront, relax at one of its four bathing beaches, or visit for example Pendennis Castle, constructed by Henry VIII. Other things to do in Falmouth are sailing, golfing on the golf course, visiting a former post office packet station, gardens, or the maritime museum to learn more about the strong maritime tradition of the town.

 

Experience Veryan

Well worth visiting in Veryan are its round houses: 19th Century circular buildings with thatched roofs and a cross. Besides that, there are an interesting church, an art gallery and a tumulus at Carne, which is the supposed burial mound of King Geraint. Nearby Caerhays Castle is designed by John Nash and has famous gardens which are open between mid-February and June.

 

Learn about Porthallow & Porthoustock

The secluded coves on the east of Lizard Peninsula between Porthallow and Porthoustock are notable for angling. Closeby St Keverne is a pleasant village that you may like to make a detour for. It has a pleasant village square and is known for its remarkable churchyard in which 400 shipwreck victims of the nearby Manacle Reef are buried. Check out the beaches at Porthallow, Porthoustock, Housel Bay and Kennack Sands.

 

active holidays in Cornwall with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Visit Mevagissey

Still very much a fishing port, Mevagissey is the largest city in St Austell Bay. Cob cottages spill down to the harbour walls from the steep sided valley and you can visit the beaches at Portmellon and Gorran Haven. Mevagissey also houses an interesting model railway exhibition.

 

Travel to St Mawes

If you are keen about sailing, one of the places to visit in Cornwall is St Mawes. It is a popular sailing centre on Roseland and overlooks Falmouth. The port is quite sheltered and is relatively remote. Spend some time at the small beach and fine cloverleaf St Mawes Castle that dates back to 1542 and is open year-round.   

 

Secluded Helford

The picture postcard village on Helford River is not to be missed on your walking holiday in Cornwall. It is a yachtsman’s haven full of activity and you can take it all in during a lunch at the pub near Frenchman’s Creek made famous by author Daphne du Maurier.

 

On the Cornwall Coastal Path you can really escape the crowds, dipping in and out of coves and harbours and ascending beside dramatic cliffs, up to high viewpoints, along promontories and back down to expansive beaches.

 

Experience Cornwall for yourself on any of the below trips:

 

  • Cornish Coastal Path (North): Padstow to St. Ives - 8 days
    A beautiful part of the South West Coastal Path, this northern section undulates along the coast between the popular resorts of Padstow and St. Ives, visiting the surfer’s paradise of Newquay.
  • Cornish Coastal Path (West): St. Ives to Penzance - 8 days
    This section of the Cornwall Coast path contains generally shorter days than either our Cornwall North and South tours, allowing you more time to spend in coves, on beaches, or up on the cliff moorlands.
  • Cornish Coastal Path (South): Marazion to Mevagissey - 8 days
    Explore the most scenic and varied part of the Cornish coast, on either side of Lizard Head, the southern-most tip of mainland Britain.
  • Cornish Coastal Path: Padstow to Penzance - 13 days
    Enjoy a stunning 106 miles/170 km walk along the Cornish Coastal Path. Dip in and out of coves and harbours, ascend beside dramatic cliffs to panoramic viewpoints, idle along promontories and explore the expansive beaches, which out of the high season, can be all but deserted.
  • Cornish Coastal Path: St Ives to Mevagissey - 14 days
    This section of the South West Coast Path encompasses a vast array of coastal landscapes from the dramatic cliffs of Lands End, the impressive coves of Mullion and Kynance, famous resort towns such as St Ives & Penzance and smaller fishing villages.

Britain’s Favourite Walks: Sherpa’s TOP 10

It’s been quite the show in the UK recently and the talk of the town: Britain’s Top 100 Favourite Walks. Voted for by 8,000 Brits, the final list was presented on national television last week during a 2-hour lasting show. For those that have access to ITV, you can watch the programme online until the end of February 2018.

For us it was quite exciting to see such a mix of walks spread around the island and as far as Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly. Out of the Brits’ favourites, we selected our personal Top 10 Best Walks in the UK for you.

 

We’d love to hear your comments in the box below and see which are your favourite walks of Britain.

 

#1 Helvellyn | Lake District, England

best uk walks - helvellyn sherpa expeditions walking

 

On a great walk over Grisedale Pass and around the small mountain lake of Grisedale Tarn to Patterdale, you could opt to include a two-hour detour to summit Mount Helvellyn. Explore England’s most popular mountain, located in the Lake District, for breath-taking views.

