Your guide to the UK's best walking destinations

David Knockton / 23 June 2015

If you love country walking and exploring new places, you'll love our comprehensive list of the best walking destinations in the UK.

19. Derwentwater, Lake District

Derwentwater is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District National Park and a true Cumbrian gem. From here you can admire the stunning views across these famous fells and venture around Buttermere and Borrowdale with popular walking routes to Cat Bells, Scafell Pike and Helvellyn.

18. Coniston Water, Lake District

The 3rd largest lake in the Lake District National Park Coniston Water stretches for 5 miles with the Old Man of Coniston towering above, a hugely popular mountain for walkers. Follow the footpaths to the other Wainwright summits, such as the Langdale Pikes, or take a more leisurely stroll around Tarn Hows.

17. Airton, North Yorkshire

Whether its picture postcard villages or the solitude of the unbroken heather moorland the Yorkshire Dales Country Park offers some of the finest walking in the UK.

Home of the legendary Three Peaks, Gordale Scar and the underground waterfalls of White Scar Cave Airton is the ideal location to base yourself for a memorable 3 or 4 days, or even a full week, of walking.

16. Sedburgh, North Yorkshire

Sedbergh, England's Book town in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales National Park offers a plethora of breath-taking walking routes; Howgill Fells and The Calf, Baugh Fell and the Cautley Spout waterfall are all highly recommended.

15. Alnmouth, Northumberland

Situated in a quiet harbour village Alnmouth nestles sedately on the Northumbrian Heritage Coast.

With both inland and coastline offering a refreshing contrast you can spend your time between tranquil valleys or craggy headlands with stunning views from the Cheviot and Simonside Hills. Other walks popular with visitors include Hadrian's Wall, Dunstanburgh and Lindisfarne.

14. Whitby, North Yorkshire

The seaside town of Whitby is located in the North York Moors National Park and just north of Scarborough. With an abundance of great walks available you can try cliff-top walking along the Cleveland Way or enjoy the views from Roseberry Topping.

13. Church Stretton, Shropshire

This small town, also known as Little Switzerland, lies within the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Caer Caradoc, Long Mynd, Wenlock Edge and Stiperstones Ridge are all walks of note across this spectacular area of border country.

12. Dovedale, Peak District

Arguably one of the most beautiful places in the UK, Dovedale is a valley in the Derbyshire Dales with serene walks along the Monsale and Lathkill Dales, and the more challenging Curbar and Stanage Edges. Castleton Caves and the World Heritage Site of Cromford Mill are not to be missed.

11. Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloustershire

Bourton-on-the-Water is probably one of the most quintessentially English villages in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Walk along the crest of the hills and reward yourself in one of the many tempting tea shops frequently found amongst this rolling Cotswold countryside.

10. Abingworth, West Sussex

Situated on the doorstep of the South Downs National Park Abingworth is the gateway to the roller coaster cliff walks of the Seven Sisters, with the Devil's Dyke and Ditchling Beacon being sought after walking routes for visitors to the area.

9. Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight

For the ambitious walker there's the hugely popular complete circuit of the island to set as a challenge, and for the more appreciative of the islands inland beauty there's the Tennyson Trail, which boasts a clear 360 degree view across the entire isle.

8. Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Explore the phenomenal Jurassic coast in Dorset with its spectacular geology, walk the cliff edge to the Fossil Forest and experience Durdle Door and Stair Hole – a future cove in the making   which also offers one of the most stunning locations for a sunset you will ever see.

7. Selworthy, Somerset

Selworthy village forms part of the National Trust Holnicote Estate near Minehead in Somerset. With a myriad of walking routes to choose from, including the South West Coast Path and Exmoor National Park, the Valley of Rocks and the beautiful Watersmeet are essential places to visit during your stay.

6. Dartmoor, Devon

Walk the moorlands of Dartmoor and tackle the aptly named Wild Tor and Hound Tor with plenty of ancient monuments to marvel at along the way. There are also plenty of rugged sections of the South West Coast Path to choose from for those that prefer the fresh blast of sea air from the cliffs.

5. St Ives, Cornwall

If you can wrench yourself away from the pasties, cream teas and ice cream long available from this gorgeous seaside town long enough there are some spectacular coastal walks within easy reach. Lizard, the tin mines of Land's End and St Michaels Mount are all hugely popular walking destinations.

4. Brecon, Wales

Brecon is a market town in Powys, Mid Wales, and is the gateway to the wonderful Brecon Beacons National Park – a haven for walkers of all abilities. From the Black Mountains, Usk and Wye valleys, to the amazing Sgwd yr Eira waterfall that you can walk behind Wales is one of the best places in the UK for walking holidays.

3. Dolgellau, Wales

Home of the famous walkers favourite Cadair Idris, Dolgellau also offers routes in to climb Dovey Hills, the Rhinogs and Aran Fawddwy. With wooded valleys and RSPB reserves this part of Snowdonia National Park is perfect for both walkers and wildlife lovers.

2. Snowdon, Wales

With various ascents available for the beginner to the experienced walker Snowdon is a marvellous mountain to climb, or you could just get the train up! Moel Siabod, the Nantlle Ridge and the Glyders also offer fabulous walks.

1. Glen Coe, Scotland

It's virtually impossible to think of anywhere in the Western Highlands that isn't good for walking but the tranquil lochs and magnificent mountains of Glen Coe and the enticing Munros make this a walkers paradise like no other.

With walks to enjoy to Glen Nevis, Buachaille Etive Mor and the world famous ben Nevis it's no wonder Glencoe is also known as the outdoor capital of the UK.

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