Mountain climbs, coastal walks or just an excuse to enjoy an ice-cream…whatever your reason for setting out into the UK countryside this summer, you can be sure of amazing sights and routes for all ages and abilities.
1. Lower Ddwli Falls, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
Easier to enjoy than it is to pronounce, this is a great woodland walk along the Fechan and Mellte rivers near Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons.
With plunge pools beneath waterfalls and cool woodland gorges, there’s plenty of wild swimming (or paddling) to be enjoyed.
2. Chatsworth Estate, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
In addition to Chatsworth’s stately pleasures, you can climb to the Hunting Tower to play Lord of the Manor and enjoy views across the estate. Stroll through the shaded Stand Wood and on to Beeley Hilltop if you fancy stretching your legs.
Tea and cake is also available back at the house.
3. Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve, Perthshire, Scotland
At 1,214m, Ben Lawers is one of Scotland’s highest peaks.
So this isn’t one of our easiest recommendations, but a summer hike offers brilliant views, rare flowers in bloom (‘gentians’ and ‘alpine saxifrage’ – impress your co-walkers!) and a chance to spot the rare wildcat.
4. Whisby Nature Park, Thorpe-on-the-Hill, Lincolnshire
Spot emperor dragonflies and southern marsh orchids in some of Lincolnshire’s prettiest countryside.
If that doesn’t appeal, you can also head to Skellingthorpe village for homemade ice-cream at Daisy Made Farm.
5. Sticklebarn Blea Tarn trail, Coniston, Cumbria
The views of the Langdale fells from this family-friendly National Trust trail are unbelievable.
The paths are also easy enough for young and old alike to follow, making it an awesome but accessible summer hike.
6. The South West Coast Path, Porthgwarra, Lands End Cornwall
This walk in the far-western corner of Cornwall will divert you away from the tourist hot spots.
Walk north from Porthgwarra following the coast path towards Nanjizal beach, a secluded cove, with an amazing – and amazingly named – arch known as ‘The Song of the Sea’.
If you’re after more beach and less hike, walk from Land’s End instead – Nanjizal is one mile south.
7. Croyde to Woolacombe, North Devon
This bracing, seaside walk is brimming with history and follows a stretch of coastline once favoured by smugglers.
Make it a 10 mile circular walk and your cottage will be even more welcoming!
8. Ivinghoe Beacon, Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
This climb offers several summer treats including meadows with rare flowers and wildlife, such as the beautiful Duke of Burgundy butterfly.
Enjoy far-reaching views over several counties at the top and historic cattle-droving paths, Bronze Age burial mounds and an Iron Age hill fort on the way.
9. Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The sea around this pretty Pembrokeshire peninsula is teeming with wildlife, and this walk is perfect for giving you the most spectacular seats.
Try the National Trust’s four-mile circular walk following the coast path from Marloes Sands car park. Look out for wetland birds and porpoises playing out at sea.
10. Bridlington to Filey, East Riding of Yorkshire
The 20 mile trek takes you along chalk headland past both Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs.
At Bempton, you’ll find the most easily accessible gannet colony in England. Get a true ‘bird’s-eye’ view from cliff-edge viewing platforms – and keep your sandwiches hidden!
11. Old Man of Hoy, Orkney, Scotland
You’ll know you’re on the right ferry to Hoy when you see the famous red stone formation of the Old Man standing out to sea.
You will also know you’re on the right path for this walk, as this uphill hike from Rackwick heads straight to one of Britain’s most iconic sights, and the views at the end aren’t too shabby either.
12. Minffordd Path, Cader Idris, Snowdonia National Park, Wales
This is a brilliant day hike to attempt in fine weather.
The 3 mile ascent on the Minffordd Path takes in Llyn Cau glacial lake – said to be bottomless and home to a mythical monster (only the fearless need apply!).
A spectacular ridge walk finishes with panoramic views of Snowdonia and the Cambrian Mountains.
13. Burrington Camp, Mendip Hills AONB, Somerset
This walk feels as much like walking through time as much as it does the stunning Somerset countryside.
Climb the limestone grassland of the Mendips to the Iron Age hill fort of Burrington Camp, or Burrington Ham as it was once known – maybe because it’s a great place for a picnic…
14. Redgrave and Lopham Fen National Nature Reserve, Suffolk
A wild game of I Spy awaits at this nature reserve…
Spot the fen raft spider (the UK’s largest!), otters, snakes basking in the sun, and 21 species of dragonfly on either a three or five mile trail starting at the Visitor Centre.
15. Inversnaid to Inverarnan, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland
If you’re looking for a really demanding challenge, this seven mile stretch of The West Highland Way is known as its toughest.
During the loch-edge hike from Inversnaid to Inverarnan you’ll negotiate boulders and cross bridges over chasms like a Highlands Indiana Jones.
It’s definitely an adventure just to get to this peaceful side of Loch Lomond, but the views and sense of achievement guarantee a happy ending when you get there!