The Isle of Wight Walking Festival takes place across two dates in 2023 from 13th-21st May and 7th - 15th October across the island.

Isle of Wight Walking Festival

13th - 21st May & 7th - 15th Oct 2023 c Leon Bulter

Walking

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Whether you're a serious hiker or just wanting to stretch your legs, the South East offers a diverse range of walks to enjoy.  With over 11,000 walking trails, paths and routes to enjoy there are endless discoveries to make along the way.  South East England is also home to a host of fantastic walking festivals that offer a great way to explore the area, experience new walks and meet new friends.  Head out on foot for some fresh air and exercise and enjoy the 3 million acres of natural beauty in South East England.

The Countryside CodeEnjoy the beautiful South East countryside at every opportunity; it is so good for your wellbeing, great to be out in the fresh air and enjoying some exercise. Please remember whilst out and about to follow the Countryside Code.  

Take a look at some of our favourite top walks in the South East below, or if you want to stretch your legs a little further, our long-distance walks in Berkshire, highlighting the national trails and pilmgrimage routes in this area (more to follow).

Top Walks in South East England

Part of the South Downs Way, this stretch of coastline has featured in many TV shows and adverts. The series of chalk cliffs with its breathtaking views, make it clear why the sisters have become so recognisable. The 13.6 mile walk goes from Seaford to Eastbourne and includes views of the iconic Beachy Head lighthouse and the chance to enjoy the beautiful Cuckmere Haven.  Some shorter self-guided walks are also available if you don't want to walk it all.

This four and a half mile walk takes in the famous Battle Abbey and the 1066 Battlefield, the most famous conflict on English soil.  You can also follow in the footsteps of William the Conqueror on a longer 31-mile walk 1066 Country Walk from Pevensey to Rye - look out for the new sculptures along the way.

Battle Abbey, 1066 Country. Credit National Trust

This 100 mile national trail runs from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in Sussex and has an ascent to 3,800km.  The trail runs entirely within the South Downs National Park (SDNP).  To long?  There are numerous shorter walks starting from Winchester, or in and around West Sussex or take on the coastal walk from Eastbourne to Alfriston (17.5 miles) which can be accessed by walkers only.  

The Isle of Wight coastal path can be spilt into 6 sections and takes you the whole way around the Isle of Wight.  Walks range from 8 - 16 miles and includes incredible scenery and views a plenty.

Discover the beautiful Sussex countryside around Brighton with the Sussex Walk App.  Showcasing 10 walks in and around Brighton, you can experience the beautiful views from Devils Dyke or Ditchling Beacon, explore Brighton's largest park Stanmer Park, or follow in the footsteps of Winnie-the-Pooh at Ashdown Forest.  With a whole host of options from 1 mile up, its a great way to explore the beautiful Sussex countryside.

Explore the historic sites of Portsmouth with this 3km walk along the promenade.  Starting near Clarence Pier and finishing at The Hard, linking many of the cities historic attractions and taking in the Camber, Old Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays, the route is indicated by a chain motif set into the surface of the pavement making it easy to follow.  Fully accessible and flat.

Millennium Promenade, Old Portsmouth, Hampshire

Starting at Jane Austen's house in Chawton, this 4.5 mile walk takes in the countryside that inspired many of her novels.

Try one of the three walking trails that head out from the Western Heights Nature Reserve, you can enjoy views over the town of Dover, Dover Castle and the White Cliffs.

This 3km waterfront trail links Explosions! The Museum of Naval Firepower with the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and offers panoramic views over Portsmouth Harbour. 

Open only in the spring at the height of Bluebell season, immerse yourself in a colourful trail of flora and fauna. There's a walk of 2.5 miles and wheelchair accessible 1100m route with mobility scooters available to hire.

Arlington Bluebell Walk, East Sussex

You don't always have to travel right out into the countryside to walk, there are some fantastic places to explore in our towns and cities.  Windsor and the surrounding area benefits from some beautiful large open spaces to walk including Windsor Great Park, Dorney Lake Arboretum and alongside the River Thames.  

