20 Simply Stunning Family Walks in the UK
If (like us) you’re always looking for lovely family walks in the UK to explore with the kids, we’ve got 20 really lovely suggestions for you.
You can’t go wrong with a family walk in the countryside or along the UK coastline, whether you’re taking a UK staycation somewhere new, visiting from further afield or staying local.
Kids love getting outside into nature and spotting wildlife or making dens. They’re fun, educational and free. But if you unknowingly choose a walk with kids that is not very family-friendly, you’ll soon know about it.
All of these routes have been tried and tested. Some of them by us, and others by some lovely UK bloggers who gave us their family-friendly walk recommendations.
There’s a good geographical spread of these walks for kids with a mix of mountain walks, coastal walks near some of the best beaches in the UK, forest walks and country walks. And don’t forget the hugely popular Gruffalo Trails!
Family walks can be enjoyed all year round, even in the winter. If you’re looking for things to do at Christmas, many of these walks on a clear, crisp winter’s day would be spectacular. Also, don’t miss our post on the best kids backpacks for travel. They also double up really well as kids hiking bags.
Wherever you decide to go, please remember to take all of your litter with you and help keep the British countryside beautiful.
*The character trails and facilities in some places are currently closed so we recommend checking their websites for the most up to date status*
Family Walks in Bedfordshire
Oughtonhead Nature Reserve
Location: 76 Swinburne Avenue, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 2RR.
Oughtonhead is a beautiful nature reserve with the River Oughton running through it and is managed by the Herts Wildlife Trust. It is teeming with wildlife. There’s no official walking trail, just lots of criss-crossing paths through farmland and woodland.
If you’re visiting in the summer, there’s a lovely spot for swimming with a rope swing, although the water is very cold. It’s a good idea to bring beach shoes beause the stones on the river bed can be quite sharp. You can find the swimming spot by following the river.
There are no facilities here but it is not far from the centre of Hitchin where there are lots of shops and restaurants. Nearby is Pegsdon Hills and Hoo Bit where you’ll see a beautiful field of poppies in the summer months. You might also want to check out the National Trust run Dunstable Downs for incredible views.
Parking: There is no official car park but there are a few parking spaces in a small car park just off Swinbourne Lane or at the bottom of Westmill Lane. If you put Oughtonhead into your SatNav, it will take you to the Swinbourne Lane car park.
Rushmere Country Park
Location: Linslade Road, Heath and Reach, LU7 0EB.
Rushmere Country Park is a large 400 acre area of woodland and heathland. There are lots of walking and cycling trails but our favourite is the sculpture trail which is an easy, all-access walk with fairy doors carved into trees and a giant chair. This has recently been expanded to make the walk a little longer with more sculptures of woodland creatures to find.
Right next to the car park and the Heron’s View Visitor Centre is a large grassy area with picnic tables where the kids can have a run around. The Tree Tops café is in the visitor centre and there is a lovely decked area outside here where you can sit and watch the herons nesting in the treetops. Next to the visitor centre you’ll find the play area and just around the corner from there is a really large slide built into the slope.
Parking: there is a large on site car park at a flat cost of £3 which is payable by bank card on exit.
Family Walks in Buckinghamshire
Location: 3 miles west of Wendover in the Chiltern Hills. The circular walk starts at the car park.
Coombe Hill is a National Trust managed site and is one of the best National Trust walks for kids. It offers an easy 1 mile walk through chalky grassland and woodland near the Prime Ministers’ country estate, Chequers. The views out across the Buckinghamshire countryside are worth the climb and is one of the loveliest walks in the Chilterns. If you have a pushchair with you, you’ll be able to manage the first half of the walk up to the Boer War monument.
There are no facilities on this walk so you would need to bring a picnic if you’re planning to spend the day here but it’s a lovely place to sit and watch red kites soaring past catching a thermal. Nearest public toilet facilities are in Wendover.
Also worth checking out is the nearby Tring Natural History Museum.
Parking: There are a few spaces in the free car park on Lodge Hill road, HP17 0UR. Parking is limited here so it is best to go early.
Location: Upper Icknield Way, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, HP22 5NQ
Wendover Woods is a large area of forest managed by Forestry England in the Chiltern Hills. The four Chiltern Hills walks they offer cater for different abilities and range in length from 0.5 miles. There is an easy access trail that is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
As well as the walking trails there is a Go Ape and play areas for kids. They also have a fun Gruffalo orienteering trail for little ones to teach them about map reading. It costs £1.50 and you need to collect the map from the visitor centre. The aim is to find the 12 Gruffalo markers along the trail which really helps inspire our boys to walk further.
Make sure to check out the Tring Natural History Museum which is only 15 minutes away. It’s a fabulous and free day out for the family.
