18 BEST Long-Distance Walks in the UK (+ Tough Challenges)

Pennine Way - Peak District - Edale - long-distance hike

There are lots of epic hikes in the UK, including some awesome long-distance trails and multi-day hikes too! If you’re up for a challenge here are the best long-distance walks in the UK.

Also included are a few difficult hiking challenges too, who doesn’t like a long-distance walking challenge!

The great thing a long-distance walk is it doesn’t have to be done in one go. You can easily break it down into smaller challenges or numerous day walks and enjoy them just as much.

Here is a list of 18 long-distance hikes and challenges around the UK in England, Wales and Scotland (Northern Ireland, watch this space). I’ve completed in most of the challenges and trails in full or hiked sections of them. And I’ve included more from adventurous hiking bloggers what are their best UK long-distance walks.

Scafell Pike, Lake District
Views from Scafell Pike in the Lake District

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The first hike on this list is a challenge that takes you from Scotland to England and then Wales. Yep, you’ve guessed it, it’s the National Three Peaks Challenge.

Hiking Challenges

National Three Peaks

Hike location: Fort William, Lake District and Snowdonia

Start point: Glen Nevis Visitor Centre, Fort William

Finish point: Snowdon, Snowdonia

Hiking distance: 26 miles/ 42 km (route permitting)

Average hiking time: 13 hours + (10+ hours driving)

The National Three Peaks Challenge is summitting the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours.

Traditionally, the National Three Peaks is done in the following order – Ben Nevis in Scotland first, then Scafell Pike in the Lake District and last Snowdon in north Snowdonia.

The hike to Ben Nevis (1,345 m/ 4,411 ft) is done via the Mountain Path, also known as the ‘Tourist Track’ and on average is completed within 5 hours.

Read about my solo hike up Ben Nevis here – I took about 3 hours to walk to the summit and another 3 hours to descend because I was taking so many photos haha!

Glen Nevis Visitor Centre
Starting the Mountain Path to Ben Nevis summit

There are numerous routes up to Scafell Pike (978 m/ 3,281 ft), the most popular route for the Three Peaks hiking challenge is starting at Wasdale Head, via the Hollowstones route, hiking up and down takes about 4 hours to complete the 5.5-mile route.

Lastly, the final mountain, Snowdon the highest in Wales and a very popular hike with most visitors to Wales. Most walkers take the shortest route up from Pen y Pass via the Pyg Track or the slightly longest Miner’s Track and back the same route.

Scafell Pike walk down Hollowstones, Lake District
Views on the way down from Scafell Pike walk

The aim is to complete the challenge within a 24 hour time period, which means hiking throughout the night. More importantly, you’ll need a great support team and driver to ferry you between the mountains to complete this long-distance challenge.

The challenge involves a large part of driving, not great if you don’t like long car journies. The 5.5-hour drive from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike and then 4.5-hour drive to Snowdon is not my idea of fun!

Although I’ve not completed the National Three Peaks Challenge in one go, I have summited all three mountains.

Ordnance Survey maps for the hike

E2W Challenge

Hike location: England + Scotland

Start point: Ness Point, Lowestoft in Suffolk

Finish point: Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Scotland

Hiking distance: 952 miles/ 1,532 km (my route)

Average hiking time: 57 days

In the summer of 2019, I hiked my longest walk ever, from the furthest easterly point to the furthest westerly point of Britain. Whilst this challenge isn’t from everyone, it goes to show that you can be creative and design your own challenges.

For more information on the exact route, you can read my post here on the E2W Challenge.

During the trip, I walked on several of the UK’s long-distance trails including the Norfolk Coast Path, Derwent Valley Heritage Trail, Pennine Way, St Cuthbert’s Way and West Highland Way.

Read what I took for my 2-month trip here check out my long-distance packing list.

Bob Graham Round

Hike location: Lake District Cumbria

Start point: Keswick, Cumbria

Finish point: Keswick, Cumbria

Hiking distance: 66 miles

Average hiking time: 5 days

In September 2020, I set myself a challenge to hike the Bob Graham Round in the Lake District. It’s a popular fell running route but I decided to turn it into a 5-day hike, wild camping along the way.

After doing some tough challenges previously, this was my biggest one to date. The route might not seem that long but it takes you up and down 42 of the Lake District fells, over some tricky terrain.

I’ve created a detailed guide about the route, which includes the maps and GPX files for the hike. Read the 5-day Bob Graham Round Challenge here.

