Martin Dunford suggests some of our favourite hotels and B&Bs for walkers to celebrate National Walking Month.
A stylish yet unstuffy, properly family friendly hotel on the shores of Ullswater– the sort of place that has muddy wellies by the door, a great pool and kayaking from their own jetty. Perfect for walks in the less-visited northern Lakes and Eden Valley. It's got a great restaurant too.
This beautiful boutique B&B, situated on the edge of the Peak District in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, looking down onto the Ecclesbourne Valley, has been in the same family since the 1980s. What's more the great (and relatively undisoverered, by Peaks standards) walks you can do nearby are bookended by fabulous breakfasts to set you up and a hot tub and sauna for when you return.
A proper pub, with a roaring fire, great food, a warm welcome for dogs – and a great location close to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. The friendly folk at the pub have lots of their own recommendations, plentiful maps and guidebooks, plus a hotline to a top-notch local guide who can take out small groups.
This small boutique hotel is the ideal place from which to explore nearby Dolgellau and Snowdonia, with brilliant owners who can recommend all sorts of outdoor activities and have a space for storing walking boots and other equipment, plus a drying room and even an outdoor hot tub for soothing your aching limbs.
This ultra-welcoming western Highlands B&B boasts the sort of stunning views that are bound to tempt you out, and its owners Peter and Tina are local folk who know the surrounding mountains well. They have tons of advice on the best walks, and will even pick you up (or drop you off) at points on the big long-distance footpaths that pass nearby – for example the Great Glen Way or West Highland Way.
This fantastic 18th-century water mill, restored as a unique boutique B&B, would be a great place to stay wherever it was located. But the fact is it's in one of the most picturesque parts of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with any number of walks on your doorstep. Walk along the river to the iconic Aysgarth Falls, or to any number of picturesque towns and villages, taking in a pub or two along the way.
One for lazy walkers, this – the lovely Suffolk Coast Path passes right by this fab shoreside bolthole, and you can follow it south, by way of the Suffolk Coast's famous foot ferries, taking in the delights of the Walberswick, Dunwich, the RSPB reserve at Minsmere and beyond. One of Britain's best coastal paths – accessed from what is without question one of its best coastal restaurants with rooms.
Owned by the Makepeace family for 3 generations, this dog-friendly hotel right on the South West Coast Path is a no-brainer for walkers. And the good news is it's a lovely place to come back to – super-friendly, with an indoor heated, spring-fed swimming pool, a spa and gym, and , most importantly, a really good restaurant.
Bang on the South West Coast Path, this beautiful boutique hotel is the perfect place for a spot of walking mixed with a lot of relaxation. If you don't want to go far, you can walk to Polperro and Looe in a couple of hours – and have one of the best restaurants in the Southwest waiting for you when you return. Plus, it's dog-friendly!
If the Norfolk Coast Path at the end of the garden of this renowned Norfolk gastropub doesn't inspire you put on your walking boots, then the views over the marshes will. It's dog-friendly too, and has a series of garden rooms with wooden-floored entrance halls that are ideal for dog beds and muddy boots. Plus it serves some of the best locally caught fish and seafood you'll find.