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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

Across the highlands and lowlands: six of the best holidays in Scotland for 2019

Scotland

With new, comfortable Caledonian Sleeper trains scheduled to enter service next spring on both ‘Lowlander’ (from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow) and ‘Highlander’ routes (from London to Fort William, Inverness and on to Aberdeen), there’s now another reason to plan an active break that will take in the majesty of Scotland’s great outdoors.

Tackle the Scottish version of the Coast to Coast

Best known for encouraging the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, Scotland has been rather slow to recognise its famous son – it wasn’t until 2014 that John Muir was honoured with a trail in his native land. The John Muir Way is a path that extends from Dunbar, on the southeast coast, to the seaside town of Helensburgh in the west, forming a Scottish coast-to-coast route. 

 

John Muir Way

 

John Muir Way

 

Relive the legend of notorious Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor

Rob Roy MacGregor was a notorious outlaw and a folk hero, who escaped capture several times. The 80-mile Rob Roy Way takes you through classic Highland scenery and areas that were his old haunts. It begins in Drymen, whose Clachan Inn is the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland and would have been known by Rob Roy as it was run by his sister!

 

Rob Roy Way

 

Rob Roy Way

 

Find your favourite loch along the Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is an exhilarating long distance trail starting at Fort William and concluding at Inverness, Scotland’s northernmost city. Following mostly canal and loch-side footpaths, it passes by the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. Scattered along the shores of Loch Ness, the centuries-old forts and castles remain a silent witness to the country’s turbulent past. 

 

Great Glen Way

 

Great Glen Way

 

Spot native wildlife as you cycle through the heart of the Scottish Highlands 

The Scottish Highlands Cycle is a week-long trip that will see you cycling along scenic paths and quiet forest trails where you can spot native wildlife such as red deer, stag or golden eagles. At Fort William a day is set aside to rest, (or ascend Ben Nevis!), followed by a train journey that takes you across Rannoch Moor to Loch Rannoch. The trip concludes at the riverside city of Perth.

 

Scottish Highlands Cycle

 

Scottish Highlands Cycle

 

Discover the diversity of Scotland’s ‘Big County’

Enjoy majestic mountain peaks, shimmering lochs and pretty glens. On our Lochs and Bens trip, you’ll take Scotland’s backroads and country paths, explore peaceful villages and rural towns, take a forest walk and visit castles and ancient monuments found along the way. The trip focuses on Perthshire, known as Scotland’s ‘big county’ because of the wide variety of landscapes that can be found here.

 

Lochs and Bens

 

Lochs and Bens

 

Follow the old military roads of the West Highland Way

From the south of Loch Lomond to Fort William and Ben Nevis, the famous West Highland Way connects Britain’s largest lake with its highest mountain. The route is a step back into history - many stages follow military roads that date back to the 1700s and used to link the Highlands to the Lowlands, as well as hotels that originated from droving inns that operated for centuries.

 

West Highland Way

 

West Highland Way

Browse all of our Scotland holidays here.

Britain’s Favourite Walks: Best Hikes in Scotland

We love Scotland and clearly we are not the only ones, as the country was represented with 12 entries in ITV’s Top 100 Britain’s Favourite Walks – a survey taken by more than 8,000 people. Out of these 12 places we have composed our own personal top 6 of the best hikes in Scotland.

Whether you are interested in short hikes to undertake in one or a couple of days, or for those who are after some of Scotland’s best long-distance walks, we hope that the list appeals to each and every one of you.

 

#1 Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis hike in Scotland

 

Britains’ highest peak, Ben Nevis can be readily ascended in a day and is rightfully so leading our list of best hikes in Scotland. Much loved by not just the Scots but most of the population in the British Isles, Ben Nevis stands at 1,345m and its summit is actually the collapsed dome of a very ancient volcano. Different hikes lead to the top of the mountain of which the Pony Track is by far the most popular route. If you don’t succeed in your first attempt, perhaps you can get some inspiration from the 19th century poem written in the visitor’s book of the Ben Nevis hotel.

Want to know what the word ‘ben’ means? Read about it in this very handy list of hiking terminology.

>> Take a little detour when you are walking the West Highland Way or Great Glen Way and include a hike to the top of Ben Nevis.

 

#2 Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way hike in Scotland

 

The Great Glen Way takes walkers to explore the heart of Scotland on foot. The route follows a fault line that was created 380 million years ago (read more about this here) and stretches for 73 miles (117 km) through the Scottish Highlands. In eight days, we take you to explore Fort William, the shores of the famous Loch Ness, paths along canal towpaths, forests and eventually to discover the ‘capital of the highlands’: Inverness.

