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North Downs Way
IMPORTANT COVID-19: Please check the current government rules before embarking on your hiking adventure
The notices and restrictions for England and Wales should therefore be read urgently before the outdoors can be enjoyed
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Information about the hiking trail
Find facts and information on the North Downs Way below. Select the blue arrow tabs below for more details.
- About the way
- Explore the way
- Special features of the path
- getting there
About the way
Easily accessible from London, the North Downs Way National Trail traverses south-east England and offers hikers a breathtaking backdrop of picturesque villages and beautiful scenery over a distance of 153 miles.
The long distance footpath runs from Farnham to Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover through two extremely scenic areas - the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs - and on the famous Pilgrims Way (or Pilgrim's Way) from Winchester to Canterbury, one of the most famous cities England.
You are immersed in history at every turn: eight castles, three cathedrals, three archbishop's palaces and numerous stately homes and gardens are located near the path. After a day of hiking, try English ale brewed with Kent hops in traditional English country pubs and inns or fine wines from one of the local vineyards.
Explore the way
You can walk the North Downs Way at any time of the year. Mostly it is done from west to east, although many hikers arriving in Folkestone and Dover choose the other direction.
A good part of the trail is relatively flat, but around the slopes of the North Downs there are a number of inclines that reward you with a wonderful view over the High Weald. The section from Guilford to Reigate with St Marthas, Albury Down, White Down, Box Hill and Colley Hill is more demanding.
Special features of the path
The National Trail leads past fascinating Neolithic sites, Roman and Napoleonic castles and fortifications from World War II to the old city of Canterbury with the world-famous cathedral and the historic coastal towns of Folkestone and Dover.
The North Downs Way also includes the Pilgrim‘s Way, a historic route from Winchester to Thomas Becket‘s saints tomb in Canterbury, Kent. Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his assassination in 1170, and for more than 200 years his Canterbury burial site was the most important in the United Kingdom.
Several ferry companies currently offer connections from Dover to Calais and Dunkerque. There is a regular shuttle bus service from Dover Priory Station to the Eastern Docks Ferry Terminal.
From London Gatwick and Heathrow Airports, the starting point of the long-distance footpath at Farnham is an hour's drive away.
From Heathrow Airport, take a shuttle bus to Woking Station for a direct train to Farnham.
From Gatwick Airport, take the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station London and then continue to London Waterloo for trains to Farnham.
The North Downs Way is one of the national trails that is accessible, if not quite, by railthe so is most accessible as there are more than 30 train stations on or near the path.
HS1 bullet trains run from London to Rochester, Ashford, Folkestone, Dover and Canterbury. Travel time from Central London is around 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Trains to Farnham are operated by South West Trains, with direct trains running to Aldershot, Alton, Woking, Surbiton, Clapham Junction and London Waterloo. Farnham is also served by long-distance and local buses.
At the end of the trail in Dover, there are regular train services from Dover Priory Station to London.
National Express operates frequent long-distance buses between London and Dover.
Current information on bus connections can be found at www.traveline.info.
For detailed information on rail travel, visit the websitewww.nationalrail.co.ukor www.thetrainline.com
Rail and road infrastructures run along the same corridor as the North Downs Way National Trail, and while you will hardly see or hear it, you are never far from a train station or major road network.
The trail runs close to the largest network of motorways in South East England.
The starting point in Farnham is a short hop from the A31 and the ending point in Dover is on the A2 and close to the M20 motorway.
Access by car via the M25, M26, M2 and M20 is also directly accessible from mainland Europe, provided you arrive in East Kent or land at one of the London airports.
This National Trail leads through beautiful landscapes in places that you might want to discover for several days. From cozy country houses to typical cottages, there is something for all accommodation needs near the North Downs Way.
More information for your tour
Ready to plan your tour of the Cleveland Way, purchase a walking guide or map and prepare as best you can.
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