England Coast Path
Why we love the England Coast Path
The England Coast Path is a masterpiece in the making. When completed, it will be the world’s longest shore walk, encircling the entire English seaboard: a remarkable 2,795 miles (4,500km) of beaches, clifftops, cities and nature reserves. From the southern tip of Cornwall to the uppermost reaches of Northumberland, it will link world-famous landmarks with little-known corners – a journey through unique cultures, geologies, history and more.
So far, only a handful of sections are officially open, but many will closely follow other established routes, such as the South West Coast Path. As with all of Britain’s National Trails, it’s up to you how you walk it: maybe you’ll hike its entirety, follow a long-distance route, or dip into shorter day walks?
Here, we focus on the sections that are now completed and signposted as the England Coast Path. There are walks for all abilities, in all parts of the country – so where will the trail take you?
Walk the Olympic trail
For a breathtaking introduction to England’s southern coast, look no further than the route between Portland and Lulworth Cove. Totalling 19.8 miles (32km), it encompasses Chesil Beach, Weymouth, Portland’s wildflower-strewn cliffs – and of course, famous Lulworth Cove. This was the first section of the Coast Path to open, to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics.
Climb the Seven Sisters
Welcome to the edge of the world. Towering over the English Channel, the mighty Seven Sisters cliffs – dazzling white, thanks to their natural chalk – are one of the south coast’s most iconic sights. You’ll explore them on the 33-mile (53km) trail between Eastbourne and Shoreham-by-Sea, as well as Newhaven’s nature reserves, Cuckmere Haven beach, and the lively city of Brighton.
Roam to a Roman fortress
If you love your beaches wild and your trails crowd-free, you’ve come to the right place. On England’s north-east coast, the 44-mile (71 km) path between Amble and South Bents is dotted with lonely lighthouses and windswept sands, with the North Sea as its constant companion. Along the way, be sure to visit Tynemouth Castle, Whitley Bay, and the Roman fort of Arbeia.
Discover the dunes
For golden sands and quaint harbour villages, look to the rambling Norfolk coast. Between Hopton and Weybourne, the England Coast Path covers 83 miles (133km) of this glorious eastern shore, calling at the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth and Winterton-Horsey’s wildlife-filled dunes. It also links up with the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail.
Hike from capital to coast
Heading to London? For an off-beat adventure, hike the England Coast Path from Woolwich, in East London, to the sea. This 49-mile (79km) section follows the River Thames as it flows from city to coast, swapping historic landmarks and busy wharves for wildlife-rich marshes and beaches. Its finale, the Isle of Grain, is renowned for its migratory birds and – if you’re lucky – grey seals.
Explore the wild west
On the edge of the Lake District National Park, the England Coast Path reveals Cumbria’s seaside charms. It hugs the shore between Allonby and Green Road Station, near Millom, for an 81-mile (130km) journey through Victorian towns, wide sandy beaches and thriving nature reserves. The route between Silecroft and Green Road has excellent wheelchair access.
Things to do on the England Coast Path
Featured things to do
Walking the path between Brean Down and Minehead? Take a detour through the Quantock Hills, to enjoy springtime’s newborn lambs and flower-filled hedgerows.Learn more about the Quantock Hills
Loud, proud and full of love: it’s Pride time in Brighton! This August festival is one of Britain’s biggest LGBTQ+ celebrations, with an incredible seaside parade at its heart.Learn more about Brighton & Hove Pride
Walney Island in Cumbria is a haven for wildlife, and autumn brings crimson sunsets and bird sightings galore. The England Coast Path loops around the whole isle.Learn more about Walney Island
Fancy an ice-cold swim on Christmas Day? No, us neither – but on 25 December, hundreds of hardy souls jump into Weymouth Harbour to raise money for charity, so why not give them a cheer?Learn more about Weymouth
Places to stay on the England Coast Path
Right on the stretch between Shoreham-by-Sea and Eastbourne, Brighton is a fun-loving city on the south coast, with a huge choice of quirky B&Bs.
This tiny harbour village is ideal for accessing Northumberland’s section of the England Coast Path, while Bamburgh sits to the north.
Near the route between Brean Down and Minehead, this region is an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offering farm-stays and campsites.
Getting to the England Coast Path
Whether you’re travelling by train, bus or road, England’s coast is simple to reach – and is within an hour’s journey of many major cities, including London. For international arrivals, Gatwick Airport is just a 30-minute drive or train journey from Brighton, while Folkestone and Newcastle (whose sections of the England Coast Path are already open) offer ferry links with France and the Netherlands.
The England Coast Path provides improved access to the country’s shoreline, making it easy for everybody to visit. However, the coast is also home to thriving cities, towns and attractions, so it’s already very simple to navigate. For day walks, why not take the bus to a location on the path, and then hike back to your hotel? Or, hire a bike to explore the nearby countryside trails.
Walk it, of course! Even though the full route isn’t completed, many sections of the England Coast Path are already open – so you can have a preview.
From charming steam trains to high-speed networks, England’s coast is well connected by rail. Services usually link up with bus routes, too.
Venture out on two wheels to discover the best sights, beaches and picnic spots. Not all sections of the path are suitable for cyclists though.
Want to know more?
To find out how the England Coast Path is progressing, check out the official website.