For some, “going to the mountains is going home” and exploring the unknown terrains is a necessity. If you are a camper at heart and know what it means to be outdoors, the United Kingdom is where you salvage your love for hiking. When you feel too dazed by the beauty of Scottish Highlands, English moors, and Welsh landscape, stop at any country pub for a pint or two before you again go out in search of indulgence. Be it easy coastal walks or steep treks to rugged mountain, you will have moments to contemplate and celebrate. So, slip your hiking gear over your shoulder, get into the skin of a hiker, and head out to any of these six trails that have wowed generations.
#1. The Pennine Way
Considered one of the finest long-distance walks in the UK, the Pennine Way is a 50-year old trail that runs along the 'Backbone of England." This 268-mile long trek in Northern England takes you from Derbyshire to the Scottish Borders but not before crossing three national parks on the way. The windswept Yorkshire Dales with finest limestone formations in the UK is equally tantalizing to your senses as the moors, mountaintops, and isolated landscapes. If you are ready to brave the ever-changing weather, the result will be gratifying. To cut the trek short, you can choose to start from Sheffield or Leeds.
#2. The Dingle Way
The stretch of 112 miles in a comparatively sunnier part of Ireland is an open invitation to explore Dingle peninsula that's awash with the remnants of early Christian period and megalithic tombstones. With every stride, you are presented with a picture of contrast. From experiencing the thrill of 1,200-ft descent to cross the Mount Brandon to walking along the white sandy beaches and listening to the raging waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the journey will be high on drama. Watch the flowers like fuchsia and montbretia create a riot of colors, as you saunter down the road.
#3. The Ridgeway
Walking the oldest road in Britain fills you with a sense of awe. The reason why most hikers look forward to explore the Ridgeway is to get the first-hand feeling of stepping into a prehistoric destination that is believed to be in existence for more than 5000 years. While you walk along the Icknield Way or stop by the hamlets of Chiltern Hills, you find it hard to believe that you are in England of 21st century. The trail takes an interesting turn as it leads to Stonehenge – prehistoric stone circles – and the spectacular North Wessex Downs. As you continue your journey across soaring hills and hidden valleys, the hedgerows and wild flowers follow you.
#4. Offa’s Dyke Path
This trail calls for straddling two countries – England and Wales. The 177-mile route from the resort town of Prestatyn in North Wales to Sedbury in west Gloucestershire is best known for bucolic beauty.
Offa’s Dyke accompanies all along the journey from the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley to the Shropshire Hills and the Black Mountain. Another lure for the travelers is the certainty of passing through Hay-on-Wye – the venue for the famous book festival. Do attend it if you happen to be there any time in the last week of May or early June.
#5. John Muir Way
This long-distance trail in the heart of Scotland, named after the creator of the Yosemite National Park in the US, runs through some of the surreal locations on earth. Before you find Edinburgh in all its glory, you pass by the beautiful Hill House in Helensburgh, Scotland’s first national park, the serene Loch Lomond, and the beach at Dunbar. This walk is riddled with surprises and watershed moments as you find yourself standing before the Kelpies – the world's largest horse-head sculptures – Falkirk Wheel, Linlithgow Palace, and the isolated Blackness Castle.
#6. Pembrokeshire Coast Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, a 186-mile trail, is a traveler's window to the coastal beauty of Britain. Almost the entire path winds through the only coastal national park in the UK – the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. After you have witnessed the inland beauty in the from of Carn Ingli (Angel Mountain), move to the seaside and traverse a range of coastal landscapes from limestone cliffs and red sandstone coves to glacial valleys and beaches. Hiking across the sandy bays, unwinding on the river estuaries, and observing the free flight of puffins and gannets are truly satiating.