Skip to content
kors-logo
Home » Revealed: The 20 Best Walks In Britain (And The Maps That Show You The Perfect Route)

Revealed: The 20 Best Walks In Britain (And The Maps That Show You The Perfect Route)

Spring is in the air — and there’s no better time to stretch your legs and catch a breath of fresh air.

As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Well, you don’t have to go quite that far on any of these walks.

So here are 20 of Britain’s very best walks, ranging from a couple of miles to a dozen, featuring spectacular scenery and peaceful settings — and they’re all easily done in a day.

Here are 20 of Britain’s very best walks, ranging from a couple of miles to a dozen, featuring spectacular scenery — as seen on the footpath to Avebury, Wiltshire, pictured

CORNISH CLIFF WALKBeginning and ending in Kynance Cove, a great hike is to be had along the South West Coast Path following clifftops with splendid sea views and taking in the craggy outcrop of Lizard Point, mainland Britain’s southernmost point. Expect to spot choughs (an endangered member of the crow family with a bright orange beak). You can stop off at the pleasant village of Lizard on the loop back.

Length: 5.9 miles, 3 hoursDifficulty: ModerateRefreshments: The 200-year-old Top House Inn at Lizard is mainland Britain’s southernmost inn (thetophouseinn.co.uk).DERBYSHIRE DREAMStanage Edge is one of the Peak District’s best-known gritstone edges — and a circular walk from Hathersage village is a great way to explore. The highest point, High Neb, is at 1,502ft. This was where a scene in the 2005 film version of Pride And Prejudice was shot, when Elizabeth Bennet (played by Keira Knightley) stood with her coat billowing behind her. You also pass Moorseats Hall, inspiration for Charlotte Bronte’s Moor House in Jane Eyre.

Length: 5.6 miles, 3 to 4 hours.Difficulty: Moderate.Refreshments: The Scotsman’s Pack in Hathersage is one of the Peak District’s best pubs (scotsmanspackcountryinn.co.uk).DELIGHTFUL DARTMOORFingle Woods is an 825-acre area of hilly, ancient woodland, with the River Teign winding through it. A trail here skirts cliffs through the Alpine-esque valley, passing Whiddon Deer Park and the entrance to the medieval-style Castle Drogo. A rocky outcrop called Hunter’s Tor juts into a gorge like the prow of an ocean-liner and there’s another viewpoint by a cliff at Sharp Tor, before you return to Fingle Bridge.

Length: 4 miles, 2.5 to 3 hours.Difficulty: Easy/moderate.Refreshments: Fingle Bridge Inn offers good pub grub (finglebridgeinn.co.uk).DREAMLIKE ST DAVIDSEnjoy a short coastal walk that encapsulates all that’s special about the Pembrokeshire Coast: wild seas, craggy cliffs, booming surf and widescreen skies. The walk starts and ends at Whitesands Bay, passing Porth Lleuog cove before cutting inland to Carn Llidi at 593ft. The path then loops round to a partly collapsed Neolithic dolmen called Coetan Arthur and the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.

Length: 3.8 miles, 1.5 to 2 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: Drop by at The Bishops in St Davids (thebish.co.uk)SAUNTER IN SOMERSETExmoor National Park is Britain’s smallest and one of its prettiest with woods, peaceful fields and fast-running rivers. Beginning in the quaint village of Withypool, this looping walk follows the River Barle before entering Pit Wood and rising to Tarr Steps – a lovely old ‘clapper’ bridge made of stone slabs. Local folklore says that the Devil used to use this bridge for sunbathing.

Length: 8.3 miles, 3.5 to 4 hours.Refreshments: ModeratePub at the end: The Royal Oak Inn is a lovely old pub in Withypool (royaloakwithypool.co.uk).HIGHLANDS DELIGHTSteall Waterfall, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, is an 392ft waterfall that lies eight miles southeast of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. A stony path leads from the car park at Upper Glen Nevis passing boulders and traversing drops above the Water of Nevis. Brave hikers can cross a nearby Wire Bridge with one cable for feet and one for each hand (don’t worry, there’s a less hairy route too).

