10 Unforgettable Walks in the UK


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10 Unforgettable Walks in the UK

It’s not an easy task to pick the best walks in the UK.

It’s not just the UK is full of great locations for hiking, but you need to account for a wide range of preferences, skill, stamina and physical condition.

There are certain hikes, though, that boast undisputed acclaim, combining physical beauty, inspiring trails, and invigorating experiences.

This is our list of the ten best hikes across the UK, roughly moving from south to north.

South West Coast Path

  • Location: The Lizard, Southern Cornwall
  • Length: 630 miles
  • Required Experience: Beginner
  • Special Characteristic: Seaside Hiking

Our first pick runs along the famous Lizard peninsula, in southern Cornwall, marking Britain’s southern extremity. Stretching for more than 600 miles along the Cornish shoreline, the Path starts at Somerset’s Minehead and goes all the way to Poole Harbour in Dorset, integrating several small routes and trails.

The most interesting ones are those passing by or through secluded beaches and secreted coves, allowing you to take a relaxed and fairly secluded swim even during the summer.

A great section is a four-mile trail taking you around the tip of the peninsula, where the terrain is a bit more challenging and the views more rewarding.

An equally great option, for similar reasons, is the 13-mile trail leading from West Lulworth to Weymouth.

South Downs Way

  • Location: Hampshire to East Sussex, Southern England
  • Length: 100 miles
  • Required Experience: Beginner
  • Special Characteristic: one of the 16 National Trails in England and Wales

The South Downs Way runs along the picturesque South Downs chalk hills, starting at Winchester and passing through Devil’s Dyke viewpoint near Brighton before reaching Eastbourne.

Most locals would advise you to hike it from west to east. You can hike small sections or all the way through, which will take you around 8 days.

Being one of the most popular hiking trails in the UK, the South Downs Way offers far more amenities than most of our other picks, with several youth hostels all along the route, as well as hotels and restaurants.

The trail itself is easy to handle; most of it runs on bridleways, lined by white cliffs.

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

  • Location: Yorkshire
  • Length: 24 miles
  • Required Experience: Experienced
  • Special Characteristic: it Includes 1585m of Ascent

The official Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge involves hiking through the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in less than 12 hours.

All three summits surround the River Ribble valley and offer spectacular vistas of the Yorkshire Dales.

Its amalgamation of great views and thrill of conquering three tall mountains in a single day is the secret behind Yorkshire’s Three Peaks Challenge allure.

The basic trail includes an ascent of 1,585 metres, which further raises the difficulty of the hike.

Scafell Pike

  • Location: Lake District
  • Length: around 9 miles, Depending on the Chosen Route
  • Required Experience: Experienced
  • Special Characteristic: Highest Peak in England

Scafell Pike rises at 980 metres, overlooking any other mountain in England.

Needless to say, almost all its hiking trails demand respect and excellent physical condition, but reaching the top is a truly exhilarating experience.

There are several routes to the top, but none is what we would call easy.

Most hikers prefer to start at Wasdale, which marks the beginning of the shortest route, but an alternative trail from the north side of Lake District, known as the “Corridor Route”, has gained popularity during the last years.

Starting at Borrowdale or Seathwaite, it promises a far more scenic and less crowded hike to the peak.

Causeway Coast Way

  • Location: County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Length: 33 miles
  • Required Experience: Beginner
  • Special Characteristic: fantastic Cliff Scenery

Causeway Coast Way is a hike encompassing the most scenic shores in Northern Ireland. Its most inspiring trait is its magnificent bold cliffs, towering above the water.

All along the route you also get the chance to discover secluded beaches and visit numerous sites of historical interest.

The path is clear and the terrain suitable even for inexperienced hikers, passing through Portstewart, Ballycastle, Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush. In some sections the trail follows the edge of the seaside cliffs, so you need to be cautious.

Hadrian’s Wall

  • Location: from Chollerford (Northumberland) to Birdoswald Fort (Cumbria)
  • Length: 20 miles
  • Required Experience: Intermediate
  • Special Characteristic: major historic site

Hadrian’s wall marks Rome’s futile attempt to shield its territory from attacks and raids from the north, but it is undeniably a very impressive construction, even in its current poorly state.

Standing there for almost 1,900 years, Hadrian’s wall has gradually integrated into the landscape, adding a mystery thrill to the undeniable charms of the area.

All along the wall runs a hiking trail of almost 85 miles, taking hikers to numerous ancient sites, museums and fort ruins.

The main trail breaks up to several smaller ones, with the 20 miles linking Chollerford to Birdoswald Fort being by far the most interesting, and it can be easily done within a couple of days from intermediate hikers.

This stretch forms the Wall’s highest section, thus gifting you with truly wonderful views of the surrounding area, which includes the famed Lakeland and the Pennine Chain.

Lairig Ghru

  • Location: Cairngorms, Eastern Highlands
  • Length: 19 miles
  • Required Experience: Experienced
  • Special Characteristic: more Adventurous than the Rest of our Picks

The Lairig Ghru is probably most famed hill-pass across the Highlands, reaching a height of 835 metres and snaking through the central Cairngorms, one of the most beautiful and wildest areas of Scotland.

The toughest part is the highest section, which features a far rougher terrain than lower trail sections.

The greatest challenge with this route, though, is the secluded and widely exposed terrain, as well as the fact that is relatively easy to fall off the trail if you are not careful with the signposts and map. Note that help isn’t easy to reach you if you get in trouble there, so make sure to be well equipped and provisioned.

West Highland Way

  • Location: from Milngavie, Glasgow, to Fort William, Highlands
  • Length: 96 miles
  • Required Experience: Experienced
  • Special Characteristic: amazing Scenery

The West Highland Way is considered by several veteran hikers as the most beautiful in the country, allowing you to fully embrace the splendour of the Highlands.

While you can choose to hike just a small section, taking up the whole route will be a truly rewarding hiking experiences – which will surely take 5 to 6 days, maybe more.

Starting from Milngavie, Glasgow, the trail takes you all the way to Fort William, passing by Lomond, Scotland’s biggest loch and through Rannoch, the country’s greatest moor.

The last part of the hike, from Kingshouse to Fort William, stretches for 22 miles and will be tough to conquer, but, as always, reserves the greatest views of the surrounding scenery.

The Great Glen Way

  • Location: Scotland
  • Length: 79 miles
  • Required Experience: Intermediate
  • Special Characteristic:

Back to the Highlands for a hike that could not possibly be missing from our list. The Great Glen Way first opened in 2002 and was soon included in the Scottish Natural Heritage list of the country’s Great Trails.

Usually hiked from southwest to northeast, thus having the wind at your back, the Great Glen Way requires 7 days of hiking. Starting this time from Fort William, the trail encircles the renowned Loch Lochy and Loch Ness, the celebrated beast’s nest.

The path is pretty clear but the route is long and requires good physical condition, even if you take the whole week to finish it.

The Quiraing

  • Location: Isle of Skye
  • Length: 4.2 miles
  • Required Experience: Experienced
  • Special Characteristic: Great for Landscape Photography

The Quiraing, in the northern part of the Isle of Skye, snakes through an area known as the ‘Trotternish’.

It is considered a ‘must’ for hikers that love photography, for it passes through some of the most spectacular landscapes of the country.

Formed by a massive landslip and dotted by imposing cliffs, plateaus and rock formations, the trail is relatively small – around 4 miles – and follows a circular route, bringing you back to the village of Staffin where it starts.

A relatively experienced hiker will have no trouble in completing it within two hours or so. Just bear in mind that some parts of the route will require some climbing too, so come well-prepared.

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