Please sign in to post.

London & Walking Chipping Campden to Bath - June 2022

My husband and I spent 19 days in England in June. It has been on my bucket list to walk the 102 mile Cotswold Way national trail. A 60th birthday trip was a great time to do this, and my flexible and intrepid husband agreed. On this trip report, I plan to share highlights and opinions rather than a day-by-day run through. The report will still be kind of long so feel free to skip. We had a fantastic time and met many wonderful people!

Itinerary, Logistics, Packing

Itinerary – We flew CVG-DTW-LHR, and spent a day and a half in London before traveling to Chipping Campden where the trail starts. After finishing the Cotswold Way in Bath, we explored that beautiful city. Our plan had been to then go to Portsmouth and Beachy Head, but after sitting by the side of the road for 4 ½ hours on the way to Stonehenge with a rental car issue, we pivoted and returned to visit London for the last few days of our trip.

Packing – We each packed 21” roller bags and took our hiking backpacks. I carried everything on, and my husband checked his bag as it had hiking sticks. I was happy with what I packed. What I forgot to do until the night before we left (rookie mistake!) was to pack all the Covid “extras” such as tests, possible meds, thermometer, work laptop, etc. That all took up way more space than I had planned. There were several times when it really worked to our favor to have carryon-sized luggage.

Our packing “stars” this trip were:

  • My Tom Bihn Side Effect crossbody/sling bag – just big enough to keep our passports, wallet, phone and sunglasses without putting pressure on my shoulder/neck.
  • My old Flip & Tumble Crossbody bag (I believe Lo had recommended this a long time ago) – it folds small but can hold jacket/umbrella, etc if needed.
  • Foldable plastic hangers from Amazon – SO much better than our old inflatables. These were lifesavers for drying when we sink-washed.
  • Smartwool shirts – my husband used these for hiking and had a Smartwool polo that looked dashing for dinner.
  • Athleta Renew V-neck – these were my after-hiking shirts, can be dressed up and down, and dry in a flash.

Our “what were you thinking” packing items (all in my bag, unfortunately):

  • Titanium mug – I had gotten it in my head I needed to bring this mug in case we had to quarantine. It’s a great camping mug but what a waste of space! Every single place we stayed had mugs in the room.
  • Small massage ball – I brought this in case we were sore while walking but didn’t need it. It also amused the TSA agent as we were returning through Atlanta.
  • Silicone collapsible diffuser – I brought an adjustable collapsible diffuser that fit up to 2” hair dryers and it DID NOT FIT any of the hotel hair dryers on our travels! They were all about 2.5”. I also had thrown in a hot sock diffuser that fortunately did work. My husband chuckled at that pink diffuser the entire trip.

Other logistics:

  • Cash is NOT king – This is my husband’s number one advice. We barely ever needed cash, even at the smaller villages. Almost every place accepted contactless payment. We loaded both our AMX (primary card) and a Visa onto Apple Pay. About 70% of places took AMX; if not, we switched to Visa.
  • Put on your patience hat – There was a labor shortage many places we went, especially in the smaller villages. The people working were working hard. Just know that it might take a little longer to get served, etc.
  • Covid – As others have said, you will see very few masks or outward Covid precautions in England. The pollen levels were also high so we heard lots of coughing, sneezing and snuffling. Be prepared to take the precautions that work for you. No one gave us funny looks when we wore our masks. We ate outside when we could, but that was not always possible.
Posted by
198 posts

Welcome to London

Travel - We had booked last year and got a great fare on Delta One. I could get spoiled traveling like this! At the last minute, our itinerary changed to travel through Detroit. Our Delta One seats were moved to the first row but it actually worked out great as we are tall. Seats 1A – D in our configuration provide more leg room and allowed my 6’3” husband to really lay down. I got some sleep on the flight over, and it really made a difference in terms of jet lag. The Delta One passengers were allowed to be the first ones off the plane (felt a little bad about that). The passport ereaders worked for both of us, so we got through immigration pretty quickly.

