The slower you travel, the more you see. And there’s no slower way of travelling than walking. Most of us, with stops for tea, ice cream, admiring views, peering at insects, and re-tying laces, average about two miles an hour. This is absurdly slow for the instant-gratification modern world. Instead of skimming the surface, like impatient damselflies, walking takes you deep into the landscape. There is simply no better way of coming to understand a stretch of country, its history and customs, its people and wildlife, than by ambling through it on your own two legs. A walking break over several days develops its own magical rhythm. Here, we recommend some of the best UK routes. COAST TO COAST — for some, the ‘Coast to Coast’ will always be the single most magnificent long walk in the UK. Devised by Alfred Wainwright, this outstanding, fairly demanding hike traverses rugged northern England from the Cumbrian coast at St Bees eastwards to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea. You cross the high fells of the Lakes, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Ramblers Holidays offers this epic in two segments, since it is a good 15 days to do the whole 190-mile route. The first day alone covers 15 miles and some 2,300 ft of ascent. This is a hike of a lifetime. Take a hike: Walking the western route with eight nights half-board accommodation is from £1,169 pp; nine nights half-board for the eastern route from £1,335 pp. ST CUTHBERT’S WAY — the 62-mile St Cuthbert’s Way, straddling the border between England and Scotland, is simply wonderful. This is Sir Walter Scott country, too. Over six or seven days you’ll walk from Melrose, birthplace of the much-loved Anglo-Saxon saint, through the Eildon Hills, along the bonny Tweed, and visit St Cuthbert’s Cave. An amble to the coast and across the famous tidal causeway to Holy Island, St Cuthbert’s last resting place after his death in 687 AD, is a must. Take a hike: Four days from £470 pp. PEAKS & GLENS — the Great Glen Way is another majestic route – from Fort William beneath Ben Nevis to Inverness. But it’s not as well-known as Wainwright’s Coast to Coast. Again, this one suits fit and experienced hikers only. You may have to contend with midges, monsoon rain and even the occasional earthquake. The Great Glen is after all a massive geological fault. But you can expect sublime cloudscapes and sunsets, sweeping views across Loch Ness and beyond, plus a feeling of wilderness all too rare in this country. Take a hike: An eight-day, self-guided walk with accommodation from £870 pp. NORFOLK WEAVE — one of Britain’s lesser-known long-distance trails running from Cromer to Great Yarmouth, the Weavers Way covers 61 miles through a quintessential Norfolk landscape of windmills, reed beds and slow tidal rivers. Also, don’t miss Felbrigg Hall, once home to William ‘Mad’ Windham, a country gentleman given to displays of public nudity while ‘screeching like a demented imp’. Why bother queuing for Snowdon when you can have the peacefulness of our eastern flatlands? Take a hike: From £500 pp with five nights’ accommodation. TAKE ME TO THE RIVER — headwater walking holidays have come up with an excellent new Thames Valley Path route. Keeping close to England’s most celebrated river, follow the Thames through the heart of our country, history, ancient cities and much great architectural beauty. From Oxford down to Windsor, it feels something like a royal progress, accompanied by herons, kingfishers and water voles. Take a hike: Eight days from £1,349 pp with accommodation. COTSWOLDS ON FOOT — it is said that a traffic jam here is when two tractors meet. You’ll stay at the Bell Hotel on St Mary’s Island and then sail out each day to a different island with a guide. Take a hike: Six nights from £999 pp staying at the Bell Hotel. DEVON DREAM — with thousands of miles of British coastline – nobody can quite agree how many, but there’s about 11,000 – one of the prettiest stretches and often the most reliably sunny, is South Devon. Stay at a coastal hotel and plan your own walking holiday, either along Devon’s portion of the spectacular South West Coast Path or around the river valleys fringing the southern edge of Dartmoor. A hotel with a view across lovely Dartmouth and the Dart estuary would be a personal favourite. Take a hike: See bespokehotels.com/hotels/coast-country-collection for a great selection of hotels. WELSH BORDERS — Offa’s Dyke is another classic long-distance walk for hardier types, named after the Anglo-Saxon King Offa of the Mercians, who had this huge earthwork built in the 8th century, passing through the tranquil Welsh Borders. My pick would be the southern section, taking in the Black Mountains, famous ‘book town’ Hay-on-Wye, the lovely River Wye and Tintern Abbey. You end up at Chepstow Castle, the oldest Norman castle in Britain. Take a hike: Nine-day walking holidays with accommodation from £1,229 pp.