Do you love the outdoors and finding your own adventure? Then you’ll love hiking trails in the UK! With a range of terrains to explore and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, the UK has some of the best rolling hills, mountain peaks, woodland paths and coastal trails to offer.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring the best hiking trails across the UK, from Mountain Trails through to National Park Trails and Woodland Trails. We’ll also be sharing some tips to help you stay safe while you’re exploring these trails – so you can make the most of your outdoor experience!
Let’s get started and explore some of the best hiking trails in the UK!
Types of Hiking Trails
Hiking is a popular outdoor activity in the UK, with trails of varying lengths, climates and terrains to explore. Whether you’re a novice or experienced hiker, there are many diverse types of hiking trails across the UK to choose from.
- Coastal Hiking
Due to its multiple coastlines, the UK offers some of the most breathtaking coastal walking trails in the world. Many of these take in rugged cliff tops, remote beaches and beautiful sea views. For inexperienced hikers, many coastal trails are relatively flat, making them an ideal walking route to start with.
- Mountain Hiking
For more experienced hikers, the UK has plenty of opportunities for those looking for a more challenging climb. Mountain habitats are home to some of the most exquisite plants, wildlife and stunning views of the countryside. These trails often include steep ascents and descents in addition to more challenging terrain.
- Urban Hiking
If you’re looking for a more urban-based hiking experience, the UK offers plenty of urban walking trails that take in cityscapes and historical sites.
In cities such as London, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool, you can enjoy guided walking tours of their famous landmarks and monuments in addition to a more urban hiking experience.
- Woodland Hiking
Many sections of the UK are heavily forested, with abundant forestry trails and woodland paths. These routes offer a chance to reconnect to nature, and explore some of the UK’s most beautiful, wildest and most secluded locations.
Depending on the area, many of these trails can be quite demanding and should only be undertaken with an experienced hiker or guide.
No matter what kind of hiking trails you’re looking for, the UK has a wealth of options to explore, from easy and flat coastal trails to more mountainous and challenging routes. So, when you’re planning your next hiking adventure, the UK is the perfect place to start!
For those looking for a more demanding and challenging hiking experience, the UK has plenty of options for mountain trails. From the Welsh peaks of Snowdonia, to the mountain ranges of Scotland and the wild moorlands of the Lake District, there are plenty of mountains to explore.
The Peak District is perhaps England’s most iconic mountain range and home to some of the greatest hikes in the UK. Some of the most popular hikes include Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, offering commanding views over the surrounding area.
For the more intrepid, there’s the challenge of the Three Peaks, which is a 24-hour walking marathon to ascend the three highest peaks in the UK: Ben Nevis in Scotland, Mount Snowdon in Wales, and Scafell Pike in England.
In Scotland, the Cairngorms are home to some of the most challenging mountain trails in the UK. From the heights of Ben Nevis to the wilds of Glen Coe, you’ll find a range of hikes from easy strolls to more strenuous ascents. The Scottish highlands are also home to the breathtaking Cuillin Ridge, the longest and most demanding mountain range in the UK.
Wales is home to the impressive snow-capped peak of Snowdon, which offers an incredible range of hikes from easy to challenging.
The Snowdon Horseshoe is one of the most memorable trails, encompassing the three highest peaks of Y Lliwedd, Crib Goch and Snowdon itself. For a more relaxing trail, the Glyderau ridge is a great option, offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Finally, the Lake District is home to the wild and beautiful moorland hikes of the fells. Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, and offers one of the most challenging hikes in the country. For something a little more relaxed, you can try a walk along the Buttermere Valley, or explore the waters of Wastwater. There’s something for everyone here.
For those looking to explore the UK’s stunning coastlines, hiking is the ideal way to appreciate the beauty of the British Isles. From rugged, wild shores of Scotland, to the alluring beaches of Cornwall, the UK offers a vast range of coastal hiking trails, featuring endless stunning views and fresh sea air.
The coastal trails in Scotland are among the best in the UK. The iconic West Highland Way is a popular long-distance route, stretching from the edge of Glasgow to the north west of Fort William.
If you’re in the mood for a shorter hike, head to the Isle of Skye for some spectacular coastal walking. The Quirang loop, which takes you along the Trotternish Ridge, is a must-see destination.
Elsewhere in Scotland, the Fife Coastal Path is a thrilling 185-mile journey, featuring quaint fishing villages, isolated coves and beaches, as well as rolling hills and dramatic cliffs.
In Wales, the stunning Pembrokeshire Coastal Path provides hikers with 186 miles of some of the most beautiful seaside scenery in the UK. The trail, which takes you along the county’s entire coastline, features a collection of stunning sandy beaches, spectacular cliff-top views, and an abundance of wildlife.
