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Great walks around the UK

Posted on March 1, 2021 by Jennifer Hudson
Tree lined tunnel in West Sussex

Britain is made for walkers. From easy ambles through forests and lakes to tough mountain hikes, there’s something for everyone. 

We’ve chosen a handful of walks, some well-known, some off the beaten track, that showcase the best of our countryside, views, and hidden histories.

Hill and mountain walks

Kinder Scout Loop, Derbyshire, England (Distance: 10 miles / Time: 5 hours)

Kinder Scout is an iconic walking spot where, in the 1930s, the right to roam was fiercely fought for, and won. Beginning at the Old Nag’s Head in Edale, this ten-mile ramble follows Jacob’s Ladder, a stony, steep path to Edale Rocks, and on through boulder-strewn moorland to Kinder Low. 

The satisfying climb takes you to the highest point in the Peak District National Park, rewarding you with views across the Vale of Edale. Then, follow meandering brooks and wooden bridges back to the village for a well-earned rest at The Rambler Inn.

Wharfedale Three Peaks, Yorkshire, England (Distance: 21 miles / Time: 10 hours)

This walk up pikes and down dikes is perfect if you enjoy wandering for miles without seeing a soul. 

Starting in Kettlewell, the first half is an energetic climb conquering Great Whernside and Buckden Pike, where on a clear day, you can see for miles across the Dales, all the way to the Yorkshire Three Peaks. The second half continues through the old stone hamlets of Cray and Yockenthwaite followed by a third and final ascent to Birks Fell. 

This walk is less well-known than the Yorkshire Three Peaks, meaning you’ll avoid the hordes of walkers that flock to these parts. And after your 21 mile round trip, you’ll have earned yourself a pint of ale back in Kettlewell.

Duddon Valley in the Lake District

Valley walks

Duddon Valley, Lake District, England (Distance: 10 miles / Time: 5 hours)

Duddon Valley offers a quiet corner in the Lake District National Park, and is a wonderful place to follow in the footsteps of English Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth, who praised it endlessly in sonnets. 

Start this 10-mile walk at the River Duddon at Birks Bridge, taking in the stunning views of the richly-hued high fells as you continue to Wallowbarrow Crag. After this point, you’ll walk through fields with streams, drystone walls and grazing Herdwick sheep; the classic scenes Wordsworth described so vividly. Full of variety, this walk also passes through the village of Seathwaite, where the 16th century Inn offers an opportunity to take a short break before you loop back to Birks Bridge.

Angidy Valley, Monmouthshire, Wales (Distance: 5 miles / Time: 2.5 hours)

The Angidy Valley was a hive of activity in the nineteenth century, producing wire, tin and iron. 

This 5-mile amble along the Angidy River is an opportunity to discover this fascinating chapter of Britain’s industrial heritage. 

Starting at the Lower Wireworks car park, you’ll pass by the old mill workers’ cottages, mill ponds and trace the route of the leats and channels which directed water to the waterwheels. Continue along the wooded riverbanks to the ruins of the seventeenth century Tintern Ironworks, where you can see the remains of the blast furnace. Further on is an old churchyard, the resting place of many of the valley’s furnace men and ironmasters.

Sunset over Durdle Door

Coastal walks

Lulworth Cove to Osmington Mills, Dorset, England (Distance: 10 miles / Time: 5 hours)

This 10-mile route along the Jurassic coastline in Dorset features the famous Durdle Door, but there are many other highlights to enjoy. 

The walk begins when you join the South West Coast Path at Lulworth Cove car park and climb to Dungy Head. Enjoy the sweeping views of the coastline and the famous Durdle Door sea arch as you follow the line of chalk cliffs to Swyre Head. From this point you can push on across the vast, windy expanse of headland to White Nothe, keeping an eye out for soaring buzzards, kestrels and peregrine falcons. 