Premier Inn– We stayed at the Premier Inn London Victoria (82-83 Eccleston Square) and it had quiet rooms with AC in a great location. They have a locked bag check. There were lots of coffee and breakfast places nearby, so we didn’t purchase the hotel breakfast. I would stay at this location again.

We love to explore by foot, and spent our initial time in London doing just that. The CityMapper app was invaluable in terms of walking and transportation directions (thanks Carol now retired). On our arrival day, we toured Westminster Abbey and were tickled to learn that Stephen Hawking consented to be buried there only when he found out he’d be buried between Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin!

The following day, we had intended to go to the 8 am service at Westminster Abby but overslept and almost also missed our 10 am London Walks “Hello London” tour. (Thank goodness for Caffe Nero espresso.) We really enjoyed this walk, which covered sights of central London – Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard, St. James, Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square. Great guide and fun people to talk with. The tour sells out, so book in advance (but you will pay on the day of.)

After our tour, we walked about 3.5 miles through Hyde Park to Notting Hill. Thanks to Dominic at London Greeters, we had learned it was the annual “Open Gardens” weekend, and the private garden from the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts Notting Hill movie “whoopsie daisy” scene was open to the public. This ended up being a highlight – what a beautiful garden! One of the homeowners had opened his house for tea and cakes. We also visited the other Notting Hill movie locations (blue door, travel book shop location etc.), but they were pretty crowded. We walked up and down the Portobello Road market. Hyde Park was very pretty and it was fun to people-watch.

As mentioned, we mostly ate outside. We especially enjoyed the Queens Arms pub in Kensington.

Posted by
198 posts

Walking the Cotswold Way

Cotswold Way Information - We walked the 102 mile trail in 10 days, with our shortest walk 8 miles and the longest 15. You could walk it in 6-11 days depending on desired daily mileage. We wanted time and energy to explore the sights and villages along the way. Our schedule also allowed stays at villages with amenities such as a restaurant or pub. The trail has a lot of hills and uneven ground so it is more strenuous than the same mileage of road walking. We used Cotswold Walks. The company booked the B&B’s for us and transported our luggage each day. Some people book for themselves – from the people we met, it seemed like accommodations were very tight this year, and lots of many people had to taxi to and from the trail. If you are only going to walk a portion, I recommend the Northern portion – it’s a little more varied and scenic. (But every day had beautiful things to see.) The trail was quite well marked and there are several offline location apps that are helpful.

To get to Chipping Campden to start the walk, we took the train from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh and then a 15-minute taxi. My husband had tried to book the taxi in advance but there is a shortage, and they also do school runs around the time our train arrived. SO, we stood outside the train station and worked our way through the list of 20 taxi companies. We met an English couple who were also walking the trail in 10 days and we divided the taxi list up. We decided we’d share a taxi with whomever found one first. The four of us finally got a taxi and were able to squeeze in.

While in Chipping Campden, we toured the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden, a small, interesting garden with many Chinese and Japanese plants that Ernest Wilson discovered on his travels. We had previously visited Hidcote Manor Gardens – if you haven’t been there, it is worth the trip. We stayed at the Bantam Tea Rooms (have stayed there before and loved it) and had a great dinner sitting outside at the Eight Bells Inn. The Cotswold Way starts right across the street from the Bantam Tea Rooms, so the next morning, we took pictures of the starting “seal” and we were off.

We usually walked between 5-6 hours a day starting at about 8:30 a.m. each day. We explored lots of sights along the way and before and after. Another highlight was though the trail isn’t crowded, you tend to see the same people walking on “your” schedule. So we got to know a Belgian couple and a California mother-daughter pair, as well as Dave, a coast-to-coast guide who was walking the Cotswold Way with his dog. Below are some of our highlights:

  • Favorite trail portion – We loved the Cleeve Hill portion on the way to Cheltenham. You climb up to the highest point on the trail, and have beautiful views. The area is shared by golfers, walkers, sightseers, sheep and lambs, but somehow it all works. A golfer approached us and was tickled that we were walking all the way to Bath. On the way up, we explored the Belas Knap long barrow.
  • Favorite village – Love, love, loved Painswick. The flowers and views were so beautiful. We chatted to several locals who seemed pleased we were taking pictures and were very proud of their pretty village. St. Mary’s Church with the yew trees was another highlight. We stayed at the Croft House, and I highly, highly recommend this location. Martyn, the host, does the most beautiful fruit plates for breakfast.
Posted by
198 posts

Cotswold Way favorites (continued)

  • Most unexpected sight – Tyndale Monument on the way to Wotton-Under-Edge. An Englishman was leaving the monument as we walked up, and shared that it was built in honor of William Tyndale, an early translator of the new testament. “You can climb the tower,” he said, so we did. (There is a small donation requested.) This tower had great views but got pretty claustrophobic going up and down. In our younger days, we loved to climb church towers in Europe but we decided we’re probably past our prime on that.
  • Funniest sight – The Cotswold Way goes below and then up above the famous Coopers Hill where the annual cheese rolling contest is held. (Google it if you’ve never seen the videos.) Oh my goodness – at the top of the hill, it looks like you are going off a cliff! I could not imagine completing that race with limbs intact.
  • Best learning – When trying to cross the giant road junction by the Air Balloon near Birdlip, we met Dave the Coast-to-Coast guide, and he taught us how to get the cars to stop. “You just step into the road, point to a car and make eye contact”, he said.
  • Favorite lunch stops – We generally didn’t stop for lunch but did try to support local places near the trail. My two favorite stops were at the Star Bistro on the way into Birdlip, and the Village Market in Hawksbury Upton. The Star Bistro (run by National Star) employs people with disabilities and uses locally sourced ingredients. We ate outside in a lovely patio with delicious food. The Market at Hawksbury Upton is about a mile extra walk off the trail, but it was a fun diversion. When we entered, we met a man who explained to us that the market is run by volunteers. He was very proud of their (excellent) coffee machine, so we ordered a latte and had a relaxing break outside.
  • Favorite pubs – Our favorite pub on the trail was the Dog Inn in Old Sodbury. Fantastic food, cask beer and friendly service. An unexpected treat was stopping at Dunkerton’s Organic Cider outside of Cheltenham. They have a huge outdoor area with bar and food trucks. Their cider is fantastic – but be warned it is high in alcohol. So sip carefully!
  • Favorite sight off trail – Sudely Castle outside of Winchcombe. I loved the secret garden and church. This privately owned castle is also the burial site of King Henry VIII’s final wife, Katherine Parr. We decided that it would have been pretty risky to have been in line for the throne back in the day. The castle is about a mile walk from Winchcombe.
  • Favorite beer – We enjoyed sampling the different cask beers, and it was amazing how the same beer could taste different from different casks. My favorite beer was Butcombe’s (amber) at the Dog Inn, and my husband’s favorite was the Doom Bar (I know that brand is kind of a cliche but it was a great pour) at the Kings Head in Kings Stanley. Love that the beers are low alcohol and they sell halfs.
  • Best meal –We booked at the Painswick Inn, and it was pricy but worth every penny. The starters (truffle pudding and salmon) had layers of flavor. Our mains were delicious and the service was exceptional.

The Cotswold Way ends in downtown Bath. On our last day of walking, we were trying to beat the rain in the forecast. Our guidebook talked about the hill descent down into Bath, and then said “the rest is urban walking”. It didn’t mention that Bath is very hilly and there were lots of ups and downs, haha. Not what we were expecting at the very end! The ending Cotswold Way seal is right outside of the Bath Abbey. I think we disrupted some folks’ abbey pictures, and they probably wondered why we were celebrating by a circular acorn in the ground! Our walk was a great experience and I would highly recommend it.

Posted by
198 posts

Touring Bath

Cotswold Walks had booked a B&B for us at the Apple Tree in Bath, and Ling is a wonderful hostess. Her breakfast is phenomenal – I loved the stuffed French toast.

