The best UK walks to take in the winter

And where to cosy up afterwards

marloes pennisula and bay in the pembrokeshire coastal national park wales
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s nothing like a good hike to clear the head and make the soul soar. Luckily for us, the British Isles are full of beautiful backdrops fit for group walks and solitary strolls. 

To help you plan the perfect hike, get your steps in and boost your spirits, we’ve compiled our pick of the best UK walks. 

 Buttermere, Lake District 

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Best UK walking spot for: Gentle trails

Distance: Approximately 4.5 miles

Owned by the National Trust, Buttermere Lake is nestled within the Lake District’s Western Fells. It’s surrounded by some of the area’s most beautiful scenery, particularly the run of fells bordering its southern edge, including Red Pike and Haystacks. 

Kick off your walk at the car park at the northern end of Buttermere, where you can circle around the lake’s walking path which is relatively gentle and flat  (thank God!). It’ll take you about three hours to complete the full loop and you’ll have a breathtaking view to look forward to when you get to Fleetwith Pike. 

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

Seven Sisters, South Downs, East Sussex 

Seven Sisters cliffs in the South Downs Sussex UK

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Best UK walking spot for: Stunning chalk cliffs

Distance: Approximately 5.5 miles

Covering 600 square miles, the South Downs National Park is the ultimate choice for walking enthusiasts - by that we mean those of you who really love it. Not only does it offer the chance to see a wide variety of native wildlife and picture-perfect villages but The Seven Sisters, a series of chalk cliffs fronting the English Channel, makes for an incredible coastal scene and excellent picture opportunity. 

Start your walk at Birling Gap car park near East Dean and follow a footpath along the coastline, past Flagstaff Point. Then head towards the Exceat Countryside Centre, passing along the forest track near Friston Pumping Station and back to Birling. If you  prefer a more secluded stroll, the Birling Gap and Crowlink further inland will definitely be worth a visit.

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire 

marloes sands beach and bay in the pembrokeshire coastal national park dyfed wales

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Best UK walking spot for: Coastal views

Distance: Approximately 4 miles

Situated on the west coast of Pembrokeshire, Marloes Peninsula offers dramatic views along the Welsh coastline and out to nearby islands. You’ll also get the chance to see not only porpoises and seals, but also birdlife, with many including puffins returning to the islands to breed each year. It’s amazing!

Start and finish at Marloes Sands car park and walk clockwise around the headland, passing the Iron Age fort, the deer park and Martin’s Haven beach along the way. As you continue along the coastal path you will enjoy breathtaking views across the bay towards Newgale, St David’s Peninsula and Ramsey Island.

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

Lynton & Valley of the Rocks, Exmoor 

Valley of the rocks coastal path. Lynton, Devon

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 Best UK walking spot for: Variety

Distance: Approximately 4.2 miles

This walk takes you into an adventurous corner of Exmoor, aptly named the Valley of Rocks, just a mile from the hilltop town of Lynton. All the jagged, spiky rocks have quirky names such as Ragged Jack and Devil’s Cheesewring, making them memorable to say the least in the contrasting landscapes of Exmoor. 

Start off in Lynton and travel along the level South West Coast Path on a stretch called North Walk, which boasts wonderful coastal views and will give you some great content for your insta stories. Make sure you allow plenty of time, not just for the pictures, but to explore the valley before returning to Lynton via an off-road path. If you prefer taking a gentler route, the water-powered funicular railway is an equally scenic route from Lynton to the quiet village of Lynmouth.

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh 

A view of Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh

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Best UK walking spot for: City views

Distance: Various distances, from 1 to 5 miles.

Scotland’s capital offers the perfect mix of city and scenery with not only a lively nightlife but a variety of walks in a range of distances and levels of difficulty. The summit of Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano, sits 251 metres above sea level and is a steep ascent, which we’ll admit isn't the easiest walk. However, it’ll all be worth it once you’re met with the mesmerizing views over Edinburgh. Alternatively, the climb up Calton Hill to the City Observatory is less strenuous but offers a similarly impressive vantage point.

Start and finish your hike at the car park of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. As well as tackling Arthur’s Seat and World Heritage Site Calton Hill, why not  wander around the well-signposted Royal Park for a few extra steps? It’s situated minutes from Edinburgh Castle. 

