Trail Information

The North Downs Way National Trail is 153 mile trail through coast and countryside, with easy access from London. Walk or cycle across stunning chalk escarpments, pass through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and over wooded hills and magnificent valleys.

Prepare for your trip

Select the blue arrow tabs below for more details.

Exploring the Trail

The Trail is 153 miles (246 km) long. You should aim to take twelve days to complete the trail on foot. 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.

If you prefer to cycle, follow our Riders’ Route and either take on the trail as one big challenge or break it up into easy to manage section.

As with all National Trails there is a variety of terrain that can be easy in parts and challenging for walkers and cyclists in others.

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.

The route is well signed throughout, but we always recommend following an up to date map or GPS mapping.

The national trail is rideable in sections or in one go for an ambitious challenge.

The route is perfect for both amateur and experienced cyclists, as well as for horse riders.

You can find out the best way to ride the trail with our Riders’ Route

Top Tips for Enjoying the Trail

The trail is easily accessible by public transport. Most people start at Farnham in Surrey, and 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 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.

Find out about travelling with bikes on train if you want to cycle your way across the route.

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.

There are plenty of campsites along the trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map. If you plan to camp please note that wild camp is illegal in England or Wales; you must 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.

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.

The North Downs Way can be enjoyed at any time of the year!

We encourage people to visit during the different seasons to enjoy different colours, views and sight. Some sections can become muddy in wet weather so dress appropriately.

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.

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.

You can also download Google Maps offline. 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.

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.

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.

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

Holiday Inspiration

Why not explore the North Downs Way National Trail on two wheels? Take a look at our Riders’ Route for an amazing cycling break in beautiful countryside.

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

Circular and Linear Walks

There are some great short walks to enjoy along the North Downs Way.

You can view short walks on the interactive map below or browse the list of walks on the Circular and Linear Walks page.

Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

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.

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

Certificates are available from the The Trails Shop.

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.

Added to your Itinerary Planner below

Distance calculator

Distance measured: - Miles (- km)

Get route gradient profile

Map Filters
Map Filters

Customise your trip with our filters.

Map Filters
Map Filters

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General info Equestrian Info Cycling Info


Points of interest




Points of interest



Points of interest


Using the GPX downloads

Please be aware that the “full” GPX file available to download above, contains multiple tracks and some apps and websites may not be able to display this correctly. If you encounter any issues when uploading this file please use either the Farnham to Dover file (this excludes the route through Canterbury) or the Wye to Dover via Canterbury file.

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
Trail Officer