Getting out with the family can be loads of fun, but some hiking routes can be challenging for little ones! Let’s run through the best family friendly walks so everyone can get involved.
Hiking is a brilliant way to get out the city or explore rural surroundings. It’s a cost-effective way to educate, exercise and inspire your younger ones, or even impress your new in-laws (just do some research first if you want to sound knowledgeable!).
The problem is many kids may not react well to the news they are leaving the Wi-Fi rich environment of the home! Choose hikes that aren’t going to prove too much of a challenge, and even more importantly, locations that are going to provide awe, inspiration and interest.
The famous song by the Eagles rings true when introducing the family to hiking. Choose simpler, short hikes and avoiding steep climbs too. But, this doesn’t mean you need to cut yourself off from some of the country’s most rewarding outdoor experiences! Here’s our top 3 family friendly walks in the UK. Why not also check out our best Yorkshire walks (there are some kid friendly routes on that list!) or our list of easy Peak District walks.
The National Trust’s Penrhyn Castle has lots to offer for adults and kids within the grounds of the historic landmark. The mile-long, circular walk around the grounds is a wooded area home to ancient and newer species of oak, lime and sweet chestnut trees. Along the main route you’ll be treated to some of the castle’s wonderful features.
The Old Drive is the castle’s original entry point and where Queen Victoria made her royal entrance during her visit to the castle. Next, the Bog Garden is laden with water features and exotic-plants. The walled garden has even more plants from across the globe, and offers a botanical tour (but check the times ahead of your trip). Before heading back to the car park, you can explore the ruined chapel, which is surrounded by redwood, fir and cedar trees. Last but not least, you’ll be treated to some wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and coastline, not to mention a striking image of the castle itself.
It's a great family friendly walk as it's not too long, but includes a lot of interesting things to look at and do!
The popular holiday destination has a wonderful, short and circular walk that is a go-to for family hikes. Teeming with grassland and wildlife, the area will provide a visual peacefulness and maybe inspire a young biologist. There are many species of butterfly and bird to be spotted, alongside views across the coast where dolphins are sometimes seen.
If you take a right from the car park there is a path down to the caverns, below the cliffs. These are great to explore but be very careful with timing, ensuring it is low tide and that you have plenty of time before it comes back in. There will often be anglers casting off from the beach, as well has climbers on the limestone cliffs themselves. On a sunny day views from the top of the cliffs will provide views over to Lundy Island and the Somerset coast. Finally you will walk through the holiday resort, Lydstep Haven, before a short woodland path back to the carpark.
This iconic landmark takes you through some truly beautiful English countryside on route to the river mole. Begin at the National Trust visitor centre, down to the river and back, take the surfaced path which runs parallel to the road to find the start of the route.
First take in the view from Salomon’s Memorial before continuing along the path. As you reach the steps through the woodland be cautious as they can often get slippery during wet weather. Soon you’ll begin to see the river and at the end of the steps (all 275), you’ll reach a fork in the path, of which the left will take you to the stepping stones and river.
Further along you’ll find wooded chalk cliffs, known as the Whites. Finally, you’ll come past one of the area’s oldest buildings, Box Hill Fort. The building has bats living inside it, so it cannot be entered, but you able to investigate it from all angles outside. From here you can follow a stony path back up to the visitor centre.
Keep it Entertaining
The common denominator with these hikes is they are short and simple, offering plenty of interactive and educational points of interest. The smartphone and computer game obsessed youth may have trouble getting into hiking if you begin with an eight-hour trek somewhere completely isolated. By choosing family friendly walks - hikes with landmarks, varied terrain and educational centres or information along the route - you can turn the hiking into something more than just a walk. Most of all, have fun and use it to bond and spend time together, you’ll be surprised at how nature can bring out our best.