Whether a scenic stroll, technical trail march, or gentle amble is more your style, it’s likely you’ll be hoping to discover new and interesting nearby walks this spring.
We asked 1,807 Which? members to rate more than 51 of the nation’s favourite walks that won’t take more than a day to complete (coming in at 13 miles and under).
Then we asked you to rate them across different categories. These included best scenery, best food and drink (championing local produce wherever possible), best for wildlife spotting and where’s best to escape the crowds.
Each walk is rated according to its difficulty and accessibility, so you can select the level that works best for you. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to discover somewhere different in 2022.
Unfortunately, we were unable to rate any walks in Northern Ireland as we can only include the ones with a minimum of 30 responses. If you’d like to join the , and share your experiences as a consumer and traveller, head to the sign-up page now.
Location scouts for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows must have been thrilled when they found Malham Cove. This amphitheatre-shaped cliff is as spectacular as anything a CGI artist could dream up. The limestone pavement at its top, with its clints and grikes (blocks and fissures), and views across the Dales is equally spectacular – the perfect setting for Harry and Hermione to pitch a tent.
This entire walk has an epic filmic quality; it scored the full five stars for scenery and places of interest in our survey. After a short uphill start, the route passes through Gordale Scar, a narrow ravine enclosed by towering sheer walls 100 metres high.
The riverside path enters woodland (carpeted with bluebells in spring) and leads to Janet’s Foss, a waterfall wreathed in legend, before ascending to the top of Malham Cove. You may even see peregrines, who nest in the cliff face, wheeling overhead. All the ingredients, then, for a memorable day out: it’s a walk that makes you feel like an action hero.
|Walk||Walk score||Difficulty (out of 5)||Distance (miles)||Accessibility||Food & drink||Peace & quiet||Places of interest||Scenery||Waymarking||Wildlife||Visitor facilities|
|Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, Yorkshire (E)||89%||4||7.5||★★★|| ★★★★||★★★||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★|
|Botallack Mine Walk, Cornwall (E)||88%||1||1||-||-||★★★★★||-||★★★★★||★★★||-||-|
|Lizard Peninsula Circuit, Cornwall (E)||88%||3||7||★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★|
|Helvellyn, Lake District (E)||87%||5||9.5||★||★★||★★★||★★★||★★★★★||★★★||★★★||★★|
|Buttermere Circuit, Lake District (E)||86%||1||4.5||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★||★★★||★★★|
|Grosmont to Goathland, North York Moors (E)||86%||1||3||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★|
|Rhossili Headland, Gower (W)||86%||2||3.5||★★★★||★★★★||★★★||★★★★||★★★★★ ||★★★||★★★★||★★★★|
USING THE TABLES: (E) England, (W) Wales, (S) Scotland. Difficulty rating - Where 1 is easy and 5 is for experienced walkers only. Star ratings From one to five (where five is the best). Based on a survey of 1,807 Which? Connect panel members in December 2021. A dash (-) means too few responses to give a rating in that category. Accessibility: How wheelchair, pram or buggy-friendly the walk is. Wildlife: Opportunities for spotting animal life, including facilities such as bird hides. Walk score: Is a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend a walk. Based on a survey of 1,807 Which? Connect members in December 2021.
This challenging climb to the top of Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain, was rated five stars for difficulty - something to bear in mind if you’re keen to explore North West England’s best walk. The reward for your efforts is panoramic views of the Lake District from 3,117ft (950 metres) up – explaining why Which? members awarded it five stars for scenery.
The classic circular route will take you from the village of Glenridding, first climbing over the steep Birkhouse Moor for views of the Ullswater valley. After that, it’s a scramble up Striding Edge ridge to the summit plateau, where you can break out the celebratory sandwiches before mustering up the energy to descend via Swirral Edge.
The photogenic Sycamore Gap – a lone sycamore tree stood between two hills, made famous by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – appears in two of the top 15 walks in our table.
This walk showcases some of the best preserved parts of the Unesco world heritage Hadrian’s Wall, so it’s understandable why Which? Members awarded it five stars for scenery and four stars for places of interest. A longer eight mile route is possible, but this shorter version offers similar access to Roman ruins en route to the iconic tree, with the opportunity to explore the Housesteads Roman Fort on your way back.
