Your visit to the United Kingdom can be enjoyed by exploring the many long distance hiking trails throughout the country. You can either enjoy a brief stroll along the countryside or you can go for a long backpacking adventure across the entire country. No matter how big or small your hiking plans are, you are sure to find somewhere to explore in the United Kingdom.
Coast To Coast
Traveling from one coast in Northern United Kingdom to the other will take you through valleys, countryside and moors. This 182-mile hike will take you approximately 12 to 14 days to complete, depending upon how fast and how long you walk each day. The best place to start your backpacking adventure across the Northern UK is St. Bees in Cumbria and traveling across the country to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. This adventure will take you through the Yorkshire Dales, the North Yorkshire Moors and the Lake District. These are three of the most fascinating national parks in the country and a must-see when visiting.
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The Thames River is one of the greatest rivers in England and winds through the country for 184 miles. The Thames Path takes backpackers through an adventure from the Cotswold Hills down to the sea. During your 12 to 14-day adventure, you will travel through peaceful meadows, rural villages, historic towns and London. The path ends at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich.
Those looking for a long-distance backpacking adventure will enjoy following the footpath, Glyndwr’s Way, which runs 135 miles through mid-Wales. This path will take you through Powys on an extended loop that goes between Knighton and Welshpool. The adventure will take you approximately nine to 11 days to complete, giving you breathtaking views over the Cambrian Mountains.
South West Coast Path
When you visit the beach in the South West region of England you will find the South West Coast Path, which will take you on an amazing adventure unlike anything you have ever experienced before. This backpacking trail is one of the longest National Trails in the United Kingdom, stretching 630 miles. During your backpacking holiday you will encounter everything from heritage sites, wildlife, geological wonders and breathtaking scenery. You can take this trial just for a short bit or you can experience it all and spend close to eight weeks exploring everything from the Jurassic Coast to the West Devon Mining Landscape.
West Highland Way
Travel along the outskirts of Glasgow on your way to Fort William, which is located at the foot of Ben Nevis when you explore the West Highland Way. This trail is 96 miles long and will take you approximately seven to nine days to completely explore. During our adventure along the West Highland way you will see breathtaking landscapes, the Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe. This is one of the most popular trails to backpack along and can get very busy during the summer months.
There are a variety of different guided hiking tours available in the United Kingdom. Footpath Holidays is one of those companies that is family-run and has been offering guided tours since 1983. HF Holidays is another guided walking tour company offering tours throughout all of Europe, including the United Kingdom. Both companies have knowledgeable guides and offer tours that vary is distance and time. Other guided walking tours are available from Curlew Guided Walking and Contours.
If you plan on going on a long distance hike throughout the United Kingdom, you are going to want to make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need. Some tour companies offer supplies for hikers, but it is best to check with the tour company before leaving to ensure you bring everything you need.
- Clothing: Only bring some underwear, a few shirts and pants with you. Do laundry regularly to reduce the amount of clothing you need to pack. Also, dress in layers, because some areas you pass through may be cold in the early morning or late evening hours and hot during the day. Plus, a fleece or rain jacket will come in handy when backpacking across the United Kingdom.
- Socks: Bring extra, quick-drying socks so you can keep your feet warm when it gets cold and replace if they get wet.
- Toiletries: Only bring the basics. You are backpacking, you will not need hair gel and make up products.
- Shoes: Make sure the shoes you bring are comfortable.
- First-aid kit: Make sure to include the basics, including Band-Aids and antibiotic ointments.
- Other items: Sunglasses, a scarf (for cold nights), a notebook, a flashlight, multi-tool knife, refillable water bottle, laundry soap, sleep sheet and a sturdy backpack.
These are just a few of the must-have items you will want to have with you when backpacking. There are other items, such as travel clocks, cameras, locks and money belts that will come in handy, but are not necessary. Keep in mind that you will be carrying everything you bring. Try to limit the weight of your backpack to 20-22 pounds. Anything heavier can get very tiresome.
Make this summer a time to remember and explore the countryside of the United Kingdom on a backpacking adventure. No matter which path you choose or what guided tour you take, you are sure to see some of the most fascinating sights the country has to offer.
Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.