From mountains and moors to galleries and pubs, Britain is a walking paradise.
June 2018 will see Newcastle and Gateshead in north-east England host the 77-day ‘Great Exhibition of the North’. Three themed walking tours have been created to take visitors to venues and attractions: the Get North Arts Trail, Get North Design Trail and Get North Innovation Trail. Three iconic cultural hubs – BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Sage Gateshead and Great North Museum: Hancock, are the different starting points for the trails.
Northern England is criss-crossed with fantastic walking routes and trails; here are six more worth lacing up your boots for.
1. Hadrian's Wall Path
The northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire, Hadrian’s Wall was created in AD122 and ran the width of England. The 135km (84-mile) Hadrian’s Wall Path goes coast to coast alongside the UNESCO World Heritage Site; dip in anywhere, though for the ultimate in Roman immersion, Housesteads Fort provides the most drama. You can tackle the path as a multi-day walk, or discover some of the shorter sections in 2-3 hours.
2. Cat Bells, the Lake District
Discover one of the world’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Lake District, where you can walk in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. This is spectacular walking terrain, where thigh-busting climbs are rewarded with breath-taking views over England’s largest lakes. One of the best vistas is looking east from the top of Cat Bells hill across the lake of Derwentwater to the mountain of Skiddaw. Cat Bells is one of the most popular hills in the area; it’s also a short, sharp, steep climb of 451 metres – but is worth the effort.
3. Craster to Low Newton Coastal Walk
The seaside sortie, the Craster to Low Newton Coastal Walk, which starts in the spiritual home of kippers (cold-smoked herrings), a classic British breakfast. Relish the finest coast on north-east England, including flower-mottled dunes and the lonely ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Rest your legs and recharge afterwards at Low Newton’s Ship Inn, beloved for its microbrewery and handpicked-crab sandwiches.
4. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
A stroll from Bretton Country Park in Yorkshire culminates in a visit to one of the world’s most impressive outdoor art galleries, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. But first: nature, glorious nature. Take in tranquil lakes, lush valleys and amazing Pennine views before reaching 500 acres of parkland studded with world-class sculptures.
5. The Yorkshire Dales
Who can resist a walk punctuated with a pub visit? From Grassington National Park Centre in the Yorkshire Dales an 17km (11-mile) amble takes in this beautiful, unabashedly healthy-looking terrain threaded with rivers and dotted with Swaledale sheep. Halfway along you’ll encounter picture-postcard pub The Craven Arms: expect real ales on tap, roaring fires and hearty homemade meals.
6. The Pennine Way
The sprawling hills of the Peak District are one of the great jewels of the British countryside. Walkers and pleasure-trippers are drawn by its stone villages, stately homes and rocky outcrops. Head to Edale to get stuck into some characteristically dramatic Peaks terrain – it’s the starting point for the Pennine Way walking trail, and offers low-level ambles and more challenging hikes. The area is also home to some of the area’s best pubs, Old Hall Inn and Old Nags Head, where you can either start or end your walk.