Fancy a proper adventure that takes you far from crowds and into wild landscapes on two feet – and that doesn’t cost the earth? Hit the trail. Multi-day hikes (you guessed it, these are walking routes that take two days or more to complete end to end) are a fantastic way to test your trekking mettle, improve your hiking fitness, find some headspace and enjoy seeing some of Britain’s wildest coastline or gnarliest mountains at a slower pace. Longer hikes also great for sleeping on the wild side by wild camping, staying in bothies or just seeking out quirky and cool accommodation along the way.
If you’re ready to grab your hiking boots, get inspired by eight of the best bucket-list multi-day hiking routes you can tackle across the UK, from easier weekend expeditions to epic cross-country treks, chosen by Chelsea Davies.
Hiking newbie? Check out my top ten tips for planning your first multi-day hike before you go.
Passionate about hiking long-distance trails? Job opportunities as a hiking guide will allow you to develop your skills and share your love for the outdoors.
8 OF THE BEST MULTI-DAY HIKES IN BRITAIN
The Cambrian Way
Start and Finish: Cardiff to Conway
Cardiff to Conwy has a nice ring to it – and no less than 298 miles of glorious mountains and meandering country paths in between. The start and finish of this route bookend a coast-to-coast hike along the spine of Wales –this is arguably one of the wildest and most challenging walks on this list, but one to choose if you want a life-changing adventure, or just fancy dipping in an out of a route for a week at a time. There are plenty of camping sites on route if you’re packing your tent, and the route is fully signposted as of 2020, so it’s now easier to navigate on the go.
Start and finish: Circular
Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean there aren’t epic walking challenges to be found on your doorstep. An urban rambler’s paradise encircling the capital and covering over 150 miles of trail in total, the London Loop is a highlight reel of the surprising amount of green space to be found at the fringes of the capital’s concrete sprawl. This best bit about circumnavigating London is that you can nip back into the city to seek out cosy accommodation and great food each evening.
West Highland Way
Location: Scottish Highlands
Start and finish: Milngavie to Fort William
Perhaps the most famous and definitely one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful of Britain’s multi-day trials is the West Highland Way. Expect 96 rugged miles and an incredible ochre, steel and heather palette of mountain and moorland for your viewing pleasure on this trek. Despite its popularity, the WHW is surprisingly remote, and you may find you meet few people along it if you hike it out of peak season. Points of interest on this inland hike include Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and Ben Nevis, which hikers traditionally climb to round off this challenging trek. The best part of this climb from Milngavie to Fort William? Your morning coffee and evening drams will be served with epic views if you bring a tent, as wild camping is allowed all along the route.
The Gower Way
Location: Gower Peninsula, Wales
Start and finish: Rhossili to Penlle’r Castell
The perfect long weekend doesn’t ex- oh wait. The Gower Way in Swansea, Wales is a two-day trail that makes for a fantastic short break if you’re big on adventure but short on time. The numbered marker stones are easy to follow if you’re still getting your confidence up with map reading – just count up or down depending on where you start; at the tip of the Gower Peninsula or at Penlle’r Castell. If you want to make it a long weekend, finish at Rhossili for a spot of surfing on this wild shore.
Northumberland Coast Path
Start and finish: Cresswell to Berwick-Upon-Tweed
If you’re after a rewarding hike in glorious surroundings but that won’t take months to complete, leave a week or so free to tackle Northumberland’s wild and windswept coastal path. Expect sixty-plus miles of empty beaches, protected beauty spots and a whole lot of history. Handily, the route’s been broken into six bite-size chunks ranging between six and thirteen miles per day walking from Cresswell to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, so it’s easy to plan out each day of trekking.
The Pennine Way
Location: Peak District
Start and Finish: Edale to Kirk Yetholm
How does a three-week pilgrimage in the rugged great outdoors sound? The Pennine Way takes in now less than three national parks and one Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as it winds its way through one of Britain’s least-touched landscapes. The first National Trail to open in England is a feast of farmland, moors and peaks and you can even bag a bothy; just beyond the halfway point you’ll find Greg’s Hut on Cross Fell, which you can spend the night in for free.
The Tarka Trail
Location: North Devon
Start and finish: Circular
North Devon’s a family-favourite destination for a reason, charming visitors with its melodic rivers, wild moorland and surf-friendly beaches. The Tarka Trail is a great option for all ages thanks to the mostly flat figure-eight loop it follows. Lynton, Exmoor and Dartmoor are highlights, and wild swimmers need look no further – this is the perfect hike for searching out Dartmoor’s secret river swim spots or for hopping from cove to cove along Devon’s charming coastline. Wild camping is also permitted on Dartmoor.
Offa’s Dyke Path
Location: England and Wales
Start and Finish: Chepstow to Prestatyn
William Wordsworth romanticised the landscape draped across the border of England and Wales, but a new wave of outdoor enthusiasts have been drawn to its bucolic beauty thanks to Sex Education’s showcasing of how seductively beautiful Wales can be. Offa’s Dyke Path begins in the Wye Valley and marches north through the Black Mountains and Shropshire Hills, roughly following the border of England and Wales. Many feet have trodden this path before us – this Dyke was built in the 8th century on the orders of the Mercian king whose name it bears, and is often called ‘Britain’s longest ancient monument’. You won’t find a more storied twelve-day walk than this.