Best Hiking Trails in the United Kingdom

In America, people tend to think of hiking as an activity best left to those who are outdoorsy and rugged.

But in the UK, such trips are referred to as “walking holidays” and are generally considered to be a good idea for anyone who likes the idea of exploring on two feet.

6 Top UK Hiking Trails

Here are a half dozen of our favorite walks in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. While many of these trips cover more than 100 miles, they can easily be broken down into smaller sections.

The Coast to Coast Walk

This is Britain’s equivalent of the United States’ Appalachian Trail or Pacific Coast Trail. The Coast to Coast Walk is 192 miles and typically takes 12 to 14 days to complete. It extends all the way across the country, from St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay, and takes you through three National Parks.

Pennine Way

This epic 268-mile trek takes about three weeks to complete, if you choose to do the entire trail. It takes you not only across England, but also back in time. This route is believed to lead walkers through the same remote moors where Emily Bronte gained inspiration for “Wuthering Heights.” It also takes you through the Peak District to the limestone outcrops of Malham and then to the historic Hadrian’s Wall.

The Calf and Cautley Sprout

This 6-mile hike takes you to the highest waterfall in the UK. It features some rugged terrain and steep climbs and ascends a 676-meter summit. Fortunately, there’s a pub where you start and end your walk, so you can easily replenish any calories you’ve burned off.

West Highland Way Scotland

A 96-mile trek, this walk starts at Milngavie and wraps up at Fort William. It can be broken up into 13 sections and is normally completed from south to north, so that the more challenging sections can be done once a walker has been acclimated to the journey. Accommodations are available along the way.

Slieve Donard

This 5.6-mile climb will get you to the highest point in Northern Ireland. It takes about five hours and, on clear days, offers incredible views of Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man. This is a strenuous walk, but not technically difficult.

The Wales Coast Path

This 870-mile walk is the world’s first uninterrupted route along a national coast. Sure, you could quit your job and do the whole thing, but you could also just spend a day and do a portion of the trail. You’ll find historic castles, writers’ retreats, beaches, estuaries, cliffs, woodlands, and hills.

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