>> Follow the Great Glen Way with Sherpa Expeditions between April – October.

 

#3 Falkirk Wheel

Falkirk Wheel on one of the best hikes in Scotland_Sherpa Expeditions

 

One of the 10 highlights on the John Muir Way is Falkirk Wheel, a unique structure as it’s the world’s only rotating boatlift. The lift only opened in 2002 and allows boats to efficiently connect between the Union Canal and Canal of Froth & Clyde. In the past this took up almost an entire day when boats had to negotiate through a flight of 11 lochs. The design of wheel has been described as “a form of contemporary sculpture” by the Royal Fine Arts Commission for Scotland and by modeller Kettle as “a beautiful, organic flowing thing, like the spine of a fish.”

If you book in advance you can go up on a boat in the wheel, ask our team for details.

>> Find the Falkirk Wheel on Scotland’s Coast to Coast walk, in itself a fantastic route that we think should actually have been included in the list of Britain’s Favourite Walks.

 

#4 Pitlochry

Pitlochry ©sedoglia

©sedoglia

 

The Memorial Park in the pretty Victorian spa town of Pitlochry is the end of the Rob Roy Way. There are various walks to and around town and with Sherpa Expeditions you will follow an old railway line embankment through forest and including a steep descent. Once in Pitlochry, you will understand why this is such a popular town amongst visitors. It became popular as a tourist resort from the mid-1800s when Queen Victoria started to visit and a railway line was opened. The town has a population of below 3000 and much of its old-world charm is still visible today through many stone Victorian buildings and a shelter made out of cast iron on one side of the high street.

>> Hike the spectacular Rob Roy Way and finish in the pretty Victorian spa town of Pitlochry.

 

#5 West Highland Way

west highland way scotland-sherpa expeditions


From the south of Loch Lomond to Fort William and Ben Nevis, this famous footpath connects Britain’s largest lake with its highest mountain. The route is a step back into history: many stages follow military roads that date back to the 1700s and used to link the Highlands to the Lowlands, as well as hotels that originated from droving inns that operated for centuries. All in all, it proves to be one of the best hikes in Scotland.

>> Learn much more about the West Highland Way, from the best time to visit, culinary highlights and some of our favourite viewpoints.

 

#6 Arthur’s Seat

Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh - Sherpa Expeditions

 

From Arthur’s Seat, a volcanic hill near Edinburgh, you have fantastic views over the city. Besides this, you’ll even be able to look over the port of Leith, part of the Firth of Forth Rail Bridge and the waters of Firth of Forth fjord. Arthur’s Seat today is basically surrounded by Edinburgh so it makes for an easy-to-arrange hike, for example as an add-on to your walk or when you spend extra days in the Scottish capital. After an initial climb, you can easily do a loop around the hill. If you do this anti-clockwise up the steps for the steeper section and then follow the slope down from the summit, you can then wind down on the easier track to return to your start point. On a leisurely pace and including time to take in the views, this should take you no more than two hours.

>> Do a diversion on day 9 of the John Muir Way and walk up Athur’s Seat for fantastic views.

 

We have some suggestions for further reading for those that are interested to know more about the best hikes in Scotland or ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks. Or if you have any queries, please do contact our team of travel experts.

 

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

cornwall - sherpa expeditions

 

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. 


10 Interesting Sights on the John Muir Way

Apart from the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the ‘father of national parks’, there are plenty of other reasons to walk what is known as Scotland’s Coast to Coast. The John Muir Way stretches for 134 miles (215km) from Helensburgh in the West of Scotland to Durban in the East making it one of Scotland’s best known long distance trails. With so much length to cover, you conveniently will walk past many fascinating sights that make the John Muir Way a truly interesting walk to undertake.

 

From John Muir’s hometown and a Roman wall to the heritage of famous war poets and the world’s biggest Northern Gannet colony, read on for a sneak preview of the fascinating sights you will encounter along the John Muir Way.

 

1. John Muir’s Port of Departure

hometown of John Muir, Helensburgh - Sherpa Expeditions


Handsome buildings, wide elegant tree-lined streets, a long promenade and attractive parks & gardens create a pleasantly distinguished atmosphere in Helensburgh. It is from this town that the Muir family is said to have left to go to the USA. The town operated the world’s first steamship ferry service in 1812 and reputedly a quarter of Britain’s millionaires resided in this handsome holiday resort during Victorian times.

