Whether you do the full route or take it in sections, a walking holiday is a great way to escape reality and switch off. Here, Musement takes a look at eight of the best long-distance walking routes in the UK.
A long-distance walking route can make for an unforgettable holiday. Fortunately, the UK has a huge selection of long-distance walking paths, with something suitable for all levels of fitness. From the Great Glens of Scotland to the picturesque Welsh coast, take a look at our top picks of the best long-distance walking routes in the UK:
1. Cotswold Way, England
From Chipping Campden to the Roman city of Bath, this 102-mile route covers beautiful English countryside, historic sites and picturesque villages along its length. From quaint market towns to the grand Sudeley Castle and the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, not forgetting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath, there is plenty to take in during the route. People usually spend seven to 10 days doing the route, although you might want to spend a little longer to see more of the places along the way. And if you’re not up for the whole thing, then check out this post for some other great walks in the Cotswolds.
2. Lake District, England
Considered the most famous national park in the UK, the Lake District is a hugely popular destination for walking enthusiasts. With hundreds of miles of footpaths, mountains, rivers, and an abundance of lakes and quaint villages, you could spend weeks hiking in this stunning area of the UK. Popular hikes include Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Blencathra. Or why not try the 70-mile Cumbria Way which crosses the Lake District between Ulverston and Carlisle.
3. Hadrian’s Wall, England
Follow in the footsteps of the Romans and walk along Hadrian’s Wall, one of the best-preserved Roman frontiers in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route stretches 85 miles, starting from the bustling coastal town of Newcastle, through glorious countryside, all the way to the Solway Coast. Highlights along the route include the River Tyne bridges, Segedunum Fort, Birdoswald Roman Fort and Carlisle Castle. Most walkers complete the route in between five and 10 days, depending on fitness levels and what you want to see along the route.
4. Snowdonia Way, Wales
This 97-mile journey takes you through the full length of the Snowdonia National Park. The main route is considered low level, however, there is a ‘mountain route’ which covers 122 miles and takes you through some of the national park’s most famous peaks, such as Snowdon. Walkers can enjoy dramatic landscapes, towering peaks, ancient stone circles, forests and beautiful river valleys.
5. Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales
The longest walking route on the list, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is no mean feat. Covering 186-miles, most people spend 10-15 days completing it, but it can also be cut into more manageable sections to be tackled separately. Featuring varied coastal scenes, the route stretches from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south. The trail passes some of Wale’s most beautiful beaches, such as Barafundle Bay, Tenby and Freshwater West Beach. Discover Neolithic tombs, mighty castles and pretty fishing villages along the route too. And keep an eye out for wildlife; with seals, dolphins and seabirds all commonly spotted along the trail.
6. West Highland Way, Scotland
A 96-mile walking route, starting from Milngavie in the north of Glasgow, the route follows the length of Loch Lomond and finishes in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. This long-distance walk is usually completed in around seven or eight days with overnight stops in the villages along the way. Accommodation can be limited, so book well in advance or bring your tent and wild camp under the stars. Expect to see some of Scotland’s most breath-taking scenery and top attractions, including Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond, Glengoyne Distillery, Falls of Falloch and Buachaille Etive Mor.
7. Causeway Coast Way, Northern Ireland
Remote beaches, medieval castles, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the geological marvel of the Giant’s Causeway awaits you on this 33-mile walking route. One of the shortest routes on the list, it takes the average walker two to three days to complete. From Ballycastle to Portstewart, the majority of the route follows coastal paths and provides sweeping views across the Atlantic.
8. The Great Glen Way, Scotland
Following the country’s greatest geological fault, named the Great Glen, the route runs for 79 miles from Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast. You will encounter iconic Scottish landmarks on the way, such as Ben Nevis, Loch Oich and Loch Ness. It can be walked in four to seven days, and for the most part, is considered low level. Although, there are a couple of Munros along the way which can be tackled for those seeking a challenge.