The North Downs Way National Trail offers walkers 153 miles of spectacular scenery, picturesque villages and glorious rolling countryside. But then you would expect nothing less from a route that passes through both the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Short sections are open to horseriders and cyclists too.
Explore the North Downs Way National Trail
There is always something new to explore on the North Downs Way. The route benefits from a wealth of wildlife, history, landscapes, attractions, villages and towns all waiting to be discovered.
With excellent public transport links to the trail (it is easily reached by train from London) and a wide choice of accommodation along the route there is plenty of opportunity to explore the North Downs Way whether on a day trip or a walking holiday.
And with a great range of circular walks guides it couldn’t be easier to enjoy a superb day out on the North Downs.
Find everything you need to plan your perfect day out on the North Downs Way in our Planning a Trip section.
History of the North Downs Way
Beginning in the market town of Farnham, on the border of Surrey and Hampshire, the trail follows the line of the North Downs eastwards close to Guildford, Dorking and Reigate to reach the Kentish border.
Enjoy some of the finest scenery in South East England.
From West Kent the trail passes close to Rochester as it crosses the River Medway and continues along the Downs north of Maidstone, Ashford and Folkestone to end at the busy port of Dover – Gateway to England. There is a loop at the eastern end of the trail to take in the magnificent cathedral city of Canterbury.
Much of the trail follows the legendary Pilgrims Way. This historic route has, for years, been used by those making pilgrimages to pray at holy shrines.
Originally, pilgrims would have travelled from Canterbury to Winchester to pray for St Swithun who was buried at the cathedral. The route was then used in reverse as pilgrims journeyed from Winchester to Canterbury Cathedral to pray at the shrine of Thomas Becket.
Modern day pilgrims and people simply out to enjoy some of the finest scenery in South East England now use the North Downs Way and the route takes the traveller through a rich tapestry of heritage and history.