Although I often deride my home country, it does have some stunning countryside and rural landscapes in Europe – especially when the weather is nice. There are 15 National Parks and 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty throughout the United Kingdom, many of which provide perfect destinations for hiking retreats.
Nature and outdoor lovers looking for top trails may look further afield, but why not try a domestic walking holiday in one of these stunning National Parks? They’re not just for relaxing rambles, but there are also adrenaline-pumping activities and impressive views to be found, and you may even save yourself a little time on Monday.
I’ve teamed up with UK walking holiday specialists Mickledore.co.uk to help you discover what some of the Britain’s National Parks have to offer and how you can enjoy a walking holiday. Here are five of our favourites.
Coast to Coast
Coast to Coast is one of the most popular long-distance walks in England. The quality and variety of the walk covers 190 miles and lures travellers from across the world. The route begins in the Lake District, takes you across three stunning National Parks and through some of the best landscapes in England. Walk through the deep-sided valleys and go along the lake shores towards remote mountain passes. This epic adventure is suitable for all fitness levels.
Snowdonia National Park tour
Located in Gwynedd and Conwy, Snowdonia National Park is dominated by the rugged peak of Snowdon – the highest mountain in Wales. Take one of the most stimulating routes in Britain and reach the summit of Snowdon to enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding region.
In addition to its challenging walk, many of Snowdonia’s trekkers and hikers love to camp in the outdoors and enjoy the magnificent views of nature on offer there. You not only climb over mountains but also go along dramatic coastline and pass through steep river gorges, wooded valleys, and picturesque villages.
Hadrian’s Wall walk
Hadrian’s Wall was constructed by, and named after, Roman emperor Hadrianus, and now helps to line a popular walking route. The purpose was to protect the northern Roman Empire and, today, the trail is immensely popular with walkers from both the UK and abroad. Along every mile of the route, you will find parts of the wall, with some sections remaining well-preserved.
Yorkshire Dales National Park picturesque tour
Yorkshire Dales National Park is an ideal option for those interested in making either short day hikes as well as those wanting a few days of camping and trekking. As you walk through the park, you will come across some expansive moorlands of rolling hills, crisscrossed with miles and miles of dry-stone walls. Along the way you’ll also come across many picturesque villages, many of which are a great resting spot whether you want a little something to eat or are planning on staying overnight.
This long-distance walk covers 102 miles and takes you through the historic battle sites, passing by beautiful stately homes and Neolithic burial barrows on a Cotswold Way journey. The route starts from Chipping Campden and ends in the historic city of Bath, home to Thermae Spa, the Roman Baths and the Jane Austen Centre. The path, along with its twists and turns, offers ever-changing views of sheep-grazed pastures and dreamy woodland.
Remote walks in Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park is situated between Northumberland and the Scottish border. Although it is one of the least visited National Parks in the country, one should not underestimate its attraction. For example, did you know that it boasts of the largest area of the protected night sky in Europe? So, stargazers round-up!
The routes throughout Northumberland National Park will take you through both rough and remote lands where you can spot wildlife such as mountain goats roaming. Explore the beautiful park and its fantastic scenery, and do not forget to take your camera with you.
West Highland Way
The long-distance footpath of the West Highland Way was the first to be established in Scotland. The route starts from Glasgow and finishes in Fort William, covering a distance of 95 miles in the process. Along the route, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views as well as a walk through Scotland’s history.
An excursion in the Lake District
Lake District National Park is another great park for trekking and is located in Cumbria. It is one of Britain’s most renowned National Parks and home to the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike. Other highlights of the walking route are hair-raising Striding Edge ridge on the infamous mountain of Helvellyn.
More than 15 million visitors visit the park every year and enjoy different walking routes that see them walking alongside numerous lakes. These bodies of water give opportunities to try out different watersports including sailing, canoeing and swimming.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Pembrokeshire Coast Path is located within Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and is one of the most popular and finest long-distance walks in Britain. What the trekkers tend to love most about the route are the stunning views across the sea and the ever-changing natural terrain.
At times, the walk can become demanding and challenging as there are some demanding ascents and descents. However, shorter sections of the route cater to those of differing age and abilities. The rich diversity of wildlife of the area attracts bird watchers and nature lovers. Spot a fantastic array of fauna and flora as well as a multitude of seabirds that can be found of cliffsides and offshore islands.
Walking tour in Dartmoor
Dartmoor National Park is located in Devon and is well famous for an eminent military history that dates back to Napoleonic Wars. The park can be easily accessed from London and is the only National Park in England where camping is permitted.
Almost half of the park comprises of moorland, which makes for an interesting experience. It is also dotted with villages, where you can enjoy cream teas and cask ales at traditional pubs and tearooms.