Take a Hike: to a natural UK landmark

What are the 10 best walks to natural landmarks in the UK?

Mother nature has produced many natural wonders that provide fabulous focal points for walking holidays – a reason to go, a reason to stop, a place to photograph or to post about on social media perhaps. Whatever your motivation for seeking them out, here are some of our favourite and most striking natural landmarks in the UK, all of which can be reached on the guided walking holidays that we offer.

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 UK natural landmarks

  1. Durdle Door, Dorset Coast
  2. Cautley Spout, Western Yorkshire Dales
  3. Malham Cove, Southern Yorkshire Dales
  4. The Needles, Isle of Wight
  5. The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
  6. Sgwd y Eira & Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons
  7. Old Man of Hoy, Orkney Islands
  8. Basalt Columns & Caves, Isle of Staffa
  9. The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
  10. Dovedale, Peak District

1. Durdle Door, Dorset Coast

Dorset Coast Guided Walking Holiday

Durdle Door
Dorset Coast

  • Stay at: West Lulworth House, Dorset Coast
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from West Lulworth House or can be visited as part of a self-guided walking holiday from here too

(Durdle Door seen from the Dorset beach beside)

This iconic natural limestone arch has been motivating walkers to climb the steep path from Lulworth Cove or to set out along the series of cliffs known as the ‘bottoms’ for countless decades. The arch sits on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and is one of the most photographed spots in the area. The dream shot is to capture the sunrise through the arch or lit up by a full moon. The arch is thought to be about 10,000 years old but the ‘crumple’ in the folded rocks which sit beside it probably dates back to about 25 million years. Sit on top of the cliffs and gaze down on this wonder of nature – and of course, take a photo or two!

Durdle Door Dorset Coast Guided Walking Holidays
Walk to Durdle Door
Go in search of this celebrated limestone arch
See Walk options

2. Cautley Spout, Western Yorkshire Dales

Western Yorkshire Dales Guided Walking Holiday

Cautley Spout
Western Yorkshire Dales

  • Stay at: Thorns Hall, Sedbergh
  • Features: on Guided Walking Holidays from Thorns Hall or can be visited as part of a Self-Guided Walking holiday from here too

(Cautley Spout cascading from the Howgills)

Those who venture out into the wilds of the Howgill Fells in the Yorkshire Dales are treated to views of Cautley Spout – England’s longest-drop, above-ground waterfall. Water tumbles 200m down a steep gully in a series of cascades from the rim of Cautley Crags down to Cautley Holme Beck. A footpath follows the course of the falls and allows walkers to enjoy the sight and sound of them while ascending or descending. One of our favourite walking options is to ascend the path past Cautley Spout to reach The Calf – the highest point in the Howgills – from where there are panoramic views across the Yorkshire Dales to the high peaks of the Lake District.

Cautley Spout, Western Yorkshire Dales
Seek out Cautley Spout
Marvel at England's tallest falls, above ground
SEE Walk Options

3. Malham Cove, Southern Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove Guided Walking Holiday

Malham Cove
Southern Yorkshire Dales

  • Stay at: Newfield Hall, Southern Yorkshire Dales
  • Features: on Guided Walking Holidays from Newfield Hall, and on Self-Guided breaks from here too

(The gateway to Malham Cove)

Malham Cove is a steep, horseshoe-shaped limestone cliff which until the 1700s had a river cascading over its rim. The water plunged over 300ft (91 m) to the valley below, creating a waterfall higher than Niagara Falls! Today, there is no waterfall at all, except briefly after exceptionally heavy rain. The top of the cove is made of limestone pavement – an unusual geological feature where the rock is criss-crossed by ‘grykes’ – fissures in the rock. These have been colonised by a range of specialist plants while the cliff itself makes the perfect home for Peregrine falcons which nest here each spring. Malham Cove is one of the ‘must-see’ places in the Yorkshire Dales and is very close to Newfield Hall – our country house in Malham.

Malham Cove Guided Walking Holidays
Trek to Malham Cove
See the Cove but climb to stand on limestone pavement above it too
See Walk options

4. The Needles, Isle of Wight

Helvellyn Guided Walking Holiday

The Needles
Isle of Wight

  • Stay at: Freshwater Bay House
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from Freshwater Bay House, and on Self-Guided breaks here too

(The Needles seen from above Alum Bay)

The toothy row of three chalk sea stacks known as ‘The Needles’ are one of the Isle of Wight’s most iconic spots. Sitting off the western end of the island, they can be viewed from the cliffs above. From this vantage point it’s easy to appreciate what a hazard these pillars of rock pose to shipping – so naturally there is a lighthouse here to warn mariners to steer clear. You can stand here and muse about how The Isle of Wight was once joined to the mainland by a chalk ridge which extended to Dorset; Old Harry Rocks near Swanage mark the other end.

The Needles, Isle of Wight
See The Needles
Stroll to the western tip of the Isle of Wight for these spires
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5. The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway Guided Walking Holiday

Giant's Causeway
Northern Ireland

  • Stay at: Specially selected partner hotels
  • Features: on a guided walking trail holiday on Northern Ireland's Causeway Coast

(Basalt columns on the Giant's Causeway)

The famous hexagonal basalt columns that make up the Giant’s Causeway in Country Antrim are a spectacular geological formation which has intrigued and delighted visitors for centuries. There are approximately 40,000 columns, all tightly packed together, with the tallest being an impressive 12 metres high. They were formed by the rapid cooling of lava from an underwater volcano some 60 million years ago – or by an angry Irish Giant called Finn McCool – depending on which you prefer to believe! The setting for the columns couldn’t be more beautiful and they make a fantastic stopping point as part of a coastal walk.

