Britain's best summer walks

Britain's best summer walks

Walking is one of life's simple pleasures, and you can't beat exploring the great British outdoors on foot (when the weather's right). It's the best way to explore the beaches, hills and parks the UK has to offer.

Whether you're into leisurely strolls with the family or a challenging hike up a hill, we've selected our favourite British summer walks.

From Mount's Bay in Cornwall to Northern Ireland's Carrick-a-Rede Island, check out the most beautiful rambles in the UK for when the sun makes an appearance. Is your favourite walk here? If not, tell us below and we'll add it!

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Britain's best summer walks
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Britain's best summer walks

Go off the beaten track in Loch Ness and explore the lesser-known south side of the iconic loch with its new 28-mile South Loch Ness Trail offering outstanding landscape, scenery and sites. The trail runs from Loch Tarff near Fort Augustus in the west to Torbreck on the outskirts of Inverness in the east, and takes in mountainside moorlands, pine forests and the stunning falls at Foyers. Best for: Regular ramblers looking for something new.

Want to see Wales' wild flowers and wonderful coastline? The Wales Coast Path is excellent for a walk during summer, when you can see the bright hues of wild flowers along the cliff tops on the spectacular coastal trail. Look out for Welsh poppies, betony, toadflax and red and white campions. Best for: Garden lovers who appreciate a good view.

Walk the Bar Walls of York and you’ll come across a portcullis, battlements and even a fort. The walls stretch for two miles and are the longest and most complete town defences of their kind in England, despite coming under attack from Vikings and Normans. There are plenty of peaceful spots along the way, such as the York Museum Botanic Gardens, which surround the 200AD Multangular Tower, and York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral outside of Rome, with heroic columns and intricate stained glass windows. Best for: Brilliant ruins.

This 3,000-acre park in Nottinghamshire is great for a lazy Sunday outdoors and offers a number of picturesque woodland and countryside walks for when you do fancy a leisurely stroll. The lakeside walk is three-miles around the lake, with sweeping views of the park. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Walled Kitchen Garden, walk around the Pleasure Gardens or relax with a picnic at Clumber Park. Best for: A relaxing day out with leisurely walks thrown in!

One of the most unspoilt and stunning stretches of sand in the country, Holkham Beach is delightful in the summer, with its four miles of golden sands, grassy dunes and maze of creeks. Behind the shoreline lies a basin which rapidly fills at very high tides and forms a spectacular shallow lagoon. Dogs on leads are welcome at the beach and horse riding is permitted too. Best for: Animal loving families.

In the south of Snowdonia National Park, you'll find one of the best trails in Britain, perfect for cyclists as well as walkers. The Mawddach Trail follows the beautiful Mawddach Estuary, giving you the chance to experience some of Snowdonia’s splendour, striking scenery and beautiful wildlife. The trail stretches for nine miles between Dolgellau and Barmouth and can be joined at several points, including Morfa Mawddach and Penmaenpool. Best for: Exploring by bike and on foot.

Follow in giants’ footsteps along Mount’s Bay in Cornwall, where you can enjoy an easy walk from Penzance along surfaced paths suitable for pushchair and mobility aids, as well as great views across the bay and out towards the Lizard and Mousehole. At low tide, take a ten-minute stroll across the causeway from Marazion to St Michael’s Mount, which according to legend was home to a giant who was lured to his death by a brave local boy. Children will love hunting for the giant's stone heart etched in the pathway. Best for: Fun with the kids.

While wet and muddy are two things people generally associate with Wales, in Waterfall Country, you'll find magic too, where the Rivers Mellte, Hepste and Nedd Fechan cascade down steep-sided, tree-lined gorges in the Vale of Neath. At the Waterfalls Centre at Pontneddfechan, you can discover the science behind the geology and the many trails to explore. There are short and easy strolls to Sgwd Gwladus (The Lady Falls) and the spectacular 80ft Melincourt Waterfall, or the steep and slippery five and a half-mile Four Falls Trail and the thunderous Sgwd yr Eira (Fall of Snow). When you've seen the best Waterfall Country has to offer, stop for Penderyn Whisky. Best for: Those who like getting their hiking boots wet!

Catch crabs on the embankment, join in the annual Crab Festival or take a walk from Little Dartmouth to Dartmouth Castle on a characterful walk with lovely views from the cliffs, the castle and the beautiful River Dart. There are regular shore walks led by marine biologists in the area too. Best for: Seafood lovers.

Perfect for families, Tintagel has a choice of short circular walks to bring the legendary birthplace of King Arthur to life in the imaginations of children and adults. Here, you can explore the ruins of the 13th-century castle and at low tide, venture into Merlin’s Cave where, if you look closely, you may be able to find a hidden seam where smugglers used to hide! The Battle of Camlann, Arthur's last battle, is re-enacted every year in August and is great fun to watch. The magical five-mile route, suitable for older children, takes in the castle, Tintagel Church and the cove of Trebarwith Strand. Best for: Myths and legends.

