06 Oct 7 Best Hiking Destinations in England
This is a guest post by Emma Higgins from one of our favorite travel blogs, Gotta Keep Movin’. She has been up to some amazing adventures recently, and we are excited to have her share some of her favorite hiking spots in England with you!
With endless rolling hills and verdant greenery, England is packed with prime hiking spots. While putting together my print guidebook, A Year in the UK and Ireland, I’ve had the chance to walk in countless different places around the country, and each of them are special in their own unique way. Here are the best hiking destinations in England.
1. The Lake District
An old classic. The Lake District in north England is one of the best places in the UK for hiking, and more or less every other outdoor activity you can think of. This National Park’s undulating mountains and vast bodies of water (the largest in England) are prime locations for adventure.
Top spots for a walk include the area next to Keswick – where you can scramble up the peaks of Skiddaw or Blencathra and look out over Derwentwater – around Coniston, or along the Langdale Pikes. That said, every inch of the Lake District is worth hiking across, so you can’t go wrong.
2. The North Norfolk Coast
With an official coast path that runs along its entirety, the north Norfolk coast in east England is the perfect place for people that love to walk by the ocean. This area is particularly suitable for those who aren’t keen on trekking up hills – it’s one of the flattest places in Britain.
That’s not to say it’s any less beautiful, though. Miles of unspoilt shores dotted with pretty English towns and villages, and marsh land filled with wildlife await the Norfolk coast explorer, and it’s drastically less crowded than other hiking destinations in England.
3. Exmoor National Park
Exmoor National Park is down on the coast of Devon, a county in the far south of England. So many parts of this area are well worth hiking across, but one of my personal favourites is around the Valley of the Rocks. Walks here can take you through forests, over hills, and by the coast – make sure you go around the giant peaks of rock for sweeping views of the cliffs and ocean.
Exmoor is also a dark sky reserve, which means that the night sky is protected and it is one of the best places in Britain for stargazing.
Sat neatly up again the border of central Wales, Shropshire is a bit of a blind spot for hikers in England. The locals love bounding across the hills here, but few people visit compared to other popular places in the country.
Take a hike along parts of The Shropshire Way, a 139-mile route through the county, to visit some of its highlights. The pretty towns and villages of Ludlow, Bridgnorth, and Shrewsbury offers ideal rest stops, and are filled with some of the most well-preserved medieval buildings in the country.
5. The Peak District
In 1951, the Peak District was named England’s first national park, and people have been roaming its hills ever since. Much like the Lake District, every part of the Peak District is worth taking a walk over – you’re really spoilt for choice here.
For breath-taking views, trek up Mam Tor (‘mother hill’) and enjoy 360° panoramas of the mountains and valleys around you. The well-paved route across the top of this hill allows you to see section of the park from many different angles.
This is an area close to my heart, as my family have lived in the area for generations. Many people head Wiltshire to visit Stonehenge, one of our nation’s famous landmarks, but don’t bother to look around more than that – big mistake!
The best hikes in Wiltshire are around any of its eight white horses. These giant pictures of horses carved into the hills date back as far as the 18th century, and most are made of chalk. The horses are a beloved part of Wiltshire’s landscape, and many walks around the county offer perfect views of them.
7. Dartmoor National Park
Often referred to as one of Britain’s wildest national park, Dartmoor is the kind of place where visitors just roam around free of footpaths and walking routes. This park has been the inspiration for a number of novels, most notable The Hound of the Baskervilles and a couple of Agatha Christie books. Its bleak (but beautiful) scenery has inspired horror, mystery, and gothic writers for centuries.
Dartmoor’s vast spaces off ample opportunity for walks, but the best include hiking around Fingle Gorge, or around Haytor, which offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape.
About the Guest Author:
Emma Higgins is a travel writer from the UK with a penchant for the great outdoors, indie magazines, and strong coffee. She’s currently putting together a print long-form journal called A Year in the UK & Ireland, travelling around the two countries picking up stories along the way. Follow her journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.