The month of May has been declared as National Walking Month in Britain and, to mark the occasion, Visit England has rounded up some walking holidays, day-trip ideas and themed walking tours from across the country to get you inspired for your next walking adventure. Read on to learn more but remember to always check individual websites and government guidance for the latest information since national restrictions are currently in place across the UK.
Make a break of it with a walking holiday
The Inn Collection Group Walk Inn breaks combine the best of an idyllic inn stay with self-guided walking routes in some of the North of England’s best-loved walking destinations.
Due to launch from 17 May and run until 31 October 2021, Walk Inn breaks packages will be on offer across Yorkshire, Northumberland, County Durham and The Lake District. The packages will include a welcome drink on arrival, two-course dinner on your first night, two night’s bed and breakfast, a pack of 20 Ordinance Survey walks plus a hearty packed lunch as well as the reassurance of free cancellations. Also included is a free boot clean or access to wash down, drying and cleaning facilities. And if you’re planning to take a four-legged friend, dogs stay free of charge on Walk Inn getaways. Price: from £125 per person for two nights, based on two sharing.
Explore a range of 2-4 night breaks across National Trails from UK Walking Breaks
Take in the sights of Hardcastle Craggs, Gibson Mill, Heptonstall and Rochdale Canal on a Pennine Way Short Break: Hiking & Heritage around Hebden Bridge, with UK Walking Breaks. Discover the best of coastal scenery and heather moorland on a Cleveland Way Short Break at Helmsley. See Regency Cheltenham on the Cotswold Way Short Break or discover the ‘Garden of England’ along the North Downs Way on a short break in Canterbury. Prices from £202 per person, based on two people sharing for a two-night break.
Try walking holidays that relax and reinvigorate with Inntravel – The Slow Holiday People
InnTravel offers a wealth of new walking breaks for different levels across the UK. Follow the spectacular Northumberland coastal path and discover the region’s history and heritage; indulge in the delights of a rural idyll on a Seascapes of North Norfolk trip, home to vast sandy beaches and pristine nature reserves teeming with birdlife; or explore the new Trails of the Riverbank: The Thames Path in its 25th Year. Inntravel has chosen what is widely considered the prettiest and most culturally interesting part of the Thames Path – a National Trail that marks its 25th anniversary year in 2021. To ring the changes from the normal linear Thames Path route, bus, boat and train journeys are incorporated, as are two night stays at elegant hotels in the village of Goring and Henley–upon-Thames, home of the Royal Regatta. Prices vary – four nights from £395, based on two people sharing.
Head to the remote valleys of the Northern Dales with a self-guided walking break
Muddy Boots Walking Holidays in the Yorkshire Dales has a new four-night self-guided walking itinerary which takes guests through a quiet stretch of Swaledale. The route includes paths through the hay meadows of Muker which are now protected and are a riot of colour in June with species-rich wildflowers such as Wood Crane’s-bill, Melancholy Thistle and Cat’s-Ear. Accommodation is in high quality pubs along the way, so a good option for those wanting to still have their creature comforts while enjoying a good day’s yomping. Price: £395 per person (based on two sharing) including four nights B&B accommodation, luggage transfers and route guides.
Try walking holidays in Herefordshire with award-winning restaurants at each night’s stop
Starting up again from 1st June, why not walk the Mortimer Trail, a way-marked 30-mile trail- between Kington in Herefordshire (on the Welsh border with Offa’s Dyke) and the Medieval town of Ludlow. The Trail follows the high ground, with fantastic views to the Black Mountains and Malvern Hills, dropping into various river valleys along the way. Delightful villages, rich history, and abundant wildlife flourish in this peaceful area. The 30-mile walk can be done over 3 days (with 1 rest day) with some wonderful foodie pubs along the way, with Wheely Wonderful Cycling (who also do walking holidays). Cost: from £450 per person including B&B accommodation, transport and maps.