A great coastal hike in England is the Jurassic Coast Path in Dorset. The 95 miles of clifftop trails take you along the World Heritage Site, passing through quaint villages and stunning chalk-cliff bays. A popular section of the path is the stretch from Exmouth to Lyme Regis, which is known as the ‘Jurassic Isle of Portland’.
Finally, for those in the south of England, the South West Coast Path is a must-do for hikers. Running for 630 miles, the path is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular trails in the UK, taking in a collection of cliff-top trails, dramatic bays, and picturesque harbours.
National Park Trails
Hiking is a great way to explore the beauty of the UK’s national parks. Britain is home to 15 national parks, many of which offer a range of hiking trails for all levels of adventurer. Here is a selection of some of the best national park trails for hikers.
Snowdonia National Park in Wales is a popular destination for hikers. It’s Wales’ largest national park, located in the Snowdonia mountain range. It features the highest mountain in England and Wales, Mount Snowdon.
It’s a great place for experienced hikers who want to challenge themselves with a more challenging terrain – there are several routes up Snowdon, ranging in difficulty from easy to difficult. For those looking for something a bit gentler, there are also some lovely walks around the Llŷn Peninsula and up the Rhinog mountains.
The Peak District National Park is the oldest national park in Britain and spans across the counties of Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. It’s a great place for hikers, offering a variety of trails both on and off the track.
Many of the routes are ideal for beginners and lookouts from the top of hills provide stunning views across the countryside. The national park is also home to the popular Kinder Scout mountain, which is the highest point in the Peak District.
The New Forest National Park in Hampshire is perfect for those looking for a leisurely walk. It’s filled with picturesque villages, ancient woodland and rolling heathland, making it an ideal spot to take in the beauty of Britain’s countryside.
There are several easy routes that meander through the forest, with signposts clearly marked to help you find your way. For those looking for a more adventurous hike, there are some longer trails which take in views of the stunning coastlines of the Solent and Isle of Wight.
The South Downs National Park in the south of England is another great spot for those looking for a leisurely walk. It’s home to rolling hills and stunning views of the coastline, with plenty of easy trails to explore.
The South Downs Way is the park’s most popular route and is a great way to take in the beauty of the area. The South Downs Way also connects to the stunning Seven Sisters cliffs, making it a great spot for a longer hike.
Hiking in woodlands is a great way to explore nature at its best. The UK has plenty of great woodland trails to choose from, so get your hiking boots ready!
Starting with South East England, the ancient Ashdown Forest in East Sussex is a great place for hikers; this 6,500 acre forest is home to the highest concentration of pedigree High Weald cattle in the country, as well as a great variety of wildlife, making it a lovely place to explore.
The paths here can be quite tricky in places, so it’s worth investing in a good map for the area.
Another great option for a woodland hike is the New Forest in Hampshire, which is a stunning and very diverse area of natural beauty. It’s the largest remaining stretch of unenclosed pasture land in England, and you’ll find lots of different species of birds and other birds here.
There are lots of ancient and interesting trees to explore, so don’t forget your camera to capture these beautiful sights.
Going further north, the Whinlatter Forest Park in Cumbria is another great spot for hikers. It’s home to the largest area of managed forest in England, so it’s perfect for nature-lovers. This park has a range of trails, from easy walks to challenging hikes, so there’s something to suit every level of fitness and experience.
Shropshire is also home to a few great spots for a woodland hike, such as the Stiperstones, a rocky ridge in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This rocky outcrop is a great spot for climbers and hikers alike, with amazing views of the Shropshire countryside.
Finally, if you’re looking for a more challenging hike, the Forestry Commission’s trails in Scotland are a great option. These trails offer an excellent range of routes and terrain, from easy walks to more difficult hikes. So why not grab your walking boots and explore the great British woods!
Best Hiking Trails in the UK
The UK is home to some of the world’s most stunning and diverse hiking trails, giving visitors the perfect opportunity to explore the country’s spectacular coastline, rolling hills, lush green forests, and majestic mountain ranges.
Whether you’re new to hiking or a seasoned pro looking for a challenge, the UK offers a wide variety of trails to suit all levels of fitness and experience. Here’s a guide to the best hiking trails across the UK for you to explore.
The South West Coast Path: This 630 mile long-distance trail stretches around the entire coast of southwest England, offering breathtaking views of the coast and some of the oldest towns in England.
Starting on Minehead in Somerset, it travels through the glorious scenery of Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset, and finishes in Poole Harbour in Dorset. It’s an incredibly popular trail, with sections ranging from easy coastal walks to challenging cliff-side ascents.