We really enjoyed touring the Roman Baths. The history and Roman artifacts were very interesting. Another highlight was the Mayor of Bath Honorary Guide’s historic walking tour. This two-hour tour was free (with no tipping allowed). Collin, our guide, gave an excellent history of Bath and its architecture. His insights really helped me to appreciate the various aspects of the city. We also toured the Bath Abbey and especially enjoyed the beautiful East window.

Our favorite Bath restaurant was The Scallop Shell. As others have said, it has the BEST fish and chips, but also many other excellent dishes. The scallops were giant, and so fresh and sweet. You can book online, and they have two levels of inside dining and an outside area with retractable rain cover to pick from. We liked it so much, we returned a second time. The server suggested the grilled Cornish Hake as a contrast to the fish and chips, and it was delicious.

Aborted Travel and Return to London

As mentioned, we had intended to drive to Stonehenge, Portsmouth and Eastbourne, but after a rental car issue, we called an audible. There was still lots to see in London, and I hadn’t been there since 1977. I should mention that this was on the weekend of Glastonbury and the train strike Saturday, so it did not help our options while we were waiting by the side of the road. On the positive side, everyone we met during our rental car issue was so hospitable. (JC, we will get to Portsmouth and your recommendations another time.)

Thankfully, my husband is a lifetime Hilton Diamond member so was able to get a room for an extra night in Bath. (We just closed our eyes at the cost at that point.) The next day, the trains started running after the strike, and we and seemingly everyone else took the Bath-London train. This was yet another time we were SO glad we had limited luggage. Many folks had to stand. The train was so packed that one man just rolled his giant suitcase to the middle of the aisle and sat on it. When people needed to squeeze by, he would lift it up over their heads. The train entry vestibules were wall to wall with people and luggage because the racks and aisles were full. Everyone was patient. Our ticket wasn’t checked until we were exiting Paddington in London. Considering the volume, they did a good job of moving people through.

On our London return, we stayed at the Doubletree near the Tower thanks to my husband’s Hilton status. It was a great hotel and location but would be pricy without using points.

Since we had to miss the naval and WW2 sights in Portsmouth, we toured the HMS Belfast near the Tower, It was really interesting! We had previously toured the Titanic building site in Belfast where this ship was also built. We also booked a timed ticket to the Tower of London. We spent about 2 ½ hours there and really enjoyed the history. The crown jewels are stunning. If you are pressed for time I would recommend booking a morning time, and going to the crown jewels first.

We spent a lot of time walking and exploring, and also visited a few museums. We saw the obligatory Rosetta Stone at the British Museum (absolutely packed with people) and spent most of our time there at the very interesting Chinese ceramic rooms. I had been to China pottery factories on business in the 90’s, and the skill and detail in the pottery we saw was amazing. We visited the National Gallery right as it opened. We love Van Gogh so did the B and C routes backwards as Van Gogh is at the end of both – when we walked into the room with the Van Gogh it was deserted, and almost a little surreal. I wanted to get to the Tate Britannia to see John Singer Sargent’s Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, but ran out of time – we’ll have to do that next time.

Posted by
198 posts

London (continued)

I had never been to Pret-a-Manger or Wagamama, so we tried (and liked) both. My husband’s favorite snack ended up being Pret-a-Manger fresh mangos with lime. We had fun counting the Pret location stars as we walked – it looks like they are going for world domination in London, haha. I’m planning to make the Wagamama Bang Bang Cauliflower recipe now that we’re home.

My favorite thing in London was attending Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral. We were fortunate to be invited to sit in the Quire. I found myself becoming emotional listening to the beautiful music – filled with gratitude to be there and sorrow for what our world has been through. We’ve visited lots of cathedrals, but this is one of my favorites.

