The British countryside has many spectacular locations for walking, whether your preference is for gentle, rolling hills or dramatic mountainsides, sandy beaches or ancient woodlands. We’ve picked some of the best so you can get out there and explore. Check out UK campsite reviews for places to stay on your travels.
Land’s End, Cornwall
The westernmost tip of the mainland, Land’s End offers some magnificent coastal scenery. The South West Coast Path begins at Whitesand Bay and passes through secluded Nanjizal Bay, considered by many to be one of the best beaches in the region and far from any road or car park. Bathe in sparkling clear waters, play in colourful rockpools and admire the natural stone sculptures, such as the Song of the Sea arch and the Diamond Horse, which as its name suggest is shaped like a horse.
South Downs, Hampshire and Sussex
The South Downs stretch from Itchen Valley in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex. Rolling chalk hillsides are characterised by short grassland grazed by rabbits and sheep and there are miles of hiking and riding trails. The South Downs Way starts at the historic town of Winchester and passes through gorgeous countryside and several charming villages to end at the chalk cliffs of Eastbourne. There are opportunities to spot attractive wildlife, explore prehistoric settlements and enjoy sweeping views, with many spots along the way to stop for lunch or a drink.
North Norfolk Coast, Norfolk
The Norfolk coastal area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and it is easy to see why. Wide open skies, vast sandy beaches and the endless ocean await you, and many of the beaches are far quieter than those found on the south coast. The Norfolk Coast Path connects the Victorian seaside town of Hunstanton and the dramatic cliffs of Sheringham beach, all completely within the AONB. The path passes through the salt marshes of Brancaster and Blakeney Point, and the gorgeous sandy beaches of Holkham. Look out for seals and migrating seabirds such as geese and terns.
Brecon Beacons, Wales
The Brecon Beacons are an enchanting world, many miles away from the bustling crowds and modern day distractions. Here there are ancient woodlands and magnificent sparkling waterfalls, and many miles of trails for a chance to get off the beaten track. One of the best circular walks starts at Clyngwyn Bunkhouse. It passes alongside glorious waterfalls and deep refreshing pools, over mossy rocks and tangled tree roots. You can picnic in peaceful clearings and explore mysterious caves, all the while experiencing something of the ancient and magical atmosphere of this part of the country.
Lake District, Cumbria
The Lake District is vast and offers endless opportunities for hiking. One of the more remote and spectacular landscapes in the region is the Great Moss in Upper Eskdale. Beginning at Brotherilkeld, the route climbs up the fell, along the River Esk and along the valley floor. There are waterfalls and plunge pools, deep gorges and high plateaus offering lonely and hauntingly beautiful views.
Glencoe is one of the most dramatic landscapes in Scotland, and indeed the whole of the UK. The narrow Glencoe stretches for 10 miles, with grand, imposing mountains overlooking from either side. With its bleak golden beauty, Glencoe cannot fail to stir the imagination. The route to the Lost Valley offers the chance to experience some of the best scenery, including views across the Pass of Glencoe and wild and windswept Rannoch Moor.