The UK’s best walking holiday destinations

Get your stomp on with rambles for all abilities

With its myriad of beauty, history and myth, the UK is one of the most desirable holiday destinations for ramblers. Be it a short three mile stint connecting picturesque waterfalls or a month long hike snaking down the backbone of England, the UK has it all.

So dust off those walking boots, dig out a suitable jacket and fill up that thermos as we explore some of England’s most captivating walking destinations.

Cornwall

Go back in time with this exciting walk, perfect for all ages and abilities.

Minions and the Cheesewring, Bodmin Moor

Distance: 4.4 miles/ 7 km

Start/ finish: The Hurlers car park

Estimated time to complete: 2-3 hours

Bodmin Moor’s rich Bronze Age past is never too far away on this pleasant stroll that circles its way around a small part of Bodmin Moor. This walk starts by The Hurlers – 3 stone circles that date back to 1500 BC, and these are just the tip of the historical iceberg. The route leads you past Rillaton Barrow where archaeologists found a solid gold cup in 1837. For those of us who only harbour a passing fancy in Time Team, Barrows are megalithic tombs covered in mounds of earth that look like hills. The walk includes the famous Cheesewring, a naturally occurring stack of granite or ‘tor’, and is the perfect stop for that Cornish Kodak moment.

Pennine Way

Whether you choose to split the route up or brave it all at once, the Pennine Way won’t disappoint.

Distance: 268 miles/ 431 km

Start/ finish: Edale – Kirk Yetholm

Estimated time to complete: 24 days (approx)

Whilst not the longest trail in the UK (this honour goes to 640 mile long South West Coast Path), the Pennine Way is a formidable walk that run along the Pennine Hills, often referred to as the backbone of England. Whilst this walk doesn’t suit beginners, most of the trail is suitable for physically fit walkers with the main considerations caused by the unpredictable British weather which may make certain exposed stretches of the walk dangerous. If, like us, you’re struggling to get a solid month off work, consider splitting the trail into more walkable (and less life impacting) segments. If you are intending to walk the Pennine Way ‘in one’ we suggest walking it from North-South: most guide books are written this way and, odds are, the wind and the rain should always be at your back.

The Lake District

This expanse of lakes and mountains is synonymous with Alfred Wrainwright and this walk encompasses some of his favourite parts of the Lake District.

Bowfell, Esk Pike and Scarfell

Distance: 14 miles/ 22.6 km

Start/ finish: Old Dungeon Ghyll

Estimated time to complete: 7 – 10 hours

If you fancy a challenge, the one day walk starting and finishing at Old Dungeon Ghyll will not disappoint. The route takes you across some of the most moon-like landscapes in the UK and navigates a path through the astonishing vistas that make up the Lake District. Scafell Pike is the highest point in England and this path will take you right to the very top of it. A popular route, the way is littered with hikers and climbers all eager to cut their teeth on the craggy scrambles. Whilst not for the fainthearted, the trail climbs 2,022 meters, this path is as strenuous as it is rewarding and benefits from its short duration and proximity to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, which makes a perfect base camp.

The Yorkshire Dales

Covering an impressive 680 square miles, the Yorkshire Dales can often be intimidating to newer walkers. We’ve chosen a shorter walk that links the waterfalls of Kidson Force, East Gill Force, Catrake Force and Wain Wath Force.

Keld and the Upper Swaledale waterfalls

Distance: 2.5 miles/ 4.1 km

Start/ finish: Keld

Estimated time to complete: 1 – 2 hours.

For thousands of years the River Swale has been cutting a gorge through the soft limestone between Kidson and Rogan’s Seat; in more recent history, the route dictated by the flow of water has become a popular walk for ramblers wishing to shatter their stereotypes of the bleak Yorkshire Dales. The path takes walkers through the old mining town of Keld with its Grade II listed buildings, and the 18th century ruins of Crackpot Hall which was abandoned due to subsidence. Kidson Force is a spectacle in itself dropping a combined height of 10m over a series of waterfalls.

Offa’s Dyke Path

Starting in Sedbury and ending close to the Irish Sea, Offa’s Dyke Path crosses the English Welsh border over 20 times.

Distance: 177 miles/ 285 km

Start/ finish: Sedbury – Prestatyn

Estimated time to complete: 9/12 days

Little is known of 8th century Anglo-Saxon King Offa of Mercia other than he left behind a pretty sizable legacy when it comes to earthworks. Offa’s Dyke is 176 miles long and traces the modern border between England and Wales. It is supposed that Offa ordered the construction of the ditch to separate and perhaps defend his kingdom from the Welsh nations, although little written evidence survives today. The eponymous Offa’s Dyke Path explores the tranquil marshes (as the border region is known) and encompasses three Areas of Natural Beauty: the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Ridge. The walk is scattered with youth hostels, B&Bs and hotels making it an accessible getaway for walkers of an intermediate and above level.

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Karl Payn

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