>> Take it in on the Coast to Coast Guided Walk

 

#2 South Downs Way | Surrey & Sussex, England

south downs way - britain's favourite walks - Sherpa Expeditions

 

The complete South Downs Way, stretching for 100 miles over a rare large area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in southern Britain, follows a route that is for most of the part ancient. The Way is often made up out of the old droving roads that took animals and goods between the market towns of southern England. At intervals the hilly downlands are broken by ‘wind gaps’ or river valleys, mixing the ridge walking with some meandering visits to beautiful rivers with their associated villages. We are happy with this listing in Britain’s best walks.

>> Follow the South Downs Way with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#3 Broadway Tower | Cotswolds, England

broadway tower, cotswolds - Sherpa Expeditions

 

The unique Broadway Tower offers remarkable views of the Cotswolds and is fantastic to combine with the charming village of Chipping Campden. Broadway itself is a beautiful and picturesque town and the main street is lined with magnificent stone-built houses as well as some great antique shops.

>> Take in Broadway Tower on a walk to explore the Cotswolds

 

#4 Hadrian’s Wall Path | Northumberland, England

best walks in uk - Hadrian's Wall Path - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Officially opened in May 2003 after many years of negotiations with landlords and farmers to finalise the exact route which stretches 83 miles/133 km across town and country, forest and moorland, World Heritage Site and National Park. Omnipotent along this route, which belongs to the best walks in the UK, the Wall snakes its way, in sections interrupting a housing estate here, or popping up under a road there. Then, from being little more than a grassy bank, it transforms into stone and rollercoasters over crag tops and down into impressive fort like structures such as at Birdoswald and Housesteads.

>> Follow Hadrian’s Wall Trail with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#5 Offa’s Dyke | Monmouth & Hereford, Wales and England

best walks in uk - offa's dyke path - Sherpa Expediitons

 

The remaining 80 miles of Offa’s embankment forms Britain’s longest archaeological monument and the basis of a famous walk: crossing the border between England and Wales more than 10 times on the Offa’s Dyke National Trail path. This walk in the UK is a journey packed with interest. Walk through an ever changing landscape 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, home of buzzards and the rare Red Kite.

>> Follow a part of Offa’s Dyke with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#6 West Highland Way | Highlands, Scotland

walking the west highland way - sherpa expeditions

 

At Sherpa Expeditions we take you to follow most of the 92-mile national long-distance trail of the West Highland Way through a part of the Scottish Highlands. It is claimed by some to be the most popular long distance trail in the British Isles and as such, its spot in the list with Best Walks in the UK is justified. The route includes Loch Lomond, valley routes through the mountains round Crianlarich and open heather moorland. But also Ben Nevis (the UK’s highest peak), Fort William and Glencoe – famed for its massacre of the MacDonald Clan.

>> Follow the West Highland Way with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#7 The Needles | Isle of Wight, England

the needles, isle of wight - Sherpa walking holidays

 

This is a great walk with some fantastic views, if the weather is good, eventually over much of the Isle of Wight. Enjoy a walk that takes you to visit the Needles Park, where you can view the famous sea-stacks and the military batteries, also the site of Britain's Rocket testing from the 1950s.

>> Take in The Needles on the Isle of Wight Coastal Walking trip

 

#8 Great Glen Way | Highlands, Scotland

uk's most favourite walks - Great Glen Way

 

Scotland, about 380 million years ago, saw the creation of the Great Glen Fault: a line splitting the highlands and leading to open water at either end. In 1822 a man-made canal was built that ran through the fault and connected lochs Lochy, Oich and Ness. The Great Glen Way basically follows the fault line and walking this trail will show you plenty of examples of elegant bridges and locks which reflect the early period of the Industrial Revolution. Together with the scenery of the Scottish Highlands, this is one of Britain’s most favourite walks.

>> Follow the Great Glen Way with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#9 St Cuthbert’s Way | Northumberland, England

st cuthbert's way - uk walking holidays

 

The St Cuthbert’s Way is a long-distance path that was established in 1996. The route reflects the life of the 7th century monk, extending from Melrose Abbey in the Scottish borders to the island of Lindisfarne just off the coast of Northumberland in northeast England. The ‘Way’ includes a variety of delightfully unspoilt countryside: the Tweed Valley, the Eildon Hills & Cheviot Hills and the Northumberland coast with its broad horizons and sandy beaches. The standard route is intended to be walked in 4 long days, but we have made several modifications to make the day stages slightly shorter and perhaps more interesting.