Explore the length and breadth of the Shropshire Hills AONB on a new Shropshire Way
Enjoy that top of the world feeling visiting all the highest points of the Shropshire Hills AONB. Explore a stunning linear route journeying through the most spectacular sections of the Shropshire Hills and discover a wealth of wildlife and a geologist’s heaven along the way. Begin with the myths and legends of the Stiperstones and end in historic black-and-white Ludlow. All meals included and comfortable en-suite accommodation as well as guided walks each day led by an experienced HF Holidays Walk Leader. Price: seven nights from £999 pp.
Day trip walks, tours and explorations…
Watch sunset over the Dales with a guided discovery walk
This 2.5 –hour guided walk with Muddy Boots Walking Holidays enables a small group to enjoy a walk through beautiful Dales scenery just at the time when most people are heading inside. Setting off from West Burton near Aysgarth at dusk, the guide will lead the group on a 3-mile loop that includes some steep sections, passing a waterfall before going into woodland and then emerging on to a green lane as the sun sets over Bishopdale. Sundowner drinks are served together with some snacks and there’s an opportunity to spot some of the 300 million year-old fossils embedded in the rocks as well as appreciate the view before the guide will lead the group back down to West Burton as darkness sets in. Cost: £60 a couple or £100 for a group of six
Make tracks down Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail, Norwich
Following two disused railway lines between Norwich and the historic market town of Aylsham, Marriott’s Way is one of the great recreational, cycle and walking routes through the countryside from Norwich city centre. Public art plays its part along the railway too with signs made from old track to show distances and directions to villages and towns, and to mark your progress, at each mile there’s a unique piece of rail sculpture. Under three bridges there are wind-up boxes playing past railway sounds, and there are also pieces of art inscribed with poems and verse as well as concrete sculptures about the railway’s heritage. Heading into summer the whole route is lush green and dense in places due to canopies of overhanging ancient trees.
Discover the North East’s fascinating history along the Northern Saints Trails
A series of six new walking trails across North East England bring to life the stories of the Northern Saints, based on ancient pilgrim routes. The Way of Life; The Way of Learning; The Way of Love; The Way of the Sea; The Way of Light and the Angel’s Way each bring to life a fascinating saintly story and take in some of the region’s best landscapes and heritage.
Explore Norwich’s Outdoor Art on urban art trails
Norwich is renowned for its thriving arts scene, which can be seen all across the city centre. And it’s home to some incredible urban art, including 12 murals through Norwich Market which were designed by local and international artists. Take a walk around the city and see if you can discover them all. Look out for Snap the Dragon guarding Red Lion Street, or the cats hiding in the walls above The Little Red Roaster!
Take in the Bridgerton sights with Brit Movie Tours in Bath
Explore the filming locations on a two-hour promenade or book Bath Adventures’ Bridgerton Sights & Music Tour. You’ll be given over-ear headphones as a guide takes you through Bath, sharing locations, behind-the-scenes gossip and music from the show. The two-hour Bridgerton experience from Bath Walking Tours is led by a Blue Badge Tourist Guide with in-depth knowledge of the city. Re-live the scenes from the series as you see where they were filmed and hear about the history of the buildings Price £15 per adult
Embark on a cultural adventure along England’s Creative Coast, Kent, Sussex and Essex
Spanning 1,400km of coastline between the South Downs and the Thames Estuary, England’s Creative Coast is a collaboration between the region’s world-class galleries and arts organisations. And in 2021, its impact on the world of coastal art promised to be even greater, with the launch of Waterfronts, a series of seven new site-specific art commissions curated by Tamsin Dillon. The commissions, by artists including Andreas Angelidakis, Holly Hendry and Michael Rakowitz, explore the border between land and water. You will have the opportunity to get up close to the art works as part of the world’s first art geocache tour, as groups of local experts leads you on an exploration of the landscape, discovering the commissioned artworks, collecting geocaching rewards and unveiling hidden gems along the way.
