1. Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall.
Incorporating the most southerly point of the British mainland, the Lizard Peninsula features some of the UK’s most spectacular coastline. While you’re unlikely to spot any lizards skittering around – the area’s name derives from the Cornish ‘Lys Ardh’, meaning ‘high court’ – you will have the opportunity to discover exotic plants, rugged caves, and a labyrinth of unexplored coves. If the serpentine rocks and pathways don’t appeal, there’s always the eternally crashing and churning sea to take in, too.
2. Stanage Edge, The Peak District.
With its claim as the largest of the gritstone cliffs overlooking Hathersage in Derbyshire, Stanage Edge is one of the most popular areas of the Peak District. With pathways, trails, and literally hundreds of rock climbing routes to explore and contend with, Stanage Edge has been a prime choice for walkers and hikers since as far back as the nineteenth century. There are countless dry-stone dykes, historic buildings, and desolate moorlands to enjoy too – connecting you more deeply to the cultural and literary history of the land!
3. Helvellyn, The Lake District
While Helvellyn might not be the tallest of the Lake District’s peaks, the mountain is arguably the most Romantic – with a capital ‘R’. A favourite of both Wordsworth and Coleridge – both of whom lived close by – Helvellyn offers some of the most commanding views and vistas found anywhere in the UK; on a good day, hikers and explorers will be treated to views up into Scotland and down over Wales. Approachable from all sides, and with some truly sublime rockeries and drops, Helvellyn is worth any budding poet’s time!
4. West Highland Way, Scotland.
Walking the West Highland Way is no mean feat - this 95-mile long route takes in just about everything that makes walking in Scotland great. The trail begins by passing through city suburbs before heading out towards the forests surrounding Loch Lomond. After that, there’s moorland desolation to enjoy and get lost in around Rannoch Moor, before you arrive at the Devil’s Staircase. The route comes to an end near the foothills of Ben Nevis – where we expect you’ll be grateful for a good long rest.
5. Thames Path
A somewhat gentler route than some others on this list, the Thames Path passes through some less traditional, though still stunning, scenery. Starting near the Thames’s source in Gloucestershire, you’ll explore some of England’s loveliest landscapes on this National Trail – including postcard perfect Oxford and the many spires that make up the town. While you might prefer something more technically challenging if you’re keen to flex all of your muscles, the Thames Path is a beautiful reminder of a more classic, conservative Britain.