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire 

Sunlight across a vista of trees and winding path in Cannock Chase

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 Best UK walking spot for: Wildlife encounters

Distance: Approximately 2.5 miles

Cannock Chase Forest’s idyllic Fairoak Trail is yet another beautiful location for a hike. Formed as a giant circle, you can walk through woodland to the Fairoak Valley, with various paths that suit all skill levels and make the route perfect for a family walk. The streams and stunning Fairoak Pools along the way not only make for a gorgeous backdrop but are full of wildlife. If you’re quiet, you may even catch a glimpse of wild deer.

This walk begins and ends at the Birches Valley Forest Centre close to the small town of Rugeley. While there aren’t any gates along the route, you’ll find stepping stones through a shallow river. It’ll take you about 1.5 hours to complete the entire loop, taking in all the wonderful scenery as you go along. 

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb

 Savernake Forest, Wiltshire 

Dawn in Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, England, UK

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 Best UK walking spot for: Tree lovers

Distance: Approximately 5.9 miles

This is one for true history and nature lovers. Managed by the Forestry Commission, the ancient forest of Savernake has a rich past and is the home of one of England’s oldest trees, the Big Belly Oak, as well as thousands of other veteran trees, so get ready to recreate your own episode of Planet Earth

Start your walk at the Postern Hill car park and take the easy-to-spot path opposite the Bumble Oak into the forest. Continuing down the track, you’ll come across some ancient trees including Saddle Oaks and a White Road Oak, as well as the beech-lined Grand Avenue, a landscape design put in place by Capability Brown and celebrated as the longest tree-lined avenue in Britain. Yes, really!

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

 Hadrian’s Wall, Cumbria 

Hadrians Wall World Heritage Site at the start of the beautiful Northumberland National Park

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 Best UK walking spot for: Roman ruins

Distance: 73 miles

Forget spending a fortune on a wellness retreat, tackling the route along Hadrian’s Wall – not necessarily all on the same day – will clear your mind and make you feel at peace in no time.

A spectacular World Heritage Site, the route reaches from the North Sea to the Solway Firth across some of the wildest and most dramatic countryside in England. The views from the Birdoswald Roman Fort walk are an absolute must see. It’s dominated by remains of the Roman frontier and set by the River Irthing.

With its well-maintained paths and level terrain, the Hadrian’s Wall Path is one of the gentlest (easiest) National Trails in the UK, making it perfect for less experienced hikers. Don’t miss the views from Harrows Scar Milecastle and Wall, the longest continuous stretch of wall and Lanercost Priory.

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style, find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.

Snowdonia, Northwest Wales 

Hiker climbing Snowdon by the Pyg tack. Snowdonia National Park

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Best UK walking spot for: Wild landscapes

Distance: 3 miles

Snowdonia National Park is full of wild, sweeping landscapes, craggy hills and is home to Mount Snowdon – the highest point south of Scotland.

There are views for days and the Cwm Idwal Walk will show you some of the most dramatic scenery this mountainous area has to offer - you’ll be blown away! 

This hike will take you about three hours and guides you through the oldest National Nature Reserve in Wales, right through to the ice-sculpted Cwm Idwal hollow which is famous for both its rock formations and rare plant life. Expect the walk to be moderate in difficulty. 

Where to stay: Whatever your holiday rental style you can find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole, in the Snowdonia National Park, on Airbnb.

Symonds Yat, Herefordshire 

Rocky wall in Symonds Yat in misty morning

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Best UK walking spot for: Birds of prey

Distance: From 1.2 miles to 11 miles

A hearty two-hour walk from the picturesque village of Symonds Yat, is Symonds Yat Rock, a famous viewpoint just over 500ft above sea level, where you’ll find panoramic views over the River Wye and its surrounding area.

From Symonds Yat Rock there are marked trails to the River Wye and a choice of circular walks into the forest itself - some are harder than others so choose whichever walk you’re most comfortable doing. Discover the ancient hill fort and look out for peregrine falcons nesting in the surrounding cliffs along the way.

Where to stay: The beautiful Wye Valley is a popular tourist destination. Find yourself the perfect post-hike bolthole on Airbnb.