The UK's Best Long Distance Walks

The UK's Best Long Distance Walks

We are fortunate in the UK to have access to a wide range of incredible outdoor paths! No matter where you are based, there’s always a fantastic journey nearby just waiting to be discovered.

For many people, the UK’s natural paths are a great way to spend a day outside, either with loved ones or by ourselves for exercise or simply peace of mind. However, certain locations are an excellent choice for those looking to test their endurance in a stunning landscape.

If you’re looking for a testing adventure that requires walking over multiple days, here are some of our favourite long-distance walks in the UK!

Long Distance Walks in the UK

Name Starting Point Ending Point Duration Difficulty
Coast to Coast Walk St Bees, Cumbria Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire 14 Days Moderate
Cotswold Way Bath Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire 7 Days Easy
Glyndwr's Way Knighton, Powys Welshpool, Powys 9 Days Difficult
Great Glen Way Fort William, Lochaber Inverness 6 Days Easy
Hadrian’s Wall Path Wallsend, Northumberland Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria 7 Days Moderate
South West Coast Path Minehead, Somerset Poole, Dorset 8 Weeks Difficult
West Highland Way Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire Fort William, Lochaber 7 Days Moderate

Note: While we have given a guide regarding the difficulty of these trails, understand that this is provided in the context of long-distance hiking. For any multi-day journey, you will require a level of physical strength and endurance higher than that needed for more straightforward walks.

Are you looking for something a little simpler for your first walk? Check out the best day hikes in England to get you started.

Coast to Coast Walk

A famous walk coined by guidebook author Alfred Wainwright in the 1970s, this journey takes you across northern England, from the western shore of Cumbria to the Yorkshire coast.

The idea is that walkers dip their feet into the Irish Sea at the small village of St Bees before setting off on a journey that commonly takes around two weeks to complete. During this time, you will walk through some of England’s most stunning national parks, the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. At the end, the walker arrives in the Yorkshire town of Robin Hood’s Bay, dipping their feet into the North Sea.

The Coast to Coast Walk is one of the UK’s most famous multi-day hikes, despite not having a singular marked path. The lack of strict guidance is one of the treats with this very personal adventure. However, there are many guides out there that provide detailed instructions, allowing walkers to traverse the land in the best way possible. Generally, on any route, the distance covered totals around 180-190 miles.

A body of water in the Lake District National Park

The Cotswold Way

If you’re looking for a more relaxed, picturesque long-distance walking experience, then the Cotswold Way should be high on your list. Running from the city of Bath to Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, this is a fully marked and accessible footpath through one of England’s most picturesque and traditional regions.

The route follows limestone hills that occupy the outskirts of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and visits a range of idyllic towns and landmarks along the way. The whole route is around 102 miles long and can be comfortably completed in a week.

Glyndwr’s Way

Despite its natural beauty, there are notably few multi-day hiking paths through Wales. This fact speaks more to the rugged nature of the Welsh countryside than anything else, as evidenced by this slightly more challenging route.

This journey, named after the historic Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr, involves a somewhat horseshoe-shaped journey through the Mid-Wales county of Powys. Following the whole path, from Knighton to Welshpool via Machynlleth, covers around 135 miles and often takes about nine days.

This journey is slightly more challenging than most due to the varied terrain it encompasses and also its remote location. There are few historical landmarks or settlements along the path, while there are notably long sections between any amenities. However, it does offer the walker a fantastic view of the famed Welsh countryside in all its beauty.

Discover our essential foods for long hikes.

The Great Glen Way

One of the most stunning regions in the whole of the UK is the Scottish Highlands. For anybody wanting to immerse themselves in the region’s beauty, the Great Glen Way is something you have to try.

As the name suggests, the walk predominantly follows alongside the Great Glen valley, running from Fort William to Inverness. The trail is around 78 miles long and offers some incredible views of the region, including the famous Loch Ness.

Despite its length, this walk can be done in under a week thanks to how well it has been paved and signposted. Perfect for people unsure about their map-reading abilities, the path is so well marked and cared for that it is even possible to cycle the route in a few days. For those seeking an extra challenge, nearby mountains along the way offer the opportunity for even more breathtaking views.

A bridge along the Great Glen Way in Scotland

Hadrian’s Wall Path

One of the UK’s most notable historical landmarks also makes for a wonderful path through Northern England. The 84-mile route follows the ancient Roman monument, allowing for sweeping views of English hills alongside many other Roman remains.

Hadrian’s Wall Path is perhaps one of the most varied multi-day hikes available in the UK. While predominantly rural, the journey from Wallsend on the east coast to Bowness-on-Solway on the west also includes sections through the heart of major urban areas including the cities of Newcastle and Carlisle.

South West Coast Path

The UK’s longest National Trail, this is a walk that very few people will ever do in one attempt. Running around the entire south-west peninsula, the approximately 630-mile route features various challenging terrains and is forecast to take eight weeks to walk. Furthermore, due to the number of rivers that cause the path to descend, the total climbing distance is almost four times the height of Mount Everest!

As a result of its sheer distance, many people enjoy the South West Coast Path in stages. For example, at the end of the path lies the Jurassic Coast, a stunning section of shore famed for its geologically significant cliffs.

Alternatively, some people choose to complete the entire South West Coast Path in multiple visits, taking a week here and there to explore a new section of this beautiful part of the UK.

A trail and steps through a field along the South West Coast Path in England

West Highland Way

The first officially-recognised long-distance route in Scotland in 1980, the West Highland Way is one of the country’s most famous multi-day excursions, with tens-of-thousands completing it every year.

A predominantly linear journey, the West Highland Way starts at the town of Milngavie, near Glasgow before heading north to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. Overall, the journey is 96 miles long and takes around a week to complete in its entirety.

The route is a beautiful example of the rugged nature of the Scottish countryside but is well-trodden, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of abilities. An ascent of the mountain Ben Lomond can also be included if trekkers wish to challenge themselves further.

A walking path through rugged mountains along the West Highland Way in Scotland

Of course, these are all relatively challenging routes that require preparation and the right equipment. Here at LOWA, we have a wide range of outdoor footwear for every terrain, including our summer hiking boots which are perfect for multi-day excursions!

If you have any questions about these paths or about what boots would be best for you, please get in contact with us – we would be happy to help.


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