National Walking Month is almost here, and given that many of us have been stuck indoors for longer than expected, its timing couldn’t be better! For this feature, we’re looking at some great places in the UK with fantastic accommodation and picturesque walking trails
The last twelve months have caused a huge spike in inactivity. People around the UK have spent many more hours sat at home and not spending anywhere enough time outdoors in the fresh air. Yes, we are all aware of the reason, but with restrictions now being lifted, the opportunity to head out and treat your senses is now a reality and with National Walking Week looming, there’s never been a better excuse.
Below are some fantastic places that combine pampering with some great places to walk and invigorate yourself:
Combine a stroll and a spa on Durham’s diverse coastline – from £158 pp with Seaham Hall
Luxury manor house Seaham Hall makes the perfect base to enjoy the uplifting Durham Heritage Coast, and you can rest your tired feet in the Serenity Spa afterwards. From the hotel, wander onto the England Coast Path, where you’ll find wild cliffs, dramatic dunes and unique seaside villages. The 11-mile stretch is flexible, so you can meander into fascinating areas along the route.
Enjoy stunning coastal views at Nose’s Point, find colourful sea glass on the walk from Glass Beach to Seaham Beach (just five minutes away) or take a walk through the old mining village of Souter, exploring its lighthouse and nature reserve. Learn more about Durham’s coastal walks here.
An overnight B&B stay costs from £158 pp (total £315 for two sharing a junior suite), including full spa access. For more information, visit Seaham Hall or call 0191 516 1400.
Udderly five-star – Bristol-on-Sea from £108 pp with holidaycottages.co.uk
Portishead to Clevedon Pier – essentially Bristol-on-Sea, both being so close to the city – is a brisk five-mile walk, easily accomplished taking in Mariners Path, Sugar Loaf Beach, Charlcombe Bay, Pigeon House Bay, Blackhill Sands and finally Clevedon with its remarkable Victorian pier.
Stay at The Udder Barn (sleeps six), a contemporary five-star barn conversion within beautiful parkland, just six miles from Bristol.
The property is approached via a grand estate drive. Inside, it has an impressive open-plan living space that will be heavenly after a day’s exhilarating walking—a three-night stay in May costs from £108 pp (£647 total). Visit holidaycottages.co.uk for more information.
Constable Country for a couple and their faithful friend – from £165 pp with Canine Cottages
If you’re searching for the best walks in Suffolk with a view, look no further than this trail through the awe-inspiring landscape of the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale, which inspired many of John Constable’s famous paintings.
The walk takes in landmarks such as Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s House and the site of The Hay Wain painting, so there’s plenty to admire en route.
Stay at Clocktower Stables 1 (sleeps two, plus one dog), a beautifully converted former stable block in a studio-style layout. A three-night stay in May costs from £165 pp (£330 total). £20 supplement for a dog. Visit Canine Cottages for more information.
Explore the walking wonderland of the North York Moors and Yorkshire Coast– from £180 pp with England’s Coast
If you’re a fan of spectacular moorland, ancient ruins and a stunning Jurassic Age coastline, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Coast is the place to head to. You can keep the coast in your sight for your entire hike as you walk from Scarborough to Whitby.
This is a 21-mile trail known locally as the Cinder Track and takes in the route of the old railway line between the two resorts and passing through a series of historic railway stations and beautiful fishing villages, which includes Robin Hood’s Bay.
You can stay in the heart of the national park at the Grove House Moorland Holiday Cottages near Levisham. These cosy stone cottages sleep two (plus one young child and one dog) and boast a private terrace, BBQ and shared garden overlooking the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
A four-night stay costs from £360 (£180 pp). Plan your itinerary with the coastal booking tool at www.englandscoast.com/en.
Take a weight off your mind and your feet – UK walking tours with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide
If you enjoy exploring the UK’s cities, towns and rural regions on foot but can’t face the faff of planning your route or researching what to see when you get there, why not enlist the services of a professional guide?
Now back in business for outdoor tours (within legal gathering limits) following the easing of lockdown, Blue Badge Tourist Guides are guaranteed to bring your chosen experience to life and offer an array of options on foot, including private walking tours that can be tailor-made to your personal interests.
The Institute of Tourist Guiding, the professional body for tourist guides, is committed to developing, maintaining and promoting professional standards in tourist guiding. To find a professional guide, visit the British Guild of Tourist Guides.
The Peak District by motorhome – from £100 per day with Yescapa
Boasting some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes, the Peak District National Park is a walker’s paradise, with hugely varied terrain across rugged limestone valleys, moors, dales, rivers, lakes and caverns.
The best-known trail is to Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peaks, but there are walks aplenty, from the relaxing strolls such as Dovedale or Tissington to more energetic hikes such as Win Hill.
Base yourself in a comfortable motorhome, ideal for exploring the area. Ian’s Converted Van is a four-berth vehicle based in Southwell, with all mod-cons – loo, shower, washbasin, hob, grill, oven, dining area and sofas.
In May, the price is from £399 for four days’ hire, including one insured driver, breakdown cover, mileage (100 km per day) and a flexible cancellation policy up to 48 hours in advance. To receive £20 off your booking, use the code SUNNYDAYS2021 at checkout (offer expires 30 April). For more information, contact Yescapa.
A view of the Pembrokeshire coast. Photo courtesy of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
Explore the wild and wonderful Pembrokeshire Coast Path – from £12 pp with Visit Pembrokeshire
With 186 miles of epic coastline, the breathtaking Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, boasting steep limestone cliffs, undulating red sandstone bays, volcanic headlands, glacial valleys and stunning beaches. The first National Trail in Wales (it opened in 1970), it passes 58 beaches and 14 harbours, and the path’s total rise and fall is approx. 35,000 km feet – as high as Everest!
The Pembrokeshire coastal bus service covers the entire path, so it’s easy to break down into manageable chunks and take the bus for sections. Base yourself at the Celtic Camping & Bunkhouses in Berea, St Davids, a stone’s throw from the Coast Path, with glorious views across the open sea. Tent pitches from £12 pp per night (£6 for children 5-15 years) during May and June. For more information, visit www.celtic-camping.co.uk and www.visitpembrokeshire.com.