Walking holidays in England Overview

England’s walking trails have inspired poets and writers, saints and scholars. You can follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth, who “wandered lonely as a cloud” throughout his native Lake District. The South Downs were home to Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set, Shakespeare’s Way is 235km of literary loveliness, and it’s almost mandatory to carry a copy of a Du Maurier novel while hiking around Cornwall on the South West Coast Path. These holidays get you from one place to the next with your bags transported for you, so you can pack all the books you want. Read more in our England walking travel guide.

Our top Walking holidays in England

Cumbria Way walking holiday, Lake District

From £810 to £1116
10 days ex flights
Walking Holiday in England's Lake District The Cumbria Way

Thames Path walking holiday, Cotswolds to London

From £1442 to £2128
15 days ex flights
Follow the Thames river from its source in the Cotswolds

York to Fountains Abbey walking holiday, England

From £250
4 days ex flights
The Prior Richards way self-guided 12th century walk
Tailor made

Map & highlights

Many holidays in England focus on cities and famous locations that get unpleasantly busy. But while iconic walking destinations such as the Lake District and Peak District have their honeypot sites, our responsible holiday partners will ensure you get off the beaten track. Walking in England is all about meandering along at your own pace, basking in scenery that has inspired painters, poets and writers for centuries. Whether youíre on historic routes such as the Pilgrimsí Way, or the Thames Path, South Downs Way or the spectacular South West Coast Path, enjoy simply taking your time.
Lake District

1. Lake District

Tackling parts of the Cumbria Way will take you through some of the national parkís typical topography through remote farmland, rivers and fells between Ulverston and Carlisle, for example. Book a tailor made holiday for at least eight days to cover the whole thing, having bags transported for you, and amble through Lake District classics like Coniston Water, Borrowdale, Derwentwater and Keswick.
Peak District

2. Peak District

This is UKís first national park with dramatic Derbyshire moorland, particularly around the Dark Peak, to the river valleys of the White Peak, where you can tailor make a holiday depending on how many days you are able to spoil yourself with. Spend three days walking around Dovedale, for example, where the likes of Tennyson and Byron gushed about the River Dove valley, wooded ravines, stepping stones and hidden caves.
Pilgrims Way

3. Pilgrims Way

This trail between Winchester and Canterbury follows in the footsteps of pilgrims between two magnificent cathedral cities. Walk on ancient tracks, across the chalk hills of North and Kent Downs, and through magnificent ancient woodland. With a great network of accommodation (and pubs, of course) along the way, self guided holidays are easy, with bags transported for you, and choosing as long a section as you like.
South West Coast Path

4. South West Coast Path

The mother of them all when it comes to marine magnificence. A 1,000km walking trail around Englandís dramatically beautiful southwest through Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, with about ten clear sections that are easily navigable for independent walking. Regional treats include Lands End, Lundy Island, Salcombe and Burgh Island. Or push the boat out and do the Scilly Isles, too.
Sussex & the South Downs

5. Sussex & the South Downs

A perfect escape, and just a short hop from London. The downs, their eponymous national park and Sussex coast boast some of the most eclectic walking escapes. From the Ouse Valley famous for its Bloomsbury Set, or estuarine landscapes around Chichester harbour to the heart of the South Downs, where you can take on part of the magnificent South Downs Way (161km), itís a walkerís must.
Thames Path

6. Thames Path

Far from just a path through central London, this national trail stretches for nearly 300km from the Thames Barrier to the source of the river in Gloucestershire. Book a tailor made holiday and take on a section that tickles your Thames fancy, discovering historic cities such as Windsor and Oxford along the way. Relatively flat and accessible, wander through Cotswold prettiness to historic havens, with endless waterside pubs en route.

The Pilgrimsí Way

Pilgrims and avid walkers have followed the 200km route between Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent for centuries. If you’re familiar with the satirical characters of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this is the journey they’re on. Mostly flat, with a few uphill bits, the Pilgrims’ Way flaunts its literary connections, taking you past the former homes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Expect stunning North Downs scenery and choice pubs to stop at for lunch, including the wittily named Dirty Habit in Hollingbourne. It’s a two-week jaunt, but like most long-distance walks can be easily broken into sections.

