5 best long walking trails in the UK

It is said there is no single place in the UK where you’re more than 112km from the sea. This means that the country is dotted with a wide variety of epic coastal, country and historic walks, all easily accessible via public transport. Based on natural beauty or historic relevance, we present our top five multi-day treks in the UK.

The Thames Walk 

This iconic 296km walk follows the course of the River Thames, starting at its source in the Cotswolds and finishing at the Thames Barrier at Woolwich in South-East London. It’s an easy course with few elevations, making it ideal for hikers of all abilities. If your time is limited, choose to walk only part of the way. If not, set out for an epic 14-day adventure, covering an average of 24km per day. The route meanders from the countryside, through the heart of beautiful Oxford and Windsor, and onto vibrant London. You’ll find plenty of traditional pubs, guesthouses and campsites along the way. For more information, visit: nationaltrail.co.uk.

The South West Coast Path 

The longest trail in the UK, the 1 014km South West Coast path has got to make for one of the world’s most spectacular walks. It follows the entire coastline of Cornwall, continuing along the south coast of Devon and onto the Dorset coastline, where it finally finishes at Poole Harbour. It’s thanks to the coastguard of yesteryear – who patrolled the coast for smugglers – that it is such a well-demarcated trail. If you choose to walk the entire route in one go, set aside at least a month. Slternatively, do as most other people do and walk one stretch at a time. This is a challenging route with many hills, but the dramatic scenery is reward enough.

The West Highland Way, Scotland 

Follow in the footsteps of Braveheart’s William Wallace on the epic 152km West Highland Way, which starts in Glasgow and ends in Fort William. You’ll walk through the majestic Scottish Highlands, passing rolling hills, sparkling lakes and fairytale forests. If you walk an average of 21km per day, the route can be completed in a week. You’ll find plenty of budget-friendly accommodation, quirky pubs and good cheer along the way. A huge bonus is that camping is permitted for two to three nights at a time. A good level of fitness is required, as the path has its fair share of inclines.

Dorset on Foot 

Arguably the most quintessential of English counties, Dorset is home to lush green meadows, fishing villages and the legendary Jurassic Coast (a World Heritage Site). Starting just over the border in Wiltshire at the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury and finishing 115km later along the coast in Lyme Regis, this picturesque route showcases the county’s very best attractions, from chocolate-box villages and romantic castles to pristine farmlands. There are dozens of country pubs along the way where you can stop for a hearty meal and an English ale. If you choose to walk this six-day route with On Foot Holidays (one of Europe’s leading self-guided walking tour operators), everything will be arranged on your behalf, including accommodation, luggage transfers between inns and select meals. You’ll also be equipped with a comprehensive information pack, complete with detailed route maps. For more information, email: walks@onfootholidays.co.uk.

Hadrian’s Wall Path 

Stretching across northern England from coast to coast, this 135km path traces the famous Hadrian’s Wall, which was used as a defensive fortification during the ancient Roman occupation. Along the trail, you’ll walk through moorlands – straight out of Wuthering Heights – and historic cities such as Newcastle. Hikers should have a reasonable level of fitness, as there are quite a few short climbs and descents along the way. The good news is that the route is well-marked with an acorn symbol and can be completed in a week. For more information, visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk

Follow Franki’s adventures on www.women4adventure.com & www.frankiblack.com

– On Foot Holidays

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