If you’re the type who loves to get out and about when you’re on holiday to explore and experience a region, you might find that walking holidays are ideal to enable you to get up close and personal to a place and its people. There’s really no other place in the world that is quite as great for walking and hiking holidays as the UK is – what with a whole variety of terrain and topography on offer all throughout from the rugged coastlines of Cornwall to the highlands of Scotland making it varied and exciting day in, day out. If this sounds like your kind of thing, read ahead for some of the best UK locations to head to for your next holiday, especially if you plan on getting a bit of hiking or walking in and then book your next holiday through Mickledore to get the best out of the UK and its great trails.
Hadrian’s Wall Trail
This part of the northern section of England is home to some truly beautiful scenery with rolling hills dotted with farms found behind low dry-stone walls. Amid the twisting and turning country lanes you will find some of the most welcoming tea rooms, authentic pubs with roaring fires, historic hotels and friendly locals. Situated south of Northumberland National Park and north of the North Pennines, this unique and ancient trail stretches from the shores of Solway Firth in the west all the way across north England into Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Reaching 84 miles across the whole length of the trail, it’s best tackled in chunks if you don’t have time to devote to the whole thing, although the accomplishment of walking all 84 miles is truly a spectacular one to add to your list of things you’ve done. Plan ahead and stop off in unique villages, rubbing elbows with the people of the area in cosy country pubs, and share stories of your travels over a pint or two of local ales. Be sure to stop occasionally to take in the breathtaking views – especially when the hills suddenly give way to low lakes and rushing rivers.
This beautiful part of the north is home to some of the most wonderful landscapes, ideal for hiking and walking. A great stretch of walking includes a hike from York through the beautiful town of Knaresborough into the city of Harrogate and then onward into the Dales. This walk allows you to see some of the most beautiful and historic cities in Yorkshire, starting with the county’s namesake, York. Birthplace of Guy Fawkes, famed Gunpowder Plot conspirator, York is a gorgeous city that features its prominent church, York Minster, as well as ruins of old city walls surrounding the ruins of an old abbey. For a treat, check out the Guy Fawkes Inn, his childhood home and birthplace – turned pub and hotel. Candlelit corridors within add to the ambience of this historic building and their traditional food and ales welcome visitors on chilly Yorkshire evenings. Knaresborough is home to the unique Old Mother Shipton’s Cave – a mysterious tourist draw in which the waters are known to petrify almost anything if it’s left in the sediment-laden water long enough. Harrogate, a spa town is famed for its healing waters which have drawn many people to the region for centuries. The Dales themselves are stunningly beautiful, offering visitors unparallelled views over rolling hills and subsequent valleys, treed avenues, small farms full of highland sheep and tiny villages like Grassington – one of the most beautiful old features of the area.
One of the most beautiful regions in the UK, north Wales is home to Snowdonia National Park, an area that is simply put – a walking holiday maker’s dream come true. Featuring long trails through forested wood, past streams and waterfalls, through meticulously manicured farmer’s fields and more, this region is as beautiful as it is welcoming. Avid hikers will love the challenge that summiting Snowdon presents – especially with a number of trails to choose from. Hikers who like a bit of everything in their ascent will enjoy the Pyg Track, while those who dearly love a challenge will get more out of the Watkin Trail – Snowdon’s toughest. The Watkin Trail takes you past crystalline waterfalls as well, which prove to be a popular spot for a dip on a hot summer’s day and are only about 45 minutes up the path, making it reachable for most levels of fitness. For a more leisurely stroll, head to Beddgelert and its surrounding paths along tree lined avenues and through forests and villages and check out the legendary grave of trusted hound Gelert, friend to the Welsh Prince, Llewellyn.
In southern Wales, Pembrokeshire is walking holiday king. Along the coast from around Tenby all the way up to near Fishguard, the rugged coastline gives way to beautiful beaches of both sand and shale and gorgeous little towns and villages that play host to people almost year round who come for the stunning scenery. The coastal trail challenges most levels of hiking and walking ability and is a great option for those who want to have a mix of terrain and scenery. For the best stops, consider walking from Newgale to St Davids, where you can spend a day or two at Whitesands Bay, popular beach for summer sunbathing and swimming. For a unique experience, consider taking a day off of walking on the mainland and take a boat over to Ramsey Island – a hot spot to catch all manner of bird life in the area nesting in the high cliff sides. Truly, Pembrokeshire has a bit of everything you could want from any walking holiday in Wales.
Much like Pembrokeshire, Cornwall is a coastal region teeming with great coastal paths that are just prime for walking and hiking. Choose from a number of coastal regions including the north and south coasts, Land’s End and the Lizard – all of which have their own unique paths and routes that take you through a varied terrain and small villages, past the old copper mine brick chimneys that are throwbacks to the copper mining days of old in the region. For those who love history and stunning views, consider taking the north coast which will take you past the ruins of Tintagel Castle, purported birthplace and childhood home of the legendary King Arthur. Stop and rub elbows with witches galore in nearby Boscastle before heading further south west towards St Ives, a beautiful coastal town known for its huge swathes of artists who come for the fantastic light, ideal for painting the seascapes of the harbour and beyond.
So if you’ve been looking for the perfect walking holiday, look no further than those awesome destinations in your own backyard. Which will you choose this year?