There are some seriously beautiful hikes to go on here in the UK. If we get the weather, which admittedly isn’t always the case, the views rival those that I’ve witnessed in the likes of New Zealand, Australia and the French Alps.
I’m so guilty of overlooking the beauty on my doorstep here in the UK, and I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that.
Over the years I’ve managed to adventure a fair few of the National Parks we have here in the UK, to escape the city hustle and indulge in some quality countryside living. Taking in the fresh air really sets me up for all the challenges I have to face in the following weeks. From the Lake District to Dartmoor, the Yorkshire Dales to the South Downs and Snowdonia, the UK has some beautiful countryside worth walking and hiking in.
To inspire you, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite hikes in the UK, and some that are still on my bucket list.
My challenge to you is to try as many of these hikes as you can while you’re in the UK. If you haven’t hiked much but want to give it a go, I’ve written a beginner’s guide to hiking just for you, as well as my top tips for your first hike. If you love hiking and want to treat yourself or a loved one to some new hiking bits and pieces, check out this gift guide for outdoors lovers.
We don’t always have to go abroad to see natural beauty; it’s right under our nose.
Here are 16 hikes in the UK you have to try…
1. Scafell Pike, The Lake District, England
Scafell Pike is one of the National Three Peaks. It’s in the Lake District, one of the most popular National Parks in England. It was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated. Don’t get me wrong; the incline was pretty relentless and my calves were definitely burning. But there are plenty of places to rest and break it up.
It took us 2 hours to hike up and 2 hours to hike down, so a quicker completion than the 4-6 hours noted online when I researched. That was probably due to the wet, low visibility conditions – we weren’t keen to stand still for longer than 1 minute due to the drop in our body temperature when doing so. I hope you get better weather than we did, but if you don’t, don’t let the rain stop you!
Read about the WMGT Lake District adventure here.
2. Hadrian’s Wall, England
The whole route takes you from coast to coast across 84 miles! Soak up all the history and culture as you inhale the fresh air.
And no, this one’s not in Scotland, despite what everyone thinks!
3. Westray North Coast, Orkney Islands, Scotland
This 6 mile highlands walk offers everything from stunning views to beautiful wildlife.
Check out my experience on the Orkney Islands here.
4. Coast to Coast, Cumbria to North Yorkshire, England
Another long one at 190 miles over 12-15 days, but there’s no one saying you have to complete the whole thing.
If you do, how cool would it be to say you’ve literally walked from one side of England to the other!?
5. Snowdonia National Park, Wales
Snowdon is the second national peak on this list, and climbing it is a great challenge, and an achievable one even for a relatively new hiker! However the whole national park is stunning and should be explored.
6. Pennine Way, England
At 267 miles this trail is the longest on the list, and said to be one of the most challenging in England. But, the views and the sense of achievement make it worth it! For more help planning this adventure, click here.
7. The Jurassic Coast, England
95 miles of stunning coastline and 185 million years of history to explore… what a perfect combination! For more information about walking the whole thing or a section, click here.
8. Ben Nevis, Scotland
This is the third of the national three peaks on this list, and often said to be the hardest one to climb (not surprising, as it’s the biggest).
I definitely want to climb this one day, so I can say I’ve done all three. And then who knows, maybe I’ll complete the National Three Peaks challenge officially: all three in less than 24 hours!
9. South Downs Way, England
Sized at 1,600km squared, the South Downs National Park in the southern region of the UK is a lesser talked about and visited destination than the likes of the Lake District and Snowdonia. If you’re from London, heading to the South Downs is much closer in distance and that’ll leave you that much more time for exploring. YAY.
While you’re there, why not treat yourself to a long walk? Take in all the country air whilst stopping at pubs, castles and tea shops on the way.
South Downs way takes you all the way from Winchester to Eastbourne, so you can see the park over a few days if you’re up for a real challenge! If you just fancy a day hike, we did lots of exploring in our 15km walk designed by Vespucci Adventures starting and finishing at Amberley Train Station (it took a total of 4 hours at a medium pace). You really aren’t stuck for countryside here in the South Downs so just drive, park up and follow the ‘public bridle way signs’.
Check out my microgap in the South Downs here.
10. Central Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
A circular ten mile route through this stunning mountain range means that you get to take in the mountain air, look out at the stunning views across the Isle of Man, all while not repeating yourself and having to turn around and take the same path to find your car!
11. Tintagel Coastal Path, Cornwall, England
Tintagel is located along the coastline between Padstow and Bude in Cornwall (SW England). Here there are plenty of breath taking hikes suitable for all ages.
Not sure how much hiking you can take? All along the SW coastal path there are benches where you can enjoy the views while snacking on a pre-packed lunch.
One of the main features in this gorgeous Cornish town is Tintagel Castle, a national heritage site. If you take the coastal path south here you can view the castle from afar for free.
Check out the WMGT adventure that took place in Cornwall here.
12. Thames Path, England
For a big challenge, follow the Thames from the origins in the Cotswolds right through to the sea (184 miles), going through Oxford, Windsor and of course, London. For a shorter hike, choose a section. The part in the Cotswolds would be great for some river walking and some countryside walking!
13. The Yorkshire Three Peaks, England
The Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge is indeed a challenge. You have to climb not only 3 peaks in Yorkshire (Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough), but they are the 3 largest peaks, you climb them consecutively, and should complete them all within 12 hours. The distance covered is 24 miles, so yes it’s pretty much a walking marathon during which you ascend 1,585m. So, quite obviously, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. However it was great fun, and has inspired me to do another three peaks challenge as soon as I can!
Check out my guide to the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge here.
14. Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns its way along 186 miles of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain, including cliffs, coves, beaches and estruaries. The trail begins in the southern village of Amroth and finishes in St Dogmaels, near Cardigan in the North. Again, if you only want a day hike, choose a shorter section, stopping off for lunch to take in the view.
15. Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coastal Path, England
This long trail (130 miles) offers something for everyone who wants to do a hike in the the UK. You could take a small section and just head out for an afternoon or a day, or you could spend a week walking and exploring the whole coastline and heritage that lies in this county.
Check out my guide to Norfolk here.
16. Woolacombe to Ilfracombe, Devon, England
This South West coastal path walk takes you through the area of outstanding natural beauty that is North Devon. The walk takes about 3.5 hours without stopping, but be sure to stop for a coffee and take it all in! Check out my weekend in Devon here. There’s also Dartmoor National Park to explore in Devon!
Have you been on a hike in the UK?
Where did you go? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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