8 of the Most Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK

Of all the seasons, summer is usually the best time to head outdoors for some fun and adventure. More reliable sunny weather brings more opportunities to put your walking shoes on and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, where you can explore nature, history and culture.

Walking and hiking holidays in the UK, solo, or with your family, can be a great way to make the most of your free time. And the best part is that you can try walking trails that offer you challenges based on your fitness level, from easy to intermediate to hard, rarely extreme!

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - Lake District National ParkLake District National Park Photo by Chandler Media

Walking allows you to explore the natural beauty of landscapes around you, it provides opportunities to discover local nature, flora and fauna. It can even help you step back in time to eras gone by through the architecture and landmarks you pass along the way.

To help inspire you to find the perfect walking trail ‘for you’ on your next holiday, we’re featuring eight of the ‘most scenic trails for walking holidays in the UK‘.

Further Reading: Destination UK – 7 of the Best Cities in the UK to Visit

8 of the Most Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - Hadrian's Wall BramptonHadrian’s Wall Photo by Frank Generein

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #1

Hadrian’s Wall, Brampton

If history is on your mind, you can walk Hadrian’s Wall Path – considered one of the most popular walking trails in the UK.

Opened in 2003, this walking trail runs parallel to the 118-km-long Hadrian’s Wall – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the largest surviving monuments in Europe.

For more than two decades, this walking trail which begins in Wallsend and ends on the flat plains of the Solway Coast, has been appreciated by locals and international tourists alike. Even if you have never tried a walking holiday before, this easy-to-moderate trail that runs 135 km (84 miles) long shouldn’t deter you and should only encourage you, after all you can then say that you’ve walked coast to coast!

The Hadrian’s Wall Path is an 84 mile (135 Km) long National Trail stretching coast to coast across northern England, from Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.’


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - West Highland WayWest Highland Way Photo by Vishnu Prasad

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #2

West Highland Way, from Milngavie to Fort William, Scotland

Scotland is known for its spectacular scenery, so you can always count on it for walking holidays in Scotland – specifically ones that cover the West Highland Way.

This route covers the Scottish lowlands and highland, and provides you with breathtaking views. The trail begins in Milngavie near Glasgow, takes you through and over some of the most rugged landscapes, and ends in Fort William, on Scotland’s west coast.

However, if this is your first walking holiday, make sure to be ready for the challenge as this is considered a long-distance walk. With 154 km (96 miles) of pure Scottish scenery, this walk, which can be covered in a week (or longer if you wish), offers plenty of photo opportunities, whether selfies or with your loved ones.

The West Highland Way stretches 96 miles (154 Km) from Milngavie to Fort William, taking in a huge variety of scenery along the way, from countryside parks to loch-shores and open moorlands to steep mountains.’


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - Cotswold WCotswold Way Photo by Robert Bye

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #3

Cotswold Way, from Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire to Bath, Somerset

If you’re looking for scenic trails that offer you some of the most idyllic English landscapes then it has to be the Cotswold Way.

The trail that begins in Chipping  Campden and ends in the Roman city of Bath, offers walkers the opportunity to explore plenty of local wildlife, green pastures, stunning woodlands and quaint villages built from Cotswold stone

A long-distance route that has a number of steep climbs along the way has been enjoyed for over 50 years. Time-wise and you can cover the 164 km (102 miles) walk in a week or two, depending on how many stops you want to take.

The Cotswold Way can be walked in all seasons. However, if you want to enjoy clear views from the Cotswold escarpment, then crisp winter days, autumn and spring may be the best time to visit. Late spring and early summer are great times to see the grasslands in all their glory and the beech woodlands are at their best in spring and autumn.


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - The RidgewayAvebury Standing Stones Photo by Link Bekka

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #4

The Ridgeway, from Avebury to Tring through Oxfordshire and Wiltshire

A listing of scenic trails for walking holidays in the UK has to include the oldest road in Britain!

The Ridgeway, which is not only considered one of the oldest roads in Britain but also Europe, dates back 5000 years. For many centuries, the prehistoric man used this path to walk on higher ground to both stay dry and travel safely (higher ground  provided better views)

Today, The Ridgeway is considered one of the most scenic trails in the UK offering stunning views and landmarks along the route from Avebury to Tring through Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in southern England. From Avebury Castle to the Uffington White Horse which dates 3000 years ago, you’re sure to be inspired to keep going!

The Ridgeway in England stretches 85 miles (137km) from Overton Hill near Avebury, Wiltshire, to Ivinghoe Beacon near Tring, Buckinghamshire. It has been used for 5000 years by many different groups of people; travellers, farmers, and armies.’