9 Long-Distance Hikes in England

Click on the long-distance hike you’d like to do or simply scroll down and see which one you fancy doing next (or first!)

Hadrian’s Wall

Hike location: Northumberland National Park/north-east

Start point: Wallsend near Newcastle

Finish point: Bowness-on-Solway

Hiking distance: 84 miles

Average hiking time: 4-6 days

My first long-distance walk in the UK was Hadrian’s Wall. As well as being an amazing hike it also taught me a lot about hiking multiple days, including what NOT to pack!

Hadrian’s Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built by the order of Emperor Hadrian (hence the name) in AD122 and formed the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire.

The official trail starts at Wallsend, a train then a Metro ride from the city centre. Day one of the hike is mainly walking alongside the River Tyne and Newcastle’s many bridges which is an interesting start to this hike.

Hadrian's Wall from The Sill
Hiking along Hadrian’s Wall

During the middle section of the walk is where you see the most of the Roman Wall. There are large sections which you can walk alongside on days 2, 3 and 4, making map reading easy too!

Also as well as the Roman Wall there are also remains of milecastles and forts which include signs giving more information so you can learn more about the history as you hike!

Along the route, there are B&Bs, guesthouses and budget hostels that you can stop along the way (or you can camp).

The end of the walk finishes just outside of Carlisle, where you finish at a wooden structure which welcomes you to the end of Hadrian’s Wall Path.

Read next: 22 best day hikes in the UK

Hadrian's Wall Tidwell Castle to Caw Gap (87) (1280x853)


  • Book accommodation in advance during the busy summer months when the trail is most popular.
  • Stop off at The Sill, this is the National Park visitor centre, it has shops, cafes, information and plus a hostel.
  • There’s also a pub and a fairly infrequent bus service that takes you back to Carlisle where you can catch a train from.

Ordnance Survey maps + books for the hike

Coast to Coast Trail

Hike Location: Northern England (Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors)

Start point: St Bees

Finish point: Robin Hood’s Bay

Hiking distance: 192 miles/309 km

Average hiking time: 12-14 days

The Coast to Coast trail is a truly epic hike, in fact, it might be the best long-distance hike in the UK, but I will let you decide!

At 192 miles long, it’s a hike not for the faint-hearted. If you navigate using OS Maps then you’ll need nine maps, that’s how far it is!

When I hiked it back in 2012, we navigated using the  Coast to Coast Trailblazer Guide Book which includes 109 detailed maps of the route from start to finish.

Starting at St Bees on the coast of the Irish Sea the hike takes you through three of the UK’s National Parks.

From the Lake District, then through the Yorkshire Dales and finally ending up in North York Moors National Park where you finish the hike dipping your toes into the North Sea.

A refreshing way to finish the walk, as well as a pint in the nearby pub too!

Helvellyn back via Striding Edge - Lake District
One of the toughest sections of the walk – Helvellyn and Striding Edge in the Lake District

The hardest section of the hike is probably the first four days through the Lake District National Park.

Plus it includes the mighty Helvellyn and Striding Edge (the highest point on the hike). You can select a different route for this section but the views are stunning on a clear day and if you love a challenge then go for it!

The best thing about this long-distance walk is hiking through the three different National Parks in the UK, each with its own unique landscape and features.

There is a wide range of accommodation options dotted along the Coast to Coast route. I stayed mainly at YHA Hostels and guesthouses.

For resupplying, along the route you’ll come across small towns and villages to stock up on food and drink supplies to keep your energy level up.

As with all the long-distance hikes, many people break this walk down into sections but either way, every part of the walk has wonderful memories and views.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike (9 in total!)

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your Explorer maps for the walk

  • Lake District section – (OL4 – North-western area and OL5 – North-eastern area)
  • Yorkshire Dales section – (OL19 Howgill Fells + Upper Eden Valley and OL30 Yorkshire Dales – North + central area
  • North York Moors section – (OL26 North York Moors Western and OL27 North York Moors Eastern)
  • Explorer 302 Northallerton + Thirsk, 303 Whitehaven + Workingham, 304 Darlington + Richmond

Guide books for the Coast to Coast walk

South Downs Way

Hike location: South Downs National Park

Start point: Winchester

Finish point: Eastbourne

Hiking distance: 100 miles/ 160 km

Average hiking time: 8-9 days

The South Downs walk is located in the newest National Park in the UK, the South Downs National Park. Interestingly, there are two routes on the final stretch on the walk.

