Walks In England
Looking for great places to go walking in England? You’ll be spoilt for choice! Steeped in history, myth and ancient lore, England’s timeless landscapes offer the perfect backdrop for avid walkers. This small country offers a tremendous diversity of scenery, including blustery coastal trails, epic mountain lakeside paths, charming river valleys, and dense woodland. Whether you’re looking for a challenging mountain trek or a gentle valley walk, England has a trail for you.
For such a small, densely populated country, England has a surprising number of national parks and beautiful regions where it’s still possible to escape the crowds and get lost. While the Lake District is still the number one attraction for walkers, there’s also plenty to see and do in the Peak District or the North York Moors. Each region has its own unique character and you’ll find plenty of variety, including rugged, open fells, ancient woodland, and green, rolling hills. There are so many incredible regions for walking in England; the only problem you’ll have is deciding where to start!
To give you a little inspiration, we’ve put together our top tips for walking in England. You’ll find suggested walking routes, regional guides, and advice for planning your trip. So what are you waiting for? Start your adventure and go walking in England today!
Types Of Walking In England
One of the best features of walking in England is that there really is something for everyone, from easy, flat trails to imposing, rocky mountains and everything between. Many low-level trails in the national parks offer wheelchair and buggy-friendly paths, meaning that there are many routes that the entire family can enjoy. You’ll find gentle valley walks, short coastal trails, and canal routes, all of which offer an easy walk if you’re looking for something a little less strenuous.
However, if you’re a keen walker and seeking a challenge, head to the Lake District for a more vigorous trek. Here, amidst the wild, open fells, you’ll find some of the highest mountains in England. The ascents may be strenuous, but you’ll be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country.
Easy Walks In England
Temple of the Winds Walk: The enigmatically named Temple of the Winds walk is one of the most beautiful easy walks in England, and a must for visitors to the South Downs. The poet Lord Tennyson passed much of his time contemplating the magnificence of the scenery near the Bronze Age bank known as the Temple of the Winds, which served as inspiration for some of his most beloved poems. You can do the same from the stone bench at the mid-point of the walk. This walk is a wonderful introduction to the beautiful South Downs.
Langstrath Valley Walk: The Lake District boasts some spectacular scenery, but it often comes at a cost – some very steep hills! This low-level walk combines the best of both worlds, allowing you to admire the stunning views without expending too much energy. The walk to this beautiful hidden valley will take you past bubbling streams, along riverside paths, and through picturesque villages, and is one of our favorite easy walks in England.
Family Walks In England
Hambledon Lock Walk: If you’re looking for a fun walk in the Chilterns for all the family, head to Hambledon Lock, just a stone’s throw from Henley-on-Thames. Kids will love the experience of watching the boats navigate the lock, and parents will appreciate a pit stop at the friendly Flower Pot Pub.
Farndale Daffodil Walk: Looking for an easy walk in England that is buggy-friendly? This beautiful walk through the villages of Low Mill and Church Houses is perfect for families, especially those with small children. If you’re pushing a buggy or need wheelchair access, take the linear route there and back to the car park. Alternatively, complete the small loop through open farmland and forest. Either way, this delightful stroll makes for a lovely day out.
Mam Tor Circular Walk: Mam Tor is the Peak District’s ‘mother hill’, and this relatively easy walk is a great option for families. The top of the hill may be windswept, but the views are magnificent, showcasing some of the best parts of the Peak District. This is a region steeped in ancient history, and kids will love searching out the carved stones and historical landmarks.
Day Walks In England
Brush Hill and White Leaf Nature Reserve Walk: The Chilterns is one of England’s designated Areas Of Natural Beauty, and this lovely hike through Brush Hill and White Leaf Nature Reserve is one of the best day walks in England. You’ll enjoy dense woodland, sweeping views from the Ridgeway, and even a glimpse of the Prime Minister’s weekend home at Chequers! There’s an abundance of wildlife to see on the way, including many rare birds and butterflies. Come in autumn when the woods erupt in a festival of color.
East Dean, Beachy Head and Birling Gap Walk: Beachy Head is one of the most iconic sights in the South Downs – a towering white chalk cliff that dominates the headland near Eastbourne. This lovely walk from East Dean takes you over Beachy Head and up to Birling Gap, offering amazing cliff-top views. This makes for a wonderful day out in the South Downs.
Challenging Walks In England
Newlands Horseshoe Walk: If you’re looking for a dramatic ridge walk and one of the most challenging walks in England, head to the Lake District. The Newlands Horseshoe walk will take you over six summits, including the steep fell of Catbells, providing you with some of the best views in the Lake District. This is a challenging hike and a long day, but we think it’s one of the best walks in the United Kingdom.
Kinder Scout Walk: Kinder Scout, the most famous of the Dark Peaks, holds a particular charm for adventure travelers. This challenging walk is also one of the region’s most rewarding, with breathtaking views, varied terrain, and some sections that require a satisfying scramble over the rocks. Kinder Scout is an epic Peak District trail and a must for more adventurous walkers.
