If you love walking and hiking, you need not look to far-off exotic locations. The UK has some of the best hiking and walking trails you can find in the world. These well-developed trails are surrounded by breath-taking and diverse scenery – from the dramatic mountains of Scotland to the serene coastline of Cornwall.
From the rolling hills of the Peak District to the towering white cliffs of the Southern Coast. Wherever you go in the UK, you can find well-trodden walking paths that allow you to take in the glorious outdoors. If you want to explore new locations and walk new paths, we have hand-picked 10 of the most epic walks in the UK. These include a range of different difficulties and lengths – from long 100m+ trails to short but dramatic afternoon strolls – enjoy!
Emperor Hadrian constructed an immense wall that spanned from the west to east coast of England. This huge wall was originally fortified and guarded to protect England from the ravaging Scots! Today, sections of this historic wall still stand and the adventurous can traverse the entire length.
If you want to take on the whole route, be prepared for an 84-mile trek from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. However, if you don’t fancy tackling it all, there are many sections still intact that you can walk adjacent to. The scenery across this stretch of the UK is wild and beautiful. As you walk, it is easy to imagine how the wall would have looked in its prime – with fortresses and guard towers dotted approximately every 5 miles.
This region is also dotted with the ruins of some of the forts and Roman buildings and you can find more information about Hadrian’s Wall and associated walks here.
Lizard Coastal Walk
Deep on the south coast of Cornwall, you can find the beautiful Lizard Peninsula. This heritage coast has some of the most dramatic scenery in the county and is a walker’s paradise. The best way to experience this is by taking the Lizard Coastal Walk.
The most popular section of this walk stretches for some 7 miles around the idyllic Kynance Cove. However, the South West Coast Path that the Lizard Coastal Walk is situated on starts at Perranuthnoe to the west and continues virtually unbroken for some 50 miles. Indeed, the whole SWC path is an epic 630-mile trail that traverses the entire Cornish coast from Minehead to Poole.
Mam Tor Bridleway
It is difficult to select a walk from the Peak District – there are so many epic trails to choose from. However, one of the most epic walks in the UK is the Mam Tor Bridleway. This amazing walk can form a circuit that passes across the Bridleway, and down into the village of Castleton.
There is a car park at the bottom of the Tor, and you may also want to visit the nearby Blue John Cavern. Heading up the Tor, the first part of the walk is quite steep. However, once you reach the top, you are treated to amazing views of Hope Valley and Edale. You can then follow the line of the Bridleway as it travels across the top of the hills along the great ridge across to Back Tor and Lose Hill.
Depending on how far you wish to travel, Mam Tor could take as little as an hour, or you could spend an entire day traversing the various paths and trails that are linked throughout this area of the Peak District.
North Downs Way
The South of England has some varied scenery and this is displayed along the immense 236-km trek of the North Downs Way. This cross-country trail spans between Dover and Farnham and could take up to two weeks to traverse if you wanted to hike the entire stretch.
Some of the most dramatic parts of this trail are found at Dover. Here you can see the iconic white cliffs and gaze across the channel – on clear days you can easily see mainland France. As you pass inland, the scenery changes and you can also see many historical sites including WWII fortifications, and gorgeous towns like Canterbury and Folkestone.
The Peak District is home to some gorgeous scenery. Prominent among this mass of rolling hills are a series of gritstone escarpments. These rock formations are the remnants of previous ages and cut dramatic lines through the landscapes.
One of the most popular is Stanage Edge. Located to the northeast of Hathersage, Stanage Edge has a dedicated car park and the whole area has some amazing walks. However, the best walk is along with the rock formation itself. A well-made footpath follows the line of the edge for many miles and the scenery from here is brilliant – you can see into the idyllic Hope Valley and far across the Peak District.
The great thing about Stanage Edge is that it is suitable for everyone. You can enjoy a short walk along small sections of the rock formation or tackle the entire length and walk for a whole afternoon easily!