 

2. Carbeth Chalets

chalets on John Muir Way - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays


After World War I local land owner, Barnes Graham, gave land near Glasgow to returning soldiers. The idea was for them to be able to build summerhouses so they could get some fresh air away from the city. The scheme at the time attracted socialists and communists and during WWII it was here that many people took refuge at the time of the Clydebank Blitz. Today, the low-impact lifestyle that people at the Carbeth Chalets follow is highly-prized and protected.

 

3. Kirkhouse Inn

Kirkhouse Inn on John Muir Way Scotland - Sherpa Expeditions


Originally built in 1601 as a stables and tavern, the Kirkhouse Inn has undergone several transformations over the years and has had its fair share of scandals and hidden treasures, even the sighting of a ghostly aberration! The Kirkhouse was the scene of secret correspondence between King James VI of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I of England that eventually led to the Union of the Crowns.

 

4. The Antonine Wall

Antonine Wall, Scotland - Sherpa walking holidays


The northern-most limit of the Roman Empire stretched all the way to present-day Scotland. Like the better-known Hadrian's Wall to the south, it formed a solid barrier right across the country. The northern boundary can still be seen today when walking the John Muir Way and passing the Antonine Wall and Kirkintilloch fort. This is now a designated World Heritage Site. The Wall's location is prominently shown. A high mound in the park marks the site of a mediaeval castle whose moat still survives.


5. Falkirk Wheel

Falkirk Wheel, Scotland - Sherpa walking holidays


Opened in 2002 this is the world’s only rotating boatlift and an ‘engineering icon throughout the globe.’ Falkirk Wheel reconnects the canal of Forth and Clyde with the Union Canal for the first time since the 1930s and is part of the Millennium Link project. Inspirations for the design include a double-headed Celtic axe, the propeller of a ship and the ribcage of a whale.

 

6. The Ship that Never Sailed

John Muir Way - Blackness Castle, Scotland walking holidays


Blackness Castle is one of Scotland's most impressive strongholds. It was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland's most powerful families. Since it became crown property in 1453, the castle on the John Muir Way served as a state prison, one of the most advanced artillery fortifications of its time in Scotland, and ammunition depot. Because of its site and shape, Blackness Castle has been characterised as "the ship that never sailed".

 

7. The Kelpies

Kelpies on Scotland coast to coast - Sherpa Expeditions


Created by Scotland’s leading sculptor Andy Scott, The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Central Scotland. They stand 30 metres tall and as such are the largest equine sculptures in the world. The Kelpies form a dramatic gateway to the canal entrance on the east coast of Scotland and you can take a tour to experience the horses from the inside.

 

8. Bass Rock

Bass Rock on John Muir Way in Scotland


This is the biggest Northern gannet colony in the world, home to over 150,000 gannets at the peak of the season. The gannets spend most of the year on the Bass Rock, until the end of October.  The lower ledges of the Bass are home to shags, guillemots and razorbills, with seals hauling up on the rocks below. All in all, a unique spot to take in on your John Muir Way walking trip.

 

9. The Haar

Walking Scottish Coast to Coast with Sherpa Expeditions


Along the Firth of Forth and down the coast to Dunbar, you may have to contend with ‘The Haar’. In good weather and low winds, it can give the impression that you are suddenly having terrible weather with fog banks and grey drizzly cloud. It is not an optical illusion; The Haar is a cold sea fog and usually occurs on the east coast Scotland between April and September.


10. Craiglockhart War Hospital

War poetry along John Muir Way - Sherpa Expeditions


Fans of war poets will be interested to know that when taking a little extra walk on the John Muir Way, you can end up at ‘Edinburgh Napier University.’ This was the famous Craiglockhart Psychiatric Hospital where Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon met in the First World War. Their poems appeared in the hospital's own magazine called ‘The Hydra’ and were the inspiration for several books and a movie.

 

 

For more information on walking the John Muir Way, the exact route and inclusions, please have a look at the trip page or get in touch with our team of travel experts in London. 


 

Lace Up Your Boots: New in Walking Holidays

Scotland’s take on the Coast to Coast and the French flair of the Channel Islands

New UK walking holidays_Sherpa Expeditions


New in our walking holidays offer are the John Muir Way in Scotland and part of the Channel Island Way in Guernsey.


If you are planning a trip to Scotland this summer and wasn’t sure yet what part to cover, consider the new John Muir Way that links the east and west coasts of the country. As such, it is also affectionately known as the Scottish Coast to Coast. Visit historical features including the Antonine Wall and Roman Forts, follow in the footsteps of a Scottish legend and walk past lochs and bens of the Scottish Lowlands.  


