Take a Hike: on a UK coast

What are the 10 best coastal hikes in the UK?

The UK coast is a fabulous environment in which to go walking for inspiring views, fresh sea air and the soothing sound of the waves. Coastal walks are wonderfully varied, ranging from the challenge of roller-coaster cliffs to relatively level terrain either near sea level or many metres above. Seven of our UK houses are on the coast and some of the guided walks we offer are point-to-point so that you can stay near the sea for the entire length of a walk before being transported back to our accommodation. We also have a range of Guided Trail and Island Hopping holidays where coast is king, during which our guests stay in partner hotels.

HF Holidays Pathways Fund

Guided Walking holidays
In a nutshell

These are the holidays at the heart of HF - they're what we do. All of them are full board and include walks transport, enabling you to enjoy day after day of carefree walking. With a choice of walks at different grades each day, you can just get outside and enjoy a full day's walking and leave all the planning and navigation to us; it’s what we’re best at.
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10 of the best coastal walks in the UK

  1. The Jurassic Coast, from Lulworth Cove
  2. Somerset & Devon Coast, Exmoor
  3. The Cornish Coast, from St Ives
  4. Norfolk Coast
  5. Northumberland Coast, from Alnmouth
  6. Along ther Isle of Wight, from Freshwater Bay
  7. North York Moors Coast, from Whitby
  8. The Seven Sisters, South Downs
  9. Isles of Scilly
  10. The Hebrides

1. The Jurassic Coast, from Lulworth Cove

Jurassic Coast Guided Walking Holiday

The Jurassic Coast from Lulworth Coast
Dorset Coast

  • Stay at: West Lulworth House, near Lulworth Cove
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from West Lulworth House or can be tackled as part of a Self-Guided Walking holiday from here too

(View down to the natural rock arch, Durdle Door)

The Jurassic coast of Dorset has a rich geology showcased by iconic features such as the rock arch of Durdle Door, the ‘Lulworth crumple’ at Stair Hole and the uniquely shaped Lulworth Cove – all wonderful landmarks to reach while walking. The remains of a fossilised forest can be seen on the cliffs and the views everywhere are simply stunning. There are abandoned mine buildings, a tower which was moved 25 metres inland to prevent it from falling from the crumbling cliffs, a deserted village where time stopped in 1943 and a terrain with enough ups and downs to challenge the fittest of legs.

Jurassic Coast Guided Walking Holidays
Explore the Jurassic Coast
Discover the best of the Dorset Coast on classic clifftop walks
See Walk options

2. Somerset & Devon Coast, Exmoor

The Somerset & Exmoor Coast Guided Walking Holiday

Somerset & Devon Coast
Exmoor

  • Stay at: Holnicote House, Selworthy
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from Holnicote House or as a Guided Walking Trail holiday on the South West Coast Path

(Porlock Weir on the North Somerset Coast)

The section of the wonderful South West Coast Path which passes through the northern reaches of Somerset and Devon is designated as ‘National Heritage Coast’ such is its natural beauty. To make the absolute most of the hidden coves, windswept headlands, rocky cliffs and picturesque harbours, we take our guests in a westerly direction from Minehead to Croyde Bay. There are wonderful views across the Bristol Channel throughout and towards Lundy Island, and the route takes in picture-postcard settlements such as Ilfracombe, Lynton and Woolacombe. There is also a section within Exmoor National Park where wild ponies graze the cliffside vegetation.

Somerset & North Devon Coast Path
Walk Exmoor's Coast
Step out on the South West Coast Path
SEE Walk Options

3. The Cornish Coast, from St Ives

Cornwall Guided Walking Holiday

The Cornish Coast from St Ives
Cornwall

  • Stay at: Chy Morvah, in St Ives
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from Chy Morvah or can be tackled as part of a Guided Trail holiday on a section of the South West Coast Path on the north Cornwall Coast

(The rock formations of Kynance Cove in Cornwall)

Cornwall is home to the most scenic parts of the South West Coast Path, providing easy access to miles of coastal walks on both the north and south coast. Flower-topped rocky headlands give way to stretches of sandy beach and turquoise sea while ruined buildings that hail from the area’s tin mining days provide captivating focal points to gorgeous coastal views. There are countless highlights to enjoy from the cliffside Minack Theatre and the stunning beauty of Kynance Cove to standing on Land’s End – mainland England’s most westerly point. Breath in the sea air, listen to the waves and the call of gulls.

Cornwall Guided Walking Holidays
Explore the Cornwall Coast
From beautiful beaches to local history, let a little Kernow into your soul
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4. Norfolk Coast, Norfolk

Norfolk Coast Guided Walking Holiday

Norfolk Coast
Norfolk

  • Stay at: Specially selected partner hotels
  • Features: as a Guided Trail holiday                                                                                                 .

(Colourful beach huts on Wells Beach)

The Norfolk coastline is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, internationally renowned for its prolific bird life. It has some of the finest salt marshes and sand dunes in Europe plus coastal villages full of flint buildings with historic charm. Our Guided Trail here takes guests in an easterly direction along the coast from Hunstanton to Sheringham. This is a route full of wide-open spaces with the occasional windmill and little in the way of hills. Winding creeks through the salt marshes provide rich feeding grounds for wading birds; their calls create a wonderfully relaxing soundtrack which perfectly fits the scenic beauty all around.

