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The highest mountains in the UK

For generations, the mountains of the United Kingdom have captured the imagination and attention of explorers and adventurers. Rising thousands of feet above sea level, these ancient peaks boast awe-inspiring views, have strong cultural and historical significance, and present compelling challenges to walkers, hikers, and climbers from around the world.

What are the highest mountains in the British Isles?

If you've ever wanted to climb or hike to the top of a mountain but Mount Everest is outside your skill set and abilities, you're in luck. All three of the highest mountains in the UK loom large, figuratively and literally, but can be climbed by beginner hikers, offering top-of-the-world views of mountain ranges, lakes, and valleys without the need to undertake challenging mountaineering.

Ben Nevis, Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Soaring 4,413 feet above sea level and located close to Fort William in southwestern Scotland, the mighty Ben Nevis holds the title of being the tallest mountain in Scotland, as well as the highest mountain in the UK. Part of the Grampian Mountain Range, which is one of three major ranges in Scotland, the legendary peak Ben Nevis annually attracts tens of thousands of people who come for mountain walking, hiking, rock climbing, and mountaineering.

Consisting of a relatively flat trail that winds its way to the summit, the 9.8-mile out-and-back Mountain Path is the easiest route to the top of Ben Nevis. Traversing mostly even terrain but with some scrambling toward the top, most hikers should have no issues reaching the summit.

If you don't want to take on Ben Nevis itself, there's plenty more great hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Highlights include the Old Man of Storr hike or the Quiraing Circuit on the nearby Isle of Skye, easier peaks like Cùl Mòr in the North West Highlands UNESCO Geopark, and numerous trails in national parks such as Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, and Cairngorms National Park.

Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

The second-highest mountain in the UK and the highest peak in Wales, Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park rises 3,560 feet above a landscape of rocky ridgelines, mountain lakes, and a seemingly infinite horizon.

If a train can reach the top of this peak, you can too. And in fact, a train — the Snowdon Mountain Railway — does indeed run from the base of Snowdon to the summit. While the nine-mile out-and-back Llanberis Path is considered the easiest route up Snowdon, there are six different paths to the mountaintop. The Llanberis Path is easily the most popular and therefore the busiest. As part of our Snowdonia Walking Short Break Tour, you can tackle the less popular but equally spectacular Rhy-Du Route.

The stunning surrounding landscapes of Snowdonia National Park offer hikers plenty of other incredible walks, such as the 7.4-mile route up Cnicht or the 3-mile Cwm Idwal route which traverses a dramatic mountain circle trail.

Scafell Pike, Lake District National Park, England

The third-highest mountain in the UK and the highest mountain in England, the 3,209-foot-high Scafell Pike stands in northern England's county of Cumbria. Although the surrounding Lake District and Lake District National Park are renowned for their mountainous terrain and rolling hills, Scafell Pike is the most prominent mountain, rising above them all making a striking profile against the skyline.

At 5.8 miles long, the path from Wasdale Head is the shortest and most beginner-friendly route to the summit. However, if you're happy to undertake some light scrambling, you can tackle the Seathwaite Route which is also accessible to beginners, as part of our Walk The Lake District Tour.

Walking and hiking are among the most popular activities for both visitors and locals in the Lake District and Scafell Pike is just one of the region’s many memorable mountain hikes. The 1,480-foot-high Catbells fell is another great option, with the route winding its way along an elevated ridgeline high above mountains and lakes in the valleys below. For a hike to explore areas of the valley floors, the circular walk around Tarn Hows Lake is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.


Take your exploring to new heights

Walking up one of the highest mountains in the United Kingdom is an exciting and rewarding activity that you can do during your trip. If you're a little unsure about taking on one of these giants on your own, join one of our Explore UK walking tours and have an expert guide lead the way.

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