Aysgarth Falls, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Aysgarth Falls is the perfect riverside walk for adventurers of all ages. This unique route invites you to explore a rich landscape located along the shores of the River Ure. As suggested by the trail’s name, the path features several waterfalls, though these are a picturesque series of gently tumbling falls rather than a thunderous cascade! With admirers including Wordsworth and Turner (who visited to sketch the area), the area has been a tourist attraction for well over 200 years. If you’re visiting today, be sure to check out the local nature reserve running alongside the river. Here you might spot wood anemones and primroses in the spring. Especially lucky visitors might also spot some shy roe deer playing amongst the trees!
Lizard Peninsula, in Cornwall
Located down on the most southerly tip of the British mainland, Lizard Peninsula is home to some of the UK’s most spectacular coastline. While you’re unlikely to meet any new reptilian friends along the trail – the area takes its name from the Cornish ‘Lys Ardh’, rather than an abundance of cold-blooded critters – there’s still plenty to see and do! The area has dozens of trails to explore, with rugged caves, unexplored coves, a wide variety of rare and exotic plant life, and stunning views over the English Channel. Why not extend your trip, and visit other areas of Cornwall, including Tintagel and St. Ives, too?
Blicking Estate, in Norfolk
Falling under the stewardship of the National Trust, the Blickling Estate pairs a historic country house and gardens with extensive woodland, and rolling Norfolk countryside. Like Aysgarth Falls, the area has inspired countless visitors over the centuries, and it’s easy to see why! Especially tempting in spring, Blickling is transformed every April and May by thick carpets of bluebells. This ancient woodland is also home to oak, beech, and chestnut trees, making it the perfect place for nature-lovers. While you’re here, make sure to stop off at one of the three on-site cafes, or even stop overnight in one of the estate’s cottages before continuing your adventure across the estate in the morning!
Eggarden Hill, in Dorset
Another green landscape flooded with bluebells come spring, Eggarden Hill is a history lover’s dream! With a countryside ripe with wild garlic, blackthorn, and pink and white blossom, there’s plenty to take in. Visitors will want to experience the stunning downland views towards the coast, so do make the most of any clear weather! Eggarden isn’t just about the views though! With an impressive Iron Age hill fort to discover, two Bronze Age barrows, and a cosy 16th Century pub on route to help you refuel, this is one for anybody serious about history – or for those who appreciate quieter walks in locations a little way off the beaten track.
Fountains Abbey, in North Yorkshire
Last but not least, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire is a walk steeped in nearly 900 years of history. The monastic ruins present on the site, the nearby Georgian water garden, and fantastic woodland trails all offer a very different kind of history to the Iron Age fort located at Eggarden, but one still worth experiencing! Visitors to Fountains Abbey can explore Fountains Mill – a largely intact structure built in the 12th Century, and which was in continuous use until 1927! There’s an ancient deer park, too, where you might spot wild Red, Fallow, and Sika deer. And, in the water gardens, look out for classical statues, various follies, and the Temple of Piety – a photographer’s favourite! Once you’ve finished your walk, there are various exhibits and information centres if you want to learn more, and a Victorian tea-room to enjoy a much-earned respite before your journey home.