England is filled with stunning coastal and countryside views, historical buildings, picturesque villages, and undiscovered experiences. Discover England’s Great Walking Trails, a great way to get the most out of your trip, and it’s easier than ever with routes you can customize to your interests and fitness level.
Want to experience England by foot? Here are a few of our trail recommendations:
Trace the footsteps of history
England is steeped in history and there are many ways you can experience it by foot. Interested in walking exactly where the Romans walked thousands of years ago? Try Hadrian’s Wall Path. Prefer to take a historic journey that pilgrims took to Canterbury Cathedral? You can do that too via the North Downs Way.
If you choose Hadrian’s Wall Path, prepare to follow the World Heritage Site that spans 84 miles in northern England from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. Some highlights along the way include Birdoswald Roman Fort - the longest remaining stretch of the wall, Housesteads - the best preserved part of the wall, and Chesters - the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain, in addition to the countryside views and market towns along the way.
A longer journey, the North Downs Way is 154 miles from Farnham to Dover via Canterbury in southeast England. Along the route are many cathedrals that pilgrims would have traveled to in Medieval times including Canterbury Cathedral, the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England. The journey also passes by sights like Rochester Castle and Dover Castle, more notable cathedrals, and stately homes.
See picturesque villages
The Cotswolds is synonymous with villages made up of stone cottages amongst gently rolling hills. And the Cotswolds Way is one route to experience this iconic region by foot. At just over 100 miles of walking trails, this route journeys through the market town of Chipping Campden to the city of Bath. Two not to be missed picturesque villages are Stanton, for its honey-colored stone houses and Snowshill, used as a filming location for Bridget Jones’s Diary and is home to Snowshill Manor, an elegant Cotswold manor house and lavender fields at Snowshill Lavender.
Take in England’s countryside and landscapes
While the Cotswolds Way offers picturesque villages, the Pennine Way offers breathtaking countryside and mountainous landscapes. The trail is a 268 mile route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm, a village at the Scottish Borders and takes you through three national parks - Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Parks - the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and two National Nature Reserves. This popular walk in England includes highlights like the moorland plateau at Kinder Scout, limestone formation at Malham Cove, a waterfall at High Force, a U-shaped valley at High Cup Nick, and high mountainous peaks at The Cheviot. The vast variety of terrain makes for not to be missed views.
Easily accessible and mapped out trails
Depending on your interest in a trail, whether it be history, picturesque villages, landscapes or coastal views, there’s likely to be a path that’s easily accessible and mapped out. Take the Cleveland Way for example. If you want to see both dramatic coastlines and heather moorlands, and just can’t decide between the two, don’t worry! There’s a route already mapped out for you. On the Cleveland Way, you’ll be in for a 109 mile long walk that runs between Helmsley and Filey in northern England, through the North York Moors National Park, and along the coast with its fishing villages and unique towns, from Saltburn to Filey. Some sites to spend additional time at are Helmsley Castle, Mount Grace Priory, and Whitby Abbey.
Hidden beaches and rugged coastal views
Not only are there opportunities to walk through national parks and scenery, you can also head to the coast for hidden beaches and rugged coastal views. Two that are worth walking are Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path and South West Coast Path.
On Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path in eastern England, be prepared to walk through landscape within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covering a total of 129.5 miles. The Peddars Way portion has history dating back to the Roman times as a route that troops would take for policing purposes. Meanwhile, The Norfolk Coast Path portion connects the seaside towns of Hunstanton and Hopton-on-Sea.
Heading to the opposite side of the country in south west England is the South West Coast Path, the longest National Trail at 630 miles starting in Minehead, along the coastline of Exmoor and the coast of North Devon to Cornwall. The path was originally created by coast guards to patrol the peninsula (many of their cottages are still standing) and fishermen to check the sea conditions.