UK walking holidays that celebrate the great outdoors

Head towards the wilderness on one of these picturesque UK walking holidays

woman walking on Snowdon
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to UK walking holidays. From far north in the Scottish highlands—Europe's great wilderness—to the majestic Brecon Beacons, to Cornwall's stunning peninsulas, landscapes are varied, but always breathtaking. This guide to the best UK walking holidays will tell you what to expect in terms of trek time, plus what makes each one of these active breaks so special.

What better way to take in the UK’s stunning scenery than via a walking weekender or even a week-long rambler's holiday? Whether it's long hikes, big climbs, or Nordic Walking you prefer, there's no doubt time spent in nature is good for both body and soul. A slower pace gives us the chance to immerse ourselves in what’s around us (our guide to forest bathing will give you some more tips on how to switch off), stop at areas of interest, and enjoy the fresh air—all while, of course, getting a good dose of exercise in some of the most attractive parts of the UK.

And if you're planning a walking trip, you may want to check out our guides on the best walking and hiking boots for women and waterproof hiking boots for women.

1. Pony trekking across Cumbria 

pony treking in Howgill Fells, Cumbria

(Image credit: Graham Wynne)

Where: Howgill Fells, Cumbria

How long? 1-4 nights 

Difficulty level: Intermediate

Best for: Solo travelers 

What's involved? A scenic trekking holiday to the hidden corners of the Lake District, walking alongside wild ponies makes for perhaps the most idyllic walking weekend we've heard of! Traveling as part of a small group, you'll hike up to eight miles a day before setting up camp for the night in various locations across the Lake District, sleeping under the stars. Explore iconic fells and serene lakeside views, in one of the UK's most treasured areas of natural beauty. 

Why we love it: You’ll be able to learn all about these native, rare fell ponies from expert Tom Lloyd and his team, while trekking through spectacular scenery, discovering the iconic fells, which offer breathtaking views of Cumbria. Evenings are spent cooking and eating around a campfire, so it's a great chance to get to know like-minded ramblers, too. 

Average daily distance: Up to 8 miles

How much? A four-day break starts from $1,004/£740pp based on a group of 4-6 people, including all meals and equipment.

How to get there: Take a train to Kendal, then a taxi to basecamp

More information: Natural Britian (opens in new tab)

2. A walking whisky tour of Scotland

The Speyside Way, Scotland

(Image credit: Visit Scotland)

Where: The Speyside Way, Scotland (otherwise known as The Whiskey Tour)

How long? 5-9 nights

Difficulty level: Easy

Best for: Whisky lovers 

What's involved: Journeying to the Speyside Whisky region, you’ll follow the banks of the River Spey, pass through open moorland, and pause at some of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries ahead of your arrival in the mountains—enjoying a dram or two along the way, of course! After a day's hiking—and whisky sampling—settle down into one of the cozy b&bs along the route. 

Why we love it: Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, and The Macallan—they're all big names in the whisky world. And they originated right here. The Speyside Way is one of Scotland’s lesser-known trails, and winds from the Cairngorms Plateau to the sea, along the banks of the River Spey—Scotland’s whisky river (the river is vital for whiskey production in the area). This year is also the 40th anniversary of the trail—a great excuse for a celebratory whisky or two during this rambler's retreat. 

Average daily distance: 6-15 miles

How much? This seven-night trip starts from $837/£605pp, including accommodation on a B&B basis, luggage transfers, and route notes. 

More info: Hillwalk Tours (opens in new tab)

Want to extend your trip? Look at our guide to the best lodges with hot tubs for an unforgettable experience. You could also check out our guide to the most scenic Scottish road trips.

3. Hadrian's Wall walking tour

Hadrian’s Wall, Tyne and Wear/Cumbria

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where: Hadrian’s Wall, Tyne and Wear/Cumbria

How long? 6 nights

Difficulty level: Intermediate

Best for: History enthusiasts 

What's involved: This self-guided moderate tour will see walkers explore one of Britain’s most significant archaeological treasures, getting an intimate look at some of the most well-preserved areas of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll start from the banks of the River Tyne, cross the windswept and rugged moors of Northumbria, and end up in the rolling landscapes of Cumbria.

Why we love it: It doesn’t get more historic than Hadrian’s Wall, which dates back to the early centuries AD. Not only is this walking holiday a must for history buffs, but there are plenty of spots along the way to take in some stunning local wildlife. 

Average daily distance: 9-15 miles 

How much? A six-night Hadrian’s Wall Walking Tour costs from $758/£549pp and includes B&B accommodation, maps and photo route information, luggage transportation, and a local contact number for assistance. Transfers and local bus fares are extra.

More information: Freedom Treks (opens in new tab)

4. Hiking Mourne Mountains and Causeway Coast

Mourne Mountains and Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where: Mourne Mountains and Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

How long? 7 nights

Difficulty level: Intermediate 

Best for: Fans of mountain hiking

What's involved? On this epic hiking tour, you'll start in atmospheric Belfast and journey out to the Irish countryside, exploring the rugged peaks and lush valleys the country is synonymous with. There are plenty of highlights on this trip, but one must be the iconic Giant’s Causeway, which you’ll encounter along the Causeway Coast after exploring hidden coves and crumbling fortresses. 

Why we love it: The Mournes are home to some of the world's most beautiful scenery—think picturesque parks, mirror-like lakes, and incredible views. You’ll find pathways and trails crisscrossing the landscapes that were once used by 18th-century smugglers—not to mention a hefty dose of Irish hospitality along the way. 

Average daily distance: 4-10 miles

How much? An eight-day guided trip starts from $3,900/£2,825pp, including private car, sightseeing tours, and accommodation.

More info: Pettitts Travel (opens in new tab)

If you're planning a trip to Ireland, you might also want to check out our guide to the best Ireland trips.

