The United Kingdom is filled with breathtakingly cinematic landscapes that demand to be explored, from Wales' wind-whipped Pembrokeshire coast up to Scotland's lofty Highlands.
To make the most of your time travelling through this historic territory, combine rambling through beautiful forests with rest breaks for beers in sleepy rural communities.
Hiking is one of the finest ways to see the UK up close and is great for fitness and a chance to get closer to nature (but just remember to prepare for sudden rainfall). So put on your boots, grab a map, and be inspired by our selection of the top treks in the UK.
A fantastic waterfall walk is the Pennine Way (Kinder Scout Loop via Jacob's Ladder).
8 miles (13.7 km); 4 hours; challenging
Everyone that hikes will be proud of themselves for completing Britain's best long-distance route. This 267-mile (429-kilometre) route follows the rocky spine of the island from Edale in the Peak District of Derbyshire through the Yorkshire Dales to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.
Technically difficult, the whole trail takes three weeks; nevertheless, day walks will give you a decent taste if you don't have the time (or energy).
The breathtaking views and the Kinder Downfall, a towering 98-foot (30-meter) waterfall, are only a sample of what the Kinder Scout Loop via Jacob's Ladder has to offer.
Yorkshire Dales villages provide the traditional blend of breathtaking landscapes and alluring country inns. The therapeutic benefits of a pint of genuine ale may be used to cure blistered feet.
Enjoy varied coastal scenery along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
two weeks, 185 miles (299 km), and a mild
Pembrokeshire, a pudgy peninsula protruding into the Irish Sea, is at the southwestmost point of Wales. It is windswept and desolate. Amidst the background of expansive beaches and churning waves, the coastline is punctuated by jagged cliffs and charming settlements.
The 186-mile (299km) Coast Path from Amroth to St Dogmaels is the ideal route to go to see it; plan on a few weeks. To get a taste, stay in St David's, the 1600-person smallest city in Britain, and go to St Brides Bay, where surfers, beachcombers, and swimmers make the most of the pristine beaches.
Savour the quaint Olde England vibe along the Cotswold Way (Castle Combe Loop)
3.5 miles (5.6 km); easy; 2 hours
The 102-mile (164-kilometre) trail flowing through the 1soft limestone hills of The Cotswolds, from aristocratic Bath to quaint Chipping Campden, would be the walk chosen by the English tourism board if it had to choose just one to represent this green and peaceful country.
You're in the wrong region of the planet if you're looking for 2steep ridges or mountain scaling; the 1086-foot (331-meter) top of Cleve Cloud is the highest point there is. This is the England of stately mansions and afternoon tea, not the other England. it is fantastic.
Castle Combe is one of the nicest Cotswolds towns with its picturesque stone cottages and lush forest environs, and the two-hour circle exploring its local brooks and forests is a wonderful and very English stroll.
Competitive hikers will love the Yorkshire Three Peaks
26 miles (42 km); tough; takes 12 hours (or two days);
The highest mountains in Scotland, Wales, and England are included in the UK's "Three Peaks" challenge: Scafell Pike (3209 ft/978 m), Mt. Snowdon (3560 ft/1085 m), and Ben Nevis (4377 ft/1334 m), respectively. However, you'll need a vehicle to get between them. Although smaller, Yorkshire's own three peaks are nevertheless rather challenging.
The 26-mile (42-kilometre) battle with 5250ft (1600m) of vertical elevation between Whernside (2415ft/736m), Ingleborough (2372ft/723m), and Pen-y-Ghent (2277ft/694m) is a torturous round trek. The goal is to finish it in 12 hours, at which point you may go to the local bar and toast the fact that no one had to travel anywhere.
For those who are less competitive, it may be best to break up the trip over two days and go at a slower pace. This will give you more time to take in the breathtaking views of the lake area from Whernside's towering ridge.
See stunning rock formations on the Carsaig Arches Walk
8 miles (12.8 km); 5 to 6 hours; medium-hard
On the Scottish island of Mull, a walk along the coast west of Carsaig Bay to the Carsaig Arches at Malcolm's Point is among the most challenging. For the most part, there is a nice path below the cliffs, however close to the arches, the trail rises and eventually crosses a steep slope above a drop into the sea (not for the unfit or faint-hearted).
Along the route, you'll pass through amazing rock formations that lead up to the arches themselves: the "keyhole," a large natural arch, and the "tunnel," a freestanding rock stack. Basalt columns are used as curtains at the western entrance. From whatever angle, it's a stunning location.
Give yourself three to four hours to walk the eight kilometres back, with at least an hour to rest at the arches.
Take the whole family on the Thames Path (Marlow to Cookham)
5 miles (8 km); easy; 1-2 hours
While the climax of this leisurely National Trail does pass through the metropolis, the rest of its 184 miles (296 km) meanders through some of England's most beautiful landscapes. Mention the River Thames and people immediately think of London's renowned skyline.
