The English Way in the UK
The Camino Inglés to Santiago de Compostela is linked to a number of pilgrimage trails enabling modern pilgrims to start the journey before leaving their country.
Pilgrimage has been part of Britain´s history since ancient times. Pagan paths became religious journeys with Christianity and the discovery of the tomb of St James the Apostle made of Santiago a most desirable destination for the intrepid medieval pilgrims. The tradition was brought to a drastic end in the 16th century when Henry VIII banned pilgrimage. Today, Britain is witnessing a revival of pilgrimage and many routes are being recovered, including those followed by pilgrims travelling to the ports in the east, south and west from where ships set sail to Santiago.
That is the case of the Finchale Camino Inglés, departing from Finchale Priory in County Durham, the site of the hermitage of St Godric, the first known English pilgrim to Santiago. As the meeting point for pilgrims who arrived in Britain crossing the North Sea, Finchale is considered today the official starting point of the Camino Inglés in England. The path keeps on expanding every year to the south, aiming towards Reading, the centre of the cult of St James in England in the Middle Ages. Reading is also the starting point for the St James´ Way, also waymarked with the scallop shell and the yellow arrow to its end in the port city of Southampton.
But these are not the only UK Caminos you can walk in Britain. In order to help you start your route to Santiago closer to home and revive the British history of pilgrimage, the Confraternity of St James - the largest and oldest English-speaking association of pilgrims - has awarded Jacobean significance to the following routes along which you will be able to find stamps for your official Camino de Santiago credential. The distance covered in the UK - a minimum of 25 km - will also count towards the 100 km needed to qualify for the Compostela certificate when you start your Camino Inglés on Galician soil, in the city of A Coruña.