Much further south, close to the French coast of Normandy, is the island of Guernsey. You already have the possibility to go on a three-centre cycling trip in the Channel Islands, but the offer is now complemented by a week-long walking option on the islands of Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Alderney. The islands brim with character and are a walker’s paradise.

 

John Muir Way

new UK walking holidays_John Muir Way_Sherpa Expeditions


on the John Muir Way_Sherpa UK walking Holidays


John Muir was born in 1838 in Dunbar, on the southeast coast of Scotland, and as a child developed a deep love of the natural world around his home. Best known for encouraging the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, Scotland has been rather slow to recognise its famous son – it was not until 2014 that he was honoured with a trail in his native land. The John Muir Way is a path that symbolically links Dunbar with Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and the seaside town of Helensburgh in the west, forming a Scottish coast-to-coast route.

The John Muir Way 12-day self guided walking holiday launches in April >> View trip

 

The Channel Island Way

walking in Guernsey _ Sherpa Expeditions


Sunset in Guernsey - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays


This week-long walking tour around the islands of Guernsey is the longer half of the Channel Island Way. Originally part of the Duchy of Normandy but bequeathed to the English Crown by William the Conqueror, today they are independent in many ways yet maintaining a special relationship with the UK. Expect long sandy beaches and beautiful undulating cliff paths leading to tiny coves with sparkling rock pools, with forts of various sizes, some dating back to the 1600s while others, more recent, were created by the Nazis during their occupation of the islands in World War II.

Guernsey Islands – The Channel Island Way 7-day self guided walking holiday launches in April >> View trip

 

Read More

 

Contact our team of travel experts for more information on these new UK walking holidays and for booking details. 

The John Muir Way: Scotland’s Coast to Coast Walk

Walking in Scotland: John Muir Way long distance trail with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Scotland's Coast to Coast Walk

Head into the High Street of Dunbar and you’ll reach a white terraced house that was the birthplace of John Muir. Born here on April 21st 1838, Muir moved to the United States at 11 years old, and today is best known for his nature conservation work.

 

John Muir’s birthplace nowadays is a museum and marks the finish of our new 12-day walking holiday on the recently established long distance trail of the John Muir Way. When you arrive here, it will have been a 130 mile (215 km) hike across Scotland. Your walking trail would have started in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and led via Linlithgow Palace and Edinburgh all the way to Dunbar on the North Sea coast. Because of this route, the John Muir Way is also known as Scotland’s coast to coast walk. The reason for starting the walk in Helensburgh is that it was the port that John Muir emigrated from to the United States.

 

On the John Muir Way, Scotland - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Loch in Scotland on John Muir Way walk - Sherpa Expeditions

 

John Muir, Naturalist & Preservationist

John Muir in Yosemite, USA

 

John Muir, the great bushy bearded man, was born into a strictly religious household. As a child, he developed a deep love for the natural world around his home. He was known to escape from his bedroom window into the Dunbar countryside to enjoy volcanic deposits and dykes, raised beaches, and the glacial-isostatic uplift that has occurred here in Scotland.

 

Years later and while in the United States, the grown-up John Muir founded the Sierra Club, convinced politicians to create the Yosemite National Park, and raised the cry for conservationism and environmentalism decades before it was fashionable to do so.

 

John Muir Way

You may have heard of the famous John Muir Trail in California’s Yosemite Park? Since 21 April 2014 he is also honoured in his native Scotland with the John Muir Way long distance walk (it replaced a shorter walk under the same name). The trail offers a historical journey across Scotland from the seaside coast of Helensburgh on the river Clyde, then around the southern end of The Highland Fault, undulating through the Scottish Lowlands of farms, canals and former industrial towns to track along the Firth of Forth, threading through Edinburgh and then down the North Sea coast, passing golf courses and bird reserves down into Dunbar.

 

Walking the John Muir Way in Scotland

 

Accommodation in Scotland on Sherpa Expeditions' John Muir Way Walk

 

Walk This Way

We are excited to be able to offer you this trip from 2017 onwards and believe it will be an enjoyable and varied walk. Altogether, the John Muir Way walk links together some fine landscapes, countryside and places of historical and natural interest. It is clearly well marked, with routes for walkers and cyclists which converge and diverge at various points.

 

To find out more about this new walking holiday in Scotland and to download the trip notes, please have a look at the 12 day John Muir Way walking holiday or contact our team of travel experts with your queries.