The Basing trail a waymarked, circular 7 mile walk leading to the picturesque village of Old Basing near Basingstoke. The village dates from the Saxon times, and the trail includes the chance to see the Civil War site of Basing House; its ruins, surviving buildings and earthworks that still bear the scars of its historic siege.

Take a stroll along the 4 mile route between Turner's Margate and Dickens' Broadstairs, much of which follows an ancient footpath between St Peter's and St John's churches is signposted in both directions. Start at Margate Harbour Arm next to Turner Contemporary Gallery or on Broadstairs promenade outside Dickens House Museum.

View of Broadstairs Beach, Thanet

The second largest hill-fort in the country, with spectacular views in every direction - on a clear day you can see as far as Brighton and the Isle of Wight. Cissbury Ring is located in the South Downs National Park, just north of Worthing, West Sussex and is about a 20 minute walk from the local car park at Storrington Rise.

Walking is a great way to discover a new place, to feel part of the place you are visiting and they don't always need to be in the countryside.  Discover three new walks in and around the city of Southampton, from foodie hot spots, to jewel hunting on a fun treasure hunt for children around Houndwell Park, or exploring the cities sculptures, mosaics, murals and more.

Hengistbury Head is a stunning headland perched on the edge of the Bournemouth coastline, its a beautiful place to enjoy a walk.  Enjoy uninterrupted views of the Isle of Wight to the left and the crescent of the Bournemouth and Poole coastline to the right, lots of fresh air and varied flora and fauna. 

Hengistbury Head, South of Christchurch, Bournemouth

This 18 mile coastal trail along a stretch of the East Sussex coastline, connects three award-winning art galleries along the way, the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, the De La Warr Pavillion and the Hastings Contemporary.

The 21 mile long-distance footpath starts in the beautiful village of Alton (at the railway station) and follows the steep, densely wooded East Hampshire Hangers (a series of steep sided wooded hills) to the market town of Petersfield, then onto Queen Elizabeth Country Park.  The trail can be easily divided up into bite-size sections of around two & four miles, making it ideal for a family adventure or an afternoon stroll.

Fun for all the family, this walk follows alongside the River Medway and is marked with twenty posts with zinc rubbing plaques and information about local wildlife.  Starting from The Old Boat Café, each post is located where you are likely to see these creatures or signs of these creatures. 

Discover the hugh natural basin 'that the Devil scooped up by throwing handfuls of earth at the god Thor' at Hindhead, Surrey, a beautiful wildness with easy access from the A3. 

Walking Festivals

Walk, stroll or saunter your way on along to one of this years walking festivals - more dates coming soon.  Here's a look at what 2023 looked like, starting in March at Heart of Kent Walking Festival, Maidstone, (24th March - 2nd April 23), followed by Alton Walking Festival, East Hampshire (1st - 31st May 23), and then the brand new Reading Walking Festival (10th - 14th May).  The first of two walking festivals then takes place on the Isle of Wight (2024 date confirmed as 11th - 19th May), followed by North Wessex Downs Walking Festival, Basingstoke (2nd June - 11th June 23)  White Cliffs Country Walking Week (17th - 23rd July), the ten day Eastbourne Walking Festival (15th - 24th September 23), and back to the Isle of Wight (7th - 15th October 23).  To view information about each walking festival and to book your walks, please see below. 

Coastal walks and walking holidays

Click the 'map view' button or browse the list below for a selection of companies that organise self-led hikes or guided walking holidays, tours, paths and national trails, for individuals and groups, in South East England.

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Number of results: 39

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  1. Cobtree Manor Park

    Type

    Type:

    Adventure Park / Playground

    AYLESFORD

    Cobtree Manor Park has over 50 acres of parkland displaying a diverse and maturing collection of trees and shrubs. The Park features a themed play area, along with a sculpture trail, plenty of space for picnics, and a visitor centre and café serving…

  2. Merry Harriers Llama Trekking

    Type

    Type:

    Experiences

    GODALMING

    Enjoy the unique experience of Llama trekking in the Surrey countryside at the Merry Harriers in Hambledon.

