Traveling around England on foot is a fantastic way to experience the history and heritage of the landscape. Whether you’re a native or an international tourist, you’ll be able to explore some stunning areas of England using the power of your own two feet. Whether you embark on walking tours as part of a group or take off on your own, here are 5 trails you should really try.
1. Yorkshire Wolds Way
This trail runs 79 miles from Hessle (near Hull) up the small seaside town of Filey. Along the way, it takes in the manmade magnificence of the Humber Bridge, woodlands, river banks, and old railway lines, not to mention some stunning views of rolling Wolds that have inspired artists like David Hockney.
The walk will take around 5 days at an easy pace and there are plenty of market towns and villages to drop into along the way, ensuring you have somewhere to sleep and independent eateries to try. It’s a relatively easy walk, so it’s ideal for relaxed walkers or families.
2. Cotswold Way
This walk takes you along the edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with 102 miles stretching from Chipping Campden down to the magnificent city of Bath. If you’re searching for a walk that will take in some of England’s finest countryside along with the heritage offered by a visit to the city most associated with Jane Austen, this walk is for you.
It’ll take between 6 and 11 days to walk this route, depending on your pace and how long you intend to spend in towns along the way. You’ll pass through beautiful villages and towns as you enjoy the panoramic views across the Severn Vale.
3. Thames Path
The River Thames is famous across the world, whether you’ve visited London already or simply seen it on television. The river is steeped with history, yet it’s a longer river than many people are aware of. Its source is in the Cotswold hills and it winds its way through 184 miles before it reaches the Thames Barrier at Greenwich. This walk allows you to travel along this majestic river as it twists and turns through the English countryside.
This walk will take a minimum of 10 days and it involves passing through Oxford amongst other towns and villages on the route. As a waterside path, it’s a trail that’s full of activity and there are plenty of places to stay along the way.
4. Hadrian’s Wall Path
Explore the rugged beauty of Northumberland on this 84-mile route alongside Hadrian’s Wall. Every step of this walk is steeped in history and you’ll be able to see some of the most stunning views in the country from its vantage points. Hadrian’s Wall remains one of the most iconic legacies by the Romans to England, and this walk is testament to that heritage.
It’ll take upwards of 6 days to travel this route in its entirety, but you’ll go through two of the largest cities in this area (Carlisle and Newcastle) along the way. It’s a barren landscape that is probably the closest you’ll get to how the Romans saw England – just without the bustling of Roman soldiers all around you.
5. South West Coast Path
This trail isn’t for the faint-hearted. Indeed, at 630 miles, it’s the longest National Trail in the UK. Of course, you don’t have to walk all of it, but if you’re looking for an incredible challenge, the coastline of the South West of England is one like no other.
If you’re a fast walker looking to complete the whole route, you could manage this trail in about 30 days. However, if you want to stop off along the way and visit some of the sights, you’re probably looking at about 7 to 8 weeks of time on the trail. As you walk, you’ll find stunning views, rugged terrain, pirate tales, sleepy harbors, castles, and much more.
Interested in walking the English countryside?
You can find detailed information on these 5 trails and the others that make up the National Trails via the . You can also find accommodation guidance and lists of things to see while you’re enjoying your walk.