Cameras at the ready as you embark on some of the best coastal walks in the UK. Experience the beauty of bird-strewn cliff tops, golden beaches, historical sites and intriguing wildlife during these exhilarating UK coastal walks.
South West Coast Path, Cornwall
The South West Coast Path is the longest waymarked footpath of all the UK coastal walks. So impressive is this coast path in England that it even features in Lonely Planet’s, Great Adventures book, which hails the South West Coast Path in England as “One of the world’s most awe-inspiring hikes”.
However, rather than taking in the entire 630 miles of the walk, we concentrate on the glorious coastline of Cornwall. With several walks available, the route you choose will perhaps be determined by what you want to encounter. If you plan on taking a dog on your adventures, opt for a walk that includes one of the dog-friendly beaches in the area, such as Fistral Beach, Whipsiderry Beach or Great Western Beach. Alternatively, choose a walk that brings you to King Arthur’s Castle (Tintagel) and Merlin’s Cave, or a hike that includes sections of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
Things to see on Cornwall‘s South West Coast Path
- The Lizard Peninsula
- Trevose Head and Lighthouse
- Booby’s Bay shipwreck
You’re in for a real treat – several treats in fact – along the Northumberland Coast. Known for its pretty harbour villages, sand-laden beaches and dramatic clifftop castles, the coastline of Northumberland is officially an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, in our opinion, one of the best coastal walks in the UK.
Things to see on the Northumberland Coast
- Druridge National Park – a fantastic place to begin a walk along the Northumberland coast, boasting a scenic stretch of sandy beach at Druridge Bay. The park is popular with cyclists, surfers and wildlife spotters.
- Craster fishing village – famed for its smoked herring, which is prepared in the village’s smokehouses, Craster is a favourite of walkers seeking to taste one of Northumberland’s most popular exports.
- Dunstanburgh Castle ruins – perched on a remote headland, these impressive ruins were once part of a truly majestic castle. Built in the 1300s, this ancient castle is the perfect place to take in the views of the Northumberland Coast.
- Holy Island – Also known as Lindisfarne, Holy Island is home to Lindisfarne Priory and Castle, and the Gertrude Jeykll gardens.
England Coast Path, Sussex
The route along this 33-mile section of the England coast path in Sussex has only been accessible since May 2022 and is a fabulous nature walk for wildlife lovers. Developed by Natural England, the England Coast Path National Trail will eventually give walkers right of access to a staggering 2795 miles of English coastline.
Things to see and do on the England Coast Path in Sussex
- Enthusiasts flock to Pagham’s pebbled beach and shallow waters to experience all kinds of activities on the water. Enjoy windsurfing, paddle-boarding, surfing and more.
- Nature reserves – there are several nature reserves in Sussex, and if you don’t want to stray too far from the coast, Medmerry Nature Reserve would be the obvious choice. Here you might spot lapwings, avocets, and skylarks, as well as the Brent goose, and wheatear.
The Cleveland Way, Whitby
The Cleveland Way in Whitby is considered by many as one of the best coastal walks in the UK and begins at Whitby Harbour before leading you through the historic seaside town. Take in the beauty of the beach, the Gothic drama of Whitby Abbey, and feast on fish and chips at one of the town’s coast-front fisheries.
Things to do on the Cleveland Way
- Visit the replica of HM Bark Endeavour and jump on board to learn all about the ship’s history and Captain James Hook.
- Whitby Abbey ruins and the cliffs – climb the 199 steps to the clifftop where the imposing Whitby Abbey stands. It was here Bram Stoker took inspiration for his gothic horror novel, Dracula. Visit the museum to find out more about this historic site.
Arnside to Silverdale, Cumbria
Another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Arnside to Silverdale coastal walk stretches through 8 miles of exceptional scenery. Enjoy views across Morecambe Bay to Grange over Sands and explore the ruins at Arnside Tower. Up for a more energetic walk in Cumbria? Climb to the summit of Arnside Knott and be rewarded with spectacular views.
Things to do in Arnside and Silverdale
- Grab a drink at The Albion in Arnside and enjoy stunning views across the Kent Estuary.
- Silverdale Beach – this dog-friendly beach is perfect when you’re looking for a quieter coastal destination.
- Arnside Tower – these medieval tower ruins are a site to behold and present fabulous photo opportunities. However, it’s advised that owing to its decaying state, you shouldn’t enter the ruins or attempt to climb the turret staircase.
Anglesey Coastal Path, Benllech
Another of our favourite UK coastal walks is the Benllech to Moelfre walk. The route begins at the beautiful Benllech Beach, which was awarded the European Blue Flag in 2004. The beach maintains its standards to this day and presents exceptional views of Great Orme and Penmon Point. Finish your walk in the pretty village of Moelfre and visit the many sites of interests there.
Things to see and do on the Anglesey Coastal Path
- Seawatch Centre – a small maritime museum with an RNLI shop and bookstore.
- Hindlea Seat – a memorial seat placed on the headland to mark the bravery of the Moelfre lifeboat crew during their rescue of all aboard the M.V. Hindlea in 1959. The remnants of the shipwreck can sometimes be seen at low tide.
- Hen Gapel – explore the ruins of this 12th century chapel and stop to enjoy the incredible views across Lligwy Bay.