Whether you’re strolling around an historic town, striding between museums, or rambling in the woods, finding your way on foot is a great way to relax, discover new places and meet new people.
The best way to get around Leicester is on foot – most sights and attractions are within a short stroll, and many of our city centre streets are pedestrianised. If you’re looking for a green escape in the city then you can head to one of Leicester’s many parks and open spaces.
Leicestershire’s beautiful countryside includes lots of country parks, with mile upon mile of walking opportunities and plant and wildlife to discover on your route.
Maps & Guides
- Find out about footpaths, bridleways and byways across the city and county, including long distance trails such as the Leicestershire Round and National Forest Way:
Legally, they only differ from the roads which you drive along by the types of traffic entitled to use them.
A permissive path is a path which the landowner permits the public to use, with the intention that it should not become a public right of way.
Interactive maps (for guidance only)
Many local, regional and national trails have been devised over the years by local authorities and walking organisations, promoting the public rights of way network. Explore and enjoy Leicestershire and beyond with our guides below:-
- Leicestershire Round (£ guidebook). This 100 mile circular trail around the county encompasses many delights the Leicestershire countryside has to offer. It is detailed in a guidebook, arranged into sections, which focus on villages as stopping points. (Leicestershire Footpath Association)
- National Forest Way (Free PDFs). This new 75 mile linear trail explores the highlights of The National Forest between Beacon Hill Country Park in Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire, and the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. The route is split into 12 promoted sections. (National Forest Company). (£ unofficial e-book)
- The Ivanhoe Way (Free PDF). A 35 mile circular trail around the northwest of the county, which links with the Leicestershire Round. The route is split into 7 short sections making it easy to walk as a series of short strolls.
- Midshires Way (Leicestershire section) (Free PDF). Since opening in 1994, The Midshires Way has become a popular long distance walking and riding route stretching some 225 miles across central England from Buckinghamshire to Greater Manchester. From south to north it crosses 5 counties, taking in the Peak District National Park before reaching the Pennines near Stockport. See also – Explore Leicestershire on horseback
- Ambion Way (Free PDF). A 9.5 mile walk through woodland, across farmland and along the towpath of the Ashby Canal near Market Bosworth. If you are looking for an opportunity for some quiet enjoyment of the Leicestershire countryside, this walk will suit you.
- Jubilee Way (Free PDF). Opened in 1977 to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, this 20 mile trail starts at Burrough Hill in the south (linking with the Leicestershire Round) and travels north beyond Belvoir (where it meets the Viking Way).
- Mowbray Way (Free PDF). This 9 mile linear trail starts at Scalford and heads east across open countryside, via small villages to eventually meet Buckminster. The route links the long distance paths of the Jubilee Way (from Burrough on the Hill to Woolsthorpe by Belvoir) and the Viking Way (from the Humber to Rutland, via Lincolnshire).
- Brampton Valley Way (Free route description / £ maps). This former Northampton to Market Harborough Railway is now a car free ‘linear’ park surrounded by beautiful scenery and rich in natural and historical heritage. It provides a 14 mile walking, cycling and in parts horse riding route. The stone surfaced path follows the old railway track bed and is suitable for both hybrid style and mountain bikes. (Sustrans)
- Jurassic Way (Free PDFs). Briefly enters Leicestershire at Bringhurst in the far south east and connects Banbury in Oxfordshire with Stamford in Lincolnshire. For most of its 88 mile route it follows the Northamptonshire Uplands, the Jurassic limestone ridge that forms the northern spine of that county. (Northamptonshire County Council)
- Macmillan coast-to-coast paths (£ guidebooks). Explore Leicestershire as part of a coast-to-coast walk along the Macmillan Way from Boston (Lincolnshire) to Abbotsbury (Dorset) / Barnstaple (Devon). Or try the new Cross Britain Way, which runs from the start of the main route in Boston, to Barmouth on the Welsh coast. (Macmillan Ways Association)
- The National Byway® (£ maps). The National Byway is a 3,200 miles (5,150km.) sign-posted leisure cycling route, around England and parts of Wales and Scotland. The National Byway journeys through the natural environment, providing discreet sign-posted direction along some of the most attractive and peaceful rural lanes. In addition to the main route, there are 60 one-day circular loop rides. (The National Byway Trust)
- Viking Way (Free PDFs). A long-distance trail from the River Humber, through Lincolnshire and Rutland, a total of 147 miles. Southwards from near Belvoir Castle, the route is along the border between Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, following the Sewstern Drift, an ancient trackway which forms much of the boundary between the two counties. Also forms part of the European walking route E2 – a 3,030 mile long-distance path running from Galway in Ireland to France’s Mediterranean coast. (Lincolnshire County Council)
- Melton Round (Free PDF). The Melton Round is a 103km (64 mile) walk which circles Melton Mowbray, designed to take advantage of the fine views available in the area. Underfoot conditions should not pose problems even to novice walkers, though suitable footwear is recommended.
