There is simply no other way of enjoying the beautiful wonderland of the United Kingdom than by feeling its ground under your feet. Family walking holidays can be made possible over scores of dedicated routes all over the country, but the essence of each of them is to have an unparalleled experience.
Every destination selected here offers a subtle blend of quality, adventure and good value, whilst getting some great exercise for the entire family, whilst at it.
Hadrian’s Wall, Northern England
There are different options available for how many of the most famous monuments in Britain you would prefer to cover. You can do a short break or walk the England-Scotland dividing wall over a period of five to eleven days from the east coast to the west coast. If you are short of time, you can walk a particular section on one walking holiday and return again to see something more.
The Hadrian Wall walk, apart from passing through some wild and wonderful places, will provide the children with an amazing in-depth history lesson about the period when this place was ruled by the Romans. The starting and finishing points are easily accessible by car and public transport. You can even add a train trip to your itinerary to add some excitement for the children.
Pre-book a guided walking holiday with reputed brands such as Mickledore to ensure safety and fun with your family.
Coast to Coast, Northern England.
Even though this 190 miles epic path has some difficult sections, it is a very rewarding hike, especially if undertaken between the months of May to October. The classic Coast to Coast starts near the red sandstone cliffs of Bees Head, and crosses three national parks, before reaching the pretty village of Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea shores.
This family walking holiday is graded moderate to challenging, so it is best to take it easy and break it up into manageable sections like for example, the gentle landscape one encounters beyond Kirkby Stephen, at the entry of Yorkshire Dales National Park. To get to St Bee’s catch a train to Carlisle from London Euston, and then a local train to St Bee’s. At the end of the journey, take a bus from Robin Hood’s Bay to Scarborough, and then a train to London.
Lake District National Park, Lake District.
A self-guided walking holiday, along the Cumbria Way, with the family, affords a wonderful opportunity to explore the most visited national park in England namely, The Lake District National Park.
Children will have a truly authentic Lakes Counties experience, whether it is viewing Lake Windermere from the crag on top of Latterbarrow Fell or feasting on the gingerbread which Grasmere is famous for, this walking trip promises to be a bonding experience of a lifetime. Leave your car at home and sit back and enjoy the landscape as you travel to the National Park by boat, rail or bus. Make sure you take your camera to capture the best Lake District photography locations.
Great Glen Way, Scotland
The 75 mile Great Glen Way, and the recently opened ‘high route’ offers a wonderful insight into the Highlands and its famous lochs which dominate this stunning region of Scotland. Though a standard itinerary takes about 9 days to complete the route, families can opt for more leisurely versions as per their requirements.
The paths are well maintained with excellent signage, and good accommodation, services and restaurants conveniently located from start to finish. There are excellent connections from everywhere to Glasgow, and bus and train routes to Fort William, the starting point. From the endpoint at Inverness, there are bus and train connections to Inverness Airport, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Cambrian Mountains, Wales
Though the full 291-mile route from Cardiff to Conway requires a lot of time and a high level of fitness, there are trips families can easily undertake on this magnificent mountainous walking path, if tackled in small and slow steps.
Regarded as one of the UK’s most classic routes, the Cambrian Way passes through some of the wildest areas of Wales and is said to be the ultimate jewel in the crown of Welsh walking. The Offa’s Dyke passes through the border area between Wales and England, where towns like Knighton and Kington are an ideal base for sedate ramblers and families as against the wilds of Pumlumon or Elenydd. As with all hikes, you need to ensure you have the correct equipment with you and during the winter, if it looks like it may snow, you could consider getting microspikes for your hiking boots.
Thames Path, Southern England.
The walks on the legendary Thames Path have something for everyone. There are as many as 12 established walking routes along with different parts of England’s best-known river, with wide paths, gentle slopes and plenty of areas to rest.
The Thames Path trail meanders its way from its source in Cotswolds and into the heart of London, a further 184 miles downstream. Along the way it passes through regions rich in wildlife, beautiful villages and historic towns, culminating ultimately at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich, hardly a couple of miles from the sea. The path is extremely easy to access by public transport and the gentle trail can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. The path can be explored for three days or longer, and the best time to do it is from spring to early autumn.
Cotswold Way, Southern England.
Spanning 102 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath, the Cotswold Way National Trail passes through some of the prettiest villages in England. With miles and miles of a public footpaths, families can be at a loss from where to begin. Even though the path crosses five counties, a short break or an extended holiday will always have the children wanting more. There is a superb selection of short circular and linear walks from where you can still sample the delights of this beautiful trail.
The final walk into Bath, at the end of the journey, is a great 6-mile stroll, with maybe a couple of steep sections from the open hilltop winding its way into the historic town and the majestic Bath Abbey. To reach Cotswold from London take a train from Paddington station to any of the eight stations in Cotswold. The National Express has a regular coach service from Victoria Coach station to Cheltenham and Gloucester.
From dramatic hilltops to medieval villages, one can get spoilt for choice when it comes to walking with the family in the UK. That said, a great time out with the entire family need not be complicated or even expensive. Going on a walk can be fun, and educative and gives the perfect opportunity to bond and make memories that last a lifetime. With acres of space for the little ones to move around plus loads of family-friendly facilities, you are certain to have a great family outing on these picturesque routes.
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