Parking: There is a lot of parking on site which costs £2.50 for up to 2 hours to £9 for the whole day.
Family Walks in Cornwall
St Ives to Carbis Bay
Submission by Sylvie from Travels with Eden
Location: Between St Ives and Carbis Bay
The picturesque journey between St Ives and Carbis Bay in Cornwall is one of the best walks in Cornwall for kids. The walk is 1.5 miles long and covers a section of the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile route all the way around the coast, from Poole Harbour in Dorset to Minehead in Somerset.
Being one of the coastal walks in Cornwall between two beautiful beaches (Porthminster and Carbis Bay) means that kids can be rewarded with a day at the beach or a dip in the sea.
The route starts by walking the path high above Porthminster Beach for stunning views of St Ives town. There are plenty of benches and picnic spots on the way up. The second section has stunning sea views before descending down onto Carbis Bay Beach.
For a longer walk, carry on the path towards Porthkidney beach. With very young children, it’s best to use a baby carrier as the route isn’t fully pushchair accessible.
Parking: Visitors can also park in the train station car park, although in high season it may be best to park in Trenwith car park.
Family Walks in Cumbria
Stock Ghyll Waterfall, Ambleside
Submission by Demi from Around The World With Her
Location: Ambleside Central, 10 Lake Road, Ambleside, LA22 0AD
The Lake District National Park is known for some amazing hikes. For families, there are plenty of shorter walks in the Lake District. In particular, there are lots of Ambleside walks and many people base themselves in here to enjoy some of the best walks in the Lake District. One brilliant family-friendly walk is Stock Ghyll Waterfall.
The walk starts from Ambleside Central, where you will find lots of parking, on street or in larger car parks. The route takes you up a slight incline as you follow Stock Ghyll river. Children will love the walk, as there are often squirrels along the way.
Once at the top, the view of the waterfall is sunning. There are several benches along the route too – perfect for picnics or just resting! The route is circular and takes about an hour in total from the centre of Ambleside making it one of the best Lake District walks for beginners.
Parking: Ambleside Central, 10 Lake Road, Ambleside, LA22 0AD
Family Walks in Derbyshire
Submission by Jenny from Peak District Kids
Location: Between Matlock and Bakewell near the village of Birchover
Stanton Moor is one of our favourite family walks in the Peak District and is a great one for little ones as there’s lots of variety. It’s only 2km, circular, reasonably flat, boasts amazing views, AND has so much to explore – unusual stones, rocks to climb, woodland, open views and muddy puddles! We often spend a good few hours doing this walk!
At the beginning is a large rock that looks like a corkscrew, it’s begging to be climbed by the grownups if you’re up for the challenge. Then half way round is the Nine Ladies Circle; a Bronze Age circle used by the Druids.
If you visit the Peak District over summer, the moors are covered in a thick blanket of purple heather. With the change of season, the heather turns to a rusty red. Just beautiful and one of the best walks in Derbyshire for kids.
Parking: Birchover Quarry car park, Birchover, DE4 2DW (free parking)
Submission by Charlotte from Bursting my Bubbles
Location: Start from your parking spot at S11 7TZ and walk along the Padley Gorge Trail
Padley Gorge is a walk based in the Peak District in Derbyshire, between the Longshaw Estate and Grindleford train station. Now this walk can be as long or as short as you like, as there are plenty of bridges along your way for you to cross over and turn back. It’s one of the best Peak District circular walks for kids. You can go right down to the train station and back, or start from Longshaw with walks varying from 10-15 minutes to 60-90 minutes.
The best thing about this walk is the stream down the middle of the gorge where, if you fancy, you can have a swim and a play. It’s beautiful. Also, after about 10-15 minutes of walking, you will see a bridge and just by that bridge is a tree swing. At the end of the walk there are two ice cream trucks for a post walk treat!
Parking: National Trust Longshaw Estate Car Park, S11 7TZ (parking charges apply) or there is free on road parking on the B6521 near the ice cream vans.
Family Walks in Dorset
Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door
Submission by Angela from The Life of Spicers
Location: Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre – 26 Main Rd, Wareham, BH20 5RQ
Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are just over a mile apart in distance. There is a coastal path connecting the two with amazing views making this one of the most family-friendly walks in Dorset.
It’s not recommended to use a pushchair for your walk between Lulworth and Durdle Door, however it’s not impossible to take one. There are some inclines along the walk which may prove difficult for less abled walkers and pushchairs, but generally this is an easy to moderate level walk.
Parking is available at either Durdle Door or Lulworth Cove, both public car parks are charged the same rate, however if you’re looking for some great local fish and chips and a view across the cove, I recommend parking at Lulworth as the car park is larger and there are more amenities available for families.
