Britain's Best Hiking Spots
From the historic Hadrian’s Wall to the stunning Peak District National Park, Britain is teeming with beautiful landscapes just waiting to be explored. In fact, some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery can only be accessed on foot. So, what better excuse do you need to dust off that raincoat, lace up your walking boots and set off on a good old British hiking adventure. Here’s a shortlist of some of Britain’s top hiking spots.
Not one for the faint-hearted, a hike along Blencathra will take you past some of Britain’s most picturesque countryside, across dangerously narrow ridges and through dense forests. This 8.5km walk officially starts from the village of Threlkeld and follows the England-Scotland border before looping back to the original starting point.
The main event is the Hall’s Fell Ridge, which rewards hikers with spectacular views across the Cumbrian Countryside. Well, at least for those who are brave enough to make the treacherous scramble to the top!
Tucked into Cairngorms National Park in Central Scotland, this challenging 12-mile hike can be completed as a day trip from Inverness. On average, it takes a confident hiker 8-9 hours to complete the loop, so start as early as possible from the Coire Cas car park. This picturesque trail offers walkers stunning scenery throughout the walk. Get your cameras ready to capture incredible vistas over Rothiemurchus Forest, and from the top of Britain’s second-highest mountain, Ben Macdui.
Nestled into the well-known Lake District National Park, this is another long trail that can be tackled partially or in its entirety. Those who wish to complete the whole 14-km trail will need to be prepared to spend the end of the walk on their hands and knees scrambling up some very steep cliffs. But it’ll be well worth it, as you’ll enjoy unrivalled vistas from the top of Striding Edge and across to Red Tarn Lake.
Lizard Peninsula Coastal Walk
A more leisurely stroll can be found in the south of England and takes you around the rugged coastline of Cornwall’s peninsula, also known as The Lizard. Hikers will wander along the top of Cornwall’s wild coastal cliffs and can choose to stop off at one (or many) of the secluded bays and coves peppering the coastline.
As one of Cornwall’s most popular walks, the path gets busy during summer, so consider visiting during a shoulder season when you may even luck out and get a beach all to yourselves.
Wistman’s Wood Hike
Considered to be one of the Southwest’s best day walks, the Wistman’s Wood Hike takes walkers on both an educational and picturesque adventure. After passing through an otherworldly stunted oak forest, walkers will discover Neolithic settlements and stone circles, many of which still remain a mystery. At only 2.4miles long, taking just three hours to complete, this is a great option for anyone looking for a leisurely, but worthwhile hike.
One of the most iconic Welsh landscapes, Snowdonia National Park offers visitors a myriad of hiking opportunities. Although there are plenty to choose from, The Glyders walk will lead you to some of the most unique and varied landscapes in the area. The hike begins with a steep climb up Devil’s Kitchen before it carries on at a less intense pace to The Castle of the Winds rock formation. This is just one of many incredible rock formations you will discover on the hike.
At around seven miles long it’s best to allow at least five hours to complete the track and take as many insta-worthy photographs as possible!
Old Harry Rocks
Despite what its name suggests, the Isle of Purbeck is, in fact, a peninsula that sits between Poole and Weymouth on England’s south coast. Known as the Jurassic Coastline, and a recognized World Heritage Site, the peninsula is littered with white chalk cliffs, huge sandstone boulders and refreshing lagoons. It’s best explored via the Old Harry Rocks walk which encompasses all of the isle’s best bits.
Starting from the charming village of Hathersage, this walk takes hikers on a 10.5km journey through The Peak District. The majority of the hike takes place amongst the luscious greenery of the park, culminating at Stanage Edge, which is a series of gritstone monoliths that line the top of the mountains.
The beauty of this walk isn’t just in the hike itself, but the village of Hathersage is also full of old-school English pubs waiting to welcome you with a refreshing pint at the end of your arduous walk.
South Foreland Lighthouse Walk
One for the not-so-keen hikers out there, the South Foreland Lighthouse Walk offers a scenic hike without the exhaustion. Located in the southeast of England, this four-mile walk provides stunning views of the White Cliffs of Dover and the chance to visit historic hotspots such as the Langdon Hole – an underground network of tunnels used during World War II.
Don’t miss the chance to walk to the top of the South Foreland Lighthouse for uninterrupted views across the English Channel.
Yorkshire Three Peaks
Last, but certainly not least, is the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Taking place in the Yorkshire Dales, this challenging hike will have you scaling three of the area’s highest mountain and all in a day's work. Hikers will need some serious training beforehand, as the 24-mile loop includes more than 1,600m of an incline in just twelve hours.
This hike may be challenging, but don’t forget to take a minute to catch your breath and appreciate the incredible views around you.
This article was originally published in October 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020