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Trail Information

The North Downs Way is an express route to the heart of the country with easy access from the centre of London. Walk across stunning chalk escarpments, pass through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and work your way along a 153 mile (246 km) hike over wooded hills and magnificent valleys.

Prepare for your trip

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Exploring the Trail

How long does it take to complete the Trail?

The Trail is 153 miles (246 km) long. You should aim to take twelve days to complete the Trail. This allows a comfortable 13 miles a day. The trail has steep ascents and descents in places, and more energetic climbs up Box and the Colley Hills in Surrey and those in the Mid Kent Downs.

How hard is it?

As with all National Trails there is a variety of terrain. Much of the Trail is along relatively level ground but remember the North Downs Way follows the scarp slope of the North Downs and does go up and down it a few times.

The section from Guildford to Reigate with St Marthas, Albury Down, White Down, Box Hill and Colley Hill is more challenging.

Whilst the route is well signed throughout, an up to date map or GPS mapping is essential.

Top Tips for Enjoying the Trail

How do I get to the North Downs Way?

The start of the Trail at Farnham is easily accessible by public transport. There are direct train services between London Waterloo and Farnham. Farnham is also served by coach and local buses.

London Gatwick and Heathrow Airports are both within an hour’s drive of Farnham. From Heathrow take a rail-air coach link to Woking railway station where you can catch a direct train to Farnham. From Gatwick, take the Gatwick Express to London Victoria station and transfer to London Waterloo for rail services to Farnham.

From the end of the Trail at Dover there are regular train services from Dover Priory train station to London. National Express operates frequent coach travel between London and Dover. Local bus services visit surrounding towns and villages.

Several ferry companies currently operate from Dover port connecting to Calais and Dunkerque. There is a regular shuttle bus service from Dover Priory railway station to the Eastern Docks Ferry Port.

For detailed rail information please see

You can find up-to-date public transport information including a journey planner at

Access by car via M25/M26/M2 and M20 is straightforward either from mainland Europe arriving in East Kent, or from London airports.

Where can I stay on the Trail?

The Trail has an abundance of quaint, cosy country inns with rooms, pop up campsites or more formal hotels and family run B & B’s.

Accommodation can be viewed on the Interactive Map below or on the Create Your Own Trip page here.

Download and print a list of accommodation for each section of the Trail.

It is always advisable to book your accommodation in advance especially during summer months.

Can I camp along the Trail?

There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map. If you plan to camp please note it is not legal to wild camp in England or Wales – you will need to stay on official campsites.

However, some farmers and owners of pubs may allow you to camp on their land if you obtain their permission first. Check on Campspace. Camping barns also offer an alternative low cost option.

Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?

There are several companies that will arrange to move your bags for you, help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.

View a list of these companies here.

What is the best time of year to walk on the Trail?

The North Downs Way can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although some sections can become muddy in wet weather so dress appropriately.

Which direction should I walk it in?

Historically Pilgrims would walk from West to East, but visitors arriving on the East Kent coast from Europe may decide to walk in the opposite direction. The trail is signed in both directions so it’s up to you to decide which direction to explore the trail.

What should I take with me?

We recommend that you take a map and/or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk. You may also find a compass useful.

If you are walking solo you may want to tell someone where you are going as there can be mobile black spots along the Trail. Ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off.

Weather in the UK can be changeable so it’s wise to be prepared. You’ll need good footwear, waterproofs and warm layers. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. In the summer you may need sun cream.

Will I have mobile phone and internet access?

Mobile reception is fairly good near to main towns but the more rural patches do have black spots. We recommend using your provider’s online coverage checker before setting out if mobile reception is important to you.

Is there signage on the North Downs Way?

The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.

National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails.

As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.

You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleways.

Can I download a GPX file?

A GPX file can be downloaded from the Create Your Own Trip page (the button is below the map).

Holiday Inspiration

Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the North Downs Way.

Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

Can I get a guidebook and map for the Trail?

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the The Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

Which Ordnance Survey maps cover the Trail?

You can find a list of Ordnance Survey maps for the Trail here.

Can I get a certificate if I complete the Trail?

Certificates are available from the The Trails Shop.

Under new Are there any useful Trail Leaflets?

There are some great walks to enjoy along parts of the North Downs Way, which will give you a flavour of the wonderful, peaceful nature of the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs.


You can find leaflets here

You can find short and linear routes here


Interactive Map

Use the Map Filter to see places to visit and where to stay along the North Downs Way. View information on the map by ticking the boxes in the Map Filter.

(c) Crown Copyright 2020. Ordnance Survey 100022021

We are aware that the Distance Counter is currently not working as expected. We are currently working on a fix for this and hope to have a resolution soon. We apologise for any issues this causes in the meantime.

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Points of interest


The custom route elevation is created when you use the distance calculator (above) to draw a line.

Create your own trip

Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.

Contact the Trail Officer

If you have feedback or a question about the North Downs Way, please contact the Trail Manager.

Contact Pete Morris