hikes in United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has long been regarded as one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, offering historic cities, beautiful castles, quaint villages, and some really spectacular natural attractions. This beautiful country also has a lot to offer in terms of adventure travel, with more and more people coming to the UK each year to experience its magnificent mountains, valleys, and coastline.
The United Kingdom may be a small country, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to outdoor activities! This small collection of islands offers a whole host of amazing things to do, from hiking and backpacking to climbing, scrambling, and cycling.
The UK is made up of four nations, England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, each with its own particular charm. Rugged Scotland has much to offer hikers and backpackers, with some of the highest mountains in the UK, and many multi-day backpacking treks, while England is a hub for cycling and road biking, in addition to boasting some fascinating city walks. Climbers flock to Wales and Northern Ireland every year to take advantage of the beautiful mountains and coastal cliffs.
To help you plan your next adventure holiday to the United Kingdom, we’ve put together all the information you’ll need. You’ll find helpful tips, recommendations for places to stay and visit, and our guide to all the best walks and adventure activities in the UK.
15 Greatest Hikes in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is perhaps one of the most idyllic settings for a walk, with rolling green hills, picturesque ponds and charming, quiet villages. Whether you’re looking for something short and sweet, or long and challenging, we’ve got you covered on your next adventure through the U.K. countryside.
- Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay: This incredible hike takes you from the tip of the Ravenscar cliffs to the charming town of Robin Hood’s Bay. With incredible views from start to end, follow the loop back to discover the historic old Scarborough-Whitby railway.
- Scafell Pike: Walk along the road less travelled to explore the highest peak in England--Scafell Pike. This trail is decidedly more pretty than the popular Wasdale Head hike and far less crowded.
- The Great Ridge and Win Hill: Considered the most walked ridge line in England, this hike makes all the bucket lists for a reason. It connects some of the most famed summits in the region, Lose Hill (476m) and Mam Tor (517m), while also conquering Win Hill.
- Hole of Horcum: Featuring the already impressive Hole of Horcum, this walk is extra special as you hike through the magical moorlands and pass through the charming town of Levisham.
- Mam Tor: This easy, circular route is perfect for families with young children and offers easy access to the Peak District’s most iconic view. At the top of the ascent, lookout over Vale of Edale, Peveril Castle and the Hope Valley for stunning landscapes.
- Helvellyn Walk: This walk remains a classic and for good reason. This challenging trail takes in some of the most beautiful sections of England’s Lake District and the scenic town of Glenridding—which looks straight out of a postcard.
- Kinder Scout: Prepare for an epic adventure on this hike conquering the most difficult terrain of the Dark Peak with peaty trails, craggy peaks and deep cloughs.
- Ben Venue Walk from Loch Achray: The Ben Venue Walk tops our list as one of the best hikes out there! With exceptional stunning views across Scotland’s Loch Katrine, Ben Lomond and beyond, this hike should go to the top of your bucket list.
- The Great Trossachs Path 1: This section of the famed Great Trossachs Path covers exceptional viewpoints over Loch Lomond to Trossachs Pier at the head of Loch Katrine. Pop into the local tea shop or unwind at the rustic Stronachlachar Lodge at the mid-way point in your two-day journey.
- Ben Lomond: While an extremely popular mountain, we recommend taking the less popular route for the descent, which makes for an interesting return from the summit and a much quieter hike.
- Loch Venachar Walk: Head out on this long, but relatively flat trail to take in the perimeter of Loch Venachar. Enjoy beautiful views of the waterfront and surrounding mountains as you walk through the countryside.
- Dovedale: Enjoy a variety of quirky oddities on this Dovedale hike, as you wander past unique limestone features, like Lover's Leap, Tissington Spires and Dove Holes. Then, summit Bailey Hill for impressive views.
- Snowdon Horseshoe: Be forewarned, this hike is best left to experienced hikers. Take in the incredible views of Crib Goch ridge—considered one of the best in Whales—for a memorable hike. Come prepared for crazy winds and snowy conditions at times.
- CWM Idwal Walk: This short, but steep hike tempts with the promise of a stunning lake and multiple waterfalls just beyond the peak. Plus, there is a shop for a sweet treat to enjoy at the end of the trail.
- Barmouth Panorama Hike: Be dazzled by panoramic views from the tip top of Barmouth on this spectacular hike. Lookout over the Afon Mawddach estuary, up and down the Welsh coast, and out to Cardigan Bay from the top of the ridge.
When is the Best Time to Hike in the United Kingdom
The summer is a particularly fantastic time to hike in the United Kingdom, with the most amount of days promising sunshine and warmth. As a bonus, it never gets overly hot in the U.K. throughout the summer, so you don’t have to worry about heat exhaustion or planning the timing of your hike just right. The spring also offers pleasant weather, but be prepared with an umbrella and wellies in the case it rains (which it often does!).
Best Regions to Hike in the United Kingdom
There is no shortage of breathtaking spots to hike across the United Kingdom. With multiple countries under one umbrella, you’re sure to be delighted with the options for an adventurous hiking holiday. In England, discover the natural beauty of Chiltern Hills, the famed pools of the Lake District, the stunning, rugged landscape of the North York Moors, the rolling, unexpected hills of South Downs, or the oldest national park in the U.K.--the Peak District. In Scotland, the gorgeous Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park awaits exploration. And in Wales, the magic of hiking in Snowdonia continues to delight hikers each year.
Other Activities in the United Kingdom
While most don’t first and foremost think of the United Kingdom as an outdoor adventure paradise, let us assure you, they’re wrong. The U.K. offers a fantastic vacation to those seeking epic hiking adventures, as well as fascinating and historic city walks. It’s also revered by cyclists to be one of the best and most beautiful destinations for a cycling holiday, where you’ll work up a sweat peddling from pub to pub. For more remote adventures, there are plenty of options for mountain biking, trekking and climbing--regardless of skill level.
United Kingdom's Adventure Tours
If you’d rather skip the headache of planning your own trip, why not let 10Adventures help? With our wide-range of tours in the United Kingdom, check out England or Scotland for fantastic options. All you have to do is pack your bag—the rest is taken care of! From walking the Cotswold Way in its entirety to cycling the Scottish Isles of Arran, Islay, and Jura, our 10Adventure tour options are guaranteed to be epic and worry-free.
How to Plan a Trip to the United Kingdom
Ready to pack your bags and hit the trails across the United Kingdom? We’ve got you covered with our complete, local guides! From the Chiltern Hills, to the Lake District, to North York Moors National Park, to South Downs National Park, to the Peak District, to Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, to Snowdonia—we took out all the guesswork, leaving more time for hitting the trails.Read More