At Alfriston, the route splits into two routes that re-join again at Eastbourne and takes you along one of the most popular section of the route.

Although popular can sometimes mean busy this really is a stunning section of the route and those coastal path views are simply stunning.

Birling Gap to Beachy Head - South Downs Way
Hiking the popular section Birling Gap to Beachy Head

Most people complete the hike west to east, starting in Winchester and finishing in Eastbourne. The first part of the hike with take you through beautiful scenery and small villages on the route, always great to pick up supplies.

Nearer the end look out for Beachy Head lighthouse a famous spot along the coastal section of the path but also beware of the crumbling cliff edges.

You can watch in the visitor centre how a huge section of the cliff simply collapsed one day with no warning.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

  • Explorer OL8 Chichester
  • Explorer OL10 Arundel + Pulborough
  • Explorer OL11 Brighton + Hove
  • Explorer OL25 Eastbourne + Beachy Head
  • Explorer OL32 Winchester

Yorkshire Three Peaks

Hike location: Yorkshire Dales National Park

Start point: Chapel le Dale, Horton-in-Ribblesdale or Ribblehead

Finish point: Same as the start (Circular route)

Hiking distance: 24.5 miles/ 39 km

Average hiking time: 10-12 hours

The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a one-day hiking challenge, with the aim to complete the 24-mile circuit within 12 hours.

The name ‘Yorkshire Three Peaks’ refers to the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park –  Pen-y-Ghent (694 m/ 2,277 ft), Whernside (736 m/ 2,415 ft) and Ingleborough (723 m/ 2,372 ft).

In comparison to the National Three Peak Challenge you might think this is easier, but don’t under-estimate these three beautiful mountains in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s a tough challenge with pretty much nowhere to shelter on the route.

Be prepared to carry everything you need for the day hike in your bag, plus plenty of food and water to keep your energy levels high.

I completed the challenge back in 2012, via an organised tour company for charity. These companies regularly organise large groups to complete the challenge but I would recommend hiking the route independently.

Yes, you will need to navigate the route yourself but when completing a long-distance hike it’s important to go out a pace that suits you.

When you hike with a large group you’ll always be walking at the pace of the slowest person in the group. 

Expect wonderful scenery on your hike but also a tough and challenging day in the Yorkshire Dales.

Ordnance Survey maps + books for the hike

Pennine Way

Hike location: Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, North Pennines, Northumberland

Start point: Edale (Peak District)

Finish point: Kirk Yetholm (Scottish Borders)

Hiking distance: 268 miles/ 429 km

Average hiking time: 16 days

The Pennine Way is a mighty hike and is said to be the toughest longest long-distance walk in the UK.

During my many hiking trips exploring the UK, I’ve walked sections of the Pennine Way path many times and finally, as part of my E2W Challenge in the summer I hiked the full trail.

The Pennine Way is a nine map route as well!

If you’re planning on completing this long-distance hike in one go then back sure you save some space for the maps. Or as another option, you can download OS Online Maps which you can view offline on your phone (the paid version which costs from £23.99 a year – well worth it in my opinion).

Check out the options here for Ordnance Survey Online, you can opt for a monthly or annual subscription.

Pennine Way walks Peak District - Edale via Kinder Downfall hike
Day 1 on the hike Kinder Downfall from Edale

The trail starts in my favourite Derbyshire village, Edale. This lovely village has been the start of many of my hikes in the Peak District, exploring Kinder Scout and the surrounding area.

From here it takes you north via the Yorkshire Dales and the stunning Malham Cove, famous for its unusual limestones rock formations and it also appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. At the top of the cliff, along with stunning views, you’ll spot the iconic Pennine Way acorn signs.

Read my 6-day hiking guide here for the Edale to Horton-in-Ribblesdale section of the walk.

The next National Park you hike through will be Northumberland. You’ll hike alongside 8-miles of the famous Hadrian’s Wall (another long-distance hike that you can complete in the UK). But another real highlight of the walk.

Since you’re hiking 268 miles there are a lot of highlights on this epic walk.