There are a few steep climbs and descents, but don’t let that put you off – the views are well worth it. Pass the old hamlet at Holworth and the lovely pebbly beach at Ringstead Bay, and you’ll arrive at the 13th century Smuggler’s Inn in Osmington Mills, where lunch in the large beer garden awaits!

Sheringham to Cromer, Norfolk, England (Distance: 4.5 miles / Time: 2.5 hours)

This easy four-and-a-half-mile jaunt between two of Norfolk’s seaside towns is best undertaken on a bright windy day when the sea at Sheringham is crashing around the old wooden breakwaters. 

Breakfast at the friendly Whelk Coppers Tea Room is a perfect way to start your day. To join the Norfolk Coast Path, head for the beach huts on the seafront, and follow the path to the Beeston cliffs. Pause at the 14th century Norfolk flint church, All Saints Beeston Regis, which occupies a lovely setting on the cliffs, and have a wander around the ruins of Beeston priory, an Augustinian priory founded in 1216. 

If the tide is out, pop down to the beach at West Runton to dig around for fossils. The final mile or so can be walked along the beach or back up on the coast path to Cromer, where you can get an excellent cup of coffee at the Grey Seal Coffee House.

Gleno Waterfall in Northern Ireland

Waterfall walks

Falls of Glomach, Ross-shire, Scotland (Distance: 12 miles / Time: 6 hours)

Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands is an adventurous hike well worth the effort to reach one of Britain’s highest, most spectacular waterfalls, the Falls of Glomach. 

Through deep valleys carved by glacial rivers, it’s one for those with a mountaineering spirit. Beginning at the countryside centre at Morvich Farm, you’ll hike over grassy moorland and through conifer forests to reach a high mountain pass. 

Follow stalkers’ trails through the rust-coloured landscape to the falls, which tumble into a rocky ravine 113 meters below. You can retrace your steps or take a longer circular route back, the choice is yours.

Gleno Waterfall, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (1 mile / 0.5 hours)

Outside Belfast, the tiny hamlet of Gleno is worth a visit just to see its photogenic waterfall concealed in a beautiful glen. 

Owned by the National Trust, the picturesque spot is a short walk from the car park and features pretty, 30-foot falls cascading into a deep pool ringed by moss-covered rocks. 

Gleno is located just south of the nine Glens of Antrim, an area packed with walking opportunities. If you’re driving the Causeway Coastal Route out of Belfast, it makes a nice stop where you can stretch your legs.

Winding footpath in Kielder Forest

Woodland walks

Grizedale Forest, Lake District, England (Distance: 8 miles / Time: 4 hours)

At the east end of Coniston Water, the forest of Grizedale has thousands of acres of spruce, pine and oak trees and is home to rare wildlife, including red deer and kites. 

This Lakeland forest has a magical feature: a trail leading you through 80 or so outdoor works of art, some by renowned British artists. Start at the visitors’ centre and meander your way through the sculptures, before heading off to Grisedale Tarn, a lake nestled among green hills. 

Carry on to the village of Satterthwaite where there is a welcoming pub with a roaring fire, ideal for keeping warm in winter. The walk continues along a bridleway, with views across the fells and through the deeper forest before returning you home to the visitor centre.

Kielder Forest, Northumberland, England (Distance: 6 miles / Time: 3 hours)

Kielder Forest in Northumberland has around 200 square miles of beech, spruce and pine trees, and is Britain’s largest man-made forest, home to red squirrels and roe deer.

The Lakeside Way is a wonderfully varied trail along the shores of Kielder Water, which feels remote in parts. Choose a section or challenge yourself to hike the whole 26 miles. There are plenty of scenic views across the water, outdoor sculptures, bird hides, and historic features to stop at along the way.

For more recommendations, take a look at our top 50 beautiful places in the UK we think you’ll love to visit.

Walk times are estimated based on an average walking speed of 2 miles per hour.

Jennifer Hudson

by Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson is a freelance travel journalist and content creator. Her favourite UK city break experience is a food tour of London’s Borough Market.