Top 10 walking holidays in the UK

Wondering where to go walking in the UK? We’ve gathered together 10 of the top walking holidays in this island nation. There’s a whole lot of coastline to explore, from the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and Scottish islands to Snowdonia and sand-skimmed Jersey. Every path has a story, but some tales are more famous than others – it all depends if you’d rather follow holy footsteps along the Pilgrims’ Way or hike along the historied towpaths of the River Thames.

Keep reading to discover our best walking holidays in the UK.

1. Pilgrims’ Way, England

The Pilgrims’ Way is the most famous pilgrimage route in the UK. This 192km path joins the cathedral cities of Winchester and Canterbury, but you’ll also have the chance to traverse the heights of Box Hill, Jane Austen’s hometown of Chawton, King’s Wood and the River Wey. Self guided hiking holidays put you up in centuries-old inns along the way.

Our top trip: Pilgrims’ Way walk
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Read more: Pilgrims’ Way guide

2. Orkney, Scotland

The sea informs everything in Orkney, a craggy and remote archipelago off Scotland’s north-eastern corner. Walking holidays here explore Skara Brae, Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village, and RSPB-managed islands like Hoy, where puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes and fulmars nest. Leave the capital, Kirkwall, for the big cruise ships and follow less-known walking routes instead, accompanied by knowledgeable guides.

Our top trip: Orkney Isles small group walking holiday
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Read more: Orkney walking holidays guide

3. Coast to Coast Walk, England

The Coast to Coast Walk is a 293km hike devised by writer Alfred Wainwright that leads you from the Irish Sea in the west of England to the North Sea in the east. Two of England’s most beautiful national parks lie in-between: the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. Our best holiday lasts two weeks and includes sleepovers at a Georgian farmhouse and a hotel formed from 16th-century miners’ cottages.

Our top trip: Self guided Coast to Coast Walk
See all our trips: England walking holidays
Read more: England walking holidays guide

4. Causeway Coast Way, Northern Ireland

The Causeway Coast Way is part of the Ulster Way, which loops for 1,070km around Northern Ireland. This section is seriously scenic: an easy coastal path that rolls from Ballycastle to Portstewart. Our top walking holiday is guided, giving you local insight into the history behind the castles, whiskey distilleries and fishing villages – as well as the best way to hike the Giant’s Causeway minus the crowds.

Our top trip: Northern Ireland walking holiday
See all our trips: Northern Ireland walking holidays
Read more: Northern Ireland walking holidays guide

5. South West Coast Path, England

The South West Coast Path is a 1,030km walking trail that zigs and zags along the dramatic coastline of South West England. You don’t have to do it all, though. Choose a tailor made, self guided holiday and take on a section that appeals to you – whether that’s the castles and steam railways of Devon, Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, or the King Arthur castle towns and surf beaches of North Cornwall.

Our top trip: South West Coast Path walking holiday
See all our trips: England walking holidays
Read more: South West Coast Path guide

6. Jersey, Channel Islands

Coastal footpaths loop around Jersey for almost 80km. Start in St Helier, before exploring castle-topped towns like Gorey, the Jersey War Tunnels and pretty St Aubin, as well as some of the most tidal beaches in the world. Remember to pack a swimsuit – Jersey is closer to France than mainland England, so the weather and waters are warmer.

Our top trip: Jersey self guided walking tour
See all our trips: Jersey holidays
Read more: Jersey walking holidays guide

7. Thames Path, England

The Thames is best known for pouring through London, but this river is in fact 346km long – and almost all of it is covered by the Thames Path National Trail. The best holidays spend a week taking a leisurely bite out of the path. The mighty river’s tiny source, Thames Head, is a great place to start. From here, it’s a 85km meander to Oxford via twee villages, stone bridges, canal locks… and plenty of riverside pubs.

Our top trip: The Thames Path – source to Oxford walk
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Read more: Thames Path walking guide

8. Northumberland, England

The world has been slumbering on Northumberland, one of England’s best-kept secrets. It’s beautiful up here, walking between castles along long, beach-lined coasts, looking out to the North Sea as you stop to try kippers in Craster. You can walk all the way up to the Scottish border on the Northumberland Coast Path, a long distance walking trail that runs for 64 miles between the seaside village of Cresswell, and Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Our top trip: Northumberland coast walking holiday
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Read more: England walking holidays guide

9. Cairngorms, Scotland

With its pine forests, hidden lochs, heather moors and hulking granite mountains, the Cairngorms is gorgeous walking territory at any time of the year. We recommend hiking off-season, however – and one of our best UK walking holidays takes you in the depths of winter, when you can climb snowy mountaintops and icy valleys in the wake of an expert mountain guide.

Our top trip: Scotland winter walking holiday
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Read more: Scottish Highlands walking guide

10. South Downs Way, England

This 161km trail is on our doorstep, so perhaps we’re biased… but we think the South Downs Way is one of the most underrated National Trails in the UK. It stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne, curving over a chalk ridge with views over valley villages, chalk cliffs and silvery rivers. Highlights include the fairy tale castle town of Arundel, the River Itchen, where you might spy otters, and the towering chalk cliffs of Beachy Head.

Our top trip: South Downs Way walking holiday
See all our trips: South Downs holidays
Read more: South Downs travel guide
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about UK or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Nilfanion] [1. Pilgrims’ Way, England: Ethan Doyle White] [4. Causeway Coast Way, Northern Ireland: Jal74] [7. Thames Path, England : Andrew Smith] [10. South Downs Way, England: © Anne Katrin Purkiss]