Malvern Walking Festival returns for 2021
The Malvern Walking Festival walks will take place between 29 May and 6 Jun on and around the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire and Herefordshire in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The festival offers 57 different walks spread out over 9 days. Last held in 2019, 1200 walks were booked making it one of the largest walking festivals in the country. The choice of walks this year is as wide as ever including themed morning, afternoon, evening and all day walks with different difficulty levels. Price: £5 per walk.
Follow the new spring Cherry Walk in Tatton Park’s Gardens, Cheshire
This spring a drift of cherry blossom will grace the gardens at Tatton Park in Cheshire thanks to the recent planting of more than 40 cherry trees by gardeners and volunteers. This exquisite sight is thanks to the Sakura Project, marking 150 years of Japan-UK friendship. The drift will take visitors from the Pinetum, past the Japanese Garden – one of the finest outside Japan – to the Choragic Monument. Price: Adult £8; Child £6; National Trust members free.
A family adventure…
Explore the woodland trails and stay at Delamere Forest, Cheshire – the latest collection of eco-sensitive cabins from Forest Holidays. Delamere Forest is home to a brand-new collection of eco-sensitive cabins set amidst the Cheshire Plain spanning 2,400 acres of broadleaf and evergreen trees. Guests can choose from stylish Hideaway cabins made for two; spacious treehouses which sleep up to 10 guests and more, including new White Willow Premium cabins exclusive to this location, offering an authentic outdoorsy feel with modern touches and special added extras. Forest Holidays has rounded up top trails and forest walks in Cheshire, from stunning scenery trails, easy family walks to challenging hikes and pet friendly options. Prices vary – a mid-week break for four nights for two people in May costs from £915.
Get the whole family enjoying a fun day out in the Yorkshire Dales countryside
This one from Muddy Boots Walking Holidays is ideal for families who have fallen in love with walking during lockdown and are now wanting to hone their navigation skills and learn some top safety tips so they can keep up the outdoors enjoyment and have the confidence to venture further afield. Starting from Kettlewell, Muddy Boots will lead a private family group on a half-day adventure covering around 4.5 miles. During the adventure families will get to use a storm shelter, help plan the route, pick up essential map reading techniques and learn how to recognise key landscape features as well as know what to do in an emergency. There’ll also be plenty of time for paddling and stone skimming across the River Wharfe as well as admiring the hill views during a picnic stop. Cost £100 for a family of four (not including lunch) or £130 for a family of four including a picnic of fresh, local produce.
Find fairies around the lakeside at Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire
Everyone knows that fairies live at the bottom of gardens and Trentham Gardens is no different. A walk through the Gardens, Lake and Woodlands of Trentham will reveal 21 fairies in their homes. Each one is different – some are bold, some cheeky, others a little shy, but daring. Inspired by a real-life encounter, Trentham’s fairies are created from galvanised steel wire by local artist Robin Wright.
There’s also a lot of wildlife that calls Trentham Gardens home. Some animals are very friendly and love to meet the visitors. Others, like the Otter, Kingfisher and Stag Beetle, are a little harder to find! Price: Adult £12 Child £9.
Chocolate, grim sense of humour and 22 weird & iconic spots… discover it all in York
Modern York was built on the chocolate industry, home to famous names like Rowntree and Terry, and this rich, chocolatey heritage has left its mark all around the city. Visit York Chocolate Trail showcases the landmarks and businesses who have a strong link to the confectionery industry, and the families which built it, covering hundreds of years of York’s history. Don’t stop there though; Little Vikings’ ‘I Spy’ Walking Trail’?has been launched?to inspire families to explore the city and spot iconic sights. This?permanent free walking trail?is the perfect way for families to explore York,?with 22 weird, wonderful, iconic and interesting things to spot along the circular route. You can also try one of the latest additions to the city’s ghost walks scene. The Deathly Dark Tour offers a blend of entertainment and education in the style of ‘horrible histories’ – making the tours fun for the whole family. Dorian Deathly takes visitors on a different kind of tour to experience the darker side of York with a grim sense of humour. Price: Adult £8, child £5.
And if you simply love to walk, make sure to check out Welcome to Yorkshire’s #Walkshire hub full of inspiration for walks around the region.