Best Walks In England
Helvellyn Walk: Regularly topping the list of the best walks in England, this route up Helvellyn via Striding Edge is a Lake District classic. You’ll need a head for heights and to be prepared for a bit of a scramble, but the views from the iconic Striding Edge ridge make it all worth the effort. For a slightly easier route, ascend Helvellyn via Swirral Edge, which is a little less strenuous but no less spectacular.
Glynde and Mount Caburn Walk: Beginning in the quaint village of Glynde, this fantastic walk through the South Downs offers a perfect afternoon out in the English countryside. The gentle, undulating terrain of the South Downs is ideal walking territory, and the views over the rolling hills down to the ocean are incomparable.
Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay Walk: Robin Hood’s Bay is a picturesque village in the north east of England, offering access to some of the best coastal walks in the UK. This route, which begins high up on the cliffs of Ravenscar, will take you along the Cleveland Way and the coastal path all the way to the village, where you can stop for an hour or two of exploration before continuing the trail. This popular trek offers incredible views of the bay and plenty of variety along the way.
The Great Ridge and Win Hill Walk: Connecting the famous Peak District summits of Mam Tor and Lose Hill, the Great Ridge stretches for 3km above the Hope Valley. This is one of the best ridge walks in England, and perhaps the most popular route in the Peak District, with a challenging climb, diverse scenery, and breathtaking views. Don’t miss the Old Hall at the end of the trail – an atmospheric pub dating from 1508.
Fairfield Horseshoe Walk: The walk around the Fairfield Horseshoe begins and ends in the pretty Lake District town of Ambleside, and offers some of the finest views in the region. It’s a pretty stiff climb to ascend the horseshoe, but once you’re up, you can enjoy a superb ridge walk with a stunning vista.
Ashridge Boundary Trail: The Chilterns are simply teeming with wildlife, and this long day walk along the Ashridge Boundary Trail is one of the best ways to experience it. Watch out for soaring red kites and herds of small deer, and enjoy remarkable views from Beacon Hill. Make sure to leave plenty of time to finish the route, and enjoy the fabulous, ever-changing scenery of the beautiful Chiltern Hills!
Dovedale Walk: Dovedale is one of the most popular hills in the Peak District, and this trail from Ilam is the best way to experience it. This incredible Dovedale walk follows the River Dove to Milldale, tracing the path of medieval trade routes and ascending high up to Bailey Hill. The views here are simply fabulous, and the unique limestone features of the Peak District provide plenty of variety.
Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey Walk: North Yorkshire is dotted with eerie skeletons of medieval abbeys and monasteries, once-great centers of wealth and learning that were destroyed in the aftermath of the English Reformation. Their towering remains form a beautiful backdrop for a hike in the North York Moors, and this route to Rievaulx Abbey is one of the finest. A relatively easy hike, this walk is a fantastic way to learn more about England’s fascinating history whilst enjoying its beautiful scenery.
Scafell Pike Walk: The quickest route up Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, runs from Wasdale Head, and is a straightforward scramble up to the top. However, this wonderful walk via Ill Crag offers much more variety, and has to be one of the best walks in England. You’ll pass mountain tarns, bubbling streams, and beautiful gorges, all while enjoying some of the finest views the Lake District has to offer.
Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake Walk: This stunning, challenging walk is our favorite way to experience the North York Moors and the popular Cleveland Way. It includes a dramatic cliff walk, cool, dense forest, rolling green hills, and a glimpse of the beautiful Gormire Lake; all of England’s best features packed into one wonderful day hike! The locals claim that the views at Sutton Bank are the best in England. You can be the judge – add this gorgeous walk to your England walking itinerary!
When Is The Best Time To Walk In England?
England’s temperate climate means that you can go walking at any time of the year, although you should be prepared for rain, even in summer! To experience the forests and fells at their best, come in spring when the woods are carpeted with bluebells and daffodils. Alternatively, plan your trip in autumn when the leaves start to turn and the trees put on a dazzling display of orange, red, and gold.
Summer is the best season for warm weather, and it’s never too hot to go walking in England. This is the season when the countryside is at its best, with vibrant green foliage and plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting. However, popular regions like the Lake District and Peak District are likely to be very busy, especially in the school holidays. Avoid the crowds by planning your visit in late spring or early autumn instead.
England also offers many walking opportunities in winter and this can be a lovely time to see the fells in the north, covered in a glistening coat of frost. However, be careful if you’re walking on higher ground in winter as the weather can change rapidly and conditions in the mountains may become dangerous. Avoid ridge walks in winter weather, and always consult local information before you set off on a trek. If in doubt, hire a local guide who will be able to help you plan your ideal walking holiday in England. Check out our recommended tours in England for more ideas!
Best Regions For Walking in England
The Lake District is regularly cited as one of the best regions for walking in England, and it’s certainly easy to see why. This gorgeous national park, recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, offers some of the most beautiful, distinctive, and un-spoilt scenery in the whole of the country. Any England walking itinerary should include a tour of the Lakes.
