From beautiful lakes to rugged mountains, here’s our best walking holiday destinations in the UK. From historic marvel to the beauty of nature, the UK is full of walking weekends and hiking hot spots, but where to start? Local nature reserves, hillsides and mountain ranges are sure to bring some real treats, but when it's time to bring out the big guns for great hiking holidays, here are our go-to spots:
For the more experienced hiker, the Snowdon Ranger Path will lead you on a six hour hike up Wales’ tallest mountain. The 3,071-foot climb is not for beginners, but it promises magnificent views and the claim to fame of tackling the tallest mountain in Wales and England. It's one of the best walking holidays in the UK. However, Snowdonia is full of beautiful hikes, so if you are newer to hiking check out the Cwm Idwal Circuit or the Llyn Dinas circuit for fantastic routes for shorter walking holidays in the area.
The third tallest mountain in the Lake District, and in England, Helvellyn regularly tops at number one on UK hiking route rankings and therefore makes a great hiking holiday destination. The cream of the crop of its many hike options is Striding Edge. This is one of the most remarkable hiking routes in England, without a doubt. However, make no bones about it, this is another one for experienced hikers, even in the best of weather conditions. For an easier route, although not long enough for a full holiday, take the Thirlmere route which is a shorter 2-mile trek, averaging around a three-hour trip.
The Cotswolds Way offers over 100-miles of spectacular walking, with a number of beautiful villages and historic sites along the way, not to mention the quaint pubs to stop off for food or a tipple. For magical long-distance views across the Cotswolds, scale Cleve Hill. The 1,083-foot provides a clear view across Cheltenham and its famous race course, the River Severn and into Wales. Of course, 100 miles isn’t for the faint hearted so plan your routes and accommodation for an unforgettable hiking getaway.
This is one of the very best walking holiday options as you'll be spoilt for choice for places to stay along the way. Depending on the time of year, you'll also find plenty of events happening at locations along the route.
The meandering Cuckmere River is a visual wonderland. This seven-mile hike spans through the ancient chalk downs and lush meadows, dotted with Norman churches which maintain an air of its feudal history. This walk makes a nice weekend break, but you can extend your hike onto the Seven Sisters and its beautiful chalk downland which dates to the cretaceous period – 66-145 million years ago. Not one to miss.
Training ground for the British special forces and a visually striking mountain, Pen Y Fan offers several routes depending on experience. For bragging rights, you’ll want to climb to the summit’s cairn. To evidence your presence at the highest point in southern Britain, a selfie is the modern method of approval! The horseshoe ridge walk is arguably the toughest, but the most stunning climb including three mountains. The nine-mile hike begins at the Taf Fechan Forest up to the four table-top peaks, the 2,864-foot Corn Du, the 2,907-foot Pen y Fan, the 2,608-foot Cribyn and the 2,359-foot Fan y Big. The homeward trail takes you through the Neuadd valley. If you're wanting a challenge with stunning rewards, then this might be one of the best walking holidays for you!
Perfect for both walkers and off-road cyclists, The Great Trossachs path stretches from the banks of Loch Lomond at Inverness to Callander. Path 1 takes you from Inversnaid to Trossachs Pier. Path 2 takes you from Trossachs Pier to Callander. With waymarked walkways and numerous mountain bike paths this is a guided hike that you can customise to your level of experience.
Loch shores, sloping hills and ancient woods are numerous, but be sure to check out the Iron Age military garrison where the infamous Scottish outlaw and folk hero, Rob Roy (MacGregor), was born. The Scottish legend even shares a near on identical family name with MMA champion and sport pioneer, Conor McGregor, who has been vocal about his family name’s ties with Scottish outlaws. It's a fantastic walking holiday for those looking to explore some of the beautiful sights of Scotland.
The small coastal village of Keyhaven is located in the New Forest. With numerous idyllic locations along its many hiking routes, including the village itself, the marshes and its seasonal bird life, country lanes and an ancient highway behind the reserve. This is a top pick. Be sure to check out the views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the Needle and Henry VIII’s coastal fort for the historians among you.
Hiking in the United Kingdom is often easily accessible, beautiful and physically and mentally soothing – at least following some potentially sore legs the next day. But, always make sure you plan, pack the right kit, and take things slowly, carefully and at your relevant experience level. Most of all, enjoy it - whichever walking holiday destination you choose!