 

Best Pubs in the UK for Walkers

Best Pubs in the UK for Walkers

 

Best Pubs in the UK for Walkers

The UK is famous for its historic inns and pubs, and no matter what your choice of refreshment, relaxing in one at the end of a day’s walk is an essential part of a walking holiday in the UK. We’ve asked around the office and here is a list of our favourite pubs that you can visit on one of our UK walking holidays.


CUMBRIA WAY

Image credit: http://www.odg.co.uk/

Old Dungeon Ghyll, Langsdale
Located in the Lake District, the Old Dungeon Ghyll is a famous climber’s bar that has offered accommodation and sustenance to weary fellwalkers and climbers in the midst of some of the highest mountains in England, for over 300 years. 

 

Why we like it: Stunning location and a great place to rest up with other exhausted walkers and listen to their epic tales.

 

Visit the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and more on our Cumbria Way walking holiday >>

 


 

DORSET AND WESSEX TRAILS 

Image credit: http://smugglersinnosmingtonmills.co.uk/

Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills
This lovely old pub dates back to the 13th century and was once the home of the leader of the most notorious gang of smugglers in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries (Emmanuel Charles).

 

Why we like it: Cosy inn near the sea has some good ales and its location makes you feel miles from the real world.

 

Visit the Smugglers Inn and more on our Dorset and Wessex Trails walking holiday >>

 


 

DALES WAY

Image credit: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g1096359-d245465-Reviews-Red_Lion_Hotel-Burnsall_North_Yorkshire_England.html

Red Lion, Burnsall
The Red Lion in North Yorkshire was originally a Ferryman’s Inn from the 16th century and on top of some delicious real ales the pub also serves up a tasty selection of local game and produce. Image from Tip Advisor

 

Why we like it: Good old-fashioned pub with great food, nestled right by the old bridge. 


 

Visit the Red Lion pub on our Dales Way walking holiday >>


 

GREAT GLEN WAY

Image credit: http://www.visitscotland.com/info/accommodation/glenmoriston-arms-hotel-p187761

Glenmoriston Arms, Glenmoriston
Another pub that was originally a Drover’s inn, the original hotel built on the site dates back to 1740, six years before the battle of Culloden.

Why we like it: Great old bar with over 100 varieties of single malt Whisky, including some from extinct distilleries.

 

 

 

 

Image credit: http://www.fiddledrum.co.uk/

Fiddler’s, Drumnadrochit
This renowned whisky bar has a huge range of single malts to choose from and friendly bartenders who can talk you through the tasting of Scotland’s national drink.

 

Why we like it: Great food and whiskey (obviously) and a relaxing place for a meal after a visit to Urquart Castle.

 

Visit the Glenmoriston Arms, Fiddlers and more on our Great Glen Way walking holiday >>

 


 

WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Image credit: http://www.kingshousehotel.co.uk/

Kings House Hotel, Glencoe
The Kings House hotel is one of the oldest (and most remote!) licenced inns in Scotland and offers an extensive bar with magnificent views of the hills. It even has a sneaky climber’s bar round the back.

 

Why we like it: Location, Location! This pub has one of the most famous backdrops in Scotland (Buchaille Etive Mor).

 

Visit the Kings House Hotel and more on our Great Glen Way walking holiday >>


 

COAST TO COAST

Image credit: http://www.buckhotel.co.uk/

Buck Hotel, Reeth
Originally a coaching Inn dating back to around 1760, the Buck in has been refreshing weary travellers for centuries. Inside you’ll find a cost bar with many of the original features still in tact.

 

Why we like it:  Good range of well-kept beers/ales on draught and great zippy food. 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g1071702-d1567236-Reviews-Black_Bull_Hotel-Reeth_Yorkshire_Dales_National_Park_North_Yorkshire_England.html

Black Bull, Reeth
Older still than the Buck Hotel, the Black Bull dates back to 1680 and offers a wide selection of hand-pulled ales and good hearty food. 

 

Why we like it: The Black Bull’s position on the village green makes for a great spot to rest in the sun (if you’re lucky!) and the pub is also amusingly famous for its ‘Old Peculiar on draught’; two pints of which apparently and you are anyone's! 

 

 

Image credit: http://www.lionblakey.co.uk/visitorsphotos.htm

The Lion, Blakey
The Lion Inn on remote Blakey Ridge is a 16th Century freehouse. Located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park, it offers breathtaking views over the valleys of Rosedale and Farndale.