>> Follow St Cuthbert’s Way with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#10 St Ives to Zennor | Cornwall, England

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The seascapes around St Ives Head are beautiful! This walk in the far western part of England roller-coasts through a series of steep dips between St Ives and Zennor. It is one of the best walks in the UK and shows you some of the most stunning parts of Cornwall. The town of Zennor has a quaint church, a small museum on Cornish life and a great old pub called The Tinner’s Arms. 

>> Take in this stunning part of Cornwall on our Cornish Coastal Path West: St Ives to Penzance

 

Curious to find the full list? Find Britain's Favourite Walks: Top 100 here. Inspired to go for a walking holiday in the UK this year? Browse our website for all destinations and routes in the UK that you can explore with us, or contact our team of travel experts for more information.

 

Selection of Other Walks in the UK

 

 

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. 


On Track – Q&A on A Hadrian’s Wall Walk

To give you a deeper understanding of our cycling and walking holidays in Europe, we like to introduce you to the On Track feature. This is a series of quick Q&A’s on a specific trip from the Sherpa Expeditions offer.

Today’s frequently asked questions are answered by resident guide John, who went on a Hadrian’s Wall walk himself.

 

Why was Hadrian’s Wall built?

We know from tablets that Emperor Hadrian wanted to keep "intact the empire", which had been imposed on him via "divine instruction." The wall was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 and used for around three centuries. The wall was built by 15,000 men in under six years and runs from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea. From here the Romans could command their resources and control the raiding skirmishes of the Northern Britons.

 

Hadrian's Wall Trail - Sherpa Expeditions

 

What is special about walking Hadrian's Wall Trail?

Hadrian's Wall is the finest surviving frontier construction of the Roman Empire. Although by no means continuous in its current state, the long-distance footpath that we know as Hadrian’s Wall Trail stretches for 83 miles from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Bowness on Solway. Over this distance, over hill and dale you will find milecastles, barracks, ramparts and forts, in ever changing scenery. If you have a good imagination you will enjoy a walk in history. There are plenty of museum sites and other things to see as well including mediaeval castles, old villages, the bridges over the River Tyne and a look round Carlisle.

 

Can you see much of the wall when you walk it?

People may have in their mind something that looks like the Great Wall of China; but the ravages of time and use of the dressed stone from the wall for urban building, stone walling and road construction have all reduced its size. The final third of the wall to the west, was a mud embankment originally. You only see a tiny section of wall in Newcastle, a bit more in Heddon on the Wall, and then the stone walling really takes off as we walk into the undulating central section of Hadrian’s Wall.

 

Do you actually walk on Hadrian’s Wall?

The wall is a UNESCO recognized monument and the path does not walk directly on it to avoid damage, although there are places where you cross it or walk on it to visit museums, milecastles etc. The ditch built by the Romans beside the wall is often associated with a modern road, so you do actually walk parallel with roads for much of the first couple of days and the last day especially. Apart from where these are quiet lanes however, you will be walking generally on a specially created footpath beside the road or beside the wall.

 

What impressed you about this trip?

I love the section between Milecastle 31 at the Temple of Mithras and Milecastle 49B, at Birdoswold. There are so many great views and classic landscapes such as looking over Crag Lough - a lochen at the base of crags. There is 'Sycamore Gap' where an iconic sycamore tree grows at a gateway in the wall. Other surprises include minor things: walking past rock crags and cliffs where they quarried the stone 2000 years ago and seeing holes where 'pincers' were used to lift cut rock. Also seeing the substantial foundations of the Roman Bridge at Chollerford, was quite a surprise.

 

Hadrian's Wall walk with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Sherpa Expeditions' Hadrian's Wall walk

 

Who would you recommend to go for a Hadrian’s Wall walk?

Anyone with a good level of fitness can enjoy this walk, but it will especially appeal to people with an interest in history. There will be good opportunities to make the most of the historical sites along the way. A Hadrian’s Wall walk is also an excellent first time long-distance path to take. The hike is well waymarked as it is a 'National Trail' and so navigation is rarely an issue. It is also another coast to coast walk as you start on the tidal River Tyne and finish by the Irish Sea. For some, it may be an alternative to well known 'Wainwright's Coast to Coast,' that takes two weeks to walk from coast to coast.

 

Is Hadrian’s Wall Trail very popular?

On large sections of the walk you will not see many people at all, but the middle section around Housteads Fort and the hills of Steel Rigg get a lot of walkers and day trippers who walk and visit the forts such as Housteads, Vindolanda (off route), Birdoswald and Chesters.

 

Are there extra costs involved when I want to hike Hadrian’s Wall?