Thames Path

You probably didn’t know that there are beaches in central London. Small ones, but beaches nonetheless, and you can stop off for a paddle while walking the Thames Path. Beginning in Gloucestershire, it’s one of England’s most celebrated long-distance walks. You can walk in either direction, but our expert holiday partners suggest going west to east and finishing in London, so that you have the wind at your back. Across two weeks, follow footpaths from villages in the Cotswolds and Chilterns to historic towns such as Oxford and Windsor, and finally to the Big Smoke itself.

South West Coast Path

The decline of traditional industries such as tin mining and fishing has hit many Cornish coastal communities hard, as has a rise in second home ownership. Our responsible walking holidays on the South West Coast Path bring valuable out-of-season income to guest houses, pubs and restaurants along the route, as well as providing needed employment. And don’t be put off by the crowds around popular sites in Cornwall – there are many lesser-known but equally lovely locations along this long-distance route, such as Saunton Sands, Bideford and Croyde, that attract just a fraction of the visitors.

More holiday ideas

Winchester to Canterbury Pilgrims way

From £1569
15 days ex flights
Walk the Pilgrims Way from Winchester to Canterbury

Shakespeares Way walking holiday, Cotswolds to London

From £595 to £1980
8 days ex flights
From Stratford-upon-Avon to The Globe Theatre
Tailor made

Northumberland coast walking holiday

From £560 to £798
8 days ex flights
Self Guided Walking Holiday in Northumberland Coast Path
Tailor made

South West Coastal Path walking holiday, England

From £459 to £899
8 days ex flights
The South West Coast Path and Isles of Scilly

Kennet and Avon Canal Towpath walking holiday, England

From £720 to £1200
8 days ex flights
Canal walking holiday in Southern England
Tailor made

Thames Path walking holiday, Oxford to Windsor

From £660 to £954
7 days ex flights
Self guided walk along the River Thames Oxford to Windsor
Quote. The secret to a great holiday is that it's great for everyone - you, local communities and nature.
Tourist and Masai

More about Walking holidays in England

Lake District

One of England’s most beloved – and busiest – national parks, the Lake District was drawing crowds well before William Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud. But you needn’t be confined to crowded lakeshores and tearooms; our responsible walking holidays pair you up with local guides. This is the best way to get some breathing space on lesser-visited fells, as well as to gain a proper appreciation of the Lake District’s heritage. You’ll stay in locally owned guesthouses and skip the most eroded paths, contributing to more sustainable tourism – something that’s badly needed in the Lake District.

South Downs Way

The South Downs Way between Winchester and Eastbourne can be undertaken on a gruelling 24-hour, 161km marathon, but it’s best appreciated at a much more leisurely pace. Self guided walking holidays let you flit from village to village, making use of excellent public transport connections for much of the way, with daily distances of no more than 18km and generally easygoing gradients. Your luggage will be transported between locally owned B&Bs, benefitting small communities, so you can walk these undulating, idyllic landscapes with just a daypack. And naturally, our holiday organisers are full of recommendations on pubs, bakeries and restaurants en route.

Our top 10 walks

Call us biased if you must, but we think England is one of the best countries for walking in Europe. Our top 10 walks demonstrate the variety on offer across long-distance routes, from the Thames Path and historic Pilgrims’ Way, to the South Downs Way across England’s youngest national park. On the White Cliffs Country Trail, Two Moors Way and Cumbria Way, you’ll roam some of England’s most iconic and soul-stirring landscapes. And all of them lined with classic English pubs where you can celebrate your endeavours with a foaming beer. Cheers!
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about England walking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
[The Pilgrimsí Way: Gareth Williams] [Thames Path: Steve Daniels] [South West Coast Path: Nilfanion] [Lake District: Ian Cylkowski] [South Downs Way: © Anne Katrin Purkiss] [Our top 10 walks: Liam Richards]
Photo credits: [Page banner: Luke Porter] [Escape the cities: Matt Buck] [Devon: mattvaux7] [Walking in England: Luke Ellis-Craven] [South Downs National Park: Sam Knight]