Trails Across Scotland, England, and Wales for Slow Travel
This year has been named Wales Year of Trails and the Year of the Coast in England, and 2023 is all about finding alternative and sustainable ways to travel the country through different modes of transport including cycling, walking routes, and short train journeys. Luckily, Britain has no shortage of stunning trails around attractions, activities, landscapes, and coastlines full of natural beauty with multiple options for transport. Here are some of the best walking, hiking, and cycling trails in Britain for amateurs and pros alike.
Wales Year of Trails
Visit Wales' named 2023 the year of trails with the “Wales by Trails” campaign. The campaign encourages visitors to get out on the road and discover the heritage, culture and natural landscapes throughout Wales.
Being the only country in the world with a continuous waymarked path around its entire coastline, Wales boasts 870 miles of jaw-dropping views, contemporary cultural hotspots, encounters with nature, and thousands of years of history. There’s no better way than exploring this famous path to experience the natural beauty of Wales. Take a look at Visit Wales’ handy Wales Coast Path guide.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is made up of 186 miles (300km) of the most breath-taking coastal scenery in Britain. The trail covers almost every kind of maritime landscape from rugged cliffs and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches, ancient harbours, and fishing villages. It takes almost two weeks to complete, but it’s made easier when using the local bus service.
Offa's Dyke Path is a 177 mile (285 km) coast-to-coast walking trail that links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the coastal town of Prestatyn, North Wales and roughly marks the present England-Wales border. Explore beautiful borderlands, a changing landscape of mountain ranges and secluded valleys, along with quaint market towns.
Best Hiking Trails in Scotland
With rolling landscapes and breath-taking scenery. Put on your hiking boots and experience the most scenic walks throughout Scotland.
Scotland is the first country in the world to bring together 13 UNESCO sites into one trail, bringing together some of Scotland’s most iconic, diverse and culturally significant sites. Scotland’s UNESCO Trail encourages visitors to make sustainable travel choices and to take a cultural journey experiencing everything from history, music, design and literature to nature and cityscapes. See 3 Ways to Complete Scotland’s UNESCO Trail here.
Fans of the Harry Potter film series will immediately recognise the Glenfinnan Viaduct as the filming location for the Hogwarts Express. Now a popular hiking destination, the Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail is 2.5 miles (4 km) in length and offers views of Loch Shiel and a visit to the poignant Glenfinnan Monument. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 55 minutes to complete and is great for hiking, running, and walking.
Experience a proper hill walk in the heart of Edinburgh, with fabulous views in all directions, serving as a calm retreat from the busy city. Situated within Holyrood Park, this extinct volcano stands tall above the city. There are multiple routes to the top, each being a quick 3 mile (4.75km) walk with a rocky summit that is well worth the amazing views.
England’s Year of the Coast
2023 is the Year of the Coast – celebrating England's amazing coastline as well as new sections of the England Coast Path opening.
This 125-mile touring route extends from London to Bristol, encouraging visitors to travel using different sustainable forms of transport. Explore by train, car, coach, boat, on foot or cycle. The Great West Way is a great option for slow travel and there’s so much to explore from lush green landscapes, relaxing riverside towns, and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Encouraging sustainability and preserving history, The England Coast Path is currently opening in sections until around Summer 2023. Once completed, it will create the longest signposted trail in the world at nearly 3,000 miles of beaches, clifftops, cities and nature reserves. From the southern tip of Cornwall to the north of Northumberland, it will link world-famous landmarks with little-known corners – a journey through unique cultures, geologies, history and more.
The South East Coastal Path takes you from the Wash down to Southampton – 84 miles of wildlife hotspots, sandy beaches with colourful beach huts, historic sites and fishing villages serving up the freshest catch of the day. There are plenty of places to set up camp, have a picnic or visit a traditional pub. As of August 2022, the following sections of The England Coast Path are open in the South East to the public: Calshot to Gosport, Gosport to Portsmouth, Shoreham-by-Sea to Eastbourne, Camber to Folkestone, Folkestone to Ramsgate, Whitstable to Iwade, and Grain to Woolwich.
The South West Coastal Path is England's longest waymarked long-distance footpath and a National Trail. It stretches for 630 miles, running from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset. As of June 2022, the following trails in the South West are open to the public: Sand Bay to Brean Down, Brean Down to Minehead, and Rufus Castle on Portland to Lulworth Cove.
For the most up to date guide or details of what’s new in Britain check out the VisitBritain Media Centre
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