10 walks with amazing views
Enjoy some of Great Britain's finest vistas
1. Lynmouth, Exmoor - Awesome coast and combes
Exmoor National Park is an excellent mix of wild moorland, deep valleys and precipitous cliffs. And this 14-mile circular gives a taste of all three. Follow the South West Coast Path from Countisbury to Lynmouth and into the goat-grazed Valley of the Rocks. This is surely one of the country’s finest stretches of seashore. Then swing inland, where it gets even better. From the top of Myrtleberry Cleave, a bench offers breathtaking views. The Watersmeet valley plunges below, Exmoor’s summits loom ahead, the sea glitters to the side. Descend to leafy Watersmeet, for a cream tea at the National Trust cafe and magical river rambling to Rockford. One last steep haul takes you back to the start.
From Handfast Point, mighty white cliffs drop to shimmering blue waves. Chalk stacks and pinnacles run out into Poole Bay and the Isle of Wight winks beyond. It’s quite the finale to this 7-mile loop along the Isle of Purbeck’s eastern edge. Start in the middle of golden Studland Beach. Head inland to gorse-bright Godlingston Heath and past the Agglestone Rock, a sandstone slab allegedly thrown here by the devil. Then climb to Ballard Down, where views over Swanage, Studland and Poole Harbour get better and better as you go. Handfast Port provides the grand ta-da!
3. Broadway, Worcestershire - An idyllic overview
They say that from the top of Broadway Tower it’s possible to see 16 different counties. Up here, on the Cotswold ridge, views stretch across the Vale of Evesham to the Malverns and into Wales. Make a moderate 6-mile loop from beautiful Broadway village to see for yourself. Follow the Cotswold Way up towards Buckland Wood to admire the Gothic folly of Broadway Tower on the opposite hill. Then walk down the valley and up again to reach it, passing 12th-century St Eadburgha’s Church en route.
4. Caer Caradoc, Shropshire - Handsome hidden hills
When you’re walking the Stretton Hills, what’s below ground is almost as mind-blowing as what’s above. This range is formed of volcanic rocks that are 570 million years old, some of the oldest in England. But the main attractions are the far-reaching views over this often overlooked swathe of England. Especially from Caer Caradoc, a distinctive 459m summit topped with an ancient hill fort. Church Stretton, accessible by rail, is a great start point. The shortest route up-down Caer Caradoc is around 5 miles. If you’ve time, make a 10.5-mile loop, combining it with the Lawley and Hope Bowdler Hill. Three terrific vantage points for the price of one.
5. Mam Tor, Derbyshire - Peak of the Peaks
Is this the best view in the Peak District? Perhaps. Mam Tor straddles the geological fault-line where the national park’s gentler White Peak meets the moorland and gritstone of the Dark Peak. From its 517m summit you can see north over Edale to Kinder Scout but also south to Winnats Pass. For a classic walk, make a moderate 7.5-mile loop from the village of Castleton. Head up Lose Hill and along the Great Ridge to Mam Tor. Return via narrow Cave Dale, along the Limestone Way. Or, if the weather’s poor, opt for the easier route via the Blue John, Treat Cliff and Speedwell show caverns.
6. Wast Water, Cumbria - Britain’s Best View
In 2007, following a national vote, an ITV series announced that Wast Water was officially ‘Britain’s Favourite View’. Which is no surprise, as England’s deepest lake is surrounded by wild, wonderful mountains, including the highest in the country. For a strenuous but spectacular adventure, with some optional scrambling, try a circular route from Wasdale Head. Climb to Black Sail Pass, then tick off Pillar, Scoat Fell, Red Pike and Yewbarrow, all of which offer magnificent views. Yewbarrow in particular provides the ultimate panorama. From here you can see glittering Wast Water spilling amid mighty mountains, including the jagged summit of Scafell Pike.
7. Mynydd Preseli, Pembrokeshire - Ravishing ridge
Though hardly topping 500m, the Mynydd Preseli ridge affords phenomenally far-reaching views. When it’s clear you can see north to Eryri (Snowdonia) and south to Dartmoor from here. On occasion, you can even make out the Wicklow Hills, across the Irish Sea. The linear Golden Road trail across the Preseli’s spine is packed with historic intrigue too. There’s an imposing Iron Age hillfort, ancient menhirs and cairns, and even the alleged burial site of King Arthur himself. It’s a 7-mile hike from Crymych, near Newport, to the car park at Bwlch Gwnyt. Note, there’s no public transport between the two ends.
8. Precipice Walk, Eryri (Snowdonia) - Easy but epic outlook
There are some spectacular viewpoints in (Eryri ) Snowdonia but many take a lot of effort to reach. However, the 3.5-mile Precipice Walk, which loops the old Nannau Estate, is an easy way to get epic views. Perfect for families, the largely level route runs from the car park at Coed Y Groes. It uses an old grazing trail to trace heather-cloaked slopes and the shores of Llyn Cynwch. Along the way are spectacular views to Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and the Moelwynion mountains. You can also gaze over the Mawddach Estuary and up to the formidable north face of Cadair Idris.
9. Eildon Hills, Scottish Borders - Scott’s summits
Sir Walter Scott loved the Eildon Hills. The writer lived nearby, and his favourite view was gazing across the River Tweed to this trio of bulbous summits. Climbing them offers excellent views too. Start from the market square in Melrose and make a 5.5-mile loop, combing all three. First, pick up the Borders Abbey Way, then detour off to climb Eildon North. Take St Cuthbert’s Way across the col and up to Wester Hill. Then finish with Mid Hill, at 422m the Eildon’s highest point. It’s spectacular in every direction, with views stretching down to the Lakes. St Cuthbert’s Way leads back into town.
10. Stac Pollaidh, Highlands - Wildest highs
Spiky Stac Pollaidh is the perfect little mountain. It measures only a modest 612m and is relatively simple to hike up. But it rewards non-mountaineers with some of the wildest views they’ll ever see. That’s because Stac Pollaidh sits in Assynt, in the northwest Highlands, one of the most untamed regions of Britain. The true summit requires a tricky scramble, best avoided. But for minimal effort, you can ascend the path that winds around the hill towards the top. And you’ll bag front-row seats over this empty landscape. A world of sparkling lochans, golden eagles, red deer, the speckled Summer Isles and strange, savage peaks.
We’ve got ideas for hundreds more wonderful walking routes across England, Scotland and Wales, long and short, easy and challenging. Search for routes on our website. Or join a guided walk with a local Ramblers group. Find your nearest Ramblers group and choose a walk that suits your pace, fitness and interests.
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