Whether you're a seasoned walker or a lunchtime stroller, it's difficult to deny the positive impact a good old walk can have on your mental and physical health. Britain may not boast the tallest mountains in the world, but you cannot ignore the country's beautiful scenery and countryside. From mountaintops to rugged coastlines, the UK is home to some unbelievable walking trails for all levels of experience.
Are you inspired to get your walking boots on? If so, here are the best hiking trips in the UK.
South West Coast Path; Cornwall
The stunning South West Coast Path, otherwise known as the Lizard, runs across a huge 630 miles along the spectacular coastline. Of course, this is a vast distance and most hikers complete smaller sections on their trip to break it up – only the truly brave tackle it in one go!
The dramatic coastline is beautiful any time of the year, but this walk does tend to get busy during the summer months as you'll find hidden coves and beaches for a secluded and refreshing dip. No matter what section you complete, you'll be sure to find some of the best coastal walks in the UK with unbelievable views, turquoise water, and even the chance of seeing dolphins.
The path flows from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, but feel free to join and end wherever you wish; you won't leave disappointed.
Getting to The South West Coast Path by train
Both ends of the South West Coast path can be reached by train. Minehead is a bus journey from the nearby Taunton station, which is easily connected by many popular routes. While Poole is one train stop away from Bournemouth Station, the nearest well-connected station.
The Three Peaks; Scotland, England, and Wales
Arguably the most famous hiking challenge in the UK is the Three Peaks spans each nation of mainland UK. The trail comprises Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, and Snowdon in Wales – the three highest peaks of each country. The challenge is to complete all three hikes in 24 hours, but many prefer to tackle it at their own pace on a hiking trip. The total walking distance is 23 miles (37km), and the total ascent is 3064 metres (10,052ft). This may not be for the faint-hearted, but with each climb, you're almost guaranteed to experience stunning views.
Getting to Three Peaks by train
- Ben Nevis: Fort William is the nearest train station to Ben Nevis; bus links are available to the mountain.
- Scafell Pike: You can get relatively close to Scafell Pike by train. The closest stations are Penrith or Oxenholme, from there you can switch onto other forms of transport.
- Snowdon: To get to Snowdon by train, the closest station is Bangor, where you can jump on a few buses to the mountain.
Hadrian’s Wall; Cumbria to Northumberland
Built between 122AD and 128AD, Hadrian's Wall spans 73 miles from Cumbria to Northumberland. Initially constructed by the Romans to separate them and the "Barbarian" Scottish Picts, the lengthy wall is now one of Britain's most spectacular ancient sights and a UNESCO World Heritage site. All the history, the mixed terrain, and the stunning views make the incredible 84-mile path beside it one of the best hiking trips in the UK. On your travels, you'll be sure to find settlements, forts, museums, and plenty of great places to stay.
Getting to Hadrian’s Wall Path by train
Depending on which end of the wall you're starting, Newcastle station is a 20-minute walk from the Wallsend start of the walk. Or to start the Hadrian’s Wall path in Bowness-on-Solway, the closest station is Carlisle, where you can jump on a bus.
The West Highland Way; Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands
Some hiking trips are renowned in the walking community, and the West Highland Way has earned its right to be one of the best and most popular hikes in the UK. Running from Milngavie, just north of Glasgow, to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands - you'll be amazed at the jaw-dropping landscapes along the way. From the spectacular scenes of Loch Lomond and Rannoch Moor to the grand view of Ben Nevis when you arrive at Fort William. Depending on pace, most hikers spread these 96 miles across a weeklong trip.
Getting to the West Highland Way by train
The start of the West Highland Way is in Milngavie, which is a short train journey from the well-linked Glasgow Central station. When you arrive at Milngavie Station, you'll see plenty of signs for walking directions from there.
The Coast to Coast; Cumbria to North Yorkshire
One of the more challenging but equally beautiful hikes is the Coast to Coast. The route is approximately 192 miles from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire. As the course covers such a monumental distance, you'll experience three national parks in one trip: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. Alfred Wainwright devised the route in 1973, and he even put a tab behind the bar in Whitby for all who have completed his walk. The tab may not still be going, but don't let this deter you from completing this fantastic hiking experience.
Getting to the Coast to Coast by train
There is a station at St Bees, which can be reached from Carlisle station, and regular bus links to Robin Hood Bay to the nearby Scarborough or Whitby station. However, there are many possible stations along the route if you’d like to split the walk into multiple trips.
If you’re planning a trip to one of the best hiking trips around the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.
The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best historical places in the UK, the best forests in the UK, or the best cinemas in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.
Written by Seb