Family-friendly walks are proof that a wonderful family day out doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to organise. They are great for unwinding in the fresh air and can be enjoyed with children of all ages. We’ve rounded up some of the best family walks across the UK to mark National Walking Month.
From hilly terrains to ancient woodlands, we’re spoilt for choice with incredible walking routes all over the country. Here is a list of our favourite family-friendly walks in the UK which may be on your doorstep or which can be incorporated into your next family staycation.
Please check the individual websites to learn more about booking details, available facilities and any opening restrictions that may be in place.
1) Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve, London
The Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve is a 211-hectare site, containing ten reservoirs which provide drinking water for London and which are known for their importance for migrating birds. Start with walking around the reserve and look out for swifts (in spring), kingfisher and peregrine falcons to name but a few. After all that birdwatching, head to the café in the Engine Room, which has a unique swift tower to attract nesting swifts and roosting bats, whilst the Coppermill Tower includes a viewing platform to enjoy city views.
2) Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex
In the mood for a brilliant coastal adventure? Discover the Seven Sisters Country Park, great for a walk with young hikers and pushchair friendly. The park is made up of 280 hectares of chalk cliffs – the views from the top of the Seven Sisters cliffs are simply breathtaking! There is plenty to see and do – go to the beach along the easy access trail, observe the wildlife, say hello to the sheep and cows (the park is also a working farm) and enjoy lunch or afternoon treats from the onsite café to make your day out even more special.
Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash
3) Heartwood Forest, St Albans
Made up of four woods, Heartwood Forest features three walking trails, including the Magical Meander trail, perfect for families. If you'd rather explore on two wheels, you can bring bikes for the whole family and ride on the public and permissive bridleways. Tell little explorers to keep a look out for birds and butterflies - so far there have been 87 bird species and 27 butterfly species recorded on site.
4) Stock Ghyll Waterfall, Ambleside
A great walk to do with the family from Ambleside (which is also lovely to explore). Stock Ghyll is a tributary of the River Rothay, draining eventually into Windermere. The whole walk should take around an hour, there and back but do remember snacks and water for little adventurers as there isn't anywhere to refuel on route. You'll enjoy great views of the waterfall and why not see who can hear it first as you approach.
Photo by Ian Cylkowski on Unsplash
5) Exmoor National Park, North Devon
With over 1,000km of footpaths and bridleways, there's plenty to keep the whole family busy at Exmoor. Enjoy a range of pushchair friendly walks, including a walk to the dam at Wimbleball Lake and the Hats Wood Circuit where little explorers can spot the tallest tree in England. Whilst at Exmoor, remember to keep your eyes peeled for wild red deer and the iconic Exmoor ponies.
6) Sherwood Pines, Nottingham
You may be familiar with the Gruffalo stories by Julia Donaldson which are set in a deep, dark wood. There are various Gruffalo trails across the UK where children can find a number of wooden sculptures based around the stories and one of these is at Sherwood Pines. Enjoy a family day out and see if your little explorers can find them all.
Photo by Ben Griffiths on Unsplash
7) Baggy Point, North Devon
Baggy Point will be perfect for those looking for easy family-friendly walks. It’s the ideal place for bird-watching and enjoying sea views (you might even spot a seal or two!). Don’t forget to bring a waterproof jacket to protect your children from the gusty winds.
8) Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
If you are near the Scottish Highlands, Cairngorms National Park is the place to enjoy some amazing walking and cycling routes, beautiful views, wildlife and watersports. This stunning place is voted one of the top 20 places to visit in the world and has something for everyone. It’s the UK’s largest National Park and offers lots of family attractions such as horse riding, archery, rafting, mini quad bikes or mountain biking.
Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash
9) Rising Sun Country Park, North Tyneside
The Rising Sun Country Park is set in the heart of North Tyneside and is a perfect place for relaxing and exciting family-friendly walks. Your family will be spoilt for choice with wonderful ponds, woodlands and wildlife. There are several footpaths and cycleways to explore, a children’s play area, a barbecue area and even some bird hides! Feed the ducks by the little pond, say hello to horses and have a snack at the local café – a trip to the Rising Sun Country Park is a brilliant way to spend a lovely day with your little ones.
10) Sandringham, Norfolk
Covering over 243 hectares with waymarked trails for both walking and cycling, there's plenty to keep everyone occupied. After all that exploring, take in the surroundings as you enjoy a well earned ice cream from the café and discover the wooden play area which little ones will love!