The Cotswold Way: This 100 mile trail stretches across the picturesque Cotswold Hills, offering hikers an opportunity to experience some of the most beautiful nature sites in England.
The trail passes through five counties and visits several historical sites, including the ancient hill forts of Uley, Casterley, and Crickley. Popular highlights include the climb up to the breathtaking viewpoint of Broadway Tower, and the impressive Iron Age Hill Fort at Belas Knap.
The Pennine Way: The UK’s longest and best-known long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way stretches 268 miles from Derbyshire through the Peak District, across the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National Park, and finishes at Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.
This trail is perfect for experienced hikers looking for a challenge, with sections of moorland and mountainous terrain that require good navigational skills. Along the way, hikers will get to experience some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, including Hadrian’s Wall, Kielder Forest, and the Cheviot Hills.
Peak District National Park, England
Hiking in Peak District National Park is a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone visiting the United Kingdom.
Located in Derbyshire, Peak District National Park has a diverse landscape that consists of rolling hills, limestone dales, rugged moorland, and open heathland. With such a varied terrain, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best hiking spots in the UK.
The park offers a wide range of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes across the wilds of the park’s highest peaks.
The most popular routes are Edale and Mam Tor, which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and a great way to explore the Peak District’s rich flora, fauna, and geological features. Other well-known trails include Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, a great spot for experienced hikers looking for a challenge.
For those who want to explore the Peak District in more depth, there are organized guided tours and treks available. Most of the guided hikes take place in the northern part of the National Park, where the landscape is more rugged and includes challenging ascents and descents.
A great day out for everyone, these tour and treks offer spectacular views, as well as the opportunity to learn about the geology and local history of the area.
For a leisurely afternoon, there are plenty of shorter trails that follow rivers and streams or skirt the edges of the park. These trails are perfect for those who don’t want to tackle the more strenuous routes, yet wish to explore the beautiful countryside.
No matter what your hiking experience level is, Peak District National Park provides a fantastic opportunity to explore the wonderful countryside of the United Kingdom.
With its wide range of hiking trails, there is something for everyone. So, don’t miss the chance to experience the beauty of the Peak District National Park and enjoy a truly unforgettable hike.
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
Set in the heart of North Wales, Snowdonia National Park is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the UK. This stunning environment provides some of the best hiking trails you could wish for. With stunning mountain scenery, picturesque valleys and spectacular views, Snowdonia offers an unparalleled hiking experience.
Hiking in Snowdonia is a truly breathtaking experience. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging climb, there’s something for every level of hiker.
For seasoned hikers, the Snowdon Horseshoe route is a must-do, taking you to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, and providing spectacular views along the way.
The Watkin Path is an excellent trail for more experienced hikers, and provides a great way to explore Snowdonia’s diverse landscape. The trail is about 8 miles long and includes a series of steep climbs, but the views and sense of accomplishment at the top are well worth it.
For those keen to explore Snowdonia but don’t want too strenuous a hike, Ruthin to Dinas Mawddwy is an excellent choice. This route is around 11 miles long and follows the River Dovey, providing beautiful views and allowing you to take your time and really appreciate the stunning beauty of the area.
Snowdonia is a truly magical place to explore. With stunning views, incredible wildlife and plenty of trails to choose from, it’s one of the best hiking spots in the UK. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, head to Snowdonia and explore the beauty of this incredible national park.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Scotland
When it comes to hiking trails, there is no denying the stunning beauty of Scotland’s Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.The park is home to some of the most spectacular mountain ranges and lochs in the country, making it an ideal destination for hikers looking for a challenge and breathtaking views.
The iconic Ben Lomond stands as the highest peak within the park at 974m, offering a scenic and demanding climb for experienced mountain hikers. The path is an 11.9km round trip trail with an ascent of 890m, and features spectacular views of the region and countryside below.
The Rob Roy Way also cuts through the park, providing experienced hikers with a 77 mile long trail through the Highland boundary fault, featuring numerous battle sites and memorials. It is a great way to explore the region and its history, and hikers are rewarded with incredible landscapes and sceneries throughout the trail.
For a family-friendly day trail, there is the Three Lochs Way. This is a 10.3m trail with an ascent of 103m, winding through woodlands and farmland while offering views of three lochs: Ardmore, Laroch, and Finart.
This route is ideal for children and beginners as it is mostly flat and has attractions such as the Inversnaid RSPB reserve and The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to make for an enjoyable hike.
The park also features numerous other trails, including the Dukes Pass and Conic Hill, offering hikers a variety of options to enjoy the beautiful landscape. Regardless of experience or capability, there is something for everyone to enjoy here in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
The Lake District, England
Hiking in the Lake District is a must-do for anyone seeking a beautiful outdoor experience. With stunning landscapes, rolling hills, and beautiful lakes, this area offers a wealth of trails to take in the amazing scenery. Whether you are an experienced hiker or someone who is just starting out, there is something to suit all abilities.