- Uppingham Round (Free PDF). The Uppingham Round is a circular walk of around 130km (80 miles) that crosses the south of Rutland. With Uppingham roughly at its centre it passes through the districts of Harborough (Leicestershire), Corby (Northamptonshire) and East Northamptonshire. (Rutland County Council)
Long distance trails
Find out more about long distance paths, including those featured above, on The Long Distance Walkers Association website, which includes a searchable database of over 1,400 UK trails. Information includes maps, publications, and details of nearby accommodation.
- Browse our extensive library of walking leaflets covering many local towns and parishes:
“Strolls on your Doorstep”: easy-access short walks in urban areas, suitable for a range of abilities, including some designed for people with pushchairs and wheelchairs (see below).
“Parish Walks” / “Local Walks”: rural circular walks around many of Leicestershire’s villages, ranging in distance from 1 to 9 miles (see below).
Choose from one of the six
map areas below:
Calls to Traveline 0871 200 2233 cost 12p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge. Any prize draws featured have now closed.
- Walking to Nature – Charnwood Forest
- Lutterworth Local Walks – see ‘Walcote’
- New: Walcote Local Walks
- Hinckley industrial estates & town centre (short strolls for your lunch break)
* Printed leaflets
FREE hard copies of walks leaflets marked with an asterisk(*) can be requested by e-mailing email@example.com, stating your name, address and the leaflet(s) you’d like. Other leaflets are no longer available, but may be printed at home or your local library.
- Accessible Countryside for Everyone: find accessible places for all to enjoy.
- Ramblers Route Finder: online library of high-quality walking routes.
- Walking in England: thousands of walks to download and print
- Choose from a selection of easy, short walks, ideal for families:
Barrow upon Soar (PDF): approximately 1 hr (2.75 miles)
- Fun factors: river, cattle and horses, playground, boat hire (£)
- Facilities include: parking, toilets, two cafés, several nearby pubs
Beacon Hill (PDF): approximately 2 hrs (6.3 miles)
- Fun factors: rhododendron labyrinth, amazing views, woodland, open countryside, streams, new playground, rocks to scramble, cattle, sheep and alpacas
- Facilities include: parking, toilets, nearby pubs
Bosworth Battlefield (PDF): approximately 1 hr 30 mins (2.5 miles)
- Fun factors: woodland, canal towpath, old railway line, Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre (£), boat rides (£), steam train rides (£)
- Facilities include: parking, toilets, two cafés, visitor centre shop
Staunton Harold (PDF): approximately 1 hr 30 mins (2.75 miles)
- Fun factors: shops, large lakes, woodland, views from the ridgeway, nature reserve, sheep and cattle
- Facilities include: parking, toilets, two cafés, shops
Wistow (PDF): approximately 2 hrs (4.5 miles)
- Fun factors: browse the shops, open countryside, canal path, sheep and cattle
- Facilities include: parking, toilets, café and shops
- Discover more of Leicester & Leicestershire’s wildlife, geology, heritage and history:
- Story of Leicester – a growing collection of online maps, audio tours, video and interactive guide exploring Leicester’s rich culture and heritage. Download the accompanying mobile app and enjoy a self-guided walk with commentary!
