Top 10 walks in England

From ancient pilgrimage routes to mountain tracks, Englandís green and pleasant land holds a myriad of walking trails. Through ancient towns steeped in folklore, to panoramic coastal lookouts, by way of historic inns and superb local grub, our favourite trails will take you through some of this countryís most special places. Routes are walkable all year round (but this is England, so pack some waterproofs) and enjoy putting your best foot forward on our top 10 walks in England.

1.The Thames Path

Following the course of the River Thames from the sleepy Cotswolds to stately Greenwich, London, the Thames Path offers 290km of gentle walking on flat, riverside trails. This is a journey of contrasts; on your way, honey-coloured thatched villages and rolling countryside give way to the life and noise of central London. Historic Oxford and Windsor Castle are iconic English highlights.

2. The Pilgrimís Way

Youíll walk in the footsteps of Chaucer on this ancient pilgrimage route to Canterbury Cathedral. Steeped in folklore, the 192km long Pilgrimís Way stretches from historic Winchester, along the entire length of the North Downs. Youíll walk between some of Kentís oldest and prettiest villages and visit stately homes with family ties to Jane Austen, staying at historic inns en route.

Our top trip: Pilgrimís Way self-guided walking tour, England
See all our trips: Walking holidays in England
Read more: Walking holidays in England guide

3. Kennet and Avon Canal Towpath

Enjoy easy walking along a 75mile route, perfect for a relaxing week-long holiday. The Kennet & Avon Canal Towpath will take you from Reading to beautiful Roman and Regency Bath, via pretty waterside pubs, historic villages and engineering marvels. Relics of old warehouses and the impressive Caen Hill flight of locks tell tales of the canalís industrial past.

Our top trip: Kennet and Avon Canal Towpath Walking Holiday, England
See all our trips: Walking holidays in England
Read more: Walking holidays in England guide

4. The White Cliffs Country Trail

There are few more patriotic English sights than the white cliffs of Dover rising sharply out of the English Channel. Walk the White Cliffs Country Trail and Saxon Shore Way from Canterbury to historic Deal and youíll enjoy unique chalk grasslands and iconic panoramic views. Not to mention wine tasting at local vineyards and an insight into wartime life at Dover Castle and the White Cliffs Experience.

5. The South West Coast Path

In its entirety the South West Coast Path takes in just over 1,000km of Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall coastal perfection. Tackle sections rather than the whole shebang; the 107km Cornish stretch from Bude to Newquay offers you dramatic clifftop vistas and the quaint fishing port of Padstow, or follow Dorsetís Jurassic Coast and search for fossils on its sweeping beaches.

Our top trip: South West Coast Path walking holiday, England
See all our trips: Walking holidays in south west England
Read more: Walking holidays in England guide

6. The South Downs Way

The South Downs form Responsible Travelís back garden so we have a lot of love for the steep chalk escarpments, coastal panoramas and thriving market towns that make up the UKís newest National Park. Youíll enjoy spectacular views from the South Downs Way, the 160km trail forming the spine of the park, from Winchester to the sheer chalk cliffs of Beachy Head outside Eastbourne.

Our top trip: Our top trip: South Downs way walking holiday
See all our trips: South Downs walking holidays
Read more: South Downs National Park guide

7. The Prior Richard Way, Yorkshire

Journey from York to the UNESCO listed Fountains Abbey through the historic and beautiful landscape of North Yorkshire following in the footsteps of 12th century monks. While the 60km of the Prior Richard Way offers you easy walking, youíll still be blown away by the rolling countryside views and the warm Yorkshire welcome youíll receive in village cafes along the way.

8. Hadrianís Wall Path

Step back in time to Roman Britain as you walk along one of Englandís most historic monuments. Stretching for 135km from Wallsend on Englandís east coast to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast, the Hadrianís Wall Path offers you relatively easy and clearly way-marked trails through remote countryside, perfect if you prefer self-guided adventures. Relics of ancient Roman forts punctuate your route.

Our top trip: Highlights of Hadrianís Wall walking holiday, England
See all our trips: Northern England walking holidays
Read more: Walking holidays in England guide

9. Norfolk Coast Path

Leisurely days of wandering interspersed by lunches of delicious, locally caught brown crab, all washed down with Norfolk ale Ė sounds like walking heaven. The 75km Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to Cromer makes for a delightful, relatively gentle weekís holiday, with superb sea views, sleepy coastal villages and some of Englandís best seafood. Add on the Peddars Way from Thetford for 154km of uninterrupted Norfolk bliss.

Our top trip: Norfolk Coast Path walking holiday, England
See all our trips: Walking holidays in England
Read more: Walking holidays in England guide

10. The Cumbria Way

This route stretches 131km from Ulverston to Carlisle, via some of the Lake District National Parkís most evocative places: Coniston, Borrowdale, Great Langdale, Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwent WaterÖ The list of natural beauty on this trail just goes on and on. Skirting lakes and valleys, with towering fells rising above you, the Cumbria Way offers you surprisingly easy walking in a region best known for its dramatic, rocky slopes.
Written by Sarah Faith
Photo credits: [Page banner: Luke Porter] [Thames Path - Henley: Edmund Gall] [White Cliffs of Dover: Karen Roe] [Fountains Abbey: Terry Madeley] [The Cumbria Way: YorkshirePhotoWalks]
Convert currencies