Some of the most beautiful family walks are certainly in the UK. As a family of 4, we love being in the outdoors and exploring family walks near us or further afield. There are some amazing family walks and hikes to explore and enjoy as a family day out covering UK coastlines, forest walks, country walks and full-on adventure walks. We have also asked some of our experienced family bloggers to join us in providing you with some awesome recommendations of their favourite family-friendly walks in the UK.
Family walks have become an important part of our lives as it really brings us together as a family. It is a time where we can just laugh, share, talk and have fun together. Especially now in this time and age of technology sometimes taking over our lives; walking with our kids in nature has opened our mind and senses to all the beauty around us. So here are our best walks in the UK to encourage getting outdoors and walking with kids.
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door, Dorset
The walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is one of England’s most beautiful walks and one of the most popular coastal walks in Dorset showing you the best of Jurassic Coast. The walk is quite easy; there are a few steep parts if you go down to the beach.
This scenic walk is about 1.25 miles and takes around an hour both ways. It is best to start your walk from Lulworth Cove as there is a car park which is open 24 hours; you can park up to 4 hours for £5 or £10 for the whole day. There is also a visitor centre with toilet facilities and refreshments. The walk takes you past secret beaches, coves, beautiful fields and stunning views of the sea and cliffs. The one way part of the walk ends at the top of the iconic cliffs of Durdle Door; a natural limestone arch and the perfect place to watch the sunset.
You can also go down to the beaches including Man O War beach; the perfect place to take a dip in the water as it is protected by a large rock. There is also Durdle Door beach; a golden shingle beach, just be aware the steps going down are steep. You can also head further to Bat Head coastal path if you would like to go for a longer walk.
Coastal walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Whitby
If you are looking for a family-friendly hike with fantastic views, then the North Yorkshire coastal path is a perfect option. The trail can be reached by bus or car with a journey time of approximately 1 1/4 hours from the city of York. The 7-mile stretch of coast from the car-free village of Robin Hoods Bay to its more famous neighbour, the seaside town of Whitby, has to be one of the most scenic parts of this hiking route.
Park in the public car parks at the top of Robin Hoods Bay and follow the wooden signposts to the start of the hike. Don’t forget to look back as you leave the village as the fisherman’s cottages huddled on the hillside against the sweeping backdrop of cliffs and beach is a beautiful, not to be missed view.
The hike is mostly flat but there are several up and down steep sections, although steps have been created to help you navigate the slopes. The route is well signposted and easy to follow but it is not fenced in so keep young children close.
There are incredible views of the cliffs, coastline, isolated bays and, of course, the North Sea. Before you reach Whitby, you will pass the town’s squat, white lighthouse. A short distance from here is a clifftop cafe which is the only facility on this route until you reach Whitby town centre. You can either turn around at the cafe to return on the same path or continue into Whitby from where you can catch a bus to return to your starting point in Robin Hoods Bay.
Recommended by Sinead from York with kids
Halnaker Windmill Walk, West Sussex
The Halnaker Windmill Trail is one of the most beautiful walks in West Sussex. Located close to Arundel, the trail follows the old Roman road connecting Chichester to London. The walk is famous for the Halnaker Tree Tunnel, which is one of the most photographed natural landscapes in the country.
The 4 miles long circular trail starts in Boxgrove, where the village hall offers free parking in their car park. The trail is very well marked, with signs pointing clearly to the “Windmill trail”. The first part of the path goes through the estate of Tinwood Vineyard, where you will walk between the vines. This is very pretty, especially in autumn.
The next part of the trail crosses a couple of fields and leads to the famous Tree Tunnel, which gives great opportunities for spectacular photos. We would recommend the best time to visit is in Autumn, when the leaves are changing colours, making the entire tunnel look like something from a fairytale.
The trail is quite flat and accessible to all members of the family, no matter their age. The only part of the trail that is steep is the climb to Halnaker Windmill, but it’s not very long. The views from the top of the hill are glorious, stretching all the way to the sea. The mill has been recently renovated to look new.
There are no cafes on the way, but there is a pub with a lovely garden in Boxgrove, where people who complete the trail usually stopover for lunch or a refreshing drink.
Recommended by Joanna Davis from The world in my pocket
Kingley Vale in South Downs National Park, West Sussex
A family-friendly hike in the UK is the Kingley Vale walk in South Downs National Park. Kingsley Vale Nature Reserve is located in West Sussex, just outside of Chichester. There is a small parking area with approximately 30 spaces. All-day parking costs £3 and sometimes there’s a mobile coffee van selling drinks and snacks. Unfortunately, there are no toilet facilities. The car park is just under a mile from the start of the trails along a wide flat path.