On our last day, a highlight was the Borough Market. I had hoped to get a cheese toastie from Kappacasein’s but alas, they were closed. Not to worry – there were many other delicious choices. We’re not big dessert eaters, but this day, we went full-on sweets. First, we enjoyed some mini-cannoli in lemon, chocolate and vanilla flavors. Then, we stopped by the Humble Crumble. I lived outside of London as a child and had been looking for the hot custard I used to love. (Malcolm, our B&B host in Pennsylvania had reminded me, “the custard’s really sweet”, and he was not wrong.) The Humble Crumble specialty is fruit (apples, berries or mix) topped by homemade shortbread and warm custard. So, so, good!

Then, we took a taxi to Heathrow (I promptly crashed from my sugar high) and my husband enjoyed seeing the Brentwood Stadium on the way. We had a lovely, memorable trip. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading!

Posted by
10335 posts

Wonderful report. We will be in London and Bath soon and I appreciate your recommendations.

Posted by
2562 posts

We did two days of walking on the trail in 2019 and really enjoyed it. We met at the B & B we stayed at in Stanton two other couples doing the entire trail like you did. One was from Ireland and the other from Scotland. I think it is more unusual for someone from U.S. to dedicate that much of their trip to walking (my husband was not as flexible as yours about that). Anyway, it was fun to read your report.W e made our own arrangements for everything since we didn't do the whole trail but I must say luggage service is a wonderful thing!

Posted by
14163 posts

Thank you so much!! What a fun trip report and what a great time you had!

Our “what were you thinking” packing items

This is a perfect category and should be required, lol!! 😆

We just closed our eyes at the cost at that point.

Sometimes you just have to do that to get yourselves out of a fix and on your way or better positioned. So sorry you had car trouble. I suspect you wound up having to call for service? Did you have a phone plan? I was once on a train jammed like that from York to London and all you can do is be thankful you are moving.

Again, so enjoyable to read about your trip!

Posted by
91 posts

This is really wonderful! Thank you for your great descriptions and I'm glad you had such a successful trip! I've longed to do this but had no idea how to begin planning it. I also love Painswick and have a family member buried there and would love to visit again. A question for you about taxis: what do you mean about the taxis doing school runs? And, is Uber an option in the Cotswolds?

Posted by
198 posts

Thanks, all, for the kind comments.

Beth - We stayed a night in Stanton as well! It is another pretty village, and we loved the Mount Inn. I agree with you - it was less common for walkers to be Americans, and people really did seem pleased that we were doing the entire trail.

Pam - Your posts always make me smile. With our rental car, we did have a phone plan. The challenge was the rental car company for whatever reason couldn't call into us "because you have an American number". (Even though Ling from our Bath B&B had been able to call us the day before, lol.) So we had keep calling, remain on hold, find someone who knew about our issue etc, etc. But I think the biggest problem was just it was an unusually busy day due to the train strike and Glastonbury Festival.

Julie - How nice that you have a tie to Painswick! For your taxi question, my limited understanding from the taxi drivers is that there aren't yellow school buses in England, so sometimes public buses and/or taxis are used. The taxis sometimes are paid by the school and other times the parents contract with them. Perhaps one of the English posters will be able to explain it more accurately. There was Uber in Bath but none available near the Moreton-in-Marsh train station.

Posted by
1861 posts

I am booked in to The Bantam Tea Rooms in September and can't wait. I was so happy to see you liked it. About what time was it you arrived in Moreton in Marsh and the taxis were busy with school runs? I'll be coming from Basingstoke and it would help me plan if I knew the arrival time to avoid. I plan on taking a taxi to Chipping Camden and have had a problem finding a good website that would let me reserve in advance.

Posted by
198 posts

Laurie Beth - We arrived at Moreton-in-Marsh at 3. The 1 or 2 p.m. arrival would probably have been better. The trains that arrived after 3 were much more expensive. The English couple and us had both tried to book our taxis beforehand but no luck. Make sure your phone works for outgoing calls. There is also a bus to Chipping Campden, but the train station workers told us it was "not that reliable". Maybe things will be less busy in September. Have a great trip!

Posted by
980 posts

Sharon, this was fun to read. Thank you!