With unique limestone formations and pastoral surroundings, the walk to Malham Cove via Gordale Scar is a worthy winner of both best walk in the UK overall and best walk in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Coming in second place in this region is the gentler and more accessible walk from Grosmont to Goathland in the North Yorkshire Moors. This easy stroll follows the old railway line right through the heart of the North Yorkshire National Park. You’ll amble through shady woodland and green pastures and past fast-flowing becks before reaching Goathland village, which was made famous by Heartbeat. There’s even the opportunity to catch a steam train back to the starting point.
It’s no wonder that Which? members awarded Grosmont to Goathland four stars for its wildlife offerings, its scenery and its places of interest. It was also awarded four stars for accessibility, and rated only one out of five for difficulty.
This short and straightforward walk, which was also voted second-best walk in the UK, takes you through the relics of Cornwall's industrial past and into its conservation-conscious present. Where the cliff was once blackened by the dust and smoke of mining, there now lies heathland and rare flowers.
Fans of BBC’s Poldark will recognise The Crowns, the engine works of a former tin mine, rising tall above the Atlantic Ocean. This was once where 340 men worked in tunnels stretching under the sea.
Which? members rated this walk five out of five for peace and quiet and scenery, making it an ideal choice for a short and relaxing stroll enriched with Cornish history.
The seven distinct hilltops of the Seven Sisters, sliced through and eroded by constant bashing from the English Channel, form the South Downs’ most famous coastal walk. It’s been rated four out of five stars for scenery and it’s easy to see why.
This clifftop takes you on a rollercoaster path along the coast. It continues along the meandering Cuckmere River valley (or you could turn left to the pebble beach) before ending at the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitors Centre, formerly the ancient village of Exceat.
This walk might not have come close to the top of the table, but it was still well-rated with a 78% visitor score. It’s worth a visit if you live nearby and fancy a longer circuit (this one is around 7.5 miles).
Starting in Wells, this easy and fairly flat route (ranked just one out of five for difficulty in our survey) will take you past golden sand dunes, a bustling harbour and through tall pine trees in woodland.
Once half-way, the mile-long beach is ideal for a picnic lunch and dip in the sea in summertime before looping back to Wells. In winter, you can lunch in the beach café, or head to one of the fish and chip shops once back in the town after working up an appetite. This walk was rated four out of five for food and drink offerings, after all.
Rather than going to the top of the Worcestershire Beacon, the highest peak in the Malvern Hills range, this gentler route circumnavigates its lower slopes and provides panoramic views of the Worcestershire Plain, Severn Valley, the rolling hills of Herefordshire and distant Black Mountains. At three miles, it’s another easier walk, rated two out of five for difficulty by Which? members.
Refill your water bottle en route at one of numerous springs: it’s purified by percolation through fissures in the ancient rocks. This is a popular destination, especially in the summer, so get there early to get a space in the car park.
The Fife Coastal Path knits together a string of fishing villages, each one a tumble of cobbled alleyways and whitewashed cottages. This section is the most popular, starting at the former herring port, Anstruther (its Fisheries Museum is worth a visit), before heading off along rocky shores with views across the Firth of Forth to the Isle of May and Bass Rock.
Rated four stars for its wildlife and scenery, this is a popular walk – but Which? members still gave it four stars for peace and quiet. The route is easy to navigate (keep the sea on the right), passing through Cellardyke with its 15th-century harbour and ending at Crail, whose stone houses and pretty cottages have inspired countless artists, many of whom have made the village their home.
It’s not surprising that Rhossili (Rhosili in Welsh) was voted the best walk in Wales yet again. This undemanding trail runs around a spectacular headland above a world-class beach – with scenery rated five stars by Which? members.
The short, circular route takes you along the clifftop, passing the remains of an Iron Age fort and a 12th-century open field strip system known as The Vile. Below is the four-mile stretch of beach with the remains of a shipwreck revealed at low tide, the dramatic promontory, Worms Head, and the sparkling sea, which in the summer is peppered with surfers bobbing in the waves like seals.
The extraordinary sight of 40,000 basalt columns at the end of this walk is a justified reward for the number of steps you have put in. It’s no wonder that in our previous survey of the best UK walks, Which? readers awarded it five out of five in the scenery and places of interest categories.
The well-maintained begins at the ruins of Dunseverick Castle and continues over seabird-rich cliffs, dramatic bays and headlands, passing National Trust-managed farmland brimming with wildlife and flowers.
Weir’s Snout, the final headland, offers the first view of the Causeway before a descent down the 162 Shepherd’s Steps.