Posted on 07/06/2021

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10 walks you can do as a family, even with young children in Britain

Are you planning a staycation in the UK with your family? If you are after adventures, but are worried the young ones won't be able to keep up, don't worry, there are plenty of child-friendly walks across the country. Often they are shorter in distance, but still have fascinating stories, as well as plenty of wildlife for the children to look out for. So without further ado, here are ten family-friendly walks in Britain.

Are you planning a staycation in the UK with your family? If you are after adventures, but are worried the young ones won't be able to keep up, don't worry, there are plenty of child-friendly walks across the country. Often they are shorter in distance, but still have fascinating stories, as well as plenty of wildlife for the children to look out for. So without further ado, here are ten family-friendly walks in Britain.

Cothelstone Hill, Quantock Hills, Somerset

Cothelstone Hill, Quantock Hills, Somerset © Michael Charles / 123RF

This walk is 2.5 miles (4 km) long, it begins and ends at Cothelstone Hill car park in Broomfield, Taunton. On your walk, if you stop at the top of Cothelstone Hill, on the southern side of the Quantocks, you will notice a circle of beech trees, it is believed that these beech trees, also known as the Seven Sister, mark the outline of a prehistoric platform cairn. There are some more fun historical elements along this walk, for example, there are bronze age barrows, ruins of an early 20th century tower. To get to the top of the hill, you have to follow the path from the car park. If you are lucky enough to go on a clear day, you can see all the way to Wales. Once you've reached the top, you will descend on the far side as you walk through the southern wooded area. Cothelstone is part of the National Trust, it is completely free and there are no bookings required. This open greenland where the kids can explore freely, also refreshments are available at the cafe.

Swanbourne Lake, Arundel, West Sussex

Swanbourne Lake, Arundel, West Sussex © Sean Evison / 123RF

This walk is 3.1 miles (5 km) long, it starts and ends at the Fitzalan Pool car park Queen Street, Arundel (500 metres from Arundel railway station). Begin the walk at the museum end of the car park, along the riverside path that loops the River Arun. As you follow this trail, you will come to the wetland centre, where you have to pay an entrance fee. This area is home to many creatures such as glow worms, bee orchids, bats, warblers and rare blue ducks, there will be plenty for the kids to look for as you walk. You can then head to the left along the wetlands, coming away from the river and crossing the road, you will find yourself in front of Swanbourne Lake. There is a lovely path that goes around the lake. The lake is crystal clear, giving you excellent views of what's going on underneath the surface. After admiring the lake, you will loop round and walk below the magnificent towers and turrets of Arundel Castle; some parts of it date back to 1068. Once you've completed the walk, you and your family can relax at the Tarrant Street Espresso, which is just a few minutes away from the start of the walk.

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Uffington White Horse, south Oxfordshire

Our third walk is slightly shorter at 2.2 miles (3.5 km). This 80-million-year-old chalk figure is a natural playground. White Horse Hill is embedded with ancient sites and in mythology. During the summer months, you will find the area full of butterflies, bees and beautiful wildflowers. Like the other walks, you start from the car park, you'll head diagonally, crossing the road to Uffington Castle. Be sure to explore the castle before continuing your hike. Uffington Castle is an Iron Age Hillfort, and is located at the top of White Horse Hill. After visiting the castle, you will pass through some gates and step onto the Ridgeway. After the effort of climbing, you will find yourself staring at the carving that dates back to the Bronze Age. Just below the impressive horse carving, you will find Dragon Hill, which is the legendary site where St George had his battle. This walk is great for children as there are so many stories to tell the children. Your efforts can be rewarded at the end with food and drink and magnificent views from Fox & Hounds in Uffington.

Wicken Fen national nature reserve, Cambridgeshire

Wicken Fen national nature reserve, Cambridgeshire © Ian Langley / 123RF

Wicken Fen is the National Trust's oldest nature reserve. The walk is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) long and covers an area of 809 hectares (2,000 acres) of grass and wetland. Over 9,000 species call this area home, from herds of Konik ponies to Highland cattle but also muntjac deer, hares, water voles and even lizards, plenty for the little ones to spot. On warmer days, there are plenty of insects to study, such as dragonflies, and birdlife is abundant here. To help get the kids interested, you could create an "animal bingo" or a game of "eye spy" so the children can look for the animals and tick them off as they go. The good thing about this nature reserve is that you don't have to book beforehand and there is a cafe that you can either enjoy at the beginning or end of your adventure, or both!