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - Pennine WayPennine Way Photo by Annie Spratt

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #5

Pennine Way, from the Peak District to the Scottish Borders

If you have time to cover just one walking trail in the UK, then consider the Pennine Way.

Like The Ridgeway, the Pennine Way is also one of the oldest walking trails in the UK that not only provides you with impressive panoramic views but also a route that is wild, rugged and spectacularly dramatic.

This trail is ideal for those who love challenges and want to cover long distances. The full route length is 431 km (286 miles) and the route can be both hilly and remote.

Our top tip when walking is to make sure that you wear the best walking shoes you can get your hands on, especially on long-distance and mixed terrain because comfort will definitely help you through and throughout your journey.

The trail begins in Edale and ends in the town of Kirk Yetholm. As you cover the distance you pass through green pastures, woodlands, rugged limestone hills, and desolated moorlands.

The granddaddy of them all, and for some, the ultimate National Trail challenge. This is a superb high-level route along the backbone of England, taking you through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Parks.’


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - TenbyTenby Photo by Taylor George

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #6

Pembrokeshire Coast Path, from St Dogmaels to Amroth, Pembrokeshire, Wales

If you’d prefer to explore the rugged Welsh coastline more than the tranquil hills of the Lake District then the Pembrokeshire Coast Path could be the walk for you.

Often described as one of the most scenic walking trails in the UK, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path which stretches from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, offers breathtaking views of the sea, coastline and wildlife, along with wonderful scenes of farmed landscape and fishing villages,

From seafaring Celtic gods to Vikings, this coastline is certainly full of ancient stories and if you’d like to walk it, prepare for the wonderful trail length of 299 km (186 miles).

While the route has minor challenges it offers spectacular views filled with plenty of coastline flowers, fauna and bird-life, historic towns like Pembroke and Tenby, and plenty of ‘Kodak moments’. And to top it all you’ll also get the chance to spend time on a number of beautiful beaches along the route! In actual fact you’ll pass by 58 beaches and 14 harbours!

Stretching from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, the Path takes in some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain, as well as almost every kind of maritime landscape – from steep limestone cliffs and undulating red sandstone bays, to volcanic headlands, beaches, estuaries and flooded glacial valleys’


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - South Downs WayBrighton, South Downs Way Photo by David Savosave

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #7

South Downs Way, from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex

One of the most well-marked and easy-to-follow walking trails in the UK is South Downs Way.

This historic path begins at Winchester and ends at the seaside town of Eastbourne. The path was initially used by horses and cyclists but now you can enjoy walking through this scenic walking trail.

As you cover this trail you’ll come across quaint villages, historical monuments, beautiful woodlands, verdant fields and panoramic coastal views as you end the tour. Considered one of the most challenging walking trails in the UK, this 167 km (104 miles) long path gives you the opportunity to enjoy the perfect family or solo holiday.

As one of the UK’s most challenging National Trails the South Downs Way is enjoyed by a huge cross-section of walkers of various abilities. The trail is 160km long and stretches from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex.’


Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK - Lake DistrictLake District Photo by James Kemp

Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK #8

Lorton Vale Walk, Western Lake District, Cumbria

While walking holidays can be fun and adventurous when you go with a group, it’s also important to note that you can also look for walking trails that get you away from the well trodded path. Lorton Vale Walk is one such short circular walking trail that can help you find the peace and tranquillity you seek.

Lorton Vale Walk is located in the Lake District National Park which have a number of stunning walks with breathtaking landscapes – the following are just five examples of the walks and trails available for all levels of fitness:

  1. Catbells Lakeland Walk
  2. Old Man of Coniston
  3. Tarn Cows Circular Walk
  4. The Helvellyn Ridge (Striding Edge)
  5. Derwent Water Walk

And even though there are many more spectacular walks and trails with perfect hiking photo opportunities, it’s always important to feature a shorter walk, one that can offer quiet paths, simple but wonderful countryside scenery, country lanes and forestry trails. If you’re someone who loves to explore the aforementioned lush green countryside, then you’ll really enjoy exploring this path and understand why it’s featured here on our ‘Most Scenic Trails for Walking Holidays in the UK‘ guide.

A circular route that starts in High Lorton, and includes Boon Beck, Scales and High Swinside, can be completed in a couple of hours. This 6.6 km (4.1 miles) in length walking trail, offers you the chance to witness remote valleys,  heather covered hills and old dry stone walls dividing lush green countryside alongside beautiful country houses and bubbling streams!

Lorton Vale is a chain of valleys stretching from Cockermouth in the north to Buttermere in the south. The middle section, with the villages of High Lorton and Low Lorton at its centre, may lack the drama of the Buttermere area but is full of rural charm and is an ideal place for a quiet walk’

– andrewswalks.co.uk

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