The UK is one of the most accessible and scenic countries to explore on foot. Trekking a long-distance walk along one of the many world-class trails will get you up close and personal with the epic scenery and historical treasures that a drive-by tour just can’t do justice. If the UK excels at one thing, it’s providing incredibly diverse trails to choose from for a long-distance walk. From the Highlands of Scotland to the coastline of England, there are thousands of kilometres of impeccable land to explore. Want to find the Loch Ness monster? Lose yourself on the coast of Northern Ireland? Look over English cliffs so beautiful they’ve inspired poetry? There’s a perfect long-distance walk in the UK waiting for you. Grab your hiking boots and hit the trail!
The Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way is arguably one of the best long-distance trails in the United Kingdom. Stretching the entire length of the Cotswold Area of Natural Beauty, the trail follows along the western edge of England from Chipping Campden to Bath. At just over 100 miles long, it passes charming countryside villages, historical points of significance, and breathtaking views.
Start off by passing the ruins of Iron-Age forts, taking in the surrounding castles and walk under the Black Mountains. Snap photos of Sudeley Castle, linger around the Devil’s Chimney and rest in quaint villages like Stanton and Bibury, where a pint or two in mandatory For the history buffs, trek through the site of the Battle of Lansdowne, the Somerset Monument, and Hailes Abbey. It’s a magical hike taking in some of the most scenic and exciting parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset––you’ll feel like you’re in a fairytale from start to finish!
Time to complete: 6-11 days
Best time to walk: End of March through early October
Cotswold Way Tours
One of the best ways to walk the Cotswold Way is a self-guided tour. This ensures you can linger in the places that you like the best and then adventure on without worrying about losing your way or arranging accommodations. This Cotswold Way walking tour leads you to the best historic buildings and archaeological sites along the way, brings you to perfect views over the English countryside, and leads the way to sights like Standish Woods, Crickley Hill Country Park, and more. You’ll stay in comfortable ancient farmhouses and coaching inns to get the most authentic experience possible.
Check out this incredible Cotswold Way Walking Tour.
Don’t have quite as much time on your hands? Experience the beautiful southern section of the Cotswold Way on this self-guided tour from Painswick to Bath. This begins your journey halfway through the tour, so you can experience the hilly countryside, ancient castles, and quaint villages that make this tour special even if you’re unable to make the entire journey.
Check out this self-guided tour of the southern section of the Cotswold Way here.
Interested in a partial tour, but favouring the north section? This self-guided walking tour covers the idyllic northern section of the Cotswold Way from Chipping Camden to Painswick. Charming towns, historic architecture, and blissful countryside await!
Check out this self-guided tour of the northern section of the Cotswold Way here.
Ready to really get your steps in? This self-guided tour covers the entire Cotswold Way in 9 days, making it perfect for travellers wanting to see the entire trail on a shorter trip. You’ll travel through landmarks like Crickley Hill Country Park and the Standish Woods, see all the wonderful towns on the way, and make it to Bath with time to spare.
Check out this 9-day self-guided tour of the Cotswold Way right here.
The Coast to Coast
Want to truly see England? Walking from one coast to the other is one of the most unique ways to see what this splendid country offers. The Coast to Coast trail starts in St. Bees, Cumbria, and ends all the way in Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire.
The Coast to Coast walk truly covers everything, from three different national parks (Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors) to waterfalls and rolling hills. You’ll pass by the interesting Nine Standards rock formation, walk along the idyllic St. Bees Head beach, and rise over the hills of Carlont Bank and Kidsty Pike. Cozy villages beckon along the way, and you can stop for a pint and a rest before continuing your walk. There’s no more immersive way to explore England than walking coast to coast!
Time to complete: 14-19 days
Best time to walk: April through early October
The South West Coast Path
The natural beauty of the North Cornwall coast is one of a kind, so anyone planning a walking journey in the UK should add this one to their list! The path crosses lovely landscapes and cuts through magical local villages.
The South West Coast Path is actually England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath, so making the trek from Minehead to Poole Harbour means you’re on a one of a kind journey. The path even crosses through two UNESCO World Heritage sites. You’ll walk all the way to Land’s End, the most westerly point in mainland England, to the lovely beach of Whitsand Bay, and also the Jurassic Coast on the vast ocean. No shortage of sights to see here!