- King Richard III Walking Trail (PDF) – lasts approximately 1 hour and takes you around key sites in the city centre that are connected to the last Plantagenet King and the medieval Leicester he would have known. The trail begins at the site of the Blue Boar Inn on Highcross Street.
- Geological Walks (PDF) – six trails (mostly circular) through the beautiful Charnwood Forest. The guide gives interesting information about the geological features found along the way.
- Mining Heritage Trail (PDF) – this 9 mile mostly-circular route starts at the Snibston Country Park in Coalville and links the villages of Coleorton and Swannington
- Walking Through Time (PDF) – three walks ranging from 2 to 6.5 miles around the beautiful area of wooded hills and outstanding historical and scenic features of the Staunton Harold Estate and Breedon-on-the-Hill, on the border of North West Leicestershire and South Derbyshire.
- Walking to Nature (PDF) – this walk makes use of the trails and routes around the Outwoods, a popular leisure area near Loughborough.
- Airport Trail (PDF) – a 6-mile walk taking in the whole perimeter of East Midlands Airport. It includes sections of permissive path that reconnect the footpaths, bridleways and lanes severed when the airfield was created in the Second World War.
- Other places to explore including country parks, waterways and nature reserves:
- Country Parks in Leicester & Leicestershire. Get outdoors, re-connect with nature, and explore the beauty of the city and county’s many parks and open spaces. A comprehensive directory of sites managed by the city and county councils and other organisations.
- Leicester Riverside. Leicester Riverside is an 8 mile ribbon of linked green spaces, wildlife areas, historic features, industrial heritage following the River Soar and Grand Union Canal.
- River Soar Trail Route 1 (PDF) – This route is 5.5 miles. Fully accessible for family walking or cycling. The start is 15 mins from the Square in Market Harborough. The route could be done as an out and back. For walkers completing the linear route the 44 service runs between Foxton and Harborough (Mon-Sat only). The X3 and X7 bus services run from Leicester to Market Harborough.
- Explore Leicester & Leicestershire’s Waterways – Leicestershire’s waterways meander through some of the prettiest countryside in the city and county and past some great landmarks.
- Accessible Countryside for Everyone – Leicestershire. Disabled access, wheelchair walks, easy access, access for all, mobility, walks on wheels, miles without stiles – whatever the term, this website is all about accessibility to the countryside and green spaces.
- Nature reserves. As well as containing wonderfully rich and varied animal and plant species, many extremely rare, Leicestershire’s nature reserves are also important places for people to visit, enjoy, and appreciate outstanding wildlife.
- Permissive paths. Search for walks, rides and areas of open access in Leicestershire and Rutland provided under the Countryside Stewardship, Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Environmental Stewardship schemes.
- Open access land. Search for open access land, where people can walk freely on upland areas, heaths, and registered common land as a result of what is commonly known as the ‘right to roam’.
- Walking is a great way to socialise as well as get fit. Find your local walking group:
By joining The Ramblers, you can walk with any group across the UK, including the eight Leicstershire & Rutland Area groups. There’s no obligation to join immediately – you’re welcome to try out two or three walks for free:
- LRWG Ramblers (countywide 20s/30s/40s group)
Groups affiliated to The Ramblers
- Footloose – National Forest and Beyond (45+ singles)
- Over the Hill Walking Club (40+ singles)
- Association of East Midlands U3As (for retired/semi-retired people)
Guided walks providers
- Ashby Canal Trust promotes restoring the canal from Snarestone to Moira, through an annual festival and guided walks.
- Colin Crosby Heritage Tours are led by Colin Crosby, a qualified expert tourist guide, who offers a very wide ranging programme of guided walks in many locations around Leicester & Leicestershire and further afield.
- Friends of Grace Dieu Priory, Thringstone conserves the historic ruins and welcomes visitors with regular guided walks.
- Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre offers guided walks at weekends and holiday times.
- Leicestershire Country Parks organise a range of family-friendly events, nature activities and guided walks. See their Facebook page for up-coming events.
- Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust runs a range of guided wildlife walks at their thirty-five nature reserves.