Passing through the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs from Farnham to Dover, the North Downs Way offers magnificent views and fascinating heritage, following the legendary and historic Pilgrim’s Way. Explore the North Downs Way for three days, a week or even longer. Find inspiration for your walking adventure using our suggested itineraries, or select one of our bookable itineraries which are highlighted with a star.
Find useful facts and learn more about the North Downs Way below. Select the blue tabs below for more details.
Cutting across the South East of England, the North Downs Way National Trail offers walkers 153 miles (246 km) of spectacular scenery, picturesque villages and glorious countryside, easily accessible from London.
Running from Farnham to Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover, the Trail passes through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs, and along the famous Pilgrims Way (or Pilgrim’s Way) from Winchester to Canterbury – one of England’s most famous cities.
You’ll discover history every step of the way: there are eight castles, three cathedrals, three archbishops’ palaces and numerous stately homes and gardens close to the Trail. After a day of exploring, you can sample English ales flavoured with Kentish hops at traditional English country pubs and inns, or try sophisticated wines from one of the various local vineyards.
The North Downs Way can be enjoyed at any time of the year and the most popular direction to walk the Trail is from West to East, although many travellers arriving in Folkestone and Dover choose to walk the route in the opposite direction.
Much of the Trail follows relatively level ground but around the scarp slope of the North Downs there are a number of inclines rewarded by fantastic views across the High Weald. The section from Guildford to Reigate with St Marthas, Albury Down, White Down, Box Hill and Colley Hill is more challenging.
The National Trail passes fascinating Neolithic sites, Roman and Napoleonic forts and WWII fortifications, the ancient city of Canterbury – home to the world-famous Canterbury Cathedral – and the historic seaside towns of Folkestone and Dover.
Pilgrims Progress to Canterbury & Coast Follow the North Downs Way from the village of Wye across the Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), to reach the coast at Dover. This flexible itinerary then offers the option of continuing on to the historic old ‘Cinque Port’ of Deal or going on a personal pilgrimage to the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral – the site of Thomas Becket’s martyrdom in 1170 and a World Heritage Site. The route offers superb scenic tranquility across a mixture of woodland, open chalk downland and rolling hills, providing stunning views across the English Channel as you head towards the White Cliffs of Dover. From Folkestone, the walk skirts the Kent coast and cliffs, winding its way on to the seaside town of Deal on the 6-day itinerary – or – on the 7-day itinerary, heading inland from Dover to Canterbury, following in the footsteps of medieval Pilgrims.
This National Trail passes through the very best landscapes – places you may want to explore for several days at a time. From cosy country inns to characterful cottages, we’ve got your accommodation near the North Downs Way covered. You can find accommodation along the trail by using our interactive map.
Turn a walking weekend into a modern-day pilgrimage and visit some of England’s grandest castles, stately homes, churches, abbeys and its foremost cathedral at Canterbury...
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