Giant's Causeway Guided Walking Holidays
Stride the Giant's Causeway
Lose yourself in the myths associated with this area
see walk options

6. Sgwd Yr Eira & Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons

Sgwd Yr Eira Brecon Beacons Guided Walking Holiday

Sgwd Yr Eira
Brecon Beacons

  • Stay at: Nythfa Hall, Brecon
  • Features: On Guided Walking Holidays from Nythfa Hall or can be undertaken on a Self-Guided Walking Holiday from here too

(Sgwd Yr Eira, one of a series of cascades in Waterfall Country)

Sgwd Yr Eira is one of the many waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons’ ‘Waterfall Country’ – an area which boast an unusually high concentration of falls which tumble through steep-sided, forested gorges. The area is home to many walking trails which allow walkers to reach the best of the falls. Sgwd Yr Eira is rather special though. One footpath actually passes behind this 10-metre cascade of thundering water! To stand inches away from such a powerful force of nature is truly exhilarating, especially after heavy rain. This experience is a real highlight of walking here and one not to be missed!

Sgwd Yr Eira, Brecon
Walk behind Sgwd Yr Eira
For a completely different view of the Brecon Beacons
SEE Walk Options

7. Old Man of Hoy, Orkney Islands

Orkney Islands Guided Walking Holiday

Old Man of Hoy
Orkney Islands

  • Stay at: Specially selected partner hotels
  • Features: on a Guided Walking holiday on Orkney and an island hopping holiday where we visit Orkney and Shetland

(The Old Man of Hoy stood proudly)

The 70 or so islands which make up the Orkney Islands just off the Scottish coast are perfect for ‘getting away from it all’. Hoy is one of the most rugged islands and its north-west coast is home to the Orkneys’ most famous landmark – The Old Man of Hoy. This 449 ft (137 m) sea stack is one of the tallest in the UK and is made of Old Red Sandstone sitting on a plinth of basalt. It can be viewed from a clifftop vantage point reached on foot from Rackwick Bay – a wonderful walk from which to enjoy stunning views of the island’s wild interior and craggy coastline..

OrkneyGuided Walking Holidays
Visit the Old Man of Hoy
Go in search of the UK's most spectacular sea stack
See Walk options

8.Basalt columns & caves, Isle of Staffa

Isle of Staffa Guided Walking Holiday

Basalt Columns & Caves
Isle of Staffa

  • Stay at: Specially selected partner hotels
  • Features: On a guided island hopping holiday of Mull and Iona                                                .

(Basalt columns concealing the entrance to Fingal's Cave)

The tiny Scottish Island of Staffa, just off the west coast of its larger neighbour Mull, is famed for its amazing cliff made of hexagonal columns of basalt – the same sort of rock formation that makes up the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. A large gap in the columns marks the entrance to Fingal’s Cave – a large sea cave which has amazing acoustics. The best views of the cliffs are from a boat so when we visit, it’s one of the rare occasions that’s it’s time to hang up the walking boots for a bit. The area is home to a range of wildlife including dolphins, porpoises, minke whales, puffins and other seabirds.

Mull and Iona Island Hopping Holiday
Find Fingal's Cave
Seek out this giant's hideaway
SEE Walk Options

9. The Quiraing, Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye Guided Walking Holiday

The Quiraing
Isle of Skye

  • Stay at: Specially selected partner hotels
  • Features: on guided walking and island hopping holidays in the Inner Hebrides                      .

(Cliffs and pinnacles of the Quiraing)

Largest of the Inner Hebrides, the isle of Skye is home to a surreal landscape like no other. A landslip of epic proportions on the Trotternish Escarpment in the north of the island has produced everything from toothy pinnacles of rock to hidden grass-covered plateaus in an area known as the Quiraing. The area has a supernatural feel and has been used as a filming location many times. Three geological giants are passed as you explore on foot: The Needle, The Table and The Prison. There are also far-reaching views across the sea to enjoy towards the islands of Rona and Raasay.

Hebrides Guided Walking Holidays
Explore The Quiraing
Island hop to an otherworldly landscape
See Walk options

10. Dovedale, Peak District

Dovedale Guided Walking Holiday

Peak District

  • Stay at: Peveril of the Peak, Dovedale
  • Features: On Guided Walking Holidays from Peveril of the Peak and on Self-Guided Walking beaks from here too

(Thorpe Cloud overlooking the Dovedale Gorge)

At Dovedale, the crystal-clear waters of the River Dove weave their way past towering limestone cliffs which feature soaring pinnacles, natural rock arches and many caves. A walk through the gorge will make you feel rather tiny but it’s a route that shouldn’t be rushed. Take your time to view the shapely ‘mini-Matterhorn’ peak of Thorpe Cloud, the rocky outcrop of Lover’s Leap and to count the ‘Twelve Apostles’. Along the way you might spot Dippers and Grey wagtails bobbing on the rocks. Enjoy the scenery then cross the river using the famous stepping-stones en route back to our country house which is a short distance away.

Dovedale, Peak District
Discover Dovedale
Uncover some wonderful walking in the heart of England
SEE Walk Options

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