Parking: Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre – 26 Main Rd, Wareham, BH20 5RQ
Family Walks in East Sussex
Submission by Danni from Live in 10 Countries
Location: Seven Sisters Country Park, Exceat, nr Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 4AD
With a lovely fresh breeze, kite flying and great views, the walk at Seven Sisters is a lovely way to get some exercise. It’s an easy drive of around 40-45 mins from Brighton, taking in both a great stretch of Sussex coast and part of the South Downs. It is also easily reached on a day trip from London by train.
Star billing goes, of course, to the chalk cliffs which give this area its character.
A visitor centre with car park is provided and from there you have several walk lengths to suit older and younger legs. A half hour will take you to the beach where you can skim some stones or 40 minutes to a row of picturesque coastguard cottages which make a great photo. Two or three hours will have you at Birling Gap which is also National Trust protected.
Parking: There is a pay and display car park at the visitor’s centre. Parking costs £3 for up to 2 hours or £4 all day.
Family Walks in Hertfordshire
Location: Sandridge, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL4 9DQ
Heartwood Forest is a vast area of land managed by the Woodland Trust near St Albans. It’s very popular with dog walkers and there are lots of paths, some through open meadow and others through ancient wooded areas.
The 1.5 mile Magical Meander trail is ideal if you’re looking for easy walks in Hertfordshire with kids as it takes you through the Magical Wood where you’ll find carved wooden animals and picnic tables if you need a rest.
The best times to visit are in the spring when the forest floor is covered in bluebells and in the summer when the meadows are bursting with wild flowers.
If you like sculpture trails, you might also like to check out the nearby Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail or there are more scenic walks at Panshanger Park and Ashridge Estate (where you’ll find some beautiful bluebell woods in the spring).
Parking: There is free on-site parking with a large overflow car park.
Family Walks in Merseyside
Submission by Nancy from Around the World At The Weekend
Location: Victoria Road, Formby, Liverpool, L37 1LJ
There is nowhere more exciting for a walk than the pinewoods, sand dunes and beach at Formby in Merseyside. Apart from the outstanding and varied landscape, you will discover a pine forest inhabited by gorgeous and rare red squirrels, sand dunes that are perfect for sledging and a beach which is seven miles long. If you want to avoid the crowds – come on a cloudy day as it’s just as beautiful and you will have it all to yourself.
The National Trust run beach at Formby is one of the jewels of the North West and one of its best kept secrets. There is nowhere more lovely if you’re looking for walks in Merseyside.
Parking: There is a large car park on Lifeboat Road, Formby, L37 2EB
Family Walks in Norfolk
Location: High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Brandon, IP27 0AF
Thetford Forest lies on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. The forest is managed by Foresty England and has many walking and cycling trails as well as playground areas and a Go Ape at the High Lodge area of the forest.
One of the most fun Norfolk walks for kids we ever did was the Shaun the Sheep Glow Trail. They also had the Gruffalo Spotters Trail here and although neither are running at the moment, it is an unofficial Gruffalo Trail as you can still spot Gruffalo characters as you walk. Keep an eye out on the Forestry England website regarding the return of the Gruffalo Spotters Trail as they say it is coming back soon.
There’s a large café serving a good range of hot and cold food and toilet facilities. There’s also a Gruffalo orienteering trail with giant sculptures.
Parking: there is a large parking area. Parking costs £2 for up to 1 hour and it is £12.50 for a full day. You pay at the machines by the main visitor centre before you leave.
Family Walks in Northumberland
Submission by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
Location: Between Hexham and Haltwhistle
Hadrian’s Wall offers some fabulous hiking opportunities, ranging anywhere from a couple of hours to seven days to walk the full length of the wall from coast to coast. Hexham makes a good base, as there are a number of interesting historical sights along this stretch of the wall that will keep family members of all ages entertained.
These include Housesteads Roman Fort, Chesters Roman Fort, the Roman Army Museum and Milecastle 42, which is the best of the many milecastles found along the wall. And thanks to the AD 122 hop-on-hop-off bus, you can easily visit these sights and others without a car. This is especially convenient when hiking, since you don’t have to retrace your steps to return to your car. The bus runs between Hexham bus station and Haltwhistle rail station once per hour, stopping at various points of interest along the way.
Parking: There are various car parks in Hexham or if you want to visit English Heritage run Housesteads Roman Fort, there is a car park on site at NE47 6NN. It costs £3 for up to 3 hours. If you want to drive to various points along Hadrian’s wall, you can purchase a day pass for £10 which is valid in all Northumberland National Park Authority car parks.