The finishing point for the hike is at Kirk Yethom on the Scottish Borders, which is, in fact, the start for another very tough and challenging hike on this list – The Scottish National Trail. Read more about the Pennine Way Trail here.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer OL1 Peak District – Dark Peaks
  • Explorer OL16 Cheviot Hills
  • Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells + Upper Eden Valley
  • Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales – Southern + western area
  • Explorer OL21 South Pennines
  • Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales – North + central area
  • Explorer OL31 North Pennines
  • Explorer OL42 Kielder Water + Forest
  • Explorer OL43 Hadrian’s Wall

Check out these guide books

Cicerone Pennine Way Guide Book

Jurassic Coastal Path

Hike Location: Dorset

Start point: Orcombe Point, Exmouth

Finish point: Old Harry Rocks, Studland

Hiking distance: 95 miles/ 153 km

Average hiking time: 5-8 days

The Jurassic Coast walk also makes up part of the South West Coast path a 630 mile/ 1,014 km route (and no surprise the longest walking trail in the UK) between Minehead in Somerset and Studland in Dorset.

The Jurassic Coastal is England’s first UNESCO designated natural World Heritage Site, 95 miles of coastal views and millions of year of history and a fabulous walk.

At the beginning of the walk, as you leave Orcombe Point in Exmouth, you’ll see clear evidence of the deserts from the Triassic Period on those red cliffs all the way along this section. In particular, at Ladram Bay has some striking rock formations close to the bay.

Jurassic Coast - day 2 long-distance walk in UK
Red cliffs and green fields are a wonderful feature at the start of the walk

Hiking further along the path, you’ll have plenty of ups and downs.

This long-distance coastal hike isn’t for the faint-hearted with steep cliffs hikes regularly making an appearance. At Charmouth, if you have time (and good weather) this is the perfect place to stop and do some fossil hunting.

Many fossils have been found on this section of the Jurassic Coast lying on the beach.

Long-distance walk UK - Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast
Walking towards iconic Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast

More highlights on the hike are walking along the famous Chesil Beach, although you might not feel like that when you walk on it. Tiny pebbles are not that easy to walk on!

On day 5, I reached Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, which are stunning and you’ll love the white chalky cliffs. But keep walking and there are plenty more treasures along this section of the walk.

Finally, another wonderful sight is Old Harry Rocks, the official end of the Jurassic Coast, these white chalky pillars stand alone in the sea just off the coast and are breath-taking and the perfect way to end your long-distance hike.

There are plenty of great seaside towns that you can stop in to break up the walk, either B&Bs, guesthouses or hotels to stay at.

But there are also many campsites along the route too. Although, I opted to wild camp as I was hiking solo and on tight timescales for finishing the walk.

More photos of my 6-day hike along the Jurassic Coast, you can see my favourite photos here!

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer 115 Exmouth & Sidmouth
  • Explorer 116 Lyme Regis & Bridport
  • Explorer OL15 Purbeck & South Dorset

Sandstone Trail

Hike location: Cheshire (North West)

Start point: Frodsham

Finish point: Whitchurch

Hiking distance: 34 miles/ 55 km

Average hiking time: 2-3 days

By Nat from Natpacker

Another historic hike, Cheshire’s ‘backbone’ is made up of Triassic sandstone, known as the Sandstone Ridge, hence the trail’s name. This is the only high ground west of the Pennines and east of the Welsh Hills.

The ridges interlocking fragments divide the county from north to south. The heart of this ridge is the isolated Beeston Crag, on which an old medieval castle ruin perches.

Sandstone Trail - long distance hike in UK
Sandstone Trail – long-distance hike in the UK

I completed the Sandstone Trail a few years ago, it was my first long-distance footpath in the UK. It’s a lovely easy trail over often elevated, well-waymarked path, across the Cheshire countryside.

There are several places for panoramic views as the trail winds through forests, heather moorland, canals and fields. In some places, the distinctive red sandstone can be seen along the path.

Being an English trial there are obviously plenty of places to stop for refreshments. One place I really liked was the Pheasant Inn, which was a little off the trail but had a spectacular outside seating area with great views. It made a lovely little detour for a refreshing drink.

Sandstone Trail - long distance hike in UK
Sandstone Trail – long distance hike in the UK

My main tip for the trail would be to give yourself plenty of time. Although it is a fairly short trail for three days, there are lots of extra walks off the main track.

Plus you go past Beeston Castle, which is worth taking a detour to explore if you have the time.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer 267 Northwich and Delamere Forest
  • Explorer 257 Crewe and Nantwich South

Cotswold Way

Hike location: Cotswolds

Start point: Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire

Finish point: Bath, Somerset

Hiking distance: 102 miles/ 164 km

Average hiking time: 7-10 days

By Melissa Webb from Idyllic Destination

Stretching just over 100 miles, the Cotswold Way begins in the picturesque, historic market town of Chipping Campden and finishes in the UNESCO world heritage listed city of Bath.

