Walking holidays can make for a brilliant break; you’re getting heaps of fresh air and exercise, there are beautiful views, and it’s an easy way to get off the grid a little bit.
The good news is that the UK is filled with incredible national parks, coastal paths and plenty more destinations which are ideal for long walks.
We’re talking iconic regions from the Scottish Highlands to the Lake District, as well as popular routes such as the Causeway Coastal Walk.
To help you narrow it down, we take a look at some of the UK’s best walking holiday destinations, whether you’re a seasoned hiker, or you’re thinking of going on a walking weekend for the first time.
Check out our top picks below (in no particular order)…
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1. Scottish Highlands, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands have it all; rugged landscape, picturesque villages and towns, remote settings, and seriously epic landscapes.
It’s an ideal destination for longer hikes, but there are also shorter loops and trails on offer for beginners.
Visit Scotland has a handy round-up of brilliant walking trails worth having on the radar – but one that never fails to wow visitors is the incredible West Highland Way, a 154km-long route between Milngavie to Fort William.
As for accommodation, you can find everything from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Booking.com can be a good source for cheap hotels with prices from £40 a night.
2. Causeway Coastal Walk, Northern Ireland
This scenic route between Portstewart and Ballycastle takes around 2-3 days to complete, and tends to be popular with all levels of hikers.
The walk includes some of the area’s prettiest landmarks from the incredible Giant’s Causeway to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
The trail follows the coastline so you can expect some pretty beach walks as part of the adventure too.
TripAdvisor can be a handy source for cheap hotels near the coastal walk with prices from £59 a night.
3. Brecon Beacons, Wales
Hikers and ramblers have been heading to the Brecon Beacons for decades thanks to the wide array of landscapes on offer, making for some seriously beautiful views.
We’re talking everything from towering mountains to mysterious stones and historic castles, as well as scenery from sweeping green valleys to ethereal waterfalls.
There’s a wide array of different loops and trails, so it can be ideal for all levels of hikers.
Planning a trip? The official Brecon Beacons website has a useful section on the accommodation on offer.
4. Lake District, England
The Lake District’s scenery looks like the stuff of storybooks, so it’s no surprise that it appeals to hikers, families and couples after a romantic getaway.
The lakes offer plenty of opportunities for scenic walks and adventures thanks to the impressive offering of circular routes, not to mention there are heaps of charming towns and villages waiting to be explored.
It may not have a reputation for being budget-friendly but there are ways to visit without breaking the bank – we’ve previously rounded up the Lake District’s best cheap hotels (please note that during the pandemic some may not be open).
5. Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede is famous thanks to its iconic Rope Bridge, with the coastal path offering walks along sweeping grasslands and challenging rocky paths (the island is also a popular bird-watching spot).
Then there’s the bridge itself which – for those brave enough to take it on – delivers incredible coastal views.
Expedia has a handy guide to the best hotels near the rope bridge.
6. Yorkshire Dales, England
The Yorkshire Dales National Park can make for quite an atmospheric walk, from rugged wilderness to vast moorlands.
For those after an easier stroll, the riverside routes can make for a more leisurely but equally picturesque alternative.
You can check out some of the shorter walking trails on the Yorkshire Dales official website.
7. Snowdonia, Wales
Snowdonia is home to the mountain of Snowdon, which offers up a challenging hike to the summit – but it’s well worth it for the views. (If you’re not up for a harder walk, you can always enjoy some of the trails then take the Mountain Railway to the top).
There are heaps of different spots to explore from Bardsey Island to Ogwen where you’ll find a circular walk offering views of some dramatic geological formations, not to mention the countless valleys and even occasional icy formations that make this a spectacular destination.
If you’re after hotel stays, then Booking.com can be a good source for cheap Snowdonia hotel stays.
8. Peak District, England
The Peak District is filled with circular loops and winding trails through rolling green valleys, enchanting woodlands, dramatic moorlands, and rugged cliffwalks.
There are at least 50 different trails to be found whether you’re after a beginner-friendly walk or you’re a seasoned hiker who’s looking for a new challenge.
If you are after a long distance walk, the 431km-long Pennine Way National Trail is a particular highlight.
As for accomodation, there are some brilliant cabins and cottages to be found – Sykes Holiday Cottages can be a good source for cheap luxury cottages.
9. Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
Britian’s largest national park not only offers heaps of varying landscapes, but it’s also home to quirky wildlife including wildcats and eagles.
There are hundreds of walking trails whether you’re after woodland strolls, or want to explore the mysterious moorlands.
For intrepid explorers, there are plenty of rough tracks which are ideal for experienced walkers (you’ll want to pack a detailed map and compass though!).
10. Pembrokeshire, Wales
If it’s coastal views that you’re after, then the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park needs to be on your radar, as it offers 240 square miles of scenery to explore.
We’re talking everything from postcard-worthy beaches, rugged cliff-side walks and even some tranquil pond-side leisurely strolls.
Need some inspiration? You can check out a wide array of walks on offer on the official Pembrokeshire Coast National Park walks.