The North Downs Way provides stirring running on footpaths and tracks as you follow the downs across the south-east of England.

A wonderfully varied and surprisingly tranquil journey, through beech and oak woodlands, across springy downland, and browsing sweeping vistas, following much of the ancient Pilgrims Way that linked the cathedrals of Winchester and Canterbury.

North Downs Way

While there are some hills en route as the trail weaves up and down the escarpment, the route isn't too challenging overall.

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Map of the North Downs Way

Route facts

  • Length 123 miles (197 km)
  • Ascent 14862 ft (4530 m)
  • High point 846 ft (258 m)
  • Ascent per km 23 m
  • Start and Finish
  • Farnham/Dover
  • Grade
  • Easy to Strenuous  
  • Season
  • 2nd January to 24th December

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  • White cliffs from Folkestone

    White cliffs from Folkestone.

  • Beautiful North Downs Way countryside

    Beautiful North Downs Way countryside.

  • North Downs Way Rochester Castle

    North Downs Way Rochester Castle.

Trail profile

North Downs Way Profile

Itineraries

4 nights
3 days running

Grade: Strenuous

Farnham

66 km (41 miles) and 1600 m (5249 ft) ascent

Oxted

62 km (39 miles) and 1352 m (4436 ft) ascent

Detling

69 km (43 miles) and 1594 m (5230 ft) ascent

Dover

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Tour code: TNDW-1

Price £520 per person

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5 nights
4 days running

Grade: Challenging

Farnham

50 km (31 miles) and 1248 m (4094 ft) ascent

Merstham

47 km (29.5 miles) and 966 m (3169 ft) ascent

Wrotham

50 km (31 miles) and 1174 m (3852 ft) ascent

Charing

50 km (31 miles) and 1165 m (3822 ft) ascent

Dover

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Tour code: TNDW-2

Price £600 per person

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7 nights
6 days running

Grade: Moderate

Farnham

38 km (24 miles) and 700 m (2297 ft) ascent

Dorking

28 km (17.5 miles) and 902 m (2959 ft) ascent

Oxted

31 km (19.5 miles) and 603 m (1978 ft) ascent

Wrotham

31 km (19.5 miles) and 750 m (2461 ft) ascent

Detling

32 km (20 miles) and 621 m (2037 ft) ascent

Wye

37 km (23 miles) and 975 m (3199 ft) ascent

Dover

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Tour code: TNDW-3

Price £700 per person

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10 nights
9 days running

Grade: Easy

Farnham

18 km (11 miles) and 277 m (909 ft) ascent

Guildford

20 km (12.5 miles) and 427 m (1401 ft) ascent

Dorking

28 km (17.5 miles) and 902 m (2959 ft) ascent

Oxted

20 km (12.5 miles) and 355 m (1165 ft) ascent

Otford

26 km (16 miles) and 594 m (1949 ft) ascent

Rochester

24 km (15 miles) and 707 m (2320 ft) ascent

Hollingbourne

24 km (15 miles) and 320 m (1050 ft) ascent

Wye

18 km (11 miles) and 450 m (1476 ft) ascent

Etchinghill

19 km (12 miles) and 525 m (1722 ft) ascent

Dover

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Tour code: TNDW-4

Price £910 per person

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Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are running on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo Runner Supplement: £55 per person / per night
  • Single Supplement: £25 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard): £60 per person / per night

The price you pay includes:

  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, town plans, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Detailed travel information is sent to you on booking, but we have provided a summary below.

Air

The most convenient major city and international airport is Londonís Heathrow or London Gatwick International Airport.

Rail

There is a railway station at the start of the trail (Farnham). It is located near to the centre of the town, within walking distance of most accommodations. There is also a railway station at the end of the trail (Dover). Dover Priory railway station is a short walk from the harbour, ferry terminals and most accommodations.

From London Ė Trains run regularly between Gatwick Airport and Farnham or London Paddington (for the Heathrow Express/Connect service) and Farnham. From Dover, trains run regularly between Dover Priory railway station and Gatwick or Heathrow Airports.

Car

For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit www.theaa.com which has a very useful route planner.

Returning to the start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail (Farnham) is by train from Dover Priory to Farnham via London Waterloo (east) and London Waterloo. Trains run hourly.
Runners often decide to add additional rest days into their holidays to allow for recovery or further exploration of the local areas. If this appeals to you, the North Downs Way has lots of attractive destinations to stay in along the trail.

The ancient settlement of Farnham is a good choice if you wish to spend an extra day getting to know the area at the start of your holiday. Bordering the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of options for exploring the area on foot, while the town centre is home to a range of fine historic buildings and is overlooked by the magnificent Norman Castle and keep. On the outskirts of Farnham are the ruins of Waverley Abbey, while the grounds of Farnham Park, containing a variety of gardens, potteries and galleries, are always available for exploration.

Oxted is another lovely little town with picturesque timber-framed buildings, welcoming pubs and tempting market stalls. This friendly community is always planning or hosting various events, fairs or festivals celebrating the local area, which you could take advantage of by spending an extra day here. If you need to replenish your running kit, there are also a couple of sports shops available in the town to help get you ready for the rest of your run.

For somewhere a little livelier, Rochester is a bustling town filled with various shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as a number of historical buildings including Rochester Cathedral and Rochester Castle. Those seeking an adrenaline rush can visit the nearby Buckmore Park Kart Circuit and race others around the famous track, or take a short trek to the stunning Hoo Peninsula to explore the dramatic scenery. Whatever your preferences may be, Rochester is sure to satisfy your needs.

There is also a wide variety of things to see and do in the trailís final stop at Dover. With stunning unspoilt coastline and fantastic countryside, this area is a playground for lovers of the great outdoors; here you can try your hand at activities such as horse riding, paragliding, fishing and even motor racing, or simply enjoy a walk around the local area before relaxing on the beach. There is also a vast range of amenities including shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as several leisure centres and health spas if you need a well-earned massage to help your muscles recover from your fantastic trail running holiday.

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