As it sweeps down the western edge of the Cotswolds, the route takes in some of the prettiest villages, ancient landmarks and most scenic countryside in the UK.

Cotswolds Way - long distance hike UK (2)
Views from Shenberrow Hill, Stanton

Having walked a well-trodden path between Chipping Campden and Winchcombe, it has long been on my bucket list to complete this National Trail in its entirety.

Often underestimated, the Cotswold Way is not for the faint-hearted. The rolling countryside for which the region is famed offers remarkable views but comes with some steep hill climbs.

Some of the most panoramic viewpoints along the northern section of the Cotswold Way include Dover’s Hill and Broadway Tower. Following a steep climb from the hamlet of Wood Stanway onto an escarpment you will also be rewarded with magnificent views across the Vale of Evesham towards the Malvern Hills.

Most of these viewpoints offer seating which is a great opportunity to stop, refuel, and enjoy the breath-taking the scenery.

Cotswolds Way - long distance hike UK
Cotswolds Way – views from Broadway Tower, Broadway

Passing through beech woods, quiet lanes, and open pasture lined with dry stone walls, the Cotswold Way is well signposted. It leads you through many quaint Cotswold villages like the picturesque Stanton and nearby Stanway with its Jacobean manor house.

Ancient landmarks also feature heavily along the Cotswold Way, with Iron Age hill forts, ruined abbeys, and Neolithic long barrows.

Ordnance Survey maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk

  • Explorer OL45
  • Explorer OL155
  • Explorer OL167
  • Explorer OL168
  • Explorer OL179

The Teesdale Way

Hike location: Follows the path of the Tees River in North-eastern England

Start point: Dufton, Cumbria

Finish point: South Gare, near Redcar, Teeside

Hiking distance: 92 miles / 147 km

Average hiking time: 7 days

By Sarah Carter from A Social Nomad 

The Teesdale Way follows much of the course of the River Tees from its starting point at Tees Head on the slopes of Cross Fell to its end into the North Sea by Redcar.

Starting in Dufton, Cumbria there’s a relatively short uphill hike and then, as you spot the glories of High Cup Nick it’s downhill all the way to the coast (more or less). 

En-route there are spectacular waterfalls, Cauldron Snout, High Force and Low Force as the river tumbles over the hard rocks of the Whin Sill. (Read more about the routes for day walks in England here.)

Low Force, Teesdale Way long distance hike UK
Low Force on the Teesdale Way

The route as far as Middleton in Teesdale follows the route of the much more famous Pennine Way and indeed uses the same way markings until that point.

The entire route is well waymarked and easy to follow, although to my mind there are many places where you may want to wander off track and explore a bit further!

The route there passes through the glorious market town of Barnard Castle before the landscape becomes more and more urbanized (and to my mind nowhere near as pretty as the upper dales), then industrialized as it passes into the old heavy industrial areas of Teesside.

Barnard Castle, Teesdale Way long distance hike UK
Barnard Castle on the Teesdale Way

Ordnance Survey maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk

  • Explorer 26 North York Moors – Western area
  • Explorer 31 North Pennines
  • Explorer 304 Darlington & Richmond
  • Explorer 306 Middlesborough & Hartlepool

4 Long-Distance Hikes in Scotland

Click on the long-distance hike that you’d like to try or scroll through them all to see which you’d like to try!

Scottish National Trail

Hike Location: Scotland

Start point: The Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm

Finish point: Cape Wrath

Hiking distance: 536 miles / 864 km

Average hiking time: 45-55 days

By Yvette at Wayfaring Kiwi

The Scottish National Trail is the most varied and challenging hike in the United Kingdom.

It was devised by outdoors broadcaster, Cameron McNeish, and combines many of Scotland’s long distance trails into one massive trail that zig-zags the length of Scotland.

Beginning at the English/Scottish border, the first week of the trail takes you through the Scottish Borders, walking the roads the Roman and English armies would take when they invaded Scotland.

Scottish National Trail - Long distance hike in Scotland
Camping next to Lochan Fada

The second week begins in Edinburgh and follows the canal paths to the north of Glasgow, where the trail joins the first leg of the West Highland Way before diverting to the Rob Roy Way that leads you to the Cairngorms National Park.

After a 3-day wild hike, you walk west to reach Fort Augustus and the legendary Loch Ness, before crossing the tectonic plate into the wildest part of Scotland: the north-west highlands.

