A room with a view: the best youth hostel walks in England & Wales

Alongside our partners Cotswold Outdoor, OS and Sport England, we’re delighted to be supporting the YHA’s Festival of Walking this autumn. Running from Friday 13th September to Sunday 13th October, the festival is a wonderful chance to get out and discover all that walking in England and Wales has to offer. And to help celebrate this partnership, we’ve asked our friends over at YHA to share absolute favourite places to explore. And, of course, where best to stay when they’re out and about.

England and Wales are home to beautiful landscapes and diverse terrains, making them a true haven for walkers. And from coastal paths to rolling hills, ancient woodlands to rugged mountain ranges, the regions that make up these two countries offer a variety of walking routes that cater to every level of experience. And wherever you’re discovering, there’s likely to be a YHA hostel nearby. 


1. Lake District National Park, Cumbria

Lake District National Park, Cumbria

Known for its dramatic landscapes, the Lake District National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that captivates visitors with its enchanting lakes, waterfalls, mighty mountains, and pretty valleys. 

One of the area’s most iconic hikes is Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, which offers incredible views of the surrounding fells and valleys. We recommend starting from Wasdale, one of the most popular routes to take. 

For a more leisurely stroll, Tarn Hows in Hawkshead is a good choice. Passing through a sequence of beautiful lakes surrounded by charming countryside and magical woodland, the route is a 3km wheelchair-friendly path, perfect for people of all ages and abilities. Keep a look out for Helvellyn and Langdale Pikes in the distance. Keen to explore further? Check out the Lake District National Park map or search for the Lake District in the Ramblers’ library of thousands of tried and tested routes.   

Need somewhere to stay? YHA Wasdale Hall or YHA Hawkshead are both wonderful bases from which to explore the Lake District. 


2. Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park

Snowdonia (Eyri) National Park

Eryri (Snowdonia) is packed full of adventure for nature lovers, boasting rugged mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls, and deep valleys. The crown jewel of this national park is Yr Wyddfa ("uhr-with-va") (Snowdon), the highest peak in Wales. Adventurers can choose to walk along several paths to reach the summit, including the popular Llanberis Path. For those seeking a more challenging walk, the Snowdon Horseshoe is a circular route with paths along breathtaking ridges. Make sure to take in the surrounding Snowdonia views.  

YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass, situated at the foot of Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon), is the perfect place to rest up for the night.   


3. The Southwest Coast Path

the southwest coast path

The Southwest Coast Path is an impressive 630-mile long-distance trail which explores the full length of the dramatic coastline of Southwest England. This route takes ramblers through charming fishing villages, towering cliffs, secluded coves, and golden sandy beaches. Explore enchanting Cornish landscapes, where you can visit the picturesque villages of St Ives and Padstow, or take in the iconic landmarks, including Land's End. For information on Southwest Coast Path stages, the Southwest Coast Path guidebook has plenty of trail information to keep you rambling for days on end.  

There’s no shortage of places to stay either: you can find all of the YHA Cornwall hostels listed on the YHA website.   


4. Yorkshire Dales

Rolling hills in Malham with sheep grazing in the fields

Be prepared to be captivated by the beauty and tranquillity of the Yorkshire Dales, sure to leave you with unforgettable memories of the area’s natural beauty.  

One great walking route in the Yorkshire Dales National Park starts from the delightful village of Grassington and takes you through idyllic countryside. You'll wander along ancient stone walls, blooming meadows, and follow the pleasant tunes of running streams. The route leads you to iconic landmarks such as Malham Cove, a towering limestone cliff formation that leaves visitors in awe. Did you know the cove was also featured in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)?  

And when you’re done exploring, YHA Malham offers comfortable Pennine Way accommodation in the heart of a beautiful dales village.  


5. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path

pembrokeshire coast path

Stretching for 186 miles, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers a stunning coastal experience that showcases the rugged beauty of Wales. With its towering cliffs, golden sandy bays, and diverse wildlife, walks along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path provide a remarkable opportunity to spot seals, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds. Make sure to explore the quaint towns of Tenby and St Davids along the way, immersing yourself in their rich history and glowing culture. You can get to know all the available routes on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path map 

Enjoying sweeping sea views and easy access to stunning coastal paths, YHA Manorbier is a great place to stay while exploring the Pembrokeshire coast path.  


6. Northumberland

northumberland coastal walk

Walking in Northumberland offers a captivating experience for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. And from the rolling hills to the rugged coastline, Northumberland is heaven for hikers. You can take on remarkable journeys like the Hadrian's Wall Path, tracing the footsteps of Roman soldiers and exploring the forts along the route.  

Whatever you decide, the area offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy memorable Northumberland walks.   

And for somewhere to stay, look no further than the YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall. A brand new youth hostel, it’s ideally located in the beautiful countryside of the National Park. 

Outside sitting area at the YHA the Sill

YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall

Want to try a different walking route? Give one of our free, downloadable self-guided maps a go. Or check out the Ramblers’ comprehensive route library, full of tried and tested routes across England, Wales and Scotland. From easy wanders to challenge treks, you’ll be sure to find something to suit all ages and abilities. Where will adventure take you? 

All images © YHA

surrey hills walking

Britain’s Best Walks – South East

The South East has beautiful coastal walks, panoramic hilltop views and city strolls. Check out which of our routes in the South East made the top 100.

Llan Ffestiniog waterfall

Britain’s Best Walks – Wales

From epic mountain walks, beautiful coastal strolls and a much treasured National Trail, check out which of our routes in Wales made the top 100.

fountains abbey in yorkshire

Britain’s Best Walks – Yorkshire and Humber

With moody dales and moors and a dramatic coastline, walkers are spoilt for choice in Yorkshire. Check out which of our routes in Yorkshire made the top 100.