Length: 2.5 miles, 2 hours.Difficulty: Moderate/sometimes steep.Refreshments: The Ben Nevis Bar in Fort William has a great sun terrace (bennevisbarfortwilliam.com).GLASTONBURY STROLLMyths and legends swirl around the strange hillock of Glastonbury Tor, visible for miles and said to be the last resting place of King Arthur (as well as the home of a faerie king). Enjoy the mystery on a walk beginning in the town of Glastonbury, before heading up through the fields of Bushy Combe, then following trails up to the tower of St Michael’s Chapel on Glastonbury Tor’s summit.

Length: 2.2 miles, 1 to 1.5 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: Try the King Arthur in Glastonbury (thekingarthurglastonbury.com).BELOVED LAKE DISTRICTThe walking scribe Alfred Wainwright once described Catbells, a small mountain by the shore of Derwentwater as ‘one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved’. The circular trail begins and ends by Hawse End jetty, rising to 1,479ft, with great views across to Skiddaw – plus a chance to spot a red squirrel, if you’re lucky.

Length: 3.8 miles, 90 minutes.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: The Wainwright in nearby Keswick (thewainwright.pub).NORTHUMBERLAND HIKEThe salty little fishing village of Craster is the start of one of northern England’s finest coastal walks, following a trail northwards to the dramatic ruined towers of Dunstanburgh Castle and the golden sweep of Embleton Bay. This is an easy-going hike with no big hills and a nice sandy beach. Dunstanburgh was once one of the most impressive in northern England but fell into ruin by 1550.

Length: 4.5 miles, 2 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: Try one of the renowned crab sandwiches at the Jolly Fisherman in Craster (thejollyfishermancraster.co.uk).CAIRNGORMS CIRCLEThe Uath Lochans are ten miles southwest of Aviemore in Cairngorms National Park. A low-level hike weaving between a series of ‘lochans’ (small lochs) takes you through pretty and peaceful woodland comprising birch and Scots pine. Look out for red squirrels on the way to the crest of Farleitter Crag, a small clearing with a rock outcrop with a gorgeous view across the lochans below.

Length: 4 miles, 2 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: Enjoy the lively atmosphere at the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore (oldbridgeinn.co.uk).EASY IN NORTH YORKSHIREBack in 1132 a group of Cistercian monks made a great choice of location for Rievaulx Abbey. Beside the River Rye and with woodlands and Ashberry Hill close by, this is a gorgeous spot that St Aelred, the third abbot, described as ‘everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world’. A gentle circular walk from the abbey is as spirt-lifting as ever.

Length: 2.5 miles, 1 to 2 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: The Royal Oak in the charming nearby market town of Helmsley is a good spot (royaloakhotelhelmsley.com).WELSH ROMANCEPopular since the days of the Romantic Poets, the short walk to the ruins of Tintern Abbey and the rocky outcrop Devil’s Pulpit in Monmouthshire takes in a fine stretch of the River Wye and crosses a lovely woodland. William Wordsworth wrote of the ‘wild secluded’ landscape here and its power to offer ‘tranquil restoration’. You too can enjoy the scenery on an easy walking loop.

Length: 4 miles, 2 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: The Anchor Inn, beside Tintern Abbey (theanchortintern.co.uk).WONDER OF WILTSHIREEveryone’s heard of Stonehenge, but perhaps not Avebury, though it’s Britain’s largest stone circle – about ten times bigger. The stones are half-hidden among the buildings of its namesake village. One of the highlights of a walk around is seeing the striking conical shape of Silbury Hill, which pokes up 40metres and is the largest artificial earthwork in Europe – it’s a mystical place.

