Every track or trail seems linked to a legend, so if it’s a rich experience you’re after here’s our countdown of the 10 best walks and cycling routes in the UK and neighbouring Ireland you should consider for your next active holiday.
Scotland's West Highland Way, one of the best UK walks
West Highland Way
Follow the 155km trail linking the lowlands with the highlands and experience the magic of the Scottish wilderness. Lochs, moorlands, mountains and Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, all combine to provide the UK’s most exciting long distance trail.
Coast to Coast Walk - traverse England and 3 national parks
Coast to Coast Walk (Wainright's Walk)
Hike the breadth of northern England on the walk made famous by Alfred Wainright’s pictorial guides. You’ll walk through three national parks (The Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors) as you move from inn to inn from St Bees on the Irish Coast towards Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea Coast.
Cornish Coastal Walk
Thanks to the South West Coastal Path it’s possible to walk the entire coastline of Cornwall, which is without doubt the most spectacular coastline in England. Hidden harbours, dramatic cliffs, expansive beaches and traditional villages oozing with character – we’ve broken down the route into small stages so you can experience it all.
Explore sleepy villages in the Cotswolds by bike
If ever there were a place that screamed ‘quintessential England’ the Cotswolds would be it. Quaint stone villages such as Bibury have been described as the most beautiful in all of England. Then there are the rolling hills, village pubs and old coaching inns, wooded valleys and historical Roman roads. Doesn’t it just sound like a delightful place to ride your bike?
Hikers walking down to Coumeenoole Bay, Dingle
Dingle Peninsula Walk
The history and legends of the Dingle Peninsula easily rival the sensational windswept coastal scenes for entertainment during a walk here. Having supported various tribes and populations for at least 6,000 years, no other landscape in Western Europe has the same density and variety of archaeological monuments.
The beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside offers delightful walking
The Dales Way
Walk through classic English countryside and stay in charming hamlets on this delightful walk through the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks. For pure beauty and spectacular scenery this is the one walk you must consider if your time is short. Over 8 days, wander through idyllic Yorkshire scenes of green valleys criss-crossed by dry stone walls and dotted with old farmhouses and stone barns.
Castle Urquhart, on the north shore of Loch Ness
The Great Glen Way
Hike right through the very heart of Scotland on this exciting 117km long-distance walking trail. Skirt Ben Nevis, UK’s highest peak, walk the shores of Loch Ness and gaze at forts, castles and other relics of Scotland’s turbulent past as you follow this jaw dropping route at your own pace from Fort William to the highland capital of Inverness.
Looking down on Glendalough along the Wicklow Way
The Wicklow Way
Be amazed by the patchwork of Irish landscapes between County Dublin and the famous monastic settlement at Glendalough when you tackle the Wicklow Way. Considered the greenest part of the Emerald Isle, the Wicklow Way follows unspoilt mountain trails that stitch the region's remote mountains, glacial valleys, rolling hills and thick forests seamlessly together.
Explore Scotland's Inner Hebrides by bike
Scotland by Bike & Boat
For a truly remote and tranquil experience in the UK, you can't go past a bike and boat tour of the Inner Hebrides. Enjoy a magical ride spilling views from every corner when you cycle the hills on the island of Mull before heading back to the mainland to cycle past Ben Nevis and onto the famous Scottish highlands.
Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight Coastal Walk
Circumnavigating the Isle of Wight on foot following the 107km Coastal Footpath is without a doubt one of the best UK walks you can commit to. Diverting from the coast at times, the trail will take you past, well – nearly everything! – including Queen Victoria’s holiday home, a fortress, quaint seaside towns as well as iconic landmarks such as the white cliffs and sea-stacks around The Needles. Out of high season you’ll almost have the trail to yourself.