The UK’s only wildflower farm is open to the public for days out and is a delight in the summer, with miles of woodland and meadow walks to enjoy. Naturescape is just 20 minutes from Nottingham but feels a world away. Here you can pay a visit to the dragonfly pond or just admire the fields of wildflowers as they bloom for the summer. The site attracts a wide array of wildlife and best of all, entry is free! There is a tea room and playground on site or you can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the grounds. Best for: Seeing gorgeous wildflowers in bloom.

For the ultimate day out, the Brecon Beacons has something to offer everyone, with many walking routes and trails. The tranquil canals and rivers provide peaceful routes, while the rugged peaks of the Black Mountains will challenge even the most seasoned explorer. One of the best long distance routes is Beacons Way, a 95-mile stretch that offers some of the park's best views, including the imposing castle at Carreg Cennen. Walking the entire trail takes around eight days, so it may be wise to split it up into several legs. There are plenty of other perfect walking routes, like following the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal. Best for: Stunning views.

Looking for a fun day out with the kids? The Kimmeridge Ledges provide some of the best rockpooling along the Jurassic Coast at low tide - perfect for little ones, and older children will enjoy the circular walk around Kimmeridge Bay, which runs along a chalk ridge with great views over the coast and countryside. The route continues past Clavell’s Tower, built in 1830 as an observatory and folly, before leading you to the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve in the bay and the picturesque thatched village of Kimmeridge. Best for: An epic family day out.

Beautiful Carrick-a-Rede Island in County Antrim is famous for its rope bridge, which connects the mainland and the island. Until recently, it was an active salmon fishery but it now attracts visitors looking to experience its exhilarating coastal path and rope bridge from the cliffs to the rocky island, with breathtaking views of Rathlin and the Scottish Isles. Summer is the most delightful time to visit when the grassy slopes before the island are awash with colour. Best for: A fun, short walk for all.

Ever wanted to tackle one of the Lake District's fells? Try the Old Man of Coniston - it’s not the tallest, though it does seem pretty high. As you’d expect, the journey is mostly uphill but once you see the glorious views at the Old Man’s peak, you'll know it was all worthwhile. Have a rest at Goat’s Water and Dow Crag, and then carry on to the top for panoramic views across Coniston Water. Best for: Serious hill walkers.

There’s no better way to explore the hilly terrain of the Peak District than on foot. A place cherished by poets and hikers, the Peak District is simply spectacular and inspiring. Start at Dovedale, hopping back and forth on the much-loved stepping stones that cross the River Dove. After some fun on the river, soak up the views of the sweeping dales and the sleepy stone-walled cottages as you slowly make your way to the tranquil village of Milldale six miles away. Best for: A romantic ramble.

Is there any city more beautiful than London in the summer? When the sun is out, you can't beat a walk around Borough and Bankside. Southwark is one of the oldest settlements in the UK, so as you’d expect it’s crawling with history. Start with a pint at the George Inn, where Chaucer’s age-old Canterbury Tales are said to have begun. Next, pass London’s oldest cathedral Southwark Cathedral, and take the steps down to the cobbled back streets home to the Clink Prison, the 11th-century ruins of Winchester Palace and a colourful replica of the Golden Hinde. For architectural masterpieces head for Bankside to marvel at the Shakespeare’s Globe, the Tate Modern and views of the iconic dome of St Paul's. Best for: City slickers.

There are two walks around Carreg Cennen, one of Carmarthenshire’s most famous castles, which take in the countryside surrounding the imposing castle on top of a limestone crag. The Yellow castle walk is around two miles long and takes you from the castle down into the valley below and the woods, before following the river and returning along wooded paths. The Red trail is around five miles long and is more challenging, taking you from the castle down through the woods and into the valley, where you cross the river and head up the valley side onto the Black Mountain. Best for: Checking out a beautiful castle.

Hike across rolling chalk downs and back in time to an age of myth and legend on a trek to the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire. The area all around Uffington is dotted with an Iron Age hillfort, ancient burial mounds, Roman roads and apparently the hilltop where St George slew the dragon. The most famous landmark is the 3,000-year-old Uffington White Horse, which leaps across the head of a valley. Best for: A memorable hike to an ancient site.

This fabulous walk combines two uniquely beautiful county areas: the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend. The 28 miles of coastal scenery (dramatic cliffs, golden sandy beaches, seaside towns and ancient castles) stretches from Porthcawl to Penarth - essentially Swansea to Cardiff. The best sandy spots along the route are Barry Island and Porthcawl, which happens to be home to some of the UK's top surfing. Don't miss one of the most fascinating landscapes in the UK, the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes. You can enjoy the sun by lounging on a dune or take a sledge to the Big Dipper, the biggest sand dune in Europe! Best for: Adventurers.

This fantastic walk stretches from Haytor in the middle of Dartmoor to the wonderful seaside town of Teignmouth, with some parts only accessible at low tide. Templer Way is 18 miles in length and covers a wide range of scenery, from open moorland to historical tracks. It is split into six sections and the route dates back to the late 18th century. Best for: A scenic and historic walk.

Beginning in the picturesque seaside village of Boscastle, this lovely walk explores the cliffs above Boscastle’s medieval harbour before heading inland across the Valency Valley and through peaceful woodland, alongside the meandering Valency River. Best for: Varied landscapes.
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