Time to complete: 30-45 days
Best time to walk: May through September (trail is closed from October 1-April 30)
South West Coast Tours
There is so much of the South West Coast Path to see, so taking a tour is a great way to hit the highlights without necessarily having to walk 621.4mi! This tour surrounds you with the incredible natural beauty of the cliff-lined coast, leads you through charming towns and villages, and hits landmarks like Land’s End. Of course, the tour ensures your accommodation along the way is already thought-out by the time you finish your steps for the day.
Check out this incredible South West Coast Path tour here.
Want to spend your travel time exploring the otherworldly Jurassic Coast? This unique part of the South West Coast was significant enough to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s one of the absolute must-see spots on the trail. Take a self-guided tour of this stunning coastline and cover some kilometres of the South West Coast Path while you’re at it!
Check out this self-guided walking tour of the Jurassic Coast here.
One of the most picturesque portions of the South West Coast Path is Somerset and Devon. This beautiful stretch of the English coastline offers moor-filled national parks, 14th-century churches, and lovely coastal villages. Soak it all up with a self-guided walking tour!
Check out this walking tour of Somerset and Devon along the South West Coast Path here.
Dreaming of the South Cornwall Coast? You should be, because the landscape here is renowned for its beauty. Walk a section of the South West Coast Path and be immersed in rugged shoreline and the history of Cornwall. Picturesque harbours and sunsets over the sea await!
Check out this self-guided tour of the South Cornwall Coast via the South West Coast Path here.
There’s no place quite like the South Devon Coast! This stellar coastline is marked by fascinating rock formations and towering cliffs, and the wild natural beauty of the area is one of the highlights of the South West Coast Path. Take a walk by the historic centre of Plymouth, watch the landscape change with the tides, and enjoy the rich culture of South Devon.
Check out this self-guided walking tour of South Devon via the South West Coast Path here.
The West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is one of the best long-distance walks in the UK. You’ll explore Scotland’s premier scenery on foot, which gives you the chance to savour every tree, hill, and loch. From the Central Lowlands to the Highlands, it feels like a fantasy movie the whole way through.
The West Highland Way gives you the chance to explore some well-known landmarks, including the Devil’s Staircase, Loch Lomond, the largest loch in Scotland, and Ben Nevis, the highest point in the UK. The Scottish Highlands are a must-see, and doing so by walking the West Highland Way is the ideal way to do it!
Time to complete: 5-8 days
Best time to walk: April through October
West Highland Way Tours
Walking the West Highland Way through a self-guided tour is the perfect blend of independence and guidance. No missing a turn or finding out the hotel is booked at 8 PM after walking 7.5mi! This tour features all the highlights, from Loch Lomond to Devil’s Staircase. Then, you have the option to add on fun activities like a stop at Glengoyne Distillery or a climb up Ben Nevis. It’ll ensure you make the absolute most out of your time walking in Scotland.
Check out the self-guided West Highland Way Walking Tour here.
Prefer to walk the West Highland Way with the help of a guide? This tour follows the same legendary route, but you’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide the whole way through.
Check out this guided tour of the West Highland Way here.
The Pennine Way
The Pennine Way was England’s first national trail, so you’ll be following in the footsteps of many as you explore. This trail is steeped in history and crosses some truly amazing landscapes, so it should be at the top of any avid walker’s list.
The Pennine way follows the rocky “backbone” of England from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, right inside the border of Scotland. While walking the Pennine Way, you’ll cross through the splendid Swaledale Valley, over the Cheviot Hills, and past remote villages. The Pennine Way actually has more combined ascent than a climb of Mount Everest, making it no small feat to accomplish! Take on the trip of a lifetime and see England in one of the most special ways possible: on foot.
Country: England & Scotland
Time to complete: 16-19 days
Best time to walk: May through September
Check out our extensive Pennine Way guide
The South Downs Way
Want to explore sheer cliffs, prehistoric remnants, and charming villages? The South Downs Way has it all! This trail leads you along the chalk escarpment of South Downs, which looks out over the vast English Channel.