Here you follow the Cape Wrath Trail (an ‘official’ trail which is known as the most difficult hike in the UK) to the most north-western point of Scotland.

The entire trail is a good build-up to the final section, which includes crossing sometimes impassable river crossings, rough, unmarked trails, boggy ground.

It isn’t without its rewards, however; you will encounter wildlife such as foxes, eagles and reindeer; see two of Europe’s tallest waterfalls, castle ruins and palaces, white-sand beaches, and Scotland’s iconic moody and misty mountains.

Scottish National Trail - Long distance hike in Scotland
Looking towards Loch Assynt

This long-distance hike is suited to the more experienced and adventurous hikers, however, it can be broken into 7 sections and completed over time.

Highlights of the hike

  • Melrose Abbey, Melrose; Clachan Inn, Drymen (the oldest pub in Scotland; Sandwood Bay, Sutherland; Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow; camping in Scottish bothies.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

  • There are about 50 different OS maps that cover this hike. I recommend purchasing a subscription to the OS Online or ViewRanger app. You get the ordnance survey data for the entire UK and can download the maps for offline use.

West Highland Way

Hike location: Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

Start point: Milngavie town centre

Finish point: Fort William

Hiking distance: 96 miles/ 154 km

Average hiking time: 7 days

Starting in the town of Milngavie, it’s about 12 miles before you reach the stunning Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

For me, this was a hidden secret I’d not heard of until last year when I was exploring all 15 National Parks in the UK.

Approximately 40 miles of this hike will take you through this stunning National Park, hiking alongside the famous Loch Lomond itself and meeting fellow hikers along the way.

The views across the lake are simply breathtaking and as you hike up Conic Hill, known as one of the best short walks in the area you get to see why.

Read my full hiking and camping guide on the West Highland Way here

Hiking next to Loch Lomond
Hiking next to Loch Lomond

In Scotland, you can wild camp so many people doing the hike will be camping along the route.

The West Highland Way hike finishes in Fort William, also famous for Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain!

Many people if they have enough energy will also hike to Ben Nevis summit at the end of the walk. I guess it just depends how much your legs want to keep walking!

Top tip for the hike 

  • In Scotland, the midges can be particularly bad in the summer months, either go prepared with midge spray or plan your hike when there are less of them about!
  • More tips here from West Highland Way hikers

Ordnance Survey maps + books for the hike

The Hebridean Way, Scotland

Hike Location: Outer Hebrides (Western Isles), Scotland

Start point: Isle of Vatersay

Finish point: Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

Hiking distance: 156 miles / 252 km

Average hiking time: 10-12 days

By Kathi from Watch Me See

The Hebridean Way in Scotland is a long-distance trail that leads 156 miles across the Outer Hebrides.

I hiked it by myself in summer 2018 and was literally on my own for most of the trail – it’s increasing in popularity, but it’s still very much off the beaten track! I loved how it is actually super beginner-friendly, especially if you are new to navigating or wild-camping.

Hebridean Way - long distance hike in Scotland
Hebridean Way – long distance hike in Scotland

The terrain is mostly flat and the trail well way-marked. The scenery is incredibly varied – you could walk among wildflowers along the coastline in the morning, and across vast moorlands or through mountains in the afternoon.

Most importantly, it is also a very safe trail, especially for female solo hikers. I never felt too far from civilisation, met lots of other people on the campsites but also enjoyed the bursts of wilderness along the trail.

The Hebridean Way makes use of existing or new-built paths wherever possible, but there is still quite a lot of road walking involved as well – if you want to spare your feet some serious effort, I recommend taking the bus on the longer sections.

And take more blister plasters than you think you need, as they are hard to get a hold of along the way!

Hebridean Way - long distance hike in Scotland
Hebridean Way – long distance hike in Scotland

Most importantly though, make sure you plan in a few extra days to see more of the Outer Hebrides along the trail. Some of the islands, like Barra, Eriskay, Berneray and Lewis, get very little time on the trail, but there is a lot more to see!

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk.

  • Explorer 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 459

Watch my West Highland Way hike here

Read next: 8 awesome hikes in Scotland

John Muir Trail

Hike Location: Scottish Lowlands

Start point: Helensburgh

Finish point: Dunbar

Hiking distance: 134 miles /215 km

Average hiking time: 9-11 days

During my E2W Challenge across Britain, I hiked a large portion of Scotland along their national and local trails.