The main ‘Nature Trail’ hike is a circular loop that is 2 miles in length, so not a huge distance for little legs! If you are after a shorter walk, the ‘Yew Tree Trail’ runs alongside the Nature Trails for just over half a mile. It passes through a Yew Tree woodland with trees that are over 500 years old. Many of the branches and trunks have all twisted together. From an education perspective, there are information boards along the length of the trail. These share the history of the woodland and explain what can be seen in the forest today. It’s great for exploring.
The ‘Yew Tree Trail’ connects back up to the ‘Nature Trail’. The trail splits again with both routes having a short section with an incline. The route continuing straight ahead has a staircase, making the incline easier. The view from the top of the stairs is wonderful and well worth the hike up!
At the top are ‘The Devil’s Humps’. These are prehistoric burial mounds that are said to date back over 6000 years!
Continuing on, the woodland route down is much more gradual than the walk up. There are signs that say deer roam the area and can sometimes be spotted. The hike finishes back at the start of the ‘Yew Tree’ trail.
Recommended by Kylie Neuhaus from Between England and Iowa
Mam Tor, Peak District
Towering over the village of Castleton in the Peak District, Mam Tor is one of the most popular hotspots of the Peak District, and understandably so with the superb 360-degree views from the trig point summit.
Standing at 517 metres, you may think that it’s a big climb to reach the top. But it’s actually not! Just 550 metres from Mam Tor trig point is the Mam Tor National Trust car park. Yes, it’s a steep climb to the top, but flagstones lead the way and it’s very doable for the majority of people, even toddlers!
This lovely Mam Tor walk (circular, 4.1km) starts from the Mam Tor National Trust car park and follows the short climb to the Mam Tor trig point. From here, the walk leads you down to Hollins Cross, and then down through the woodlands to meet Broken Road (which is a very broken road, abandoned due to landslides in the 1970s). Following Broken Road the walk leads you up past the entrance to Blue Johns Cavern (tours available to venture inside), before returning back to the car park. With kids, allow a good 2.5 to 3 hours for this walk.
Please also note that there are no facilities on this walk (nor at the car park). Take snacks and water with you, and leave the BBQs at home as these are banned in the National Park. The nearest public toilets and facilities are in Castleton. Mam Tor National Trust car park is free for members, otherwise, pay online using paybyphone.
After your walk, drive down Winnats Pass into Castleton (the views along this road are incredible) and head to The Real Fudge Company for homemade, melt-in-the-mouth fudge; the perfect treat for the kids after a long hike.
Recommended by Jenny Lynn from The Peak District Kids
St Ives to Carbis Bay, Cornwall
One of the best hikes in the UK for families is the journey between St Ives and Carbis Bay in Cornwall. The walk is a small stretch of the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile nonstop hike that takes you right around the coast of Devon and Cornwall, plus a bit of Somerset. The walk between St Ives and Carbis Bay is one of the most beautiful parts of the walk. You’ll be able to take in the stunning sea views, looking out towards Godrevy Lighthouse as well as two of the best beaches in the UK. St Ives is one of the most popular destinations for families worldwide, with five picturesque beaches, tourist shops and ample nearby attractions. Carbis Bay is just 3-minutes by train from St Ives and recently hosted the G7 summit.
To start the walk, try and park at St Ives Train station. The car park often fills up so keep the Leisure Centre car park as a backup. Regular bus services run down the hill, and it’s then a 10-minute walk to the start of the hike. Walk along Porthminster Beach and pass Porthminster Restaurant.
Before and after the walk, there are lots of food options. On Porthminster Beach, you’ll find a restaurant and two takeaways. Carbis Bay beach also has a takeaway.
The walk is easy to navigate and goes straight on most of the way. Follow the acorn signs, which sign the South West Coast Path route. The beginning has lots of steps, but once you reach the top and keep walking for a while, all you’ll need to do is descend to Carbis Bay beach. If you’re travelling with a baby, make sure you bring a baby carrier. The walk is not suitable for pushchairs. For an easier return, hop on the St Ives Branchline train which will transport you back to St Ives in 3-minutes. This walk is perfect to combine with a beach day in St Ives or Carbis Bay.
Recommended by Sylvie Simpson from Travels with Eden
Oxshott Heath and Esher Common, Surrey
The Oxshott Heath in Surrey is a fantastic little forest walk that you can do easily with the kids. There are many different little trails that are easy to walk with young kids too. There is also a cute trail amongst the lovely tall trees. The best part for them will probably be the large sandpit that the kids can play in so don’t forget the bucket and spade. You can also take a picnic with you and you might be lucky to find the bench with the view. There is also a small but free car park. As you are so close to Esher Common make a little visit there; it is just a 5-minute drive.
