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England on foot: The best walks and hikes in the UK

From hiking across England’s rugged landscapes to tranquil canal-side strolls, exploring the country on foot can uncover a raft of striking scenery and awe-inspiring wildlife. If you’re a rambling enthusiast keen to immerse yourself in autumn colours or winter wonders, you can soak up spectacular views and enjoy walking paths that have remained unchanged for centuries, in locations where your imagination can run wild. Here we countdown a handful of England’s most interesting, historic and breathtaking hikes, for seasonal adventures to remember.

1

Explore the North's serene canals: Skipton to Saltaire

Skipton

A view along the canal in Saltaire, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Length: 26km

If you’re dreaming of stepping into Yorkshire’s industrial past, you can plan a canal-side stroll from the market town of Skipton to the World Heritage Site of Saltaire. This walk forms part of the 204km-long waterway that connects the cities of Leeds and Liverpool, originally designed to transport coal and limestone in the 1800s. The 26km-walk follows the River Aire valley, a route surrounded by the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales, and passes through picturesque villages including Bradley, Kildwick, Silsden and Keighley, home to the steepest canal lock staircase in the UK.

The village of Saltaire, this route’s endpoint, stands as a monument to Yorkshire’s industrial heritage. Purpose-built by Titus Salt between 1851 and 1872, the mills and surrounding village have been excellently preserved - great if you’re wanting to soak up England’s countryside and history.

 Looking to extend your autumnal escapade? Why not plan to spend a restful night in one of the luxurious private apartments at Vivo, next door to the mills.

2

Be blown away by the Northumberland coastline: Seahouses to Bamburgh Castle

Seahouses

Aerial view of Bamburgh Castle on the coast of Northumberland, England.

Length: 5km

Seeking a low intensity walking experience in autumn and winter? Discover the beauty of the Northumberland coast on a short stroll from Seahouses to Bamburgh Castle, one of the first attractions to hold the VisitBritain We’re Good To Go industry standard. This five-kilometre walk offers a chance to breathe in bracing sea air whilst passing sandy dunes, dramatic azure coasts and rugged rock formations, before the imposing Grade I-listed Bamburgh Castle dramatically comes into view. Spy the impressive Farne Islands from the coast too, home to frolicking grey seals and their pups in the autumn, or take a ‘sail around’ trip for a closer look at the region’s wildlife.

Hoping to spend the night overlooking the famous castle? Why not book a room at The Victoria Hotel, which reopened on 4 July 2020.

3

Discover village life on a stroll through the Cotswolds: Chipping Campden to Broadway

Chipping Campden

A view across the hills surrounding the Cotswold Way in south England.

Length: 9.6km

From wandering through picturesque villages to exploring truly stunning surroundings, the walk from Chipping Camden to Broadway, part of the Cotswold Way National Trail, is a feast for the senses. Starting in the historic market town of Chipping Camden, ramblers pass through Dover’s Hill where they can revel in panoramic views of the countryside in glorious autumn technicolour as far as the eye can see. Dover’s Hill is also the home of the historic Olympick Games, an annual tournament of quirky Olympic-style games. Walkers can then admire the views from Broadway Tower, the highest structure in the Cotswolds, which overlooks the hike’s final destination, the chocolate-box village of Broadway. For those longing to immerse themselves in the history of England’s rich Arts & Crafts movement, the village has a strong connection to designers such as Gordon Russell.

Those dreaming of an overnight stay can book into the luxurious Broadway Hotel, which offers rooms and cottages in the titular village, having reopened on 15 July 2020.

4

Climb to stunning views: Old Man of Coniston, Lake District

Old Man of Coniston

A view over Coniston Water in the Lake District, England.

Length: 12.5km

Voted one of England’s favourite walks, the Old Man of Coniston is a classic Lake District challenge, full of rugged scenery and rewarding vistas. Hikers on this circular route will pass glorious summits, abandoned mine workings and even a secluded mountain pool, perfect for a spot of wild swimming! This walk takes hikers to the summit of Wetherlam, providing breathtaking views over Coniston Water, one of the National Park’s largest lakes.

Those wanting to relax and replenish can book a plush room or suite at the Brimstone Hotel, in Ambleside, which was ready to welcome guests on 4 July 2020.

27 Jul 2020(last updated)

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  • 1

    Skipton

  • 2

    Seahouses

  • 3

    Chipping Campden

  • 4

    Old Man of Coniston

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