One long-distance walking trail that I did a small section of was the John Muir Trail, a 134 mile from that goes from coast to coast across the Lowlands of Scotland.

I did approximately 40 miles/60 km of this trail from Linlithcoe to Strathblane and have mixed views on the part I did, whilst a relatively easier walk, compared to what I’d been hiking on the Pennine Way, I found it a little boring in places. 

This is partly due to a sensation overload that I’d experienced and challenges on the walk.

The sections I hiked included several miles along the canalside, both the Union Cancel and the Forth + Clyde Canal, by far my favourite attraction on the Union Canal was the Falkirk Wheel, which I saw in action. Worth stopping on your walk to see it in action, it’s an amazing feat of engineering.

There are also a couple of historical interests on the path, including walking a section of the Antonine Way, across Croy Hill and Bar Hill.

4 Long Distance Hikes in Wales

Pick your favourite long-distance walk in Wales or scroll through them all to see which one you’d like to try!

Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Hike location: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Start point: St Dogmaels

Finish point: Amroth

Hiking distance: 186 mile/ 299 km

Average hiking time: 10-15 days

This beautiful coastal walk takes you around the only coastal national park in the UK – the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Although a coastal hike might sound like an easier option to walking up hills and mountains, it’s nothing but easy. In total there are 2,779 steps which equates to over 9,000+ m/ 30,000+ ft in ascent and descent.

During the walk, you’ll be hiking right next to the sea so be sure to keep an eye out for marine wildlife that regularly visits the area, including seals, porpoises and even dolphins.

Pwll Deri to Strumble Head walk - Pembrokeshire Coast walk
Seals playing at Strumble Lighthouse

Ramsey Island is also another spot that you can see plenty of birds so if you have space for some lightweight binoculars then they are worth taking along on your walk to see what you can spot on the walk.

I hiked sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast whilst visiting the National Park.

One of my favourite sections was Abereiddy and the Blue Lagoon. Slate was mined and then transported via tram to the harbour at Porthgain (another historic spot on the walk). The Blue Lagoon was formed when a narrow channel connecting to the sea was blasted, allowing the sea water to flood in.

Porthgain to Abereiddi walk in Wales
Blue Lagoon on the Pembrokeshire Coastal walk

Hiking this long-distance route will allow you to explore this stunning National Park in full.

One of my favourite things about coastal hikes is that you can do minimal map reading since the sea is always on your side. That’s not to say that I don’t recommend taking a map. They are great so spotting those landmarks that you might normally miss.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer OL35 North Pembrokeshire
  • Explorer OL36 South Pembrokeshire

Read next: 25 Best Places to Visit in Wales

Welsh 3000s challenge

Hike location: Snowdonia National Park

Start point: Mount Snowdon summit

Finish point: Foel Gras

Hiking distance: 30+ miles/ 50+ km

Average hiking time: 24 hours

The Welsh 3000s  Challenge was something I attempted in June 2018. Since it’s a 24-hour hike then this is the best time to attempt the challenge since you have the most hours daylight.

The idea is to reach the summit all the mountains over 3,000 ft in north Snowdonia in Wales over a 24-hour period, hence the name!

All 15 of these mountains fall within three mountain ranges which are close together, making the challenge possible!

There’s no official route for completing the challenge, although your time starts when you leave the first summit and ends when you reach the last. So extra miles and time also need to be factored in for getting to and from these summits.

Welsh 3000s Challenge Snowdonia
On the way down from Tryfan, looking across to Pen y Ole Wen

Although this challenge is shorter than most of the other long-distance hikes don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s an easy challenge! After my first attempt at completing this and very almost completing I realised what a monster challenge it was.

You can read about the mistakes I made attempting the Welsh 3000s here if you’re thinking about taking on this epic hike. 

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer OL17 Snowdon/ Yr Wyddfa

Gower Coast Walk

Hike location: Gower Peninsula, Swansea County, South Wales

Start point: Mumbles

Finish point: Penclawdd

Hiking distance: 43 miles / 69 km

Average hiking time: 3-4 days

By David at Travel with the Little One

I’ve done the Gower coastal walk twice and since then it has been incorporated into the Wales Coast Path, which covers the country’s entire coastline.

Gower was the first part of the UK to be declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the whole Wales Coast Path.

Three Cliffs on Gower Coast Walk - long distance hike in Wales
Three Cliffs on Gower Coast Walk

Due to the location of possible places to stay, you need to put in a long first day, from Mumbles to Oxwich, which is 14 miles. You pass several small beaches before reaching Three Cliffs Bay, an outstanding beach between two sandy hills with a romantic castle ruin overlooking the scene.

