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12 of the best spots for hiking in the UK


 
From the windswept moors of the Scottish Highlands and dramatic Welsh mountain peaks and valleys, to the glacial lakes and craggy fells of England's Lake District, the United Kingdom offers an incredible variety of landscapes for hikers to explore on foot. Across 15 national parks and hundreds of scenic destinations, here’s our selection of 12 best spots for hiking around the United Kingdom.

 

The 12 best places to go hiking in the UK

Thanks to the "right to roam" laws and customs that allow residents and visitors alike to freely explore most parts of the United Kingdom, walking and hiking are time-honored pastimes here. Combining invigorating outdoor recreation, majestic landscapes, and insights into local culture and history, these 12 regions around the UK offer some of the best hiking experiences.

England

The largest country in the United Kingdom, England offers hiking trails that brings intrepid travelers to idyllic countryside peppered with medieval castles and quaint villages. But these three regions stand above the rest.

 

1. The Lake District

A mountainous region in northwestern England, the Lake District enchants visitors with its verdant fells, peaceful forests, glacial lakes, and picturesque villages and market towns. Popular hikes in the area include climbing Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, and ascending the gentle incline of Catbells to take in panoramic lake and mountain views. Experience both of these walks as part of our Walk the Lake District Tour.

 

2. South Downs National Park

Located in southern England close to the English Channel, the rolling hills and white chalk cliffs of the South Downs have inspired some of England's greatest writers, including Jane Austen. Walk along a section of the 100-mile-long South Downs Way, and enjoy day hikes and local activities like wine- tasting as part of our Walk the South Downs Tour.

 

3. Northumberland

Explored on our Walk Northumberland Tour and Northumberland Coast and Castles Tour, the northeastern county of Northumberland is home to verdant rolling hills and plains, clean rivers, pristine night skies, and Roman ruins. Highlights of its peaceful trails through expanses of serene countryside include the Sycamore Gap hike leading to the landmark of a perfectly placed sycamore tree standing between two hills in a dip in the countryside next to Hadrian's Wall.

Wales

Home to some of the most dramatic mountain landscapes in the UK, Wales also has its own culture and Welsh language, distinct from those of neighboring England.

 

4. Brecon Beacons National Park

From elevated ridgelines above sweeping valleys to rolling hills and ancient woodland, the 519-square-mile Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales is a fantastic destination for easy, accessible hiking and walking. Discover highlights of the national park and region on long day hikes as part of our Black Mountains and Wye Valley Walking Tour center-based in the market town of Abergavenny.

 

5. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Lovers of coastal landscapes come from around the world to experience the hiking trails and walking routes of the Pembrokeshire Coast in southwestern Wales. With wide sandy beaches, rugged towering cliffs, and meandering estuaries, the most popular route through the area is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which runs for 186 miles along the coast. Discover shorter sections of the path along some of Britain’s most spectacular coastline as part of our Pembrokeshire Coast Walking tour.

 

6. Snowdonia National Park

Arguably the most famous national park in Wales, Snowdonia is a colossus of jagged peaks, pristine lakes, and glacier-carved valleys that are criss-crossed in hiking and mountain biking trails. With hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, a highlight is ascending Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Climb it, and discover Welsh culture and history in nearby villages like Llanberis as part of our Snowdonia Walking Short Break Tour.

Scotland

A Scotland walking tour is the best way to explore and experience this northern country's rugged mountain ranges, windswept moors, and mysterious lochs. And, who knows -, your wandering feet may even lead you to one of Scotland's many wonderful whisky distilleries.

 

7. Isle of Skye

A 50-mile-long island off the northwestern coast of Scotland, the Isle of Skye is best known for dramatic scenery from rocky pinnacles and lofty plateaus to wild heathland and rugged coastline. Discover the island’s stunning natural beauty and as part of our Walk the North West Highlands and Skye Tour.

 

8. Scottish Highlands

A top destination for walking and hiking in the UK, the Scottish Highlands encompass a vast region of lochs, rugged mountains, and deep valleys. As the only place in Britain with its own boreal forest, hikers here have the chance to explore unique British landscapes. Unbeatable hiking experiences include summiting Ben Nevis, the UK's highest mountain, and taking in breathtaking views from the twin peaks of Cul Mor.

 

9. The Orkney Islands

Discover a wealth of well-preserved Neolithic sites, watch seabirds soar, and hike along epic coastal trails on this remote, windswept archipelago off the northern tip of Scotland as part of our Walking Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Long-distance walks and trails

If you're ready to tackle more demanding challenges than day hikes, the UK has you covered with some of the finest long-distance footpaths and walking routes in the world.

 

10. West Highland Way

Stretching 96 miles from Fort William to the northern outskirts of the city of Glasgow, the West Highland Way walking route leads hikers through sweeping Scottish mountain and valley landscapes with the possibility of encountering native wildlife including red deer and Highland cows.

 

11. South West Coast Path

The South West Coastal Path extends along 630 miles of the English south coast from Minehead in Somerset, along the coastlines of Devon and Cornwall to Poole Harbor in Dorset. This awe-inspiring coastal walk rewards hikers with sweeping views of rolling meadows, rocky cliffs, stone arches, and expansive sandy beaches.

 

12. Hadrian's Wall Path

Extending 84 miles coast-to-coast from the North Sea in Northumberland to the Irish Sea in Cumbria, the Hadrian's Wall Path runs alongside the remains of the ancient Roman fortification dating from the 2nd century. Walking this easy and popular long-distance path includes stops at ruined forts and ancient settlements. Our Walk Northumberland Tour includes day hikes along some of the most scenic stretches of the wall.

 

Hit the trails of the United Kingdom on a walking and hiking tour

With so many incredible landscapes across the UK, there are a multitude of destinations for hiking in the UK but these 12 are among the best for incredible scenery and cultural immersion. And while the UK is fantastic for hiking solo, joining one of our UK walking and hiking tours brings you together with a group of like-minded adventurous travelers under the guidance of an expert local guide, and with all your planning, accommodations, and travel arrangements taken care of for you.

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