Reboot: on a UK summit

What are the 10 best summit walks in the UK?

For many, one of the joys of exploring on foot is the challenge of reaching a summit followed by the delight of the views which unfold all around. We have country houses located in the UK’s most popular upland areas and offer a range of walks to suit a wide audience. Join us on a guided walking holiday and you can leave all the navigation to our experienced leaders as well as having the reassurance of walking as part of a small group. You could also choose to go self-guided and have the complete freedom to walk as you please. Here we showcase just a few of the high points we reach on our walks.

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 mountains to climb

  1. Ben Nevis, Scottish Highlands
  2. Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia
  3. Scafell Pike, Northern Lake District
  4. Helvellyn, Northern Lake District
  5. Cader Idris, Snowdonia
  6. Pen-y-Fan, Brecon Beacons
  7. Whernside, Western Yorkshire Dales
  8. Ingleborough, Southern Yorkshire Dales
  9. Pen-y-Ghent, Southern Yorkshire Dales
  10. Stiperstones, Shropshire Hills

1. Ben Nevis, Scottish Highlands

Ben nevis Guided Walking Holiday

Ben Nevis (1,345m)
Scottish Highlands

  • Stay at: Alltshellach, Glen Coe
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from Alltshellach or can be tackled as part of a self-guided walking holiday from here too

(The view from 'The Ben' over surrounding Scottish Highlands)

The UK’s highest peak is one that many walkers will wish to conquer. The main route up is on a wide and well-defined path which zig-zags its way from just outside Fort William to the summit plateau. Walking up, it’s well worth pausing to catch your breath regularly to enjoy the beauty of the unfolding scenery. There are stunning mountain panoramas which drop down to the green valleys and the waters of Loch Eil below. The barren rocky summit features a cairn for the obligatory photo opportunity and on a clear day, views as far as Northern Ireland can be enjoyed.

Ben Nevis Guided Walking Holidays
Climb Ben Nevis
Summit the highest peak in the UK
See Walk options

2. Mount Snowdon, Wales

Mount Snowdon Guided Walking Holiday

Mount Snowdon (1,085m)

  • Stay at: Dolserau Hall, Dolgellau
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from Dolserau Hall or can be tackled as part of a Self-Guided Walking holiday from here too

(Views from Mount Snowdon)

The UK’s second highest peak has several different routes to choose from to reach the top with options which can include a precipitous ridge-top scramble for those with good balance and a head for heights. Most prefer to use the Pyg Track or the Miner’s Track – or a combination of both – from the easterly side of the mountain. The paths pass the Llyn Llydaw Reservoir and the much smaller Glaslyn Lake before the terrain steepens and roughens on the final ascent to the summit. If the weather is kind there are panoramic mountain views to be enjoyed which take in England, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Mount Snowdon, Wales
Summit Mount Snowdon
Conquer Wales' highest peak
SEE Walk Options

3. Scafell Pike, Northern Lake District

Scafell Pike Guided Walking Holiday

Scafell Pike (978m)
Northern Lake District

  • Stay at: Derwent Bank, Keswick
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from Derwent Bank, on Self-Guided breaks or as part of our Southern Fells Wainwright Bagging challenge

(Walkers approaching the summit of Scafell Pike)

England’s highest peak can be enjoyed via a circular walk which hugs the valley next to Seathwaite Fell before heading up between the peaks of Ill Crag and Broad Crag. Once up high, there is little in the way of a discernible path as the route heads across a large area made up of boulders and scree. Eventually the cairn which marks the summit of Scafell Pike comes into view and you know you have made it. Take time to absorb the mountain panorama before heading down in a different direction towards Lingmell Col to reach the Corridor Route. This is a rewarding and exhilarating walk.

Scafell Pike Guided Walking Holidays
Summit Scafell Pike
Bag England's highest peak
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4. Helvellyn, Northern Lake District

Helvellyn Guided Walking Holiday

Helvellyn (950m)
Northern Lake District

  • Stay at: Derwent Bank, Keswick
  • Features: on Guided Walking holidays from Derwent Bank, on Self-Guided breaks here and as part of our Eastern Fells Wainwright Bagging challenge

(Catstye Cam from the summit of Helvellyn)

Starting at the end of Ullswater, the circular walk up to Helvellyn and back is one of the Lake District’s most popular. A steady climb from the picturesque Lanty’s Tarn leads to Striding Edge – a sharp rocky ridge where the land falls steeply away on one side. A little scrambling may be required before reaching the summit of Helvellyn from where there are fabulous views down to Red Tarn and across the fells of the Lake District. The return via Swirral Edge is equally impressive with a brief detour to Catstye Cam giving great views over Glenridding Common. It’s then downhill all the way, passing a former lead mining area at Glenridding.

Helvellyn, Northern Lake District
Climb Helvellyn
Take on a Lake District classic climb
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5. Cader Idris, Snowdonia

Cader Idris Guided Walking Holiday

Cader Idris (893m)

  • Stay at: Dolserau Hall in Dolgellau
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from Dolserau Hall, on Self-Guided breaks from here and as part of the Snowdonia Way Guided Trail

(Walker high on Cader Idris above Llyn Cau)

Cader (or Cadair) Idris is the highest peak in Southern Snowdonia and translates as ‘Chair of Idris’. The summit sits above two lakes – one on either side – so whoever Idris was, he chose a great spot from which to view them. To the south lies Llyn Cau – a deep, dark and mysterious lake surrounded by towering cliffs. To the north is Llyn y Gadair; legend has it that the Tylwyth Teg or little folk dance by the lake shore. We offer two different routes up the mountain, one slightly easier and the other descending via the long rocky ridge which extends out north-east of the summit. Both options provide splendid mountain panoramas which make the effort well worthwhile.