We choose to exclude lunches and dinners on this trip as there are many options to choose from along the way. Also Visits to the museums, open air or otherwise, do add up and you should decide locally whether you have the time and energy to visit them. Admissions vary and apply to Segedunnm (£5.95), Vindolands (£11), Housteads (£7.50), Birdoswald (£6.50), and Chesters (£6.60) – prices valid at the time of writing. The last three are run by 'English Heritage' and it might be worth your while to become a member of them if there are more things you want to see that they run in England.

We hope this information has indeed answered some of the questions you may have had on doing the Hadrian’s Wall walk. If you have other queries, please get in touch with John and the Sherpa team via phone or email.

 

Did you like this Q&A and would you like to get similar details of one of our other active Europe holidays? We’d be happy to hear about your suggestions.

Or if you like to be among the firsts to hear about the latest On Track Q&A destination, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.  

 

 

Find All Dates for Guided Walks on the Coast to Coast in 2018

Decide quick if you are planning to join a guided Coast to Coast walk this year.

Coast to Coast guided - Sherpa Expeditions

 

If you were planning to join a guided walk on Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast path in 2018, we advise you to make a quick decision. Even before the exact dates for next year were announced, fellow walkers had already signed up for this popular walking holiday in the English Lake District.

 

Places on our guided Coast to Coast 2018 walks are selling out fast: the 18-day departure in May is on waiting list and we currently only have a couple of spots left for the 17-day departure in July/August. At the same time, we are happy to announce that in 2018 you can choose from four dates on the 15-day version of this stunning walk.

 

We hope that the below overview of all guided Coast to Coast walking holidays in 2018 comes in handy when planning your walking holiday for the coming summer.

 

Coast to Coast Guided Walk

15 days walking with departures on:

  • 10 June – 24 June >> Guaranteed
  • 15 July – 29 July
  • 5 August – 19 August
  • 9 September – 23 September

 

Coast to Coast Guided Explorer

17 days walking with a departure on:

  • 29 July – 14 August >> limited availability

 

Coast to Coast Guided Rambler

18 days walking with a departure on:

  • 6 May – 23 May >> waiting list

 

Individual walkers can choose from even more lengths to walk Wainwright’s Coast to Coast with durations between 8 to 18 days that depart between March until September. For more information, have a look at the complete overview of self guided walking holidays in the UK or contact our team of travel experts

 

English Village Pub is Best Restaurant in the World

… and is located near one of England’s finest long-distance trails, The Cleveland Way

An English village pub has just been announced as the world’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant by TripAdvisor. The Black Swan in Oldstead, close to the start of our The Cleveland Way walking holiday, became number one in the TripAdvisor 2017 Traveller’s Choice awards for best restaurant in the world.

 

Best restaurant in the world on Cleveland Way ©Black Swan Oldstead

©Black Swan Oldstead

 

This is truly exciting news for numerous reasons. First of all, the award is won through reviews and opinions from visitors to the restaurant in North Yorkshire, feedback from previous guests is often a good indicator for what you may expect. On top of that, the restaurant actually has a Michelin Star and four AA Rosettes, which backs up their newly acquired status of best restaurant in the world.

 

As British food sometimes may be frowned upon by international visitors, we are particularly proud of the fact that the restaurant serves British cuisine and that the recognition is from a global poll of millions of reviews gathered over the period of a year. Possibly the home grown produce, often native to the region, and seasonal ingredients combined with the talent of the chef have added to the success.

 

Last but not least, the fact that the restaurant is just 15 minutes away from the start of our The Cleveland Way walking holiday and on the route to Leeds airport creates a perfect opportunity for an extra night before or after your North Yorkshire walking trip (or even your Coast to Coast holiday).

 

Food - Best restaurant in the world on Cleveland Way ©Black Swan Oldstead

©Black Swan Oldstead

 

Best restaurant in the world is on the Cleveland Way _ Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

On their website, the Black Swan states: “For us, it's much more than just Michelin Star food. The focus is all about where we are and who we are - a reflection of "Oldstead" - traditional Yorkshire with a swirling mix of creativity and eccentricity.” 

 

The Cleveland Way

The Cleveland Way stretches 110 miles (177km) along coast and moorland and shares a small section of the Coast to Coast walk. The Cleveland Way is the second of the ‘National Trails’, dating from 1969 and is rooted in the North York Moors National Park / Yorkshire Heritage Coast. Find more information on the 12-day The Cleveland Way walking holiday here.

 

Black Swan, Oldstead, North Yorkshire

More information on the Black Swan and their newly acquired status of best restaurant in the world by TripAdvisor can be found in this article by the BBC.