Overseas adventure plans gone down the pan this year? Don’t worry about it, there’s plenty of fun to be had within Britain’s shores. You might not have known it yet (apologies if you did) but this is going to be the year that you take on a long-distance walk. You’re going to look through this list, read about just how much adventure opportunity is out there and think, oh yeah, that does look a lot of fun – in fact that looks fun and it could be much cheaper than a normal holiday as well actually.
Whether it’s England, Scotland or Wales, there are long distance trails galore here in Great Britain, not just the well-known national trails, but loads of other lesser and little-know ones as well. All kinds of distances too, from mammoth ones that will keep you occupied for months right down to short and sweet ones that’ll require as little as two days of annual leave from work.
The Pennine Way
Chosen by Becky The Traveller, British Travel Blogger
Distance: 268 miles / 431km
One of my favourite long-distance trails in the UK is the Pennine Way National Trail, which I hiked in June 2019, starting in Edale in the Peak District and finishing approx 268 miles later in Kirk Yetholm. It’s not the longest one the UK has but it’s known as one of the toughest due to how remote some of the stretches are, and this is one of the reasons I loved it.
I was totally blown away by how beautiful the trail was, with stunning and surprising scenery along the way, including waterfalls, hills and lovely little villages where you can resupply. I’d recommend it to anyone who fancies a long-distance challenge, you’ll get to walk through three national parks and one AONB so there’s plenty to love about the walk.
The Cumbria Way
Chosen by James Forrest, author of The Mountain Man (jamesmforrest.co.uk)
Distance: 73 miles / 117km
The 73-mile Cumbria Way – which traverses the country from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north, via Coniston, Langdale, Keswick and Caldbeck – is a stunning low-level trail. The middle section through the heart of the Lake District is superlative. The jagged skyline of the Langdale Pikes, the achingly pretty Tarn Hows and the charming western shores of Derwentwater are but a few of the many highlights. It’s a walk that proves you don’t have to bag mountains to relish the beauty of the Lakes.
The West Highland Way
Chosen by Rory Southworth, Ordnance Survey Champion
Distance: 96 miles / 154km
A popular hiking trail, the West Highland Way must be one of the most social routes to hike in the UK, with many common spots to stop along the way and meet fellow hikers. It’s an incredibly varied route; starting in the suburbs of Glasgow it then follows right along the length of Loch Lomond before passing through the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ and finishing with the jaw dropping scenery that leads to Fort William and Ben Nevis. I love the rugged terrain you encounter on this journey and the fact that the trail is well-marked and easy to follow.