Many people will recognize Malham Cove from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Indeed, part of the film was shot here! However, putting this aside, Malham Cove offers a great walk and is a truly remarkable place to visit in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
It is not a particularly long walk; however, Malham Cove is more about the scenery and the dramatic views. You can start the walk in the picture-perfect village of Malham. From here, the trail cuts through the countryside and follows the course of Malham Beck. Eventually, you will see the epic heights of the limestone cliff towering in front.
Paths lead up around the side of the cliff, and you will eventually reach the top. From here, the views are amazing, and the formation of the limestone rockface is also incredibly interesting. When you have taken your fill of the scenery, you can head back down and maybe enjoy a drink at one of the cafes or pubs in the village.
Old Man of Storr
The Isle of Skye is a rugged and hauntingly beautiful place. It sits in the west highlands of Scotland and is home to some of the most dramatic scenery in this region. One of the most popular sites and walking trails is the Old Man of Storr.
The Old Man of Storr is a prominent rock formation that sticks out against the surrounding scenery. The rock pinnacles look like a withered hand reaching out of the earth and have been featured in many films like Prometheus.
Surrounding the Old Man of Storr you can find a brilliant and well-maintained hiking trail. It is not a particularly long trial, but you should still allow for between 2-3 hours to complete the circuit. Along the way, you will see some beautiful scenery including Loch Leathan, and across to the Island of Raasay.
The West Highland Way
If you want to explore Scotland and challenge yourself to a long weekend walk, the West Highland Way is one of the most epic walks in the UK. Scotland is also an excellent place for wild camping. This immense trail stretches for 95 miles from the starting point in Milngavie to the endpoint in Fort William.
Starting in the suburbs of Glasgow, this trek passes out into dramatic landscapes and through the Scottish Highlands. You will pass some famous landmarks like Loch Lomond, the Devil’s Staircase, and Rannoch Moor. Eventually, the way concludes at Fort William which is itself a fantastic place to visit and right on the doorstep of the mighty Ben Nevis.
If you attempt this trek during the summer don’t forget some type of protection against the dreaded Scottish midges – your skin will be thankful!
The Miner’s Track, Snowdon
Snowdonia National Park in the northwest of Wales is an amazing place for hikers, walkers, and climbers. The centerpiece is the immense Mount Snowdon – the highest mountain in Wales. It dominates the surrounding landscape and has become the stuff of legend. Indeed, it forms part of the epic Three Peaks Challenge in which ardent hikers attempt to conquer Snowdon, Ben Nevis, and Scafell Pike within 24-hours.
Mount Snowdown has a myriad of paths that lead to the summit. However, one of the most picturesque is the Miner’s Path. From start to finish (to the peak) it has a distance of 8 miles (there and back) and should take around 6 hours. Beware – the second section of this walk is not for the faint-hearted and you need to be equipped!
However, the Miner’s Path is brilliant because you don’t have to go to the summit to get amazing views. Along the path, you get to see beautiful lakes, the remnants of old mining buildings, and of course the dramatic outline of Mount Snowdon.
The historic Wessex Ridgeway covers 137 miles of path and has starting locations in Marlborough and Lyme Regis. It follows an old trade route that spanned from Devon to Norfolk and passes through some absolutely gorgeous landscapes in Southern England.
Throughout this amazing trek, you will see some fantastic sites like the monuments of Avebury, the wild Salisbury Plains, and the steep hills of Dorset. Also, you can glimpse the remains of ancient hill forts and other historic landmarks.
Explore the UK and Embrace the Outdoors With an Epic Walk
Before you head abroad, why not check out some of the most epic walks in the UK? You will not be disappointed! People who live in the UK are lucky to have some of the world’s best walking trails on their doorstep. Locations like Snowdonia, the Peak District, and Cornwall are a paradise for avid hikers and those who love the outdoors.
If you have any experience traversing these paths – let us know! Alternatively, if you have any other locations you feel should be on this list, drop a comment and share your thoughts!