Family Walks in Suffolk
Location: Coastguard Cottages, Minsmere Road, Dunwich, Suffolk, IP17 3DJ
Dunwich Heath is National Trust owned with criss crossing paths on heathland in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is one of the loveliest areas for walks in Suffolk. They have information points along the pathways where kids can learn about indigenous animals and their habitat. It’s right on the coast and Dunwich Heath beach is one of the most unspoiled of the Suffolk beaches.
If you are looking for easy walks in Suffolk with kids, we highly recommend the coastal path from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness. If you are staying near the popular beach resort of Southwold, there are lovely walks around the harbour and across on the ferry to Walberswick.
Nearby RSPB Minsmere is also a lovely place for a walk (see more in our Dunwich walks post). We have a very comprehensive post on things to do in Suffolk and things to do in Suffolk with kids if you’re thinking of a family holiday in Suffolk, including other ideas for Suffolk walks.
Parking: there is onsite parking and it is a flat £5 fee for the day (or £15 for campervans and motorhomes). If you are a National Trust member, parking is free. Looking for somewhere to stay? There is a great coastal campsite at Dunwich.
Family Walks in Yorkshire
Submission by Sinead from Best in York Guide
Location: Near the village of Malham, BD23 4DG
Many families visit Malham in the Yorkshire Dales to complete the short thirty-minute walk to the base of Malham Cove. But in the other direction, is one of the loveliest family-friendly walks in Yorkshire to Janet’s Foss, a woodland waterfall. From the designated car park in Malham, follow the signposts for Janet’s Foss.
The gravel and stone flag path crosses fields before entering the shaded woodland section of the walk. The path becomes rocky and uneven but is generally flat. It winds through the wood – which is covered in aromatic wild garlic and bluebells in Spring – and arrives at pretty Janet’s Foss waterfall. Return to Malham village via the same route.
An easy 3 miles, two-hour round-trip hike with great scenery and an array of plants and bugs to be seen on the way makes it one of the best Yorkshire Dales walks for families.
Parking: Chapel Gate, Malham, Skipton, BD23 4DG
Family Walks in Scotland
Ben A’an, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Submission by Ela & Beata from Stunning Outdoors
Location: A 90 minute drive north of Glasgow – Callander, FK17 8HY
Located only a short drive from Scotland’s main cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Ben A’an is incredibly popular and many claim it’s their favourite hill in Scotland!
At 454 metres above sea level Ben A’an may not be a big hill, however its location, in the heart of the National Park, and the top views over Loch Katrine and to Ben Venue make it a truly wonderful viewpoint. The trail is less than 2km each way and path leading to Ben A’an is well made with some rock steps higher up, but not exposed and manageable by younger walkers.
All these factors added together make walk up to the top of Ben A’an a perfect family walk!
Parking: Best place to park is Ben A’an dedicated paid for car park, off A821, at the top of Loch Achray.
Submission by Kathi from Watch Me See
Location: A 30 minute drive south of Aberdeen – Stonehaven, AB39 2TL
The coastal walk to the stunning ruins of Dunnottar Castle is one of the top things to do in Stonehaven on the Scottish east coast. From the picturesque harbour of the seaside town, a footpath leads first up the slope and then leisurely along the rugged cliffs towards the castle. Expect to spend around 40 minutes each way.
About a third of the way, the War Memorial offers a history lesson as well as beautiful views. Far below the path, there are hidden bays and sea stacks – seals or dolphins can often be spotted at sea. Dunnottar Castle at the end of the trail is a gorgeous sight, but also an interesting castle to visit to learn about Scottish history – a must-see!
Parking: There is parking near the harbour in Stonehaven (behind Tolbooth Museum), at the central Market Square and further along the waterfront promenade at The Links.
Family Walks in Wales
Miners’ Track, Snowdon
Submission by Sarah from Veggie Vagabonds
Location: Llanberis, Caernarfon, LL55 4NU
Snowdon is a stunning peak located in Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Although the most famous route up is the Snowdon Pyg Track, there are in fact numerous scrambles and hikes with the Miners’ Track being one of the best walks in Wales for families. Reaching the summit may be too strenuous for families but you can follow the wide and well-paved Miners’ Track that weaves through the valley, inclining very gradually.
For families, you can walk to Llyn Glaslyn, the second lake, and finish the walk here as from here the trail up Snowdon inclines dramatically towards to summit. The walk to the lake and back is a total of 2.8 miles with a clearly marked, wide footpath the whole way. The walk begins at the Snowdon visitor’s centre where there is a cafe, toilets and a car park.
The whole walk is surrounded by stunning towering peaks and you can see the remains of the old mill as you walk.
Parking: The Pen-y-pass car park, Llanberis, Caernarfon, LL55 4NU