You’ll feel much further from civilization than you truly are on the South Downs Way. Strolling along undulating cliffs with the ocean at your side is sublime. Pass by lone lighthouses, sleep in a yurt or stop for a pint in a nearby village, then enjoy the fresh ocean air as you journey on. Virginia Woolf wrote, “the Downs… too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness, if only they would look.” See it for yourself!
Time to complete: 8-9 days
Best time to walk: March through October
The Great Glen Way
Want to see the living history of Scotland’s Highlands as you travel through on foot? The Great Glen Way stretches through the rolling Highlands for nearly 74.6mi, passing castles, mountains, and lochs- including Loch Ness, the legendary home of the fabled Loch Ness monster.
You’ll begin the Great Glen Way with a climb up Ben Nevis, the tallest peak in the UK. Talk about starting on a high note. Then, the trail passes by fairytale sights like Urquhart Castle and Inverness Castle. Learn the stories of the Caledonian Canal, dating back to the 19th century, and peer into the waters of Loch Ness. This trail is one of the most engaging, immersive ways to experience Scottish scenery, folklore, and history.
Time to complete: 4-7 days
Best time to walk: mid-April through October
Great Glen Way Tours
A self-guided tour leads you along the Great Glen Way with the perfect mix of independence and direction. This tour not only includes the highlights of the Great Glen Way, but it also takes you on unique adventures, like a visit to the Ben Nevis Distillery. You’ll walk the Caledonian Canal, trek South Laggan, visit Fort Augustus, and cruise over Loch Ness to spot the monster. What better way to experience this historic trail?
Check out this self-guided Great Glen Way Walking Tour here.
The Causeway Coast Way
The North of Ireland is a magical place- rugged coastline, lush vegetation, and dramatic cliffs await. Walking the Causeway Coast Way takes you to some of the most important attractions in Northern Ireland and leads you through a land that seems to be forgotten by time.
The Causeway Coast Way links well-loved tourist towns like Ballycastle and Portstewart with some of the most awe-inspiring attractions in the area, including Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The trail traverses the stellar landscape of the coastline before linking up with larger trails to complete an entire 621.4mi circuit of Northern Ireland. For now, this one slice of paradise is the perfect way to see the natural beauty of the region on a great walking tour.
Time to complete: 2-3 days
Best time to walk: March through September
Causeway Coast Way Tours
Explore the Causeway Coast Way on a guided tour, which ensures you won’t miss a single thing on your journey. This tour leads you through Glenveagh National Park, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Slieve League Cliffs. You’ll see the otherworldly Malin Head, hike past ruins near Donegal, and look over the mountains of Sligo. This is an unforgettable chance to lose yourself in all that the Causeway Coast Way has to offer.
Check out this guided Causeway Coast Way Walking Tour here.
The Rob Roy Way
The Rob Roy Way is one of Scotland’s great trails, stretching from Drymen on the West Highland Way to Pitlochry in Perthshire. Crossing some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK, this trail is a must-do for anyone wanting to experience Scotland in a totally unique, enchanting way.
The Rob Roy Way follows the 17th-century trail of Rob Roy MacGregor, Scotland’s most notorious outlaw and the “Robin Hood of the Highlands.” The trail traverses glens, rivers, mountains, and lochs, passing through picturesque little towns like Callander and Killin. Walking along the divide between the Highlands and Lowlands, you have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, Roman forts, and ancient sites of clan feuds and wars. Have your own Scottish outlaw adventure and explore this unique walking trail!
Time to complete: 5-7 days
Best time to walk: April through September
The John Muir Way
The John Muir Way traverses Scotland’s heartland, connecting Helensburgh and Dunbar. It’s named after the “father of national parks”, conservationist John Muir. The route symbolically takes you through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, Scotland’s own first national park.
On the trail, you’ll enjoy coasts, villages, vast green spaces, and historical sites. It’s a journey of contrast: from forest to beach, river to park, remote land to city centre. More rugged sections are windswept as you cross over high moorland, then you’ll pass by old Roman forts and the Antonine Wall. Come into Linlithgow and see the incredible palace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Wander to the seaside and through bustling Edinburgh. There’s a unique piece of Scottish history on every mile of this tour! The John Muir Way walk is not one to be missed.
Time to complete: 9-11 days
Best time to walk: April through September