There is also a free car park at Esher Common. At the start of the walk, there is a wooden climbing structure and a swinging rope which you may have to wait to use but is totally worth waiting for as you watch the kids living their Tarzan moment. There is also a lovely pond called ‘black pond’; a nice place to stop and enjoy the gorgeous calm view. Why not take a little picnic or stopover for a cosy pub lunch after your walk.
Recommended by Author Asha Bhatia, Hometravelguide @travelingbambinos
Causeway Coastal Route, The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Marvel at one of the United Kingdom‘s most astonishing rock formations along the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is a stunning monument of hexagonal pillars formed by lava 60 million years ago, AKA nature’s playground if you’re travelling with kids.
Kids will love this destination as they can jump from one stepping stone to the next or stop and investigate what’s been trapped in the many tide pools. If you have young ones, be sure to dress them in rainboots and prepare a spare outfit in the car.
The Legend of Finn McCool
Most of all, kids will be captivated by the legend of Finn McCool the Giant who, long ago, lived right there along the coast. Irish mythology says that a second giant named Benandonner was threatening Finn from across the Irish Sea in Scotland. Finn planned to face this man so he tore great chunks of the coastline, threw them into the sea, thereby creating a path across to reach Benandonner (hence the name, “the Giant’s Causeway.”). Finn saw Benandonner was substantially larger than himself and quickly retreated home and disguised himself as a baby thanks to his quick-thinking wife. When Benandonner arrives, he sees “baby” Finn and reasons that if the baby is so big, the father must be far larger than Benandonner himself! Benandonner darts back to Scotland, tearing away as much of the Causeway as he can to dissuade Finn from ever crossing to find him.
The “Giant’s Boot” rock formation
For added fun, have the kids try to find the “Giant’s Boot” rock formation. Planning for your visit: Reaching the viewpoint of the formations is about a 1-mile accessible walk from the Visitor Center Parking Lot. What many visitors do not realize is that the site itself is free, as nature should be. However, if you prefer the convenience of onsite parking as well as the resources inside the Visitor Center, there is an entrance fee. If you’re travelling on a budget, consider parking up the road near Bushmill’s for a discounted rate and walk to the back of the visitor centre for the trailhead. You’ll see there are 3 other trail options as well, all varying in length and ability.
Recommended by Catherine Giljohann from Postcard Narrative
Aberdeen to Stonehaven in Scotland
The hike from Aberdeen to Stonehaven along the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail is a beautiful hiking path. The entire Coastal trail runs from St Cyrus to Portsoy but this small section is especially beautiful.
Aberdeen is a large city with a lot of things to see and do while Stonehaven is a quaint seaside town that claims to have the best fish and chips in the world.
One of the most famous sites here is Dunnottar Castle which is located right on the hiking trail so you absolutely need to stop here. The castle sits on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean and the views are exceptional.
The entire hike is around 15 miles long and will take between 4 and 5 hours in total. You can park your car at Union Square Shopping Centre in Aberdeen or at Dunnottar Castle if you’re walking the other way. Luckily, you won’t have to do the entire hike twice. There is a direct train connection from Aberdeen to Stonehaven. You can just take the train on your way back which only takes around 25 minutes and costs less than 5 pounds per person.
If you have younger children you can easily shorten the hike by just doing a small part such as the trail from Stonehaven to Dunnottar Castle. It will then take less than 45 minutes and is fairly easy to manage. There are toilets, cafes and restaurants at the castle and along the hike.
Recommended by Victoria Maria from Guideyourtravel
Pen Y Fan, Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales
The Pen Y Fan is located in Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. It is the highest peak in Southern Britain standing at 2,906 feet (866 metres). The hike to Pen Y Fan takes just over an hour and is easy for families and beginners.
Pen Y Fan is a family-friendly hike in the UK because it has a clear hiking route and path. It is usually busy. But it is straightforward to get to the National Trust sign at the top (great photo opportunity). There are always many families and dogs climbing Pen-Y-Fan so definitely add this to your UK hiking bucket list! On the same route as Pen Y Fan is the second highest peak in South Wales named Corn Du. So you can do two family-friendly walks in one.
The best time to climb Pen Y Fan is at sunrise for the best views over South Wales valleys and the Brecon Beacons. There are free parking facilities at the start of the walk as well as burger vans, coffee stalls and public toilets. Pen Y Fan is about an hour drive from Cardiff, Wales’s capital city, making it a popular and easy hike to reach.
Recommended by Shireen from The Happy Days Travels
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Have you done some beautiful walks in the UK with kids, let us know in the comments.