England is a walker’s paradise. With hills and valleys, lakes and mountains, moorland and coastlines, this country has some of the most breathtaking scenery, and the best way to see it is by walking. But aside from rambling the trails and tracks and stopping off for a pint in a country pub, there are also some incredible city walking tours and some interesting arts-based walks you can do. You can book organized tours with dedicated guides who know their area well, or you can be your own guide and take things at your own pace. To get you started, here are 8 incredible walking tours to try in England.
1. The Lake District — Literary Inspiration On A Grand Scale
This tour from Inntravel is the perfect introduction to walking in the Lake District National Park, an area of high fells and shimmering waters, and also home to a fascinating literary culture. Walkers stay in three high quality country inns, finishing in style at a four-star retreat in Grasmere. The trip begins on the shores of Windermere, England’s largest lake, where a circular route takes walkers toward Ambleside, the iconic Lakeside town, past Stockghyll Force, a waterfall that tumbles 21 meters (around 60 feet), and to the summit of Wansfell Pike.
After taking a boat across Windermere and crossing the fell to Hawkshead, home to an impressive collection of Beatrix Potter artwork, guests arrive in Coniston. From here, there is a choice of routes: a challenging hike to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston or a gentler, but equally scenic walk to Tarn Hows through coniferous woodland. The final base is Grasmere, reached by a walk past Cathedral Quarry, then more fell walks and time to visit Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth.
Pro Tip: Make sure you pick up some traditional Grasmere gingerbread from The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. It’s unlike any other gingerbread you’ll ever taste — spicy and crumbly and completely unique.
2. England Coast To Coast
Wilderness England offers an accessible adventure for all on this 12-day trip that takes hikers from St. Bee’s Head on the shores of the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay, crisscrossing three of northern England’s National Parks and covering 128 miles on foot. Beginning in the Lake District, guests will hike through Ennerdale Forest and Honister Pass, visit Wordsworth’s house in Grasmere before taking a steamship journey across Ullswater. Heading next into the Yorkshire Dales, there are stops in charming villages such as Gunnerside and Ravenstonedale and hikes through the rolling scenery of Swaledale. The third and final National Park is the North York Moors where, after hikes in the brilliantly named Great Fryup and Blakely Ridge, the group arrives at the North Sea. This is quite a hike, so it’s only suitable for experienced walkers.
3. The Cotswolds Way
The Cotswolds is an area of England that needs no introduction. The chocolate box charm of its honey-hued villages and its rolling scenery is famous the world over. Walkers on this self-guided trip that follows the 102 miles of the Cotswolds Way, perhaps England’s prettiest long-distance trail, will see plenty of the Cotswolds as expected, but also another side of this area, too. Walkers will stride past Belas Knap, a 5000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber, follow old tramway routes, and see the remains of antique limestone kilns and quarries. Beginning in the medieval town of Chipping Campden, home to an incredible 256 historic buildings, the route will wind south over nine days before finishing in the regency city of Bath.
4. Bespoke Walking Tours With The Gainsborough Bath Spa
The Gainsborough Bath Spa has partnered with The Bath Tour Guide, creating bespoke (custom) tours. Choose from two-hour strolls taking in the top highlights or daylong adventures uncovering the city’s secrets. Literary buffs can rejoice with a specialized Jane Austen book tour and Bridgerton fans can marvel at Bath’s Georgian splendor while admiring the Bath Assembly Rooms where parts of the hit lockdown series were filmed. For something a little more unconventional, the Laugh at Bath tour ensures a light-hearted and comedic walk through Bath’s history with a mischievous tour guide, Jamie.
After a year of separation, an uplifting comedy walking tour is a great chance to catch up on some overdue amusement. Guests will be picked up from the hotel to embark on a journey through the city, exploring famous sights and landmarks, from beautiful Bath Abbey to the iconic Royal Crescent. Led by experienced guides, families, and friends can uncover hidden gems and lesser-known delights, so even locals might find a new favorite corner of this stunning Somerset city.
Pro Tip: Be sure to try out the Thermae Spa while you’re in Bath. With a rooftop mineral pool, naturally warm, aroma steam rooms, celestial relaxation room, and a generous ice room, it’s the perfect way to spend a couple of hours in the city of the spa.
5. London Food, Fashion, And Photography Walks
Join East Londoner Simon as he guides groups around the iconic markets of London. Choose one or more markets from Camden, Borough, Brick Lane, Portobello Road or Columbia Road, or Simon’s very own Hackney market. Along the way, groups will meet the locals and get an insight into true market life in London. Visit historical spots to hear local history, from Shakespeare to WWII to today, spot some street art, stop for coffee and get under the skin of the area in a way only a tour with a local can. You can also enjoy a unique view of London with a private night photography tour. Capture London’s famous landmarks in the evening light, from the iconic London Bridge to the tallest building in the city, The Shard.
Expert guide Andrei is a professional photographer and enjoys sharing his knowledge and tips from street photography to architecture and abstract. Practice different photo techniques, including long exposure and for beginners, learn how to expose, compose and set the camera settings for the best results. Other photography locations include Borough Market, the City Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Millennium Bridge.
For more on food markets in London, check out 9 Best Street Food Markets In London.
6. Go Foraging In Falmouth With An Expert Local Guide
Learn to identify the tastiest and most nutritious edible plants, from delicious seaweeds to bright summer berries and the freshest young spring greens. Zoe, a guide on the Tours By Locals platform will give an introductory talk at Swanpool before ambling to the woods, fields, and hedges to spend a few hours collecting a diversity of local seasonal wild food. Take a walk along the beach and out to the rocks by Blue Flag Gyllyngvase Beach and collect some of the tastiest seaweed in Cornwall, then sit down and enjoy your foraging feast. This is a lovely, gentle walk, suitable for all fitness levels, with a focus on foraging and enjoying the area, rather than distance.
7. Plymouth Walking Tour
From the classic 1950s architecture of the rebuilt city to the scenic grandeur of the expanse of the Hoe, Plymouth never fails to surprise visitors. The walking tour showcases the expanse of Plymouth Hoe and the old medieval town, while also taking in the views across the waters of the Sound which is soon going to be the first UK marine park. The tour is hosted by local guide, Chrissie, who has been a Blue Badge Tourist Guide in England’s southwest for many years.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss a tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery, one of the oldest distilleries in the country, where you’ll find out how gin is made and you’ll get the chance to taste some. For more ideas of things to do in the city by the sea, take a look at Best Things To Do In Historic Plymouth, England, The City By The Sea.
8. North Downs Way Arts Trail
The North Downs Way Art Trail is designed to entice visitors to stop, rest and enjoy some of the beautiful views along the 153-mile-long trail which runs from Dover in Kent to Farnham in Surrey. The trail and the artworks will all reflect the special characteristics of each beautiful location, and are all made from sustainable materials, and will also act as sculptural seats to allow visitors a chance to sit, reflect and relax while being surrounded by wonderful and inspiring art, history and nature. In addition, each piece will be supported by a range of downloadable self-guided walking routes that will make visiting the sites even easier.