Although this country is relatively small, the UK is crisscrossed with thousands of paths and trails to follow, some dating back centuries. It has an abundance of scenery from misty moors and fairy-tale-like villages to rolling hillsides, tranquil lakes, and jagged mountain peaks.
The best hikes in the UK are also some of the best hiking in Europe, in one respect because you never know what you might find on your treks — perhaps a 1,000 year old castle, a Roman ruin, or some curious sheep in a farmer’s field. Plus, no matter where you hike you are never too far from the nearest pub, where you can cosy up to the fireplace and relax with a pint after your journey is through.
So where are the best walking trails in the UK? There are too many to list, but here are a few of the best hikes in the UK to get you started.
Take a walk through the rugged and remote moors, thought to be where Emily Bronte was inspired to write Wuthering Heights. The Pennine Way is the oldest hiking trail in the British Isles and is also one of the most technically demanding. However, the spectacular wild and moody landscapes you’ll experience on this walk are so worth it.
On this epic trek you will make your way through a wide range of landscapes, from the Peak District to the limestone outcrops of Malham to historic Hadrian’s Wall and the bucolic charm of Wensleydale. Most walkers will take about three weeks to complete the 429 km trip. In addition, you’ll need to be quite experienced in navigation, because there are places where the paths are hard to find.
Cornwall is one of the most stunningly beautiful regions of England and this coastal walk will reveal some of its best bits. It is a small section of the 965 km South West Coast Path, and the path takes you along the coastline along towering cliffs above the churning sea.
This region is one of the top habitats in the UK for rare plants, and you’ll be able to spot hairy greenweed, land quillwort, fringed rupturewort, and even colourful orchids. This hike is 11km long and can be walked in about 2.5 hours. Also, Pen Olver is a great place to stop for a picnic with breathtaking views of the ocean.
Immerse yourself in the wild and beautiful remote Scotland Highlands by tackling the Kintyre Way. It will take you through tiny fishing villages, dense conifer forests, and stretches of open hills and moors. You’ll breathe the bracing Atlantic Sea air, and you may even see otters foraging in the clear and cold waters of Loch Fyne.
The 160 km journey will take around 4-7 days to complete. There are cosy and welcoming bed and breakfasts along the way where you can soak up the friendly hospitality of the locals in this off-the-beaten-track corner of Scotland.
If you want to walk through the most adorable quintessentially English storybook landscapes, this is the walk for you. It’s a 164 km path winding through gentle limestone hills and cute villages with cafes where you can stop for a scone and cup of tea.
The trail will also take you through some sites of interest along the way, including the site of the Battle of Lansdowne, Hailes Abbey, Cleeve Hill, and Sudeley Castle. It’s one of the best walks to sum up how picturesque this green and pleasant land can really be.
If hiking up mountains is your thing, then you’ll love the dramatic jagged peaks of Mount Snowdon. It’s the biggest mountain in Wales, in addition to being one of the most well-loved hikes in the UK.
There are six different hiking paths that will take you to the 1,085 m high peak, each offering a different challenge and unique views. The weather can be unpredictable at high altitude, so make sure you check the Snowdon Summit weather forecast before you set out.
Have you hiked any of these? Which ones are on your bucket list?