“We just closed our eyes at the cost at that point.”
I have a similar category called " what can be fixed by throwing some money at it."

Posted by
241 posts

Sharon, I loved your report. What a wonderful way to see/experience the Cotswolds. Your recommendations also appreciated. Now I can’t wait to try this.

Posted by
1861 posts

Thank you for the taxi info. This is such a great trip report. I wish my poor old arthritic body was still up to walking the Cotswolds. The spirit is willing though!

Posted by
1305 posts

Hi Sharon -

Very much enjoyed your report which brought back memories of our own trip on the Cotswold Way, oh, more years ago than I care to remember. I recall a) the path goes up an down the escarpment in what can only be described as a wilful manner, b) because you skirt it, Cheltenham never goes away (not for three days anyway!) and c) my right arch collapsed mid walk - oddly while aching a little during walking the hiking boots I wore supported it, but when I took my boots off it really hurt - which was only diagnosed once we’d finished and returned home!

I’m very happy to see folks from both sides of the pond hiking the trail. My one worry going forward over the next few years is that because during the pandemic we were all encouraged to get out and walk, (at least here in the U.K.) resulting in more people attempting long distance trails than usual (A Good Thing!) the organised tour companies will hoover up all the best on trail or near on trail accommodation meaning the only way to do these walks will be to book through a company (maybe not such a good thing). Sure, it makes it convenient but legislates against the DIY, independent traveller. There’s pros and cons to all this, but it will be sad if you couldn’t book a trails worth of accommodation yourself (often part of the fun of planning) and it would fly a bit in the face of the ‘get up and go under your own steam’ ethos. Still, as I get older I have found the appeal of handing the responsibility over to somebody else growing, given it takes me all my time and powers to do the walking!

Ian

Posted by
3812 posts

Thank you for posting your wonderful trip report! I've enjoyed reading it. Thanks for all the interesting details.

Posted by
209 posts

You did such a wonderful job sharing your travels in a clear, entertaining way. You should get a commission for all the people who now want to do this trip! Well done.

Posted by
198 posts

Ruth, Patty, Rebecca, KC, Ian - thank you for your kind words. We loved our trip, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the report.

Ian - hahaha, yes on Cheltenham! We kept checking our map to see which village we were "seeing now" and it was just a different side of Cheltenham for the longest time. Ouch on your arch! That does not sound fun at all. Hope it has long since healed.

You make an interesting point about it possibly becoming harder to book places independently as the trails become more popular. That seemed to be the case during our trip but Covid may have been a mitigating factor. There seemed to have been a lot of pent-up demand. We had booked last summer, but some walkers had booked as long as 3 years ago. It also seemed that a few longtime B&B's had closed. (Our B&B in Pennsylvania was slated to close the following week, as the owner was selling and retiring.)

We chose a local tour company (everyone seemed to know Andrew, the owner) which hopefully also benefited the local economy, and I can't say enough positive things about Cotswold Walks. Given the challenges of finding taxis, it would have been harder for us to do it on our own this summer and find our way off trail for accommodations. One of the things I really admire about England is the footpath system, so I hope accommodations for the longer walks remain accessible. Thanks again.

Posted by
1305 posts

Hi Sharon -

The pandemic (and though it’s a controversial subject, maybe the dread Brexit too) has had quite a marked deleterious effect on businesses and pubs and places of accommodation especially. While I think there will still be plenty of options remaining and demand will create more in coming years, I worry that the best of them and those closest to the trails will get booked up in advance by organised tour companies.

The footpath network here, which you are right, is one of the jewels in our crown, has plenty of lesser known trails that do not have National Trail status (this largely means you have to navigate a bit more carefully). The Coast to Coast is chief amongst these but even trails like the Dales Way/Dales High Way (which are cracking little walks in their own right) feature in the catalogues of tour companies these days where they never used to, the walks and others like them were fairly obscure. I’m not against this per se, but as I can literally step out of my front door and set off on the Dales Way and I know the route intimately I really wouldn’t feel the need to book through a tour company. It is a fear of course that may prove in time to be ill founded.

