We love getting out and about on foot, and the UK is home to some of the most wonderful and scenic hiking locations and landscapes in the world. From the Norfolk Broads and the Scottish Isles to Galway and the Welsh Borders, we've picked out a series of the best walks that put you at the heart of the United Kingdom's famous, sprawling countryside, and pointed you towards some top accommodation options for walkers, too. As well as glorious natural beauty, many of these routes have a firm basis in history, following in the footsteps of the farmers, traders and villagers who trod the same paths centuries ago. Each is also designed to be finished in a day, making them both convenient and accessible to keen walkers, and those who might not be able to manage longer distances.
Though perhaps better known as a boater's paradise, the Norfolk Broads National Park is the ideal location for anyone with a passion for hiking and the great outdoors, with more than 190 miles of roads, trails and footpaths, from short scenic routes to long winding tracks, making it a perfect if surprising place to enjoy a walking holiday. Long-distance footpaths crisscross the region – for example, the Wherrymans Way which follows the River Yare from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. Aside from the tranquility of the landscape, it's well-known for its rich diversity of wildlife, including kingfishers and dragonflies around the water at Bramerton, otters at Surlingham, and a range of visiting birds across the seasons. For the best places to stay in the area, check out our Norfolk Broads guide.
At virtually the opposite end of the country, the famous red sandstone sea stack of the Old Man of Hoy makes a perfect destination for a one-day hike, accessible by way of a popular three-hour round route that takes you along some of the highest sea cliffs in Britain. Starting at Rackwick, the signposted 'Old Man path' follows the cliffs of Hoy and makes a steady climb to the coast, where you'll catch your first glimpse of said Old Man. Continuing along the cliffs beyond this point, the route becomes more challenging and rugged – great for more experienced hikers. Looking for somewhere to lay your head for the night? Browse our Scottish Isles accommodation guide.
In Northern Ireland's Galway, the Famine Walk is an easy yet stunning 10-kilometre hike along the edge of Ireland’s only fjord, boasting stunning views that can only be discovered on foot. Taking in the lakes and mountains in Connemara and Killary Fjord, it's a dramatic and powerful walk, and offers the chance to see a wide range of birds around the fjord, plus dolphins, seals and otters in the water. Named after the famine relief path the route follows, it's a circular walk that takes you between Killary Fjord and Mweelrea Mountain before arriving at the peasant refuge of Killary Harbour – a four–six-hour journey, depending on how many stops you make.
Finally, the 1000-foot-high Kerry Ridgeway is one of the oldest routes in Wales, created by farmers driving their livestock into England in the 19th century. Since then, it's become an exceptional route for anyone with a passion for nature, whether walking, horse-riding or cycling – with clear-day views that can reach over 70 miles, including the Brecon Beacons on one side and the hills of Shropshire on the other. The path covers 15 miles and is a mixture of heaths, moors and woodland – perfect for a satisfying day's hike!
For more information on places to stay around the UK, we have a range of useful guides, from Cornwall and the Lake District to cottages with hot tubs and dog-friendly B&Bs. And for more inspiration, check out our blog.