The most popular area to hike in the Lake District is certainly the famous and iconic ‘Wainwright Trail’. This trail is 168 miles long, and takes around 11 days to complete if you are a determined hiker.
It takes you through some of the most breath-taking scenery the Lake District has to offer. With a variety of challenging terrain, spectacular views, and a variety of wildlife, it’s an experience you won’t forget.
If you are looking for something a bit more leisurely, then there are plenty of shorter walks that can be completed in a day.
A good example of this is the popular ‘Fairfield Horseshoe’, which is a magnificent 8-mile walk with breathtaking views of Grasmere, Helvellyn and Rydal Water. It is a loop-shaped route, passing through beautiful meadows and woods, with some steep scrambles over rocky ridges.
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, then the ‘Dove Crag’ is the perfect choice. This 9-mile hike takes you up a steep and rocky mountain, with stunning views of Thirlmere, the Langdale Pikes, and Steel Fell. As you ascend the mountain, you can enjoy the breathtaking views and wild nature of the area.
Finally, the ‘Borrowdale Trail’ is another excellent choice for a longer hike. This 12-mile route takes you through some of the most beautiful and interesting scenery in the Lake District. Along the way, you can take in views of Derwentwater and the majestic Skiddaw mountain, as well as winding through meadows, pastures, and woodlands.
The Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
The Mourne Mountains, located in the County Down region of Northern Ireland, have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and provide some of the best hiking trails in the United Kingdom.
Amidst its sprawling stretches of land lie up to 15 peaks, with the highest being Slieve Donard at 849 meters high. This area has something for everyone, whether its experienced hikers looking for an intense leg-burning climb, or those looking for a leisurely stroll.
The Mourne Mountains provide numerous routes and trails which offer hikers views of a vast array of wildlife, rivers, and waterfalls.
One of the most popular trails starting at the foot of Slieve Donard, is the Donard-Commedagh Trail. This route is around 11 miles long and ascends over two mountains—Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh—providing spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
For more gradual climbs, the Circular Trail around the lake of Lough Shannagh is a great option to explore. This easy trek passes through a number of small villages, giving hikers a chance to take in the rural Northern Irish atmosphere.
Adventure seekers can explore the Mourne Way Trail, a long-distance walking route. This 80-mile trek is spread out over a period of 5-7 days and passes through some of the most stunning parts of the Mourne Mountains, such as the Silent Valley Reservoir, Slieve Binnian and the Meelbeg Valley.
The Mourne Mountains also cater for those seeking more extreme challenges, such as the Mourne Wall Challenge. This demanding challenge requires adventurers to ascend all 15 peaks within the span of 24 hours, a feat not for the faint hearted.
For those wishing to visit the Mourne Mountains, there are a wide variety of places to stay near the area with something to suit every budget. From camping and camping pods, to hostels and B&Bs, the area has it all.
The Mourne Mountains provide an unforgettable experience to hikers of all levels and offer something truly unique; a chance to explore the wild and rugged landscape of Northern Ireland.
Tips For Safe Hiking
As with any outdoor activity, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with hiking. Before setting out on a hike, it is important to take a few precautionary measures to ensure your safety and that of those accompanying you.
First and foremost, make sure you tell someone where you’re going, what route you intend to take, how long you expect to take and when you plan to be back. It is also a good idea to carry a portable phone, for emergencies.
Be prepared for the weather, as the unpredictable nature of the British climate is unforeseeable. Pack appropriate clothing and wet weather gear, as well as supplies such as water, food and a first aid kit. Additionally, you should bring a map and compass, as well as a tool for shelter, just in case.
Ensure you are familiar with the area and hiking path before setting out. Become comfortable with your route so you can anticipate potential hazards or obstacles. Also, keep an eye out for wildlife and be aware that certain species may be dangerous.
Finally, stick to the marked hiking trails and never attempt to stray from the path. Taking shortcuts could lead to dangerous, unfamiliar terrain. Additionally, take your time and don’t rush. Stay alert and aware and proceed with caution.
By adhering to these tips, you can be sure to have a safe and enjoyable hiking experience in the UK.
Overall, the UK is an incredible place to go hiking. With a wide variety of trails, stunning landscapes and views, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, you’re sure to have a memorable adventure. Whether you’re a novice, an experienced trekker, or an all-around nature enthusiast, you can find the perfect trail for your skill level and preferences.
Be sure to check the area for safety and take all the necessary precautions, but once you’ve done that, you can enjoy the beauty of nature and all the scenery the UK has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the trails!