You may need to detour inland here, depending on the tide. You continue to Oxwich along a vast expanse of sand, a wonderful end to the day.

The second day takes you to Rhossili, at the far end of the peninsula. The beach has been voted the third best in the world and one of the best sunset spots on the planet. The walk along clifftops from Port Eynon is also outstanding.

Rhossili on Gower Coast Walk - long distance hike in Wales
Rhossili on Gower Coast Walk

Day three takes you from Rhossili to Llanmadoc, passing Rhossili beach and remote, empty Broughton Bay and Whiteford Sands, before finishing in the village of Llanmadoc. Disregard the Coast Path signs and follow the path up the hill, Rhossili Down, instead of the official lower route.

Day four takes you along the north coast of Gower. Much of this is a salt marsh and highlights along the way include Weobley Castle. You finish in the cockle fishing village of Penclawdd on the shore of the Loughor estuary.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer 164 Gower

Welsh Three Peaks Challenge

Hike Location: Wales

Start point: Mount Snowdon, North Snowdonia

Finish point: Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons

Hiking distance: 17 miles/ 27 km

Average hiking time: 24 hours

The Welsh Three Peaks Challenge takes on three wonderful mountains in Wales, although they aren’t the three highest mountains!

Starting with Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales you then head north to Cadair Idris and finally the last stop is Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Cadair Idris - Snowdonia Wales
Almost at the summit of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia

These three beautiful mountains are mini-adventures in themselves and each boost amazing views of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Starting with the highest peak on Mount Snowdon, the other walks are still modest but at least you get the highest one out of the way first.

Don’t underestimate Cadair Idris walk though as this is a steep hike, especially if you go via the Minnfford Path.

You can read more information about the route, plus top tips for Cadair Idris hike here.

Read more about the challenge here.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the hike

Visit Ordnance Survey to buy your maps for the walk now.

  • Explorer OL17 Snowdon/ Yr Wyddfa
  • Explorer OL23 Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid
  • Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons West

Top Tips for Long-Distance Walks in the UK

Have you completed a long-distance hike before?

Or maybe you are thinking about doing your first long-distance walk in the UK? After completing my fair share of long-distance hikes here are my top tips for planning and completing your walk.

  1. Plan your route, then plan for emergency situations. If you are hiking in a remote area, where is the nearest place you can get help?
  2. Test your walking gear before the big hike. Make sure you wear in those new walking boots.
  3. If you are hiking with a full pack, do some test walks with the full weight before your hike.
  4. Take lots of different snacks and food for your walk. Keep your energy levels high, you’ll be burning a lot of calories!
  5. Have fun and take lots of photos!

Read my long distance kit list here.

Shortest to Longest Long-Distance Hikes

How about starting with the shortest and work your way up! 

Remember you can always break the walks down if you don’t want to take on a multi-day hike.

Shortest to longest hikes (on the list!)

  • Welsh Three Peak Challenge – 17 miles/ 27 km
  • Yorkshire Three Peaks – 24.5 miles/ 39 km
  • National Three Peaks Challenge – 26 miles/ 42 km
  • Sandstone Trail – 34 miles/ 55 km
  • Welsh 3000s Challenge – 30+ miles/ 50+ km
  • Gower Coastal walk – 43 miles/ 69 km
  • Teesdale Way – 92 miles/ 147 km
  • Jurassic Coast – 95 miles/ 153 km
  • West Highland Way – 96 miles/ 154 km
  • Cotswolds Way – 102 miles/ 164 km
  • John Muir Trail – 134 miles/ 215 km
  • Hebridean Way – 156 miles/ 252 km
  • Pembrokeshire Coastal walk – 186 miles/ 299 km
  • Coast to Coast Trail – 192 miles/ 309 km
  • Pennine Way – 268 miles/ 429 km
  • Scottish National Trail – 536 miles/ 864 km
  • E2W Challenge – 952 miles/ 1,532 km

Are you planning a long-distance walk in the UK?

Ask me any questions in the comments about your hike or challenge.

2 thoughts on “18 BEST Long-Distance Walks in the UK (+ Tough Challenges)

  1. Kathi says:

    This is definitely sorting me out for the next few years of hiking in the UK! I love doing at least 2 long-distance hikes a year and I’ve done 2 from the list already – check in again in 7 years ha ha

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