Whatever the weather, there’s nothing quite like a coastal walk to bring the family together. But with so much coastline to explore, it can be tricky dropping the pin and deciding where to go. There are important factors for you to consider such as how difficult is the terrain? Where can we stop along the way? And can I do coastal walks with my dog?
With our handy guide below, you’ll discover some of the UK’s best and most beloved coastal walks. So all you have to do is pack the car and hit the trail.
Explore the Welsh coastal path
Celebrated as one of the world’s best long-distance walks, the South West Coastal Path in Wales offers 630 miles of spectacular scenery. In fact, it’s the UK’s longest National Trail. But that doesn’t mean little legs can’t take part! You can pick and choose from a range of trails to create a coastal walk fit for the whole family.
There are themed trails such as geology walks, heritage walks, and wildlife walks. And if you’re a fan of Rosamunde Pilcher, you can see some of the places featured in her novels and TV adaptations.
Our top pick for unforgettable family coastal walks in the South West? Using GPS to hunt for hidden caches. Or joining a Treasure Trail and solving clues along the path. You can also tune in to the audio trail at Stonebarrow Hill, and discover stories of smugglers from the past.
The Welsh coastal path has plenty of easy access walks (with wide, flat paths and no steps or stiles). So you can sample the stunning landscape with a wheelchair, mobility scooter or pushchair.
And if you’re asking, ‘Can I do the coastal walks with my dog?’ you’ll be happy to know your fur family can roam the entire path too.
Getting there: Look out for the acorn Coast Path signs.
Difficulty: Easy to difficult, depending on the walk.
Pit stops: Pubs, cafés and teashops dotted along the coastal walk.
Discover Old Harry Rocks
White chalk sea stacks. Remarkable rock formations. And the unspoiled majesty of the Jurassic Coast. Old Harry Rocks in Dorset might just become your family’s most memorable coastal walk yet.
Legend goes that the area was named after notorious local pirate Harry Paye. Whether that’s true or not, you’ll feel like an old-world wanderer along this fascinating path. And if you go in spring or summer, there are abundant wildflowers and butterflies.
Along the way, you’ll discover plenty of local delights. From scrumptious Dorset apple cake, to fresh fish and farm produce. The perfect way to recharge after all that trekking!
Getting there: Start at the South Beach car park in Studland, Dorset.
Difficulty: Easy 1-2 hour circular walk, with some sheer cliff edges.
Pit stops: Eateries in Studland include The Bankes Arms and THE PIG – on the Beach.
Head for the Coast to Coast Walk route
For a real adventure, why not set off on the 192-mile Coast to Coast Walk in Northern England? It weaves through three national parks: the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Mores.
Walk in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright, who devised the breath-taking trail. But be prepared, because it can take between 12 days and a few weeks to do the entire thing! That being said, you can break it up into smaller sections. Plus, there are several tour operators who can help plan your trip – and guide you along the way.
Getting there: Starts at St Bees Head in Cumbria, and ends at Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. You can get there on public transport.
Difficulty: Easier to undertake between May and September, but can be difficult in bad weather. Pre-training is advised.
Pit stops: Book accommodation in advance. There are many towns and villages to refuel at along the way.
Whitehaven coastal walk
Cumbria’s coastline always makes it onto the list of the UK’s best coastal walks. And Whitehaven is a winner, with hidden beaches and a historic harbour. Known as the Colourful Coast project, it eventually joins up with Wainwright’s Coast to Coast path.
Getting there: Start by Wellington Terrace at Whitehaven Harbour, near the Beacon Museum. You can walk end-to-end, or catch a bus or train back.
Difficulty: Easy with some uneven terrain and steep cliff drops.
Pit stops: There are pubs, cafés and toilets in Buttermere Village.
This is just a sample of the wild and wonderful coast walks to explore in the UK. So grab your waterproofs and trusty walking boots, and we’ll see you on the trail.