Norfolk Coast Path
Walk the Norfolk Coast Path
Immerse yourself in the big skies and sweeping seascapes
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5. Northumberland Coast, from Alnmouth

Northumberland Guided Walking Holiday

The Northumberland Coast from Alnmouth
Northumberland

  • Stay at: Nether Grange in Alnmouth
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from Nether Grange or can be tackled as part of the St Oswald's Way Guided Trail holiday

(The classic outline of Bamburgh Castle above the beach)

Northumberland’s coast is a wonderland of sweeping sandy beaches, extensive dunes and traditional coastal settlements with a few isolated islands and iconic castles thrown in for good measure. Two of the most famous – Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh – feature on many of our guided walks in the area. Walks here don’t just deliver on scenery – they score high on tranquillity and rich wildlife too. The area is famous for its bird life and the Atlantic grey seals which haul out on the Farne Islands. Then there’s Lindisfarne Island; it holds an important place in Christian history and is only accessible on foot via its causeway at low tide.

Cornwall Guided Walking Holidays
Explore Northumberland
Wild and wonderful with far fewer crowds,
See Walk options

6. The Isle of Wight, from Freshwater Bay

Isle of Wight Guided Walking Holiday

Isle of Wight Coast
Isle of Wight

  • Stay at: Freshwater Bay House, Freshwater Bay
  • Features: On Guided Walking Holidays from Freshwater Bay House or can be undertaken on a Self-Guided Walking Holiday from here too

(The Needles on the western tip of the Isle of Wight)

England's largest island by its very nature has miles and miles of wonderful coastline to explore on foot. The coastal scenery varies greatly across the island from the near-vertical chalk cliffs to sandy areas where the land is only a few metres above sea level. ‘Must-see’ spots include the chalk stacks of The Needles, the multi-coloured sand cliffs of Alum Bay and the paths of the undercliff – a natural suntrap with interesting geology and the site of several Victorian seaside resorts. From the north coast there are views across to the mainland but from the south, there is nothing but open sea and views along the cliffs.

Isle of Wight Coast
Discover the Isle of Wight
Step straight onto the coast path from the front door of our country house
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7. The North York Moors, from Whitby

North York Moors Guided Walking Holiday

The North York Moors from Whitby
North York Moors

  • Stay at: Larpool Hall in Whitby
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from Larpool Hall or can be tackled as part of a Self-Guided Walking holiday from here too

(The beach at Robin Hood's Bay at low tide)

The North York Moors National Park encompasses an area of both wild heather-clad moorland and windswept coast. Our country house on the outskirts of Whitby gives easy access to both the historic town and The Cleveland Way which follows the contours of the coast. Heading south-east past cliffs which tower over sandy bays and wave-cut platforms, the coast path leads to the historic town of Robin Hood’s Bay – known to be the haunt of smugglers in days gone by. In a north-westerly direction from Whitby, there’s the wild beauty of Runswick Bay and the picture-postcard village of Staithes to enjoy.

North York Moors Guided Walking Holidays
Explore North York Moors
Discover a wild and secret corner of the country
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8. The South Downs and Seven Sisters

South Downs Guided Walking Holiday

South Downs Way & Severn Sisters
South Downs

  • Stay at: Abingworth Hall, Abingworth
  • Features: On Guided Walking Holidays from Abingworth Hall, as a Self-Guided Walking Holiday or on the South Downs Way Guided Trail

(The Seven Sisters aligned along the south coast)

The South Downs Way traverses the South Downs National Park all the way from Winchester to Eastbourne, but it isn’t until it reaches Cuckmere Haven that it follows the coast. And what a stretch of coast it reaches! The meandering River Cuckmere marks the start point of the Seven Sisters – an impressive series of stark white chalk cliffs. As it crosses the cliffs, The South Downs Way becomes a rollercoaster of steep ups and downs with glorious views all the way. The might of the sea can be seen at Birling Gap where out of a row of seven terraced houses, just two now remain. Beachy Head – the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain - marks the end point of the ‘Sisters’.

South Downs Way
Discover the South Downs
Contrast quintessential countryside with cracking coastal walking
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9. The Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly Guided Walking Holiday

The Isles of Scilly Coast
Isles of Scilly

  • Stay at: Specially selected partner hotels
  • Features: on our Isles of Scilly Guided Trail walking holidays                                                        .

(Just one of the stunning Isle of Scilly beaches)

Just off the most south-westerly tip of Cornwall lie the Isles of Scilly – a gorgeous group of islands which enjoy their own micro-climate and a laid-back way of life. Each island has its own character and only the largest are inhabited. Walks here deliver gorgeous views of white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise sea, dark, craggy cliffs and a plethora of wildlife. From the sub-tropical gardens of Tresco to the tiny island of Bryher which only has one short stretch of road, these islands are the place to take your time to be at one with nature and drink in the beauty with your eyes.

Isles of Scilly Guided Walking Holidays
Explore The Isles of Scilly
An idyllic island escape is closer than you might think
See Walk options

10. The Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Hebrides Guided Walking Holiday

The Inner Hebrides
Scottish Islands

  • Stay at: Specially selecetd partner hotels
  • Features: On Guided Trail Walking Holidays                                                                                  .

(White sand and aquamarine water on Vatersay Beach)

Enjoy a fantastic combination of walks on five very different islands of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland: Skye, Raasay, South Uist, Barra and Vatersay, and journeys through North Uist, Benbecula and Eriskay too. These remote islands are home to craggy peaks, sandy beaches, stretches of wild machair grassland and rich wildlife. On Skye, the eerie pinnacles of the Quiraing provide an eye-catching backdrop to walks while on Barra it’s the expanses of empty sand beaches which will inspire. On Raasay the peak of Dun Caan beckons for panoramic views across the whole island and beyond. This is truly a place to get away from it all.

South Downs Way
Discover the Hebrides
Island hop around this Scottish archipelago for a wild adventure
SEE Walk Options

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