Best short walks for children

Lorna Cowan / 11 August 2016

Wondering where to take children or grandchildren for a walk? Here are some suggestions of great short walks, perfect for little legs.



Fairy Glen, the Isle of Skye, for a magical walk

Do you believe in fairies? You may do after a walk around Fairy Glen (sometimes spelt Faerie) in Balnaknock, near Uig on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. 

Once you find the glen – many locals want to keep it a secret – you can follow a one-mile path, but the track is quite faint, so just spend time wandering around the enchanting glen, enjoying the magical surroundings and listening out for fairy whispers. 

On a clear day you’ll spy a waterfall in the distance and a rocky peak, known as Castle Ewen. Young family members will be left spellbound.

Best for: lovers of fairy tales.
Also good for: bird twitchers – grey wagtails, dippers and buzzards have all been spotted in the glen.
For more details: Walk Highlands

The Donkey Sanctuary, Devon, for a walk among animals

Situated near Sidmouth in south Devon, The Donkey Sanctuary cares for around 500 donkeys and mules, and is a great place to enjoy a stroll with your family. 

There are eight walking trails to choose from – most taking 45 minutes to complete – and each has a donkey-sighting rating. Walk past the donkey hospital, spend time in the maze – you can even stop for a donkey hug in the main yard. 

All the donkeys display their names on colour-coded collars (telling you if it’s a boy, girl, blind and on a special diet). Blueberry Pie is a cutie.

Best for: children who crave cuddles.
Also good for: families on a budget – entry is free, and the Sanctuary at Sidmouth is open 365 days a year.
For more details: The Donkey Sanctuary

Find out about the best places to see wildlife in the UK

Box Hill stepping stones

Box Hill stepping stones

Box Hill, Surrey, for a river walk

This two-mile dog-friendly walk from Box Hill, the summit of the North Downs in Surrey, takes you through yew woods down to the river Mole. Young clever clogs can practise their counting on the descent – there are 275 steps down to the water. Take care, though, as they can sometimes be slippery. 

There are 17 stepping stones, mostly wide and solid, that span the river and are easy to cross when the weather is fine. When it’s wet, or if you get giddy, a footbridge will take everyone safely to the other side.

Best for: confident counters.
Also good for: kids who are nuts about nature – there is also an easy two-mile Natural Play Trail at Box Hill.
For more details: The National Trust

Southwold, Suffolk, for a walk along a pier

A day at the British seaside wouldn’t be complete without a walk along a pier, and the one at Southwold, a charming seaside town on the Suffolk coast, will appeal to adults and children alike. 

Stretching 185 metres into the North Sea, the pier has recently been transformed and there’s entertainment aplenty, including the wacky Under the Pier Show and an amusing, if a little rude, water clock. 

If time allows, meander along the promenade to the harbour, or visit the lighthouse – young TV fans may recognise it from CBeebies’ Grandpa in my Pocket.

Best for: those who do like to be beside the seaside.
Also good for: thirsty grandparents – Adnams, a brewer of award-winning beer, is based in the town.
For more details: Southwold Pier

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The Helix, Falkirk

The Kelpies at The Helix, Falkirk, Photograph Sue Burton Photography Ltd / Shutterstock.com

The Helix, Falkirk, for a park walk

The Helix park, a huge recreational green space in Falkirk, 20 miles from Glasgow and 26 miles from Edinburgh, is ideal for a walk with children. 

Pathways alongside canals take you to The Kelpies, two 30-metre high stainless steel horse-head sculptures – pack your camera as they are an impressive sight. Children will also love the splash play area and adventure play zone, and there’s even a lagoon where you can hire pedalos or kayaks. 

Prefer pedal power? Then get on your bike -The Helix is connected to over 300 miles of cycleways.

Best for: active adventurers.
Also good for: little engineers – a four-mile walk takes you to the fascinating Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift.
For more details: The Helix

York, North Yorkshire, for a city wall walk

The whole family can pretend to be knights of old on a wander along York’s medieval walls, which stretch just over two miles around the city and encircle an area that could fit 130 football pitches. 

Walking the full circuit takes around two hours – see how many of the 45 towers you can spot around the wall, and look out for gun ports and the portcullis at Monk Bar, too. If you only have time to walk one section, the North Corner passes the impressive York Minster. 

Be aware that some sections have no railings at one side.

Best for: imaginative time travellers.
Also good for: masters of mazes – seven miles out of the city you’ll find a maze made from over one million maize plants.
For more details: Visit York

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