Cader Idris Guided Walking Holidays
Conquer Cader Idris
One for the walking connoisseurs
see walk options

6. Pen-y-Fan, Brecon Beacons

Pen-y-Fan Guided Walking Holiday

Pen-y-Fan (886m)
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

(Corn Du seen from the Pen-y-Fan summit path)

Pen y Fan (886m) is the highest peak in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. There are several different routes to reach the top, all of which offer far-reaching views across the Beacons and beyond for that ‘on-top-of-the-world’ feeling with some stunning horseshoe valleys thrown in for good measure. On a clear day there are panoramic views across to Brecon and beyond in one direction and over the wilds of the Beacons in the other. From the summit, the neighbouring peaks of Corn Du (873m) and Cribyn (795) beckon with the lure of Fan y Big (717m) also calling from beyond.

Pen-y-Fan, Brecon
Take on Pen-y-Fan
Knock off the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons
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7. Whernside, Western Yorkshire Dales

Whernside Guided Walking Holiday

Whernside (736m)
Western Yorkshire Dales

  • Stay at: Thorns Hall, Sedbergh
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from Thorns Hall or can be tackled as part of a Self-Guided Walking holiday from here

(The flank of Whernside, in the Western Yorkshire Dales)

Whernside is the highest of Yorkshire’s ‘Three Peaks’ and can be incorporated into a wonderful circular walk across the wilds of the Dales. The route passes many shake holes – a geological peculiarity of the area. From the summit there are great views of the Ribblehead Viaduct and across the Dales; some claim they can even see the spire of York Minster too! The return leg is through Deepdale – a lovely valley which holds the trickling waters of the Deepdale Beck which feeds into the larger River Dee. There are splendid views of the steep slopes of Whernside above which give you a great perspective of where you’ve just come from.

Whernside Guided Walking Holidays
Walk up Whernside
Summit Yorkshire's highest point
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8. Ingleborough, Southern Yorkshire Dales

Ingleborough Guided Walking Holiday

Ingleborough (723m)
Southern Yorkshire Dales

  • Stay at: Newfield Hall, Malham
  • Features: On Guided Walking Holidays from Newfield Hall or as part of a Self-Guided Walking holiday from here too

(Ingleborough's distinctive shape above limestone pavement)

A walk to the summit of the second highest of Yorkshire’s ‘Three Peaks’ is incorporated in several of the walks we offer in the Southern Yorkshire Dales. As well as being a wild and beautiful walking route, the area’s complex and interesting geology gives plenty of variety and interest. There are shake holes and potholes aplenty plus an area of limestone pavement, although Ingleborough itself is made from millstone grit. The view from the summit stretches across the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District. Some walks also take in Gaping Gill – an enormous pothole where the waters of Fell Beck drop 110 metres in what is the UK’s tallest unbroken waterfall.

Ingleborough, Southern Yorkshire Dales
Summit Ingleborough
Claim the summit of Yorkshire's second highest peak
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9. Pen-y-Ghent, Southern Yorkshire Dales

pen-y-Ghent Guided Walking Holiday

Pen-y-Ghent (694m)
Southern Yorkshire Dales

  • Stay at: Newfield Hall, Malham
  • Features: on guided walking holidays from Newfield Hall and Self-Guided Walking breaks from here too

(A path leads upwards to Pen-Y-Ghent)

The lowest of Yorkshire’s ‘Three Peaks’ has a distinctive profile with layers of sculpted sandstone and limestone towering above its scree-covered slopes. We offer a linear walk which starts in the village of Stainforth and ends in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The route to the summit passes Churn Milk Hole – a large sinkhole – as it joins a section of the Pennine Way. A short but steep climb and the summit is bagged. From here there are splendid views of Whernside, Ingleborough and many other peaks. Onwards to Plover Hill before descending steeply, passing many shake holes along the way. The final stretch levels out a bit and its downhill all the way to the end point.

Pen-y-Ghent Guided Walking Holidays
Explore Pen-y-Ghent
Complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks
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10. Stiperstones, Shropshire Hills

Stiperstones Guided Walking Holiday

Stiperstones (536m)
Shropshire Hills

  • Stay at: Longmynd House, Church Stretton
  • Features: On Guided Walking Holidays from Longmynd House, Self-Guided Walking beaks from here and as part of A Shropshire Way Guided Trail

(Rock formations standing out on the Stiperstones)

The Stiperstones Ridge is one of our favourite places to walk in the Shropshire Hills. Unlike many of the other hills in Shropshire, it has exposed quartzite rock along the length of its spine with a series of tors which have distinctive names. Cranberry Rock, Manstone Rock and Devil’s Chair are all rugged results of Ice Age activity, and the area is considered to be of national geological importance. From the tops there are sweeping views across Shropshire to the Long Mynd, across the Shropshire plain and to the hills of mid Wales. The area is also designated as a National Nature Reserve.

Stiperstones, Shropshire Hills
Discover the Stiperstones
Uncover some wonderful upland walking in the heart of England
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