Caer Caradoc Hill, Shropshire

Caer Caradoc Hill, Shropshire © Simon Edge / 123RF

This walk is slightly longer than the previous ones, it is 4.5 miles (7.2 km) long. Caer Caradoc Hill begins and ends at Church Stretton train station. There are plenty of beautiful places to walk in the Shropshire Hills, Church Stretton is a great place to start. If you head towards the west, you'll find yourself in Carding Mill Valley, which is extremely popular along with the Long Mynd, just a bit further. Towards the east, you will have the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge, with steep-side hills. Caer Caradoc is Welsh for Caradoc's fort, it rises from the narrow valley of Stretton Gap and is estimated to date back to Iron or late Bronze Age. To continue the walk, you have to leave town following Watling Street North, you will steadily climb the hill toward Three Fingers Rock, which is right at the top. After reaching the top you'll want to head north-east to begin your descent, be sure to stick to the main path.

Bakewell and the Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

Bakewell and the Monsal Trail, Derbyshire © Ken Taylor / 123RF

The Bakewell and the Monsal Trail begin and end at Bakewell station car park and is 3.3 miles (5.3 km) long. This walk is ideal for families as there is a family-friendly cafe halfway through the walk, where you and the young ones can rest before continuing the adventure. The Monsal Trail used to be a railway, its total length is 9 miles (14.5 km), it is now a walking and cycling trail. It links Bakewell and the outskirts of Buxton together. The trail snakes along limestone cuttings, tunnels and over an impressive viaduct, Monsal Head. This walk doesn't cover the whole of the Monsal trail, instead it goes from Bakewell station to Hassop station. At Hassop station, you will find a cafe, as well as a play area for the children and a bike hire place. There are two ways of getting back to the start, you can either go back the same way you came, or if you want to see something different on your way back, you can continue on the Monsal Trail which is a bit more rugged.

Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire ©Christopher Smith / 123RF

Hardcastle Crags is a 4 mile (6.4 km) walk through wooded valleys adorned with rocky outcrops and Hebden Water. This walk begins and ends at Midgehole car park. Hardcastle Crags will transport you and your family to another time, the waymarked Mill Walk will take you along the riverside, heading upstream. You will pass many weirs - which are low head dams - and ponds. Eventually you will come across some stepping stones in the stream that you have to cross and continue the walk. This will be great fun for the kids, the excitement and thrill of making it over without getting wet, the fun of accidentally slipping in, making a splash so they aren't the only ones getting wet! Further ahead, you will find the 19th century Gibson Mill, which is an old cotton mill. It has now been transformed into a cafe, it is self-sufficient in energy, water and waste treatment. On your way back, you will walk through dense woodland, the area covered in moss and ferns. Be careful as this part of the walk is rocky and uneven, so for those who are less confident, or have very young children may want to opt for the outward path instead. Along your adventure, be sure to listen and look for woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Souter Lighthouse, South Shields

Souter Lighthouse, South Shields © David Ronald Head / 123RF

Shorter in distance, at 1.6 miles (2.6 km) long, it starts and ends at Souter Lighthouse. As you walk along the grassy trails across Whitburn coastal park, it is interesting to think about how less than 70 years ago, it used to be home to a village of miners and their families from Whitburn Colliery. Souter Lighthouse is the first ever lighthouse in the world to be powered by electricity. Along this walk, the birdlife is impressive, you and your family can be on the lookout for fulmars, cormorants, guillemots and many other seabirds. Also over 5,000 pairs of kittiwakes, birds from the gull family, nest at Marsden Bay, which is found to the north. There is a cafe, but it is currently only serving takeaways only.

Castell Dinas Brân, Llangollen, Denbighshire

Castell Dinas Brân, Llangollen, Denbighshire © Bernd Brueggemann / 123rf

The Castell Dinas Brân walk, in Wales, is a steep 3.7 mile (6 km) climb. Once at the top, you will find the ruins of the 13th century fortress Castell Dinas Brân, which dates back to the Iron Age. The fortress often came under attack, from iron-age tribes to the medieval English. To reach the castle you'll start by heading east along the Llangollen canal, you'll then want to head left when you come to the first bridge, then you'll want to cross the fields and in no time you will be roaming the ruins of this old Welsh castle. After you and the family have explored the ruins, you will want to head back down the winding path on the western slope, heading toward Llangollen. Once you've reached the end, you can enjoy a lovely meal in the Corn Mill pub, which is family-friendly. Be sure to check out the popular Pntcysykkte aqueduct and Horseshoe Falls before heading back home.

East Lomond, Fife

East Lomond, Fife ©Alan Finlayson / 123RF

The last walk on our list is the 1.6 mile (2.6 km) East Lomond walk, also known as Falkland Hill. enjoy the views over the town of Falkland, which has a Renaissance palace, which was inspired by the chateaux of France and once a haunt of Marey, Queen of Scots. Begin your walk from the car park, and take the straightforward path that leads to the top. If you feel like a longer walk, you can instead opt to start from the center of Falkland and end the walk in the Maspie Den, with beautiful waterfalls and a network of paths that were placed during the 19th century. There are some fun detours you can take along the way, for example you can head to the Pillars of Hercules, which is an organic farm shop and cafe.

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