18 Apr Ten of the best places to take a walking holiday in the UK
Our crowded urban centres make it easy to forget that we have some of Europe’s most beautiful countryside views. Take a day trip out into the heathlands, mountains, and the coasts, and you’ll see what we mean.
One weekend out of the city and this aspect of Britain will hook you. Soon, you’ll find yourself craving week-long jaunts through the hinterlands of the UK’s built-up areas.
However, the logistics of these holidays can take the fun out of them. Are you finding yourself overwhelmed with the planning needed to pull off a walking excursion? Tour agencies such as Mickledore walking holidays take care of the heavy lifting so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
With this formality out of the way, let’s talk about the regions best suited for a walking holiday in the United Kingdom.
Known for its scenic mountains, wooded areas, and lakes, the Lake District is a natural choice for avid walkers. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to England’s deepest lakes and all peaks over 3,000 feet.
What walks are worth your time here? The Cumbria Way follows the valley bottom, tracing along its most scenic lakes, offering dramatic mountain views. The Inn Way appeals to fit people and foodies, as it mixes in mountains with evenings at local inns.
With scores of possible routes to pursue, you could come back every summer and never get bored.
Back in the 2nd century AD, Britain was the Roman Empire’s westernmost territory. As they pushed north towards Scotland, they encountered resistance from local tribes. To defend occupied lands to the south, they built Hadrian’s Wall, an118-kilometre limestone barrier.
Today, parts of this barrier lie in ruins, though, much of it remains remarkably intact. In 2002, a trail tracing its route opened. Along the way, you’ll walk through rolling hills, heathland, and thickets. At each end, you’ll encounter seacoast.
Since time immemorial, the sea has defined the story of the United Kingdom. In Northern England, a multi-day adventure along the Northumberland Coast Path will put you in touch with this ecosystem.
Starting in Berwick-on-Tweed and ending in Cresswell, this route has plenty of wide, sandy beaches. However, there’s more than that – remains of castles, dramatic headlands, and windblown grassy fields also await you.
Southern England is mostly known for gentle hills or flat coastal plains. However, a region called The Cotswolds bucks this trend. Spanning six counties, a steep limestone escarpment provides hillier terrain anywhere else in this part of England.
Walkers can enjoy everything this region has to offer along the Cotswold Way. It runs 163 kilometres from start to finish, taking in pastures, woodlands, and charming villages along the route. The stone houses you’ll stay in are cosy and staffed by the friendliest locals in the UK.
Occupying the southwesternmost corner of Britain, Cornwall is home to lush farmland, cute fishing villages, and white sand beaches. For walkers, the South West Coast Path is a hotly sought-out route. Wrapping around Land’s End, it tours the challenging shores of the Irish Sea and the English Channel.
The Northern route takes you past beaches and rocky shores that are frequently pounded by heavy surf. Along the way, you’ll pass by Tintagel, home to castle ruins rumoured to be the home of King Arthur.
The Southern Route traces the Cornish coast of the English Channel. Here, you’ll find beaches that could easily be mistaken for ones in the Mediterranean. With white sand and aquamarine waters, only the temperature of the English Channel will snap you back to reality.
Along the River Thames
Are you looking for a unique walking adventure? Follow England’s most famous river from its source in The Cotswolds to its mouth in Greater London.
It all starts at a natural spring that gurgles up from the ground near Kemble. From there, you’ll walk through scenic Cotswold villages, market towns, and tranquil farmland. As you near the end of your journey, you’ll stroll into London, one of the world’s leading cities.
This path terminates at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. This floodgate defends the mouth of the Thames from storms that blow in from the North Sea. The changes you’ll see along your walk make this a journey you won’t want to miss.
Mountains and hills define much of Wales. Snowdonia National Park protects many of the best – if you are looking for great walks, pack your walking boots and plan your holiday here.
Fit, experienced trekkers will want to take on Mount Snowdon via the Snowdon Ranger Path. Taking six hours, you’ll go from grasslands at the base to windswept alpine at the top. Sometimes, the peak is above the clouds, making for a photo opportunity of a lifetime.
Those looking for something a bit more tranquil? Take a stroll through the Abergwynant Woods. A 13-kilometre path between Barmouth and Dolgellau, this stroll features scenic lakes and atmospheric thickets.
Wales is also home to some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the UK. Of the thousands of kilometres on offer, the Pembrokeshire Coast stands out. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path stretches 269 kilometres in its entirety.
You might not be able to see it all, but even shorter walks will take in plenty of scenery. Massive cliffs, impressive protected harbours, and remote beaches will greet you, no matter which leg you choose to tackle.
Mountain lovers needn’t go anywhere other than the Scottish Highlands. It is home to Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK, numerous pristine lochs, and countless breathtaking vistas. While you’ll find plenty of trails throughout the region, walkers will want to trek the West Highland Way.
Its 153 kilometre length can be done in as little as seven nights. Along the path, you’ll scale mountain passes, pass through pastures with hairy Highland cows, and experience timeless views. Do remember to pack rain gear and warm clothing, as the weather can change on a dime.
Across the Irish Sea in Northern Ireland, avid walkers are raving about the sights along the Causeway Coast. Spanning 92 kilometres from start to finish, most take six nights to complete their journey. Between Cushendall and Portstewart, you’ll get to see sights like the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, The Glens of Antrim, and the Giant’s Causeway.
Most exciting, fans of television show Game of Thrones will recognise numerous sights as they trek this trail. These shooting locations include Dunluce Castle, which stood in as Pyke Castle, and the Fairhead Cliffs (Dragonstone).
This trail ends at the Giant’s Causeway. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these photogenic basalt columns will make for a proper conclusion of an epic hike.