5. Trekking The Lizard Peninsula

The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where: The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

How long? 6 nights

Difficulty level: Intermediate

Best for: Those who love coastal views

What's involved? Starting from Helston, near Penzance, this route takes you around the southernmost tip of England, winding through picturesque fishing villages and along cliff paths, staying in pretty Cornish B&Bs along the way. 

Why we love it: Highlights include Lizard Village, the most southerly point of the British mainland, with its famous lighthouse; the sheltered coves and unusual rock formations of Kynance Cove; Housel Bay beach, and the pretty seaside village of Mullion. 

Average daily distance: 6-9 miles

How much? A six-night break—which can be extended to up to 12 nights—on a B&B basis, including luggage transfers and some taxi transfers, starts from $924/£669pp (lunch, dinner, and entrance into attractions not included).

More info: UK Walking Breaks (opens in new tab)

6. Hiking The Highlands

The Highlands, Scotland

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where: The Highlands, Scotland

How long? 7 nights

Difficulty level: Intermediate-difficult

Best for: Those who want to immerse themselves in Scottish culture

What's involved: Joined by an expert guide, you'll journey through the Scottish Highlands, enjoying excursions along the way. Your tour includes entrance to Highland Museum and a storytelling experience to name just a few highlights, as well as transport via a private vehicle between destinations. As well as B&B accommodation, this tour also includes lunch on days 2-8.

Why we love it: The HIghlands is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. This exploration of the Highlands takes in some lesser-known trails as well as more classic walks, including the Cairngorms, Glencoe (location for films such as Skyfall and Harry Potter), and Loch Leven (part of Braveheart was shot here). Those who fancy the challenge can finish off with a climb to the summit of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s tallest peak. 

Average daily distance: 3-7 miles

How much? An eight-day guided trip starts from $3,668/£2,654pp, including accommodation on a B&B basis, lunch on days 2-8, an experienced walking guide, all transfers in a private vehicle, and all activities as detailed in the itinerary.

More info: Gane and Marshall (opens in new tab)

7. A walking tour of the Thames Path

The Thames Path, Oxford to Marlow

(Image credit: Inn Travel)

Where: The Thames Path, Oxford to Marlow

How long? 6 nights

Difficulty level: Easy

Best for: Hiking beginners

What's involved: Starting with a tour of Oxford and its dreaming spires, before following the Thames to Wallingford, picturesque Sonning and regatta town Henley-on-Thames, you'll encounter winding riverside paths, water meadows, and pretty villages aplenty. Not only does the tour include 6 night's accommodation in charming B&Bs, but also three meals in some of the trail's most popular restaurants. 

Why we love it: You’ll also encounter the Beetle and Wedge Boathouse, a restaurant famed for its setting on a stretch of the river featured in The Wind in the Willows, and National Trust-owned Pangbourne Meadow—which is perfect for a picnic. This corner of England is certainly one of the most beautiful places for a UK staycation

Average daily distance: 4-10 miles

How much? From $1,237/£895pp, including 6 nights B&B, three dinners, luggage transfers, and route notes and maps

More info: Inn Travel (opens in new tab)

8. Touring the Cumbrian way in the Lake District

The Lake District, Cumbria

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where: The Cumbrian Way, The Lake District, Cumbria

How long? 5 nights

Best for: Experienced hikers

Difficulty level: Intermediate 

What's involved: This self-guided tour cuts through the heart of the Lake District, this tour follows the southern section of the Cumbrian Way, one of Britain’s best-loved long-distance walking routes. Starting in Ulverston, it heads north through valleys, alongside lakes, and over scenic passes to finish in Keswick, stopping off at picturesque B&Bs along the way. This tour involves moderate walking with some long hikes and elevation gains.

Why we love it: A highlight has to be magical Coniston Water, where you can walk in the shadow of the majestic Langdale Pikes, and be elevated to 480m at picturesque Stake Pass.

Average daily distance: 8-15 miles

How much? A five-night The Lake District & Cumbrian Way Walking Tour costs from $751/£544pp, including accommodation on a B&B basis, maps and photo route information, luggage transportation, and a local contact number for assistance. Transfers and local bus fares are extra.

More info: Freedom Treks (opens in new tab)

9. Scale Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons, Wales

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

Where: The Brecon Beacons, South Wales 

How long? 4 nights

Difficulty level: Beginner-intermediate 

Best for: Hikers who like their home comforts

What's involved: You’ll be based at the country hotel Nythfa House for the duration of your stay and will have an ample selection of different walks to choose from every day in the local area, with maps and route notes to guide you. The package includes a full-board basis, meaning you can take advantage of the hotel's cozy restaurant after a long day's hiking.  

Why we love it: Nythfa House is a stunning and luxurious place to come back to each night after exploring the local area. You can set your own pace for this walking holiday. Classified from ‘laid back’ to ‘leg stretcher’ and ‘full on’, you’ll enjoy magnificent mountain landscapes, valley and lakeside paths, waterfalls and caves, and the chance to take on more challenging peaks, such as Pen-y-Fan, the highest mountain in southern Britain. 

Average daily distance: 3-11 miles 

How much? A four-night self-guided Brecon Beacons Walking Holiday costs from $449/£325pp, on a full-board basis, including maps and route notes.

More info: HF Holidays (opens in new tab)

Helena Cartwright
Travel Editor

Helena is the Travel Editor for Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own and Chat. As a journalist with 8 years’ experience, she has also worked for titles including Stylist, The Evening Standard and Heat.

She is a keen traveller who loves nothing more than exploring a new country. Her dream trip is a safari. A fierce animal lover, she dreams of seeing some of the big five out in the wild. Her wish-list also includes India – to explore her husband’s heritage more – as well as exploring more of America’s stunning national parks.