The course travels through central England, through Henley's elite rowing club and the spires of Oxford and its renowned university, before ending in London. It begins at the river's source at Cirencester in Gloucestershire.
However, it gives almost everybody the ideal blend of a major metropolis and picture-postcard countryside. Intense hikers ridicule the affluent backdrop.
The Wind in the Willows, a beloved children's book by Kenneth Graham, was inspired by the leisurely bends, bubbling weirs, and forested islands between Marlow and Cookham. This lovely, level 5-mile (8-kilometre) section is perfect for family strolls.
Scale the UK’s most prominent peak via the Snowdon Trail
9 miles (14.4 km); tough; 6 hours
Wales' tallest mountain is so clearly visible that on clear days, Ireland can see it. The seven trails that go to Snowdon's peak take around six hours each way and vary in length and complexity. You shouldn't undervalue the mountain just because it has a railway station and a café at the top.
The Llanberis Path, which parallels the railroad line and is nine miles roundtrip, is the easiest way to reach the peak. The Miner's Track (8 miles round trip), which begins broad and mild but turns steep beyond Llyn Llydaw, and the more fascinating Pyg Track (7 miles round trip), which is more rugged yet, are the two routes that leave from Pen-y-Pass and need the least amount of climb.
All hikers should keep in mind that no path is 100% secure, particularly in the winter. Experienced climbers among those who often get caught here have lost their lives.
Admire ancient Roman engineering on Hadrian's Wall Path (Sycamore Gap)
5 miles (8 kilometres); 2 hours; easy
When the Roman Empire chose to construct a wall to keep the roving Pictish Scots out of northern England, it's doubtful that they ever imagined that one day, their labour of love would serve as the setting for one of the nation's most beautiful walks.
The fairly difficult Hadrian's Wall Path runs 84 miles (135 km) from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to the fittingly called Wallsend in Tyne and Wear. It combines brisk hiking with the rich cultural legacy for which the UK is known. The meticulously excavated Roman fort of Segedunum still has a beautiful museum and significant portions of the wall in situ.
The Sycamore Gap hike, which offers a wild, circling glimpse of what Hadrian's armies encountered as they constructed their famous barrier, includes windswept crags and quiet lakes.
Walk in the footsteps of a giant on Giant’s Causeway
5 miles (8 kilometres); 2 hours; easy
One of Northern Ireland's most striking and evocative landscape features is this magnificent rock formation, which is the sole UNESCO World Heritage site in the region. It is a large stretch of regular, densely spaced, hexagonal stone columns that seem to be the work of giants. The Giant's Causeway Visitor Experience, located in a cutting-edge, environmentally friendly structure partially concealed in the hillside above the sea, explains the phenomena.
The Causeway is a short, flat 10- to 15-minute walk from the town, but a more fascinating route is to first follow the clifftop walkway before descending to Shepherd's Steps.
The lower coastal walk travels east until it reaches Port Reostan's Amphitheatre viewpoint, past noteworthy rock formations including the Organ (a stack of vertical basalt columns resembling organ pipes). Alternatively, you may continue on the cliff's edge beyond the Chimney Stacks headland and continue on to Dunseverick or farther.
Straddle border landscapes on Offa’s Dyke Path (Pandy to Hay-on-Wye)
26 kilometres (17 miles); 6.5 hours; challenging
Offa, the most powerful of all Anglo-Saxon monarchs, ordered the building of a massive dike to separate the kingdoms of Mercia and Wales during a time of political upheaval and territorial disputes. About 81 miles (130 km) of the dike are still standing today, which is an incredible feat for a construction that is more than 1200 years old. They are 6 feet (1.8 m) high and 59 feet (18 m) broad on average.
The full 178-mile (286km) length of the English-Welsh border, from Sedbury in the south to Prestatyn in the north, is covered by a tough two-week trip with pristine landscape and historical value. Such variety is unmatched by any other walk in the UK.
The Black Mountains provide panoramic views of the distant Brecon Beacons to the west and lush Herefordshire apple orchards to the east as you travel from Pandy to Hay-on-Wye.
Explore the coast of a Channel Island on Alderney Coast Path
10 miles (16 kilometres); 4-5 hours; easy
Alderney, the northernmost of the Channel Islands, is a lovely small island to visit and is just 10 miles (16 km) from La Hague on the French shore.
The 10-mile (16-kilometre) Coast Path follows the whole coastline of Alderney and is well signposted. It's a great way to become acquainted with the island's beaches, coastal forts, lighthouse, and other attractions since it can be easily walked (or runnable) in a day. If you want to avoid climbing Alderney's hardest slope from Platte Saline Bay to the airport, walk it counterclockwise.
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In the UK, there are some breathtaking treks to be taken. The vistas equal those I've seen in places like New Zealand, Australia, and the French Alps if we get the weather, which is regrettably not always the case. In this blog article, I'll share with you my own picks for the top treks and tourist destinations in the UK.
Additional resources and citations
- 1soft limestone hills
- 2steep ridges