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United Kingdom

Hiking in the United Kingdom

Hiking

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Photo: Florian Fuchs (CC-BY-3.0)

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A proud land of historic settlements, pastoral countryside, rolling green hills, dramatic coastlines and ancient mountains, the United Kingdom is a hiker’s dream. Walks in the United Kingdom place you amongst a remarkable variety of stunning landscapes, all within a relatively small area. There’s everything from picturesque ambles in verdant dales to challenging expeditions across vast wilderness regions. 

There are awe-inspiring adventures aplenty amongst rocky ridgelines, ancient forests, bonny lochs, mystical tors, towering cliffs and romantic lakes: the list of opportunities is almost endless. There are no less than fifteen national parks to explore on your hikes in the United Kingdom, each with their own unique charm and character.

Get the sea air into your lungs as you discover almost 20,000 miles of famously beautiful coast. Meanwhile, the hillwalking is magnificent. The top of just about every mainland mountain and hill is conquerable by foot. Your efforts are rewarded with a treasure trove of unforgettable summit vistas.


Top 20 best walks and hikes in the United Kingdom

    1
    Intermediate
    03:39
    7.85 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    04:24
    8.64 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,575 ft
    1,575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    04:52
    7.46 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,225 ft
    2,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Difficult
    05:31
    10.2 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,125 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Difficult
    05:31
    9.04 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,625 ft
    2,625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Difficult
    06:23
    9.45 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    04:21
    8.76 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,650 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    04:43
    9.60 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,650 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    03:35
    7.73 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    03:38
    7.53 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    11
    Difficult
    03:14
    7.07 mi
    2.2 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    03:50
    8.34 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Difficult
    04:53
    5.31 mi
    1.1 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    02:47
    4.86 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,475 ft
    1,475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    04:14
    9.10 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Difficult
    05:39
    9.80 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,025 ft
    3,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Difficult
    05:45
    9.63 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,800 ft
    2,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    04:02
    8.32 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    02:28
    5.81 mi
    2.3 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    20
    Difficult
    08:20
    11.1 mi
    1.3 mph
    4,350 ft
    4,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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Hiking amongst spectacular mountains and hills

The sheer range of magnificent upland landscapes you can discover on hikes in the United Kingdom is staggering. Wordsworth, Muir, Wainwright, Burns: the names of the pioneering souls who loved to walk this land have reverberated through history, shaping our modern appreciation for, and drive to conserve, our precious wild places.

The verdant, undulating green hills of Southern England and Wales give way to rougher, rockier pastures the further north you venture. Much of this land makes for gorgeous walking with vibrant wildlife. The only truly mountainous regions here occur in Snowdonia and the Lake District, whilst Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains also boast superb hillwalking with a similar feel.

However, in terms of mountain adventure, the best hiking trails in the United Kingdom are those found in the majestic Scottish Highlands. Just a single experience of one of the monstrous behemoths of Torridon, the staggering ramparts of Glencoe, the inselberg peaks of Assynt, the sub-Arctic plateau of the Cairngorms or the world-famous scenery of the Isle of Skye will have you hopelessly addicted to this bonny land.

Almost 20,000 miles of beautiful coast

Surrounded by the sea, it is no wonder many of the finest walks in the United Kingdom are those that explore its wonderful coastline. From England’s shipwreck coves, prehistoric treasures and towering white cliffs to the secret golden beaches, fjord-like lochs and monumental sea stacks of the Scottish Highlands, this is some of the most spectacular coast found anywhere.

The Great British weather

The United Kingdom has a maritime climate that brings changeable weather all year round. One minute you may be basking in bright sunshine, the next zipping up your waterproof. Summers are generally warm, whilst winters are cool and wet. When hiking in the west, you are more likely to feel the effects of fronts coming in off the Atlantic, bringing wind and rain, particularly in the uplands. The east enjoys more settled, drier weather.

Snowfall is common on the mountains in winter, particularly in the Scottish Highlands, where conditions can be extreme. This creates challenges that go beyond basic hiking if you are seeking to get up high. However, the combination of low light and snow on the hills creates a wonderland that can still be incredible on the lower trails.

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