  3. Leechpool Woods

    Type

    Type:

    Parkland / Woodland Garden

    Horsham

    Leechpool is an ancient woodland covering 53 acres and includes Oak, Ash, Hazel, Hawthorn, Holly, Blackthorn, Sweet Chestnut and Scots Pine.

  4. Watlington Hill

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Trail / Watching

    Watlington

    Discover an Oxfordshire dreamscape as you walk to the top of Watlington Hill, where you will find breathtaking views and fine wildlife all year round.

  5. Tudor History Tours

    Type

    Type:

    Walking Tour

    Station Parade, Eastbourne

    Unique holidays in Southern England, brought to you by Tudor History Tours, who offer an unrivalled opportunity to bring this period in our nation’s history to life!

  6. Queen Elizabeth Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Horndean

    With over 2,000 acres of downland and woodland, Queen Elizabeth Country Park is the ideal place to explore, keep fit and enjoy the great outdoors.

  7. 878 AD

    Type

    Type:

    History and Heritage

    Winchester

    Step into Anglo-Saxon Winchester!

    Experience the sights and sounds of Anglo-Saxon Winchester and discover the stories of the people who lived there, brought to life with the spectacular world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Discovery Tour: Viking…

  8. South Downs National Park

    Type

    Type:

    National Park

    The South Downs, now a newly designated National Park are accessible from Worthing. The South Downs Way runs from Winchester to Eastbourne and can be accessed at several points around Worthing or Adur.

  9. Haslemere Walking Festival

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Haslemere

    From Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July, the 3-day programme of walks will take you in and around the beautiful town of Haslemere.

  10. Flora Thompson Circular Walk

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Liphook

    Flora Thompson, of Lark Rise and Candleford fame, inspired this circular walk on Weavers Down and Holly Hills near Liphook. Flora Thompson came to Liphook in August 1916, when her husband John was appointed postmaster here. In 1926 they bought a…

  11. Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Reserve

    Hill Head

    Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve is home to various habitats including river, marshland, and scrapes.

  12. Capstone Farm Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Gillingham

    Capstone Farm Country Park is one of Medway's finest green spaces, offering wonderful opportunities for walking, running, cycling and more in 114 hectares of former farmland on the North Downs.

  13. Curious About Walks

    Type

    Type:

    Walking Tour

    Curious About... Explore, Discover & Enjoy!

    Curious About offer over 75 self-guided heritage walks with a treasure hunt theme across towns and cities across the UK! Suitable for individuals & groups of all ages, they are great for Family…

  14. Alton Walking Festival

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Alton

    Alton is a vibrant Walkers are Welcome Hampshire town which truly has community spirit at its heart. Situated at the source of the River Wey and enjoying a stunning rural backdrop at the gateway of the South Downs National Park, Alton is known by…

  15. Riverside Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Gillingham

    Riverside Country Park is an excellent site for Winter birdwatching.
    Situated alongside the Medway Estuary at Gillingham, the park is made up of many different habitats, including ponds, reedbed and grassland.

  16. North Wessex Downs Walking Festival

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    North Wessex Downs AONB

    Save the Date for the 2024 North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Walking Festival.

    Explore the Big Chalk with 9 days of walks to suit all ages and abilities.

    Full programme to follow

  17. See Southampton

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Southampton

  18. Thames Path National Trail

    Type

    Type:

    Walking Tour

    Oxford

    The Thames Path National Trail is a wonderful way to explore the River Thames. This long distance walking route starts at the source of the river in a field in the Cotswolds and follows the banks of the Thames for 185.2 miles (298km) meandering…

  19. Reading Walks Festival

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Reading

    This May, Reading's are hosting there second Walking Festival! Running from 11-19th May, Reading Walking Festival is as much about telling the stories of Reading as walking for pleasure, so you don't need to be a seasoned hiker to take part and…

  20. Arlington Bluebell Walk & Farm Trail

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Reserve

    Arlington

    Enjoy vistas of bluebells in 23 acres of ancient woodland. Walks and trails through three farms. Countryside exhibition. One walk is wheelchair friendly.