 

Why we like it: This cavernous old pub in the middle of nowhere has a great feel to it inside with open fires and low beams, and outside in the beer garden you have some great views over the dales. 

 

 

 

Image credit: http://www.egtonbridgehotel.co.uk

Horseshoe Hotel, Egton Bridge
 The 18th century Horseshoe Hotel sits on some stunning grounds on the bank of the River Esk, in the quaint English village of Egton Bridge. Catering to walkers it is a great place to relax and replenish your energy. 

 

Why we like it: You always hit this old fashioned pub right about when you feel like a drink! It’s beautiful beer garden is a great place to rest your weary feet before you contemplate crossing the Esk on stepping stones!

 

Visit these pubs and more on one of our Coast to Coast walking holidays >>


 

HADRIAN’S WALL

Image credit: http://www.theboathousewylam.com

Boathouse, Wylam
The Boathouse is a traditional pub, with low-beamed ceilings, stone floor and a dark wood bar decorated with tankards, pump-clips, and paintings. 

Why we like it: Extraordinary range of 12 varieties of real ale or cider on hand-pulls and great home-cooked meals.

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g1068896-d2259351-i100156555-The_Twice_Brewed_Inn-Bardon_Mill_Hexham_Northumberland_England.html

Twice Brewed Inn, Once Brewed

 

Overlooked by Steel Rigg, one of the best stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, the Twice Brewed Inn’s setting in rural Northumberland is quite unique. There are many theory’s surrounding it’s unique name that you can learn more about on your visit.

 

Why we like it: Once a brewery, this pub lives up to its name with a range of tasty ales. 

 

Visit the Boathouse and Twice Brewed Inn on our Hadrian’s Wall walking holiday >>


Image credits: Some images used in this article were sourced from the pub's website, Trip Advisor or Visit Scotland.

Dramming on the Rob Roy Way

Dramming on the Rob Roy Way Walk

 

Dramming on the Rob Roy Way

After a recent trip to Scotland resident guide Jon Millen shares tips on enjoying a wee dram on the Rob Roy Way. Find out more about our Rob Roy Way walking holidays >>

 

The Clachan Inn

On the Rob Roy Way, there are a few connections with alcoholic beverages, at  the start of the  walk in Drymen sits the Clachan Inn,  the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland. Clachan means “a building of stone”, a more permanent construction of its time when many buildings were made of turf and timber. In 1734, it was the first of its kind to have its own still to distil and sell its own whisky. The first licensee of The Clachan was Mistress Gow, one of Rob Roy’s sisters! Find out more >>

 

Clachan Inn on the Rob Roy Way

 

Aberfeldy Distillery

Later on in the walk, leaving Aberfeldy, one passes the Aberfeldy Distillery: the only distillery built by the Dewar family. Steeped in history and craftsmanship, since 1898 the stills have produced a beautifully balanced single malt whisky. Distillery tours take place throughout the day and include access to their atmospheric warehouse and heritage centre. You can browse the distillery shop for limited editions or even ‘fill your own’ bottle of exclusive Aberfeldy Single Malt whisky.  Find out more >>

 

Dewars Aberfeldy Distillery

 

Eradour Distillery

On the last day in Pitlochry there are a beautiful couple of optional walks that you can do. One takes you past the Black Spout Waterfall and up to the Edradour Distillery, renowned as the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland and arguably the most unique. Dating back to 1825, it stands alone as the last stronghold of handmade single malt whisky from a farm distillery still in production today. Despite this small scale production, Edradour uniquely boasts over 25 distinctive expressions of Highland single malt Scotch whisky with their wonderful characters and flavours. Find out more >>

Edradour Distillery

Blair Atholl Distillery

Also in Pitlochry along the road you can visit the Blair Atholl Distillery which commenced in 1798. The rich, nutty 12 year old signature malt is distilled here then added to the popular blend known as Bells, the most popular blended whisky in the UK. Find out more >>


Rob Roy Blair Athol Distillery


The Moulin Inn & Brewery 

If you need a break from whiskey (not likely, but it could happen!) we recommend an extra day in Pitlochry to make the most of extra walks. You can ascend a peak called Ben y Vracki. On the way down you pass an old hotel called The Moulin Inn, which has its own brewery started in the 1990s, which supplies beer to this and another hotel. The beers are of excellent quality and include the quaffable ‘Brave Heart Ale’. You can visit the tiny brew house behind the hotel and even by a pack of the different beers. Find out more >>

Moulin Inn Pitlochry