Length: 4 miles, 2 to 2.5 hoursDifficulty: EasyRefreshments: The thatched Red Lion is perfect for a post-walk tipple (chefandbrewer.com)SERENE IN SURREYLeith Hill is a fabled Surrey beauty spot with a tower on top built in the 1760s to make it the highest point in southeast England. The tower was restored by the National Trust in the 1980s and from it you can see as far as the London Eye through the telescope. You begin this walk in the delightful village of Coldharbour and rise along a path through dense woodland with rhododendrons.

Length: 4 miles, 2 hours.Difficulty: Moderate.Refreshments: The Plough in Coldharbour has a great beer garden (ploughinn.com).LOVELY IN LONDONRichmond Park is London’s largest green space, with huge herds of deer and more than a thousand ‘veteran’ trees. From the 13th century this was a royal hunting ground, enclosed by a brick wall by Charles I in 1637. A walk beginning in Richmond talks you along the Thames before cutting into the park at Petersham, continuing to Ham Gate and crossing to Isabella Plantation and back.

Length: 6.2 miles, 2.5 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: The Roebuck on Richmond Hill (greeneking.co.uk).SCOTS MINI MOUNTAINBen A’an in the Trossachs may only rise to 1,489ft, but it deserves its reputation as a ‘mountain in miniature’. Its pointed, rocky summit offers fine views along Loch Katrine, an eight-mile stretch of water that curls enticingly between looming hills. Gullies and crags feature on Ben A’an, but the path – although steep and stony – is well marked. Keep an eye open for roe deer.

Length: 2.25 miles, 3 hours.Difficulty: Moderate/sometimes steep.Refreshments: The Byre Inn at Brig o’Turk, a nearby village (byreinn.co.uk).WAY UP NORTHJohn O’Groats gets all the attention for being the northernmost extreme of the British mainland, but the sea cliffs of Duncansby Head, two miles to the east, beat it hands down for scenery. A series of pyramidical rock pinnacles – the Stacks of Duncansby – lie just offshore, often attracting nesting seabirds. Set off from John O’Groats following well-marked paths, with dunes and beaches below.

Length: 5.5 miles, 2 to 3 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: The bar at the Seaview Hotel (seaviewjohnogroats.co.uk).GORGEOUS GOWER  Wales is home to some fabulous beaches, but few can match the golden sweep of Rhossili, a sandy crescent backed by a steep heather-covered hill dotted with Neolithic remains. This walk begins with a hill climb to Rhossili Down, before continuing along a ridge and down to grassy bluffs above the beach with good views of Worms Head, a serpentine mile-long headland.

Length: 6.5 miles, 2.5 to 3 miles.Difficulty: Moderate.Refreshments: The bar at Worm’s Head Hotel (thewormshead.co.uk).NORFOLK STOMPThis is a walk of two halves: a loop around Blakeney Freshes, a marsh offering fantastic birdspotting, followed by a stomp to the coast along the shingle strand to Blakeney Point – where a wonderful seal colony is to be found. You start in peaceful Blakeney village and loop round to the village of Cley, which was a thriving medieval port until its harbour silted up, before hitting the coast path.

Length: 12 miles, 4 hours.Difficulty: Easy.Refreshments: The Kings Arms in Blakeney (kingsarmsblakeney.co.uk).SECRET CORNWALLMost visitors flock to Cornwall’s coast but a great walk lies inland, going in a wobbly circle from Poldue Downs across moorland and up slopes to the summits of Rough Tor (1,312ft) and Brown Willy (1,378ft), the county’s highest hill. Highlights include the remains of Bronze Age settlements, ridgelines, granite stacks and the Fernacre Stone Circle.

Length: 5.2 miles, 2.5 to 3 hours.Difficulty: Moderate/some steep sections.Refreshments: The Masons Arms in the nearby town of Camelford (no website).Tom Hall is head of Lonely Planet UK’s Favourite Short Walks. Best Day Walks Great Britain (£15.99, lonelyplanet.com).