Family-friendly walks in the UK
For families looking for an active break in the great outdoors, lace up your walking boots and explore Britain's spectacular countryside. Here are six of the best walking locations for families in the UK
Provided the walking route is engaging and not too technical, walking 8 miles a day with older children is possible, and there are always shorter routes you can take with younger children in tow. Packing plenty of snacks and drinks is always essential when walking with kids! But also make sure to give them the opportunity to get involved as the walk unfurls, with tasks such as map reading, scavenger hunting, taking photographs or identifying wildlife.
Here are six ideas for family-friendly walking breaks
A stunning coastal stretch, Stackpole in Pembrokeshire offers beaches, wooded valleys and trails to explore as the whole family can enjoy discovering this rich and historic National Trust location in South West Wales.
Between the beach, dunes and lakes, Stackpole is the ideal location for a wildlife walk. Starting at Stackpole Quay, the circular route is fantastic for families and dog-walkers. Crossing from beach to woodlands and then on to lakes, the walk will not only cover varied landscapes, but will include an equally diverse range of wildlife including seabirds and butterflies.
After exploring the beach and the woods, Broadhaven is great for birdwatching. The final major stop on this route is the Central Causeway in Bosherston — famous for their man-made lily ponds. If you decide to visit between June and September you will be likely to discover an abundance of water lilies and dragonflies.
The Norfolk Broads, Norfolk
Named a National Park in 2015, the Norfolk Broads offer such a range of routes and locations that you are sure to find a walking route to suit your family, regardless of ability. With 190 miles of footpaths to be explored, from nature trails, to short circular walks, a walking break is a great way to discover the natural beauty of the area.
An excellent example of a short family walk is the Barton Broad Boardwalk. The route covers 1.5 miles and will take visitors into an isolated world of swampy woodlands. As the name suggests, the trail runs on a boardwalk making it easy for children, dog walkers and those who require wheelchair access to enjoy the panoramic view of Barton Broad.
Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Covering 95 miles of coastline, UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast in Dorset is an incredible location for a walking break. The layers of rock are fascinating as they tell the story of Earth’s history across 185 million years and is the perfect location for fossil hunting.
With miles of paths to walk on the Golden Cap estate, routes can be as long or short as you need them to be, and most are dog-friendly.
If you are bringing along your dog, the South West Coast Path (Britain’s longest National Trail) offers many locations for a pleasant walk across its 630 miles, and is a great way to experience the coast. During the summer months dogs are allowed on the beach at Charmouth after 6pm, perfect for relaxing after a long day walking.
Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Explore forests, fields and wildlife in the grounds of National Trust estate, Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire. For history lovers the site is an excellent walking location. Visit the Pitstone windmill built in the 17th century and Iron age farms, ancient Roman settlements and World War 2 monuments, plus discover the estate’s fascinating past.
A short walk through the woods in the grounds will take less than two hours and is suitable for buggies. Keep an eye open for deer that have roamed free in the area for hundreds of years. After exploring the woods, why not climb Ivinghoe Beacon and enjoy the stunning panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
The view from Hill Meall Mor in Glencoe, Highlands/Credit: Getty
Don't be put off by Glencoe's mountainous scenery, as there are a number of easy trails that allow visitors of all ages to enjoy the forests and mountains that contribute to the area’s atmospheric landscape. Hidden below the mountains, the Glencoe Lochan trail is well signposted and offers three routes depending on how far your group can walk. The red trail is the flattest route and also the most attractive, circling the Lochan and is accessible by wheelchair.
Located on the edge of the Glencoe village area, the entire Lochan is man-made. The Earl of Strathcona landscaped the area to resemble the Canadian Rockies for his homesick wife. The result is an incredibly scenic location, where the mountains and trees look spectacular reflected on the water.
Pen y Fan, South Wales
If your group includes young adventurers, the thought of climbing a mountain could be a thrilling prospect. Pen y Fan is not only easy to visit, but being less than an hour from Cardiff, it is also easy and safe to walk.
This circular route is around four miles long, meaning a round trip could take between 3 and 5 hours depending on the speed of little legs. While there are drops and vast views, the paths are well-maintained and suitable for children.
With breathtakingly beautiful views, reaching the top of Pen y Fan will feel like a huge achievement for children. Just remember to pack snacks and drinks to keep them going!