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7 of the Best Long Distance Walks in the UK

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person in red jacket walking on brown dirt road in day time with brownish grassy hills beyond

Rolling countryside, dramatic coasts, windswept moors, and a few mountains for good measure… there are dozens of epic long-distance walks in the UK.

From the Highlands of Scotland to the vales and glens of Wales, and from the atmospheric moorlands of Northern England to the glorious south coast. There’s so much to discover – and what better way to see this glorious little island than on foot?

Take on the challenge of one of the UK’s most impressive long distance walks and you’ll gain lifetime bragging rights. You’ll also have an amazing adventure, and get the chance to see the UK in a whole new way.

Remember to pack sturdy boots, a sense of adventure, and a camera to capture the magic of these long-distance walks. Happy hiking!

Best Long Distance Walks in the UK

1. South West Coast Path

Distance: 630 miles / 1014km
Time to walk: 6 to 8 weeks (most guides divide the walk into 52 one day sections)
Start / End: Minehead / Poole Harbour

view of Durdle Door a stone archway over the sea next to a curved bay with blue sea - seen from a grassy cliff top with the south west coast path leading past

Embark on an epic coastal adventure stretching from Minehead in Somerset to the serene shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset. This expedition encompasses the rugged coastlines of the entire southwestern corner of England: part of Somerset, all of Devon and Cornwall, and most of Dorset

Along the way you’ll pass secluded beaches, hidden coves, dramatic cliffs, quaint fishing villages and the geological marvels of the Jurassic Coast. 

It’s definitely a challenge, known for its steep climbs and rollercoaster up-and-downs. But the payoffs are spectacular views, remote beaches, and the abundant coastal wildlife of the southwest. 

Check out the incredible book The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, in which she recounts the true story of hiking the coast path with her terminally ill husband. 

2. The West Highland Way

Distance: 96 miles / 154km
Time to walk: 6-9 days
Start / End: Milngavie / Fort William

aerial view of Fort William town in Scotland next to a large blue lake with a snowcapped mountain behind on a sunny day with clear blue sky above

Beginning in the suburbs of Glasgow, The West Highland Way leads adventurers through some of Scotland’s most mesmerizing landscapes. The journey culminates at Fort William, with the iconic Ben Nevis as the grand finale.

It’s a wonderfully varied route. This captivating journey meanders along the length of Loch Lomond, heralding the gateway to the Highlands. Explore lakes and lochs, rugged landscapes, and historic villages. You’ll also be able to observe the Highland Boundary Fault, a geological fault that runs through Scotland. 

Enjoy rugged terrain, well-marked trails, and the allure of Scotland’s untamed beauty.

3. The Coast To Coast

Distance: 190 miles / 306km
Time to walk: 11-15 days
Start / End: St Bees / Robin Hood’s Bay

aerial view of St Bees with a large sandy beach at low tide and a small town surroudned by green countryside

Embark on an unforgettable transnational expedition from St Bees on the west coast to the picturesque Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. Traversing the diverse landscapes of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors, this odyssey promises a fusion of mountains, moors, forests, rivers, coasts, and farmland.

A testament to the wild and unspoiled beauty of the British countryside, the Coast to Coast trail is a quintessential experience for intrepid explorers.

4. Snowdonia Slate Trail

Distance: 83 miles / 134km
Time to walk: 5 to 9 days
Start / End: Bangor / Bethesda

looking down a mountain with a line of people hiking up a stone path with two bright blue lakes in the background - climbing mount snowdon in wales on a clear day with a hazy blue sky overhead

Immerse yourself in the mystique of Snowdonia National Park as you embark on the Snowdonia Slate Trail. Unveiling the region’s rich industrial heritage amidst wild mountains and verdant valleys, this trail promises a journey through time. 

Slate quarries, mountain peaks, and serene lakes await – along with crumbling chapels, old mining machinery, and idyllic camping spots amidst a landscape imbued with rugged charm and timeless allure.

5. The Cambrian Way

Distance: 298 miles / 480km
Time to walk: 15-20 days
Start / End: Cardiff / Conwy

stone marker with a red dragon logo on it and green countryside with a small mountain behind in the brecon beacons in wales

Embark on the ultimate mountain connoisseur’s pilgrimage along the Cambrian Way, traversing the length and breadth of Wales from Cardiff to Conwy. Featuring iconic peaks like Snowdon, Cadair Idris, and Pen y Fan, this 298-mile odyssey offers a captivating blend of scenic splendour and rugged adventure. 

A true test of navigational skills amidst Wales’s wildest landscapes, the Cambrian Way beckons intrepid explorers seeking the thrill of discovery.

I drove the Cambrian Way as a road trip a few years ago, walking a couple of sections. One of the unexpected highlights of the route is the central section through the seriously underrated Mid Wales region. 

6. The Pennine Way

Distance: 268 miles / 431km
Time to walk: 15-20 days
Start / End: Edale / Kirk Yetholm

small conical hill with rocks on surrounded by green countyside in the peak district

Beginning in Edale (Peak District), this 268-mile trail winds its way through the Pennines, offering panoramic views and encounters with nature. The journey ends in Kirk Yetholm, Scotland.

Traversing remote stretches and three national parks, this fantastic long distance trail through Northern England offers a captivating blend of stunning landscapes, charming villages, and rugged terrain. From the picturesque peaks of the Peak District to the rolling hills of Northumberland, the Pennine Way promises an unforgettable adventure for seasoned hikers and nature enthusiasts alike.

7. The Cumbria Way

Distance: 71 miles / 112km
Time to walk: 5 days
Start / End: Ulverston / Carlisle

very calm flat lake with a hill on the far side reflected in the water on a sunny day with blue sky above - Buttermere Lake District England UK

Stretching from Ulverston in the south of the lakes to Carlisle near the Scottish border, this epic trail takes in the best of the Lake District. Along the way, you’ll traverse picturesque landscapes, including Coniston, Langdale, Keswick, and Caldbeck.

This 73-mile trail offers a captivating blend of lakeside vistas, charming villages, and awe-inspiring landscapes. From the jagged skyline of the Langdale Pikes to the tranquil shores of Derwentwater, the Cumbria Way showcases the timeless beauty of England’s Lake District.

Have you completed any of these long distance walks in the UK? Let me know in the comments.

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