12 Of The UK’s Best Rambles For An Active 2024



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Have you made a new year’s resolution to be more active in 2024? You’re not alone. In fact, 40% of British resolutions for next year involve exercising more.

How those pledges look in practice, we are yet to discover, but resolving to keep fit doesn’t always have to revolve around the treadmill and exercise bike. Instead, why not focus your efforts to keep fit in 2024 on exploring the UK’s incredible, diverse countryside? 

With the King Charles III England Coast Path recently announced, there has never been a better time to lace up your walking boots, grab your waterproofs, and set out to explore the great British pastures. 

Whether you’re a seasoned rambler or a weekend wanderer, the UK is crisscrossed with trails that offer not just a breath of fresh air but a hearty gulp of it. From the rugged highlands of Scotland to the rolling hills of the South Downs, here are 12 of the UK’s best rambles to keep you on your toes in 2024.

The West Highland Way, Scotland

Embark on a journey through Scotland’s rugged terrain with the West Highland Way. This 154 km trail starts near the bustling city of Glasgow and winds its way to Fort William, offering a glimpse into the wild heart of the Highlands. 

Also a hugely popular cycling holiday, along the way you’ll traverse the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, the haunting beauty of Rannoch Moor, and the majestic Glencoe, known as the ‘Glen of Weeping’. The path culminates in a spectacular finish at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, where the adventurous can extend their trek to its summit. 

Photo by Krisjanis Mezulis on Unsplash

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a 299 km trail that will take you on a coastal odyssey around the southwestern tip of Wales. With its breathtaking clifftop views, the path winds through a landscape dotted with prehistoric sites, Norman castles, and a wealth of wildlife. Highlights include the bird colonies on Skomer Island and the picturesque harbour village of Tenby. The path’s undulating nature provides a moderate challenge, making it as rewarding as it is beautiful.

Read: 6 remote, rural staycations for 2024

Photo by Beata Mitręga on Unsplash

The South West Coast Path, England

The South West Coast Path is a mammoth 1,014 km trail that stretches from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset. This path is a rollercoaster of sharp ascents and descents, with every turn offering a new vista: from the myth-shrouded Tintagel Castle, associated with King Arthur, to the subtropical valleys of the Roseland Peninsula. The path is a haven for marine life enthusiasts, with frequent sightings of seals, dolphins, and basking sharks.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The Yorkshire Three Peaks, England

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is not just a walk; it’s a rite of passage for many British walkers. This 38 km route in the Yorkshire Dales National Park includes climbing the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough, usually in that order, and is often completed within 12 hours. Each peak offers its own unique vista, from the limestone pavements at the top of Ingleborough to the sweeping views from Whernside, the highest of the trio. 

Due to its relatively short nature, the Three Peaks is one of the most popular choices for self-guided walking holidays here in the UK. Keep your eye out for (you’re not exactly going to miss it, to be fair!) for the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct along the way.

Photo by Gary Butterfield on Unsplash

The Norfolk Coast Path, England

The Norfolk Coast Path offers a more relaxed rambling experience along 133 km of England’s eastern shoreline. The trail is renowned for its vast skies, expansive beaches, and unique salt marshes, which are a haven for birdlife. The path passes through the Holkham National Nature Reserve and the Victorian seaside town of Cromer, famous for its peer and delicious crabs. It also passes past the lovely Wells-next-the-Sea, home to a stunning beach and lots of colourful beach huts. The flat terrain makes this an ideal choice for families and those looking for a less strenuous ramble.

Photo by Chloe Frost-Smith on Unsplash

The Hadrian’s Wall Path, England

The Hadrian’s Wall Path is a 135 km coast-to-coast walk that lets you explore Britain’s Roman past. The trail runs alongside the ancient fortifications of Hadrian’s Wall, the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. 

Along the route, you’ll encounter Roman settlements and forts, such as Housesteads and Vindolanda, and the path offers a mix of urban and rural landscapes, with the central section providing expansive views over the Northumberland National Park.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The Cotswold Way, England

The Cotswold Way runs through the quintessentially English countryside, offering 164 km of picturesque landscapes. Starting from the historic town of Chipping Campden, the trail meanders through rolling hills, past stately homes and ancient battlefields, to the Roman city of Bath. The route is dotted with charming limestone villages, such as Broadway and Stanton, which epitomize the rural English idyll.

The Great Glen Way, Scotland

The Great Glen Way carves a 125 km path through Scotland’s geological fault, from Fort William to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness. The trail offers a mix of canal paths, forest tracks, and high routes, with stunning views over Loch Ness. The path passes by the impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle and offers opportunities for monster-spotting on the loch’s mysterious waters.

The South Downs Way, England

The South Downs Way stretches across 160 km of the rolling chalk hills that define the South Downs National Park. The route, which begins in the ancient city of Winchester, takes walkers over undulating hills with panoramic views of the English Channel. 

The trail passes through the market town of Lewes and the iconic chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters before concluding at the seaside town of Eastbourne. The path is steeped in history, with numerous Neolithic sites, Iron Age hill forts, and remnants of Roman roads.

Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

The Causeway Coast Way, Northern Ireland

The Causeway Coast Way is a spectacular 53 km trail that showcases the rugged and romantic coastline of Northern Ireland. Starting from the town of Ballycastle and ending at the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this path weaves through sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and secluded bays. Along the way, you’ll encounter the dramatic ruins of Dunluce Castle, perched precariously on the cliff edge, and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which offers a thrilling crossing for the brave-hearted.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

The Glyndŵr’s Way, Wales

Named after Owain Glyndŵr, the legendary Welsh prince who led a rebellion against English rule, the Glyndŵr’s Way is a 217 km journey through the heart of Wales. This looped trail begins and ends in the market town of Knighton, taking ramblers through the remote and beautiful Mid Wales countryside. You’ll traverse rolling farmland, open moorland, and serene forests, with the opportunity to spot red kites soaring above.

The Rob Roy Way, Scotland

Following in the footsteps of the famous Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, this 127 km route takes you through the central Highlands, from Drymen on the edge of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park to Pitlochry in Perthshire. The trail offers a journey through history and some of Scotland’s most enchanting landscapes, including the serene shores of Loch Venachar and the dramatic Pass of Leny. The Rob Roy Way is a perfect blend of natural beauty and Scottish heritage.

Photo by Robert Keane on Unsplash

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re after a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, the UK’s diverse landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for an active 2024. So, what are you waiting for? The trails are calling!

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