UK walking holidays are a delightful option for walking enthusiasts who want to challenge themselves during a two-week vacation. Walking mini-breaks are also an idea to improve all-round health and practice mindfulness during easy walks, down picturesque paths or beautiful bridleways.
Either way, by going on a gentle weekend break or two-week hike, you’re sure to build up your stamina. In fact, there are many health benefits, from improving strength & flexibility to giving you a great night’s sleep. Just know your limitations and plan ahead.
A great time for a walking holiday is in autumn when the air is crisp and the leaves crunch beneath your feet. On the other hand, you could go in early March, to welcome the first signs of spring.
Whenever you go, there are lots of UK walking holidays to choose from and destinations to visit. Here are some of our favourites.
Walking Holidays for Beginners
UK walking holidays for beginners are usually tailored to your abilities. They are shorter walks that give you time to explore an area. Walking on the flat and filling your day with interesting routes will be a breath of fresh air. Literally!
Hadrian’s Wall Path
Take a wild walk through rugged, remote countryside. Here, you will be transported back in time to Roman Britain, as you pass turrets and Roman forts. For an accessible trail, start at Chester’s Roman Fort in Chollerford and walk the 8.5 miles to the remains of Housesteads Roman Fort. Here you will come across a visitor centre and museum to take you all the way back to the times of the Roman Empire. With the fort in an elevated position to fend off raiding parties, the views are not bad either.
Coastal Walking Breaks
A walking break along the North Norfolk coast is ideal because it is quite flat. It is also full of character at every turn! Complete a self-guided circular walk of the seaside town of Sheringham with your route planner in your back pocket. On an eight-mile walk, you can explore the area’s coastline, farmland, diverse woodlands and health, while spotting local wildlife overhead.
The Isle of Wight
Choose a coastal walking holiday on the Isle of Wight with its charming, chalk cliff tops. Birdwatchers will also enjoy spotting some of their feathered friends, which live among the island’s many marshlands, mud-flats and beaches.
The Coastal Path is 67 miles long, around the island. Where ever you start and end, you will find that it is predominantly coastal and easy going. Breathing in the fresh air and soaking up the south coast sun is sure to re-invigorate you – The Isle of Wight is said to have the best weather in the UK.
Guided Walking Holidays in Scotland and Northern England
UK guided walking holidays provide you and your companions with an itinerary, route and accommodation, which you can book as a package. Some even provide transport if you require assistance, or if you want to go on a long walk in one weekend.
The West Highland Way Guided Walking Holiday
Said to be a once in a lifetime experience and always a lovely location for a walking enthusiast, the West Highland Way makes you master your mobility and improve your agility before you scale the summit of the ‘Devils Staircase’. The full walk takes five-seven days and can be very challenging in places, although there are plenty of places to stay along the way. Your journey begins at Milngavie (north of Glasgow) and starts as a pleasant, pastoral path. Along the way relish a rugged walk into Rowdardennan, where you can stay in comfortable accommodation, with views of Loch Lomond. Then you descend into the Nevis forest, where Ben Nevis will greet you at the end of the trail at Fort William.
If you decide to climb Ben Nevis during a guided walking holiday, read up on the potential hazards beforehand and wear footwear that has good ankle support, a firm sole and a secure grip.
Hiking and mountain walking (in a group), of up to 2,000m are included in activity pack 2. The sky’s your limit! Find out how you can explore with confidence, while on holiday here.
The Pennine Way National Trail
The Pennine Way is one of the most iconic National Trails in Northern England. Walk along what is said to be Britain’s backbone anywhere from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, through the Peak District to Scotland’s Borders.
The 432km route is probably a tad long for most, but there are plenty of great sections along the way. For instance, start in the small market town of Hawes and head north to Tan Hill, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. This part of the walk is 16.5-miles and is said to be a Pennine Way classic! Walk past waterfalls, through moors and stay in some of the legendary pubs along the way.
As convenient a guided walks are, nothing is stopping you from planning a self-guided walking holiday without a guide or group. Just find your own map to plot an adventure, which is suitable for you and your ompanion’s level of stamina. With suitable footwear and accommodation booked in advance, you’ll soon be ready to go.
Self-Guided Walking Holidays
The Cotswolds Way is a 103-mile path from Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire to blissful Bath. Walking sections of it will give you a chance to reflect on life in peace amongst the rolling hills and countryside. Staying at one of The Cotswolds country villages like Wotton-under-Edge will also give you the chance to admire its Georgian architecture too.
To enjoy the central section of The Cotswolds Way, give yourself a couple of weeks to meander through meadows and woodlands from Dowdeswell to Kings Stanley. This is a shorter, quieter and less demanding section to enjoy whatever the weather. For aspiring archaeologists, visit Crickley Hill.
The Peddars Way
For a walking holiday full of Victorian seaside resorts go to Norfolk and walk the Peddars Way. From Knettishall Heath to Hopton-on-Sea, visit the ancient dwelling of Breckland, as you stroll along this ancient Roman road. Altogether, The Peddars Way spans 136 miles and weaves along calm countryside, shingle laid beaches on the Norfolk coast and passes Castle Acre.
To enjoy seaside views and stays in Victorian hotels, follow the Norfolk Coastal Path from Winterton-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth to Hopton-on-sea. Then finish with a Cromer Crab Supper – a famous dish in Norfolk.
The South Downs
The South Downs Way is a marked path that runs within the new South Downs National Park. This tranquil part of the country provides an escape with views of the English Channel and the Isle of Wight in the distance. It stretches 100 miles and takes its course through protected habitats, rare chalk grasslands and primaeval woodlands. Said to be the most iconic section of the South Downs Way, you can take a 10-mile walk along the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters from Alfriston to Eastbourne. When you want to get back to civilisation find a friendly pub for a well -deserved drink.
If you enjoy visiting traditional pubs, pub to pub UK walking holidays may also take your fancy! There are many country Inns and pubs you can stay in across the UK – just book in advance. Plus, if you take out Free Spirit UK Travel Insurance, in the unlikely event that you need to cancel or cut your trip short, you will be covered with curtailment and cancellation cover.
When it comes to travel insurance, some walking holiday packages may cover the basics. However, for specialist travel insurance, pack Free Spirit UK Travel Insurance. We are one of the only insurance companies, which cover loss/damage to medical aids and prescriptions and will cover you for items that may not immediately spring to mind. Find all the key features of our policy here.