However, there’s much more to England beyond the charms of the Lake District. The Peak District National Park covers parts of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire, and offers a huge expanse of walking trails in some pretty spectacular scenery. Further south, the Chilterns cover a smaller band of hills south of Oxford, and it’s here you’ll find quintessential English landscapes, with rolling hills, delightful villages, and serene rivers.
The South Downs, located in the south east of England, boast beautiful green hills and dramatic coastal paths, perfect for a day trip from London. Finally, all the way up in the north east of the country, the North York Moors provide an epic vista, with rugged fells, beautiful cliffs, and picturesque fishing villages. Whatever your preference, England offers a casket of wonders for walkers and you’re sure to fall in love with the landscape, whichever region you choose!
How To Plan A Trip To England
If this list of epic trails has you reaching for your walking boots, don’t worry. We’ve got all the information you’ll need on how to plan a trip to England. You’ll find advice for planning your trip, suggested hikes, transport tips, and lots more in our Chilterns guide, Lake District guide, North York Moors guide, and South Downs guide. We’ve done the hard work – all you need to do is pick a destination!
Hiking regions in England
- Chiltern Hills (110)
- Cornwall (136)
- Dartmoor National Park (67)
- Devon (85)
- Dorset (15)
- Exmoor National Park (21)
- Howardian Hills AONB (16)
- Lake District (195)
- New Forest National Park (63)
- Nidderdale AONB (20)
- North York Moors (91)
- Northumberland National Park (107)
- Peak District (159)
- South Downs (124)
- The Cotswolds (84)
- Yorkshire Dales National Park (90)
Best Hikes in England
The Helvellyn walk is one of the classics in the beautiful Lake District. To complete this challenging walk, you will have to use your hands and to be comfortable with heights, but this route offers some of the best rewards in the Lakes. The ascent to Helvellyn will take you scrambling up the Striding Edge and to go down, you will descend the Swirral Edge. Helvellyn was named Britain's best walk in 2018!
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Roseberry Topping Walk via Captain Cook’s Monument
Though short in distance, the Roseberry Topping Walk is a bit of a challenge with a sharp incline for most of the ascent up Cleveland’s most photographed hill. With a unique, half-cone shape, this hill is perhaps the most notable in the area, offering rewarding views over all of the Cleveland plains on a sunny day. Continue onto Captain Cook’s Monument, which stands proudly in the land the famous explorer once grew up.
The Roseberry Topping Walk via Captain Cook’s Monument is a superb hike – taking you to two distinct peaks of the North York Moors. Though likely to be busy, especially on a summer day, it’s definitely worth the climb!
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A fantastic hike starting from the beautiful Longshaw estate, following a bustling brook through the Burbage Valley to the village of Grindleford, and finally walking you back through the Yarncliffe Wood. Family friendly.
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Temple of the Winds
The Temple of the Winds walk is a short, relatively flat walk in the South Downs. This hike is an absolute must do for all walkers in the Sussex area, regardless of ability. From the stone bench seat halfway through the walk, you’re rewarded with some of the best views the South Downs have to offer. Lord Tennyson himself was said to have spent hours in this spot composing his poems, and once you reach the bench you’ll want to stay too.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Pegsdon and Deacon Hill
This wonderful walk in the Chilterns follows an undulating path through rolling fields until you reach the stunning views at the peak at Deacon Hill. Be sure to bring your camera!
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Rollright Stones Circular Walk
The Rollright Stones Circular Walk is a great outdoor activity in the northeastern part of The Cotswolds AONB that will lead you through a lovely stretch of English countryside to visit an interesting historical site. The trail sets out from the charming village of Salford and traverses the open farmland and rolling hills to the northeast before arriving at the Rollright Stones, a series of Neolithic and Bronze Age limestone monuments. This is a fantastic day-walk for anyone that is interested in local history.
Calshot Beach Walk
When you want a change from the woods of New Forest, head down to Calshot Beach for a lovely coastal walk. Head east along the beach, and explore the fascinating history of the Calshot Castle, which guards the entrance to Southampton. Walk north among the rich marshes home to plenty of wildlife, then return along the coast. Don’t be afraid to stop for a swim if the weather is pleasant! There’s plenty of opportunities to customize your day on Calshot Beach and enjoy some time by the sea.
Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Walk
The Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Walk is a relatively flat walk, making it perfect for a family outing. Enjoy the fresh air as you wander along this path and take in the captivating views of Nidderdale AONB. The path is full of stone, so it is great most of the year as it doesn’t get too muddy during the wetter months.
Malham Tarn Walk
The Malham Tarn Walk is a stunning adventure that showcases many gorgeous features of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Immerse yourself in nature and check out the cascading waterfalls, limestone ravines and natural coves that make up this area. This is a challenging path, so it is not for the faint of heart.
Castle Drogo and Cod Wood Circular Walk
The Castle Drogo and Cod Wood Circular Walk is one of the most amazing routes in all of Dartmoor National Park, due in part to its wealth of historic sites, but also because of its breathtaking scenery. While out on the trail, you will pass by the extravagant 20th Century grounds of Castle Drogo before making your way through a steep-sloped valley along the River Teign. There may be a few ups and downs along the trail, but the scenic highlights are well worth the small amount of required effort
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