The British Isles is the perfect destination for walking holidays. From rolling hills and craggy peaks, limestone flats, dewy downs and lush valleys, chalky outcrops and coastal paths, there’s something here for you if you enjoy a pleasant stroll or are a serious trekker.
The beauty of the British countryside and much of the coastline (like Dorset) is easy to conquer; the counties are reality quite small but so much is packed into a small area. The National Trust owns much of the land where the best walks and trails are and therefore they are well signposted and punctuated with facilities. You’re never too far from a sight or attraction for an interesting sojourn, and the variety of landscapes is immense, and being in Europe vacation rentals are very easy to find.
From an outdoor activity point of view, Wales has something for everyone. In recent years, a wide range of organised tours have been developed to suit climbers and walkers with or without experience.
The ridge walk of Snowdonia involves no fewer than fifteen 3,000 foot mountains. It has become known as the ultimate weekend challenge, but you may prefer to spend longer – and experience less of the post-challenge muscle ache. If fifteen looks like too many for you, the range known as Carneddau has just seven 3,000 foot peaks from which on a good day, you can see Ireland and the Isle of Man. Another five summits await scramblers, in the Glyder Landscape, where the classics such as the North Ridhe of Tryfan or the Bristly Ridge of Glyder Fach can be tackled in a day. And if you really need a challenge, go for the big one – there are three Snowdon summits – just don’t look down!
There are also plenty of less strenuous opportunities to enjoy trekking in Wales through spectacular scenery, taking in geographical wonders, touching on ancient history, and well-punctuated by opportunities for a drink or an overnight stay at any of the cottages in Wales. Find the trip to suit you and your ability and brave the elements.
The Peak District
Most of the Peak District is upland above 1,000 feet, with the high point, Kinder Scout, at 2,087 feet. It’s full of opportunities for outdoor activity, including hill walking, trekking, mountain biking and horse riding. There’s also rock climbing, hang gliding, sailing, fishing, canoeing, bird watching, caving, fell running, and orienteering. Check out a few of your favourite outdoor activities over a short break, or spend longer and really explore.
There are lots of established trails through the Peak District as well as guided tours covering moors, dales and quiet tracks. To the south of the county, recently created traffic-free tracks include the Trent Valley Greenway and the Mickleover to Eggington Trail. The National Forest also offers lots of opportunities for outdoor activities in green, rolling countryside.
Highlights of the outdoor calendar are the Peak District Walking Festival in April/May, the Peak District Historic Borders Festival in June, and the Autumn Footprints Festival during September.
If you prefer to go it alone, themed walking routes offer fantastic views and fascinating places to visit. The routes generally follow well-defined public footpaths and are suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit. Combine your walking break with a visit to an attraction en route, perhaps one of the area’s splendid houses or castles, a historic garden, limestone cavern or a museum during your Peak District holidays.
For a taste of the Highlands, pack up your gear and head on up North to enjoy Scotland. Here you will find Caledonian forest, mythical lochs, and heraldic ruins, summer snowfields and salmon rivers. You can choose from a wonderful range of classic routes. The West Highland Way, is 100 miles from Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, taking in Loch Lomond and Glencoe. The Speyside Way is more gentle and links the snow-clad Grampians to the Cairngorms National park. Three of Scotland’s finest hill passes, used by Highlanders for centuries make up the Cairngorm Massif, where mystery and legend combine with some thorough and challenging Scottish trekking during your holidays in Scotland!
All this should have inspired you to hang up your working clothes, dust off your boots, waterproofs and navigation aids and leave the rest of the world behind. Trekking, hiking, orienteering and a host of great outdoor activities give you a unique perspective on the British landscape and the centuries of history which have gone before, whilst letting you breathe.