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If you love a stroll but you’re looking for something that tests you a bit more than a walk around the local park, hiking is the sure way to go. The UK and Ireland are scattered with some incredibly scenic countryside that’s just begging to be explored and conquered. Here are our favourite hiking spots to do just that:
Hadrian’s Wall, Northern England
A true British icon that stretches 723 miles across Northern England, Hadrian’s Wall is a great place for a historic hike. The wall was built by Roman emperor Hadrian to separate the ‘barbaric’ Scottish tribes across the border. The best section of this mammoth monument is the 20-mile stretch between Chollerford and Birdoswald Fort - it is the highest point on the hike and gives stunning views south across the Lake District and Pennines.
The Thames Path, London
For those that are looking for a hike slightly closer to the Big Smoke, The Thames Path is exactly what you’re looking for. This 184-mile path leads all the way from the rural meadows of the Cotswolds, through the heart of London and out to the maritime waters at Greenwich. This riverside route is worth exploring in sections as the whole thing would take 14 days in total.
The Glyders, Snowdonia
Snowdonia is one of the UK’s best-loved mountains, and for good reason - the views across the surrounding Welsh countryside are striking, to say the least. The Glyders route is a deceptively hard day’s hike that stretches across 7 miles of peaks and troughs. The highlight? A steep incline up the Devil’s Kitchen and across a boulder formation to the summit, which stands at 1001m.
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo
You certainly won’t be the first or the last person to climb this mountain in the northwest of Ireland - people have made a pilgrimage up its slopes for over 2,000 years. Croagh Patrick is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland and is famous for the celebrations that are held at its summit every last Sunday of July each year in honour of St Patrick. The walk up this 750m-high mountain takes just under two hours but provides an incredible over Clew Bay and the surrounding Mayo countryside.
Seven Sisters, East Sussex
The vastness of the Seven Sisters is sure to put things into perspective. This classic coastal walk takes you across the white chalk cliffs between Seaford and Eastbourne in East Sussex. The main attraction of the walk is the Sisters themselves (a section of seven hills along the clifftop) - the stark contrast between the undulating green hills and white chalk cliff face is remarkable.
West Highland Way, Highlands
The Highlands is perhaps the most spectacular piece of countryside in the whole of the UK and this walkway showcases this perfectly. The route stretches from just outside Glasgow, runs along Loch Lomond (one of Scotland’s most beautiful bodies of water), across the hills and around the mighty Ben Nevis before finishing in Fort William. This hike is not for the faint-hearted, but if you really feel up to it, we recommend the tough section between Ben Nevis and Fort William. The hike is challenging but the views across the country are more than worth it.
Glendalough, County Wicklow
Also known as ‘the valley of the two lakes, Glendalough has been attracting visitors for centuries. The incredible abundance of wildlife and the scenic undulations of its landscape are truly a beautiful thing to behold. There are many walking paths through the valley but the best one is St Kevins Way - this 18mile hike starts in the village of Hollywood, makes its way over the hills of County Wicklow, passes by the monastic monuments built in honour of St Kevin and ends in the heart of the valley.
Hiking is one of the most rewarding and (unfortunately) forgotten exercises - it puts your strength and endurance to the test, whilst offering the reward of the most spectacular views in the UK and Ireland. If you fancy something a bit different from your normal routine, try out our favourite hiking spots as soon as you get the chance.