The five best hikes in the UK

Guest blog post by Kelly Dunning from Travel-Wise

Britain is paradise for hiking enthusiasts.

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.

Pennine Way

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.

Lizard Peninsula

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.

Lizard Peninsula - best hikes in the UK

Kintyre Way

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.

Cotswold Way

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.

Cotswold Way - best hikes in the UK

Mount Snowdon

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.

Mount Snowdon - best hikes in the UK

Have you hiked any of these? Which ones are on your bucket list?

Travel-Wise provides practical tips covering all aspects of travel, as well as a good dose of wanderlust on their website and social media platforms. They focus on budget, adventure and luxury travel, as well as destination highlights at Travel-Wise.com.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

 


12 thoughts on “The five best hikes in the UK

  1. Hi I have done Mount Snowdon on many occasions. Also most of the Pennine Way and Lizard Peninsular. I don’t have any of the others on my bucket list as I have lived in Spain for the last 11 years where there are enough mountains to keep me going for the rest of my hiking career.
    Most of my hikes up Snowdon have been by the Snowdon Horseshoe route, which to me is the hardest and best route. My favourite mountain in Snowdonia is Tryfan via the North Ridge, which I have also scaled many times.

  2. I knew there had to be some good hikes in the UK! It’s not something you hear about too often, but this is my favourite activity so it’s great to discover places that have beautiful hikes.

  3. I have hiked a portion of the Cotswold Way on our visit to the UK. My favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien hiked there, so I could not miss it. The scenery was amazing and made my feel like I was in The Shire. Being able to walk across fields with fluffy sheep was such fun. I would love and someday hope to visit the other trails.

  4. I had not considered that one could go hiking in the UK. It’s not something any of my British friends ever mentioned too. However, looking at your pictures I am tempted to travel to Britain some time in the future to visit these amazing looking places. I love the landscape and the idea of stumbling upon roman ruins while being surrounded by sheep. So unique!

  5. I used to hike. This post just made me sad since I have developed plantar fasciitis on my right foot. I do not hike anymore really.

  6. Wow this is a great list and these hikes look epic. We love to hike when we travel and I’ll definitely be bookmarking this. Mount Snowdon will go to the top of our list. The views are worth the 1,085 m climb. Amazing.

  7. I like how your best-hikes picks are scattered all around the island, from Cornwall to Scotland. Mount Snowdon though is a serious challange, at least in some places. I’ll just stick to the Highlands.

  8. Wow! Europe is my favorite continent and although I have traveled to several European countries, I never considered hiking. I am going to save these for later, especially Kintyre Way. Thanks for inspiring me to venture out!

  9. I am always in awe of the famed British countryside. Though I have never been to these parts, I feel very close thanks to my fascination for English literature. What better way to really get an immersive experience of the countryside than hiking. These hikes look absolutely the stuff that dreams are made of. Hope to do them all some day.

  10. Love it back home for hiking, the Pennine way passes right over the hill near our village of Littleborough so we have spent a many a day up there walking and climbing. Crib Goch on Snowdon is one of the best for sure, the exposure and the view are amazing. Love Striding edge too on Helvellyn in the Lake District!

Leave a Reply