As for the arch, never really recovered but it’s largely OK these days, however (flings back of hand against forehead for dramatic effect) I fear I shall never play the violin again!

Do you have any plans to return to do other routes in the U.K.? I do understand there’s so many places to go and see and so little time!

Ian

Posted by
198 posts

Hi Ian,

I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Part of the fun of independent travel is the planning, and it is a shame when places become only accessible to those who can pay more. From what we heard from English people, many shared your thoughts about the impact of Brexit on some industries. We also noticed restaurants that had closed.

Yes, England's footpaths are a crown jewel! Where we live in Ohio, many trails require some sort of fee and you often have to drive to them. We do most of our trail walking at a non-profit nature center 30 minutes away that does many wonderful things but due to finances is not free.

I of course have a list of other footpaths I would like to walk! (My husband had asked, "have you gotten this out of your system yet?", haha.) The challenge is so many travel wishes and not enough time! I'm interested in a portion of Hadrian's Wall, St. Cuthbert's Way possibly the Pilgrim's Way and maybe the Coast to Coast. (Dave had assured us we were fit enough for that one but I'm not positive.) Do you have any recommendations? Thanks again.

Posted by
1305 posts

Hey Sharon -

I’ve done a fair few of the trails in the U.K. and without a shadow of a doubt the two favourite trails me and Julie have done are The West Highland Way (just great fun) and best of all, The Coast to Coast. As I mentioned it being the work of one man, the great Alfred Wainwright, it doesn’t have National Trail status, but is probably now the most popular walk in the U.K. (that’s a gut feel not based on any statistics!). The C2C takes a good two weeks plus and surprises many, especially as it climbs and descends through the Lake District, the first and toughest section of the walk but the most beautiful. The Yorkshire Dales are more rolling but still require effort and the N. Y. Moors in conclusion are deceptive because the route initially follows the edge of the escarpment - more ups and downs! There’s a lecture on You Tube by a couple, fit, mid sixties, from Charlottesville who detail their C2C journey and it is worth watching if it’s on your ‘to do’ list. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3_qS0zG4mU&t=4611s

Hadrians Wall - we did it ‘in reverse’ going west to east, plan was to have prevailing weather at our backs. It’s an interesting walk but hardly a wilderness experience. Blame the Romans for that - they engineered the military road alongside the south side of the wall so well it forms the modern day road east-west across the Pennines in many parts, so you have a main road running parallel to you much of the way, albeit at a distance. We spent two weeks on Hadrians Wall - one week walking it and later another week, visiting the museums and sites we hadn’t time to fully explore on the walk, plus a little bit of revisiting our favourite sections of the wall.

My friends who live in that part of the world have done St Cuthberts Way and while I’ve walked a couple of stretches of it the full thing remains on the ‘to do’ list!

The Pilgrims Way isn’t on our current radar. We’ve recently completed the inauguaral walk on the Yorkshire Heritage Way which runs from Bradford Cathedral to Ripon Cathedral which is either a pilgrimage or a bid to get a bridge built over the River Wharfe in my home village, dependent on who you talk to! We’ve been trying to get a bridge over the river for over 100 years, so I’m not holding my breath on it, although there does seem to be some momentum, albeit not rapid towards achieving the goal.

Feel free to ask if you need any info on any walks in the U.K. - if I have any experience or constructive thoughts on them, you are welcome to have them!

Ian

Posted by
132 posts

Sharon,
Thanks for the great trip report!
It's fascinating reading and sounds like a good barometer of the times.
I definitely appreciate the packing tips!
Happy travels!
Mark

Posted by
8814 posts

Great report. Love London and throughly enjoy reading other positive experiences when they visit.

Appreciate the Cotswold Way intel as well. Still on the UK bucket list adventure.

Posted by
198 posts

Thanks, Claudia. I enjoy reading about your London adventures too. England is my happy place. My husband thinks it is because I lived there as a small child.