8 of the best hikes in the UK
From Scotland to the South East, there are some great walks to experience across the UK. Check out some of our favourites today to help plan your next walk.
Photo by @hiking_puppy on instagram
There’s nothing quite like a good, long walk through a gorgeous landscape to soothe the soul. Here in the UK we have our share of breath-taking locations – and there's no better time to plan a walking holiday that's a little more fulfilling than a stroll in the local park. Here are some of our favourite hikes in the UK to get you motivated.
1. West Highland Way
The West Highland Way spans 96 miles between Milngavie at the edge of Glasgow and Fort William. There’s a variety of terrain along the way, enabling you to choose which section suits your ability and preferences best. Pass along the serene banks of Loch Lomond, ramble over wild Rannoch Moor, discover beautiful native woodland, and take in fabulous views of the Glencoe mountains. The route is well-marked throughout, with challenging spots along the east side of Loch Lomond and on the final part of the trail between Kinlochleven and Fort William. The scenery, however, certainly rewards the effort.
2. The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
Photo by Club member Linda Burgess
Few would argue that the landscapes of Skye are little short of magical. In its wild north, the island offers a moderately challenging yet breath-taking four-mile loop through Quiraing, a landslip with curious rock formations and stunning views. Begin at either Staffin or Uig and take in the steep cliffs, hidden plateaus and iconic landmarks such as the Prison, the Needle and the Table. You’ll also be able to gaze out to sea and spot islands like Rona and Raasay.
3. Causeway Coast Way, County Antrim
Photo by Club member Carol Duerden
This dramatic, 33-mile walk spans the County Antrim coast between Portstewart and Ballycastle, and boasts some of the finest cliff scenery in Europe. The route takes you through the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its sweeping vistas of the ancient Giant’s Causeway, as well as past Dunluce Castle and through the seaside towns of Coleraine and Portrush. The Bushmills whiskey distillery is also just off the trail.
4. Grasmere to Helm Crag, Lake District
Photo by Club member Eric Ness
The Lake District has plenty of scenic hikes, but the route from Grasmere village to Helm Crag has lots to offer. The path is well-trodden, making it simple to follow, and once you reach the top, you’ll find spectacular views across the village, and the Helvellyn and Fairfield range. The circular route takes around three hours and is quite steep in places, but with an easy descent. Back in Grasmere, you can explore Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth.
5. Dinas Emrys Trail, Snowdonia
Photo by Club member Martin Peat
Associated with the legendary red dragon of Wales, this trail climbs Dinas Emrys, beneath which the red dragon is said to have his lair. It’s a short hike on well-maintained trails, and begins in Craflwyn, passing through beautiful oak woodland and winding by waterfalls. The short climb to the summit reveals magnificent views over Llyn Dinas and Nant Gynant. You’ll also discover the ruins of the square tower and defensive ramparts that belonged to the princes of Gwynedd. The walk is considered to be of moderate difficulty.
6. South Downs Way, Hampshire and East Sussex
Photo by @fortitudeofdreams on Instagram
The south of England’s white cliffs are one of the most iconic images associated with the UK. Spanning a total of 100 miles, it begins in Winchester and crosses the pretty, undulating countryside along the chalk ridges of the South Downs, ending at Eastbourne. Highlights of the route include Seven Sisters with its views out to sea, the ancient Devil’s Dyke, and several of Sussex’s picturesque villages. It takes around eight days to complete the full hike, or it can be split into shorter walks for those simply looking to get out for the day.
7. The Ridgeway, Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire
Photo by Club member Stephanie Ashton
Beginning at the World Heritage Site of Avebury, this walk traverses one of Britain’s oldest roads, which has been used since prehistoric times by soldiers, herdsmen and traders. The route leads across open chalk downland, and past Stone Age and Bronze Age barrows, offering panoramic views along the way. As you approach the Thames, the trail becomes more wooded, and passes through nature reserves and villages. It’s largely a gentle walk, with steep sections – particularly towards the end.
8. Lynmouth Circular via Watersmeet, Devon
Photo by @daldred007 on Twitter
A shorter hike of 5.5 miles, this is one of the must-do walks in Devon. Starting in the harbour town of Lynmouth, the route takes you to one of Britain’s deepest river gorges, where the waters of East Lyn and Hoar Oak meet. Along the way you can spot butterflies, birds and fish – and if you’re luckily you might glimpse an otter. From Watersmeet you’ll ascend through oak woodlands and around the edge of Chiselcombe, with its view of the Iron Age fort of Windhill. The final stage of the walk takes you down the South West Coast Path back to Lynmouth.
If you're feeling inspired for your next holiday in the UK, make sure you check out our top sites for walking - a great way to traverse the country at your own pace.