Scenic walks UK

It isn’t a secret that time spent in nature and gentle exercise can have great health benefits[1] for the body and the mind, regardless of your age. It can help with lowering blood pressure, reduce the risk of dementia and boosts mental wellbeing.

Often in retirement people can experience a lost sense of purpose and a quieter social life after ending their career, and it can be difficult to find a way to fill the additional time. Unfortunately, these feelings can sometimes lead to loneliness and depression, so it’s important to have a plan in place for spending your retirement.

Getting out and exploring the many walking trails the UK has to offer can be a great way to ensure you are tending to your mental and physical wellbeing. There are also some great opportunities for socialising with organised walking groups and tours.

As we welcome the summer months (despite what our traditional UK weather tells us), it’s a perfect time to see some of what the UK has to offer.

Best scenic walks in the UK

Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way

Running through the heart of Scotland, there is a long-distance trail starting from Fort William to Inverness called the Great Glen Way. This walk provides opportunities to pass the foot of Britain’s largest mountain, Ben Nevis, and observe some of the greatest moorlands and meandering forest pathways around Loch Ness. This is a must-do adventure if you’re local to Scotland or visiting for a walking holiday. The Great Glen Way is also a great visit for any avid historian, providing route to several fort ruins and castles.

John Muir Way

John Muir Way

An epic walk of scenic landscapes, this trail runs 134 miles passing through Loch Lomand, Scotland. The John Muir Way offers stunning Scottish coastline, canals and woodland. It’s a great opportunity to experience both nature and culture with small fishing villages and the city of Edinburgh along the route. With fantastic transport links throughout this trail, you can take it as easy as you like.

The North York Moors

The North York Moors

This vast landscape offers a variety of natural scenery from the sea to the moors, forests and green glens of North Yorkshire. There really is something for any avid walker to admire.

Sutton Bank – boasting to be England’s finest view is the atmospheric Sutton Bank, as seen in the image above. Here you can observe some of the most beautiful and dramatic countryside England has to offer. It is located near Sutton Bank National Park where you can find amenities to relax and refuel before finding the wheelchair-accessible path towards the famous viewpoint.

Cleveland Way – Sutton Bank and many other parts of The North York Moors are situated along the iconic Cleveland Way National Trail. If you’re feeling adventurous, the full walk is 109 miles (roughly a 9 day walk in total) starting on the cusp of the moors in the market town of Helmsley and ending on the sunny sands of Filey. This partly coastal trail also includes Whitby, one of the most popular accessible beaches on the East coast.

One of the benefits of the Cleveland Way is the variety of scenery. You can experience a mixture of some of the largest expanses of heather covered moorlands in the UK, historic ruins and abbeys, and charming fishing coves tucked away along the cliffs. For more information you can explore online here, and if a social adventure is what you’re after then you can meet up with like-minded ramblers on one of the North York Moors guided walking tours or become a member of a local walking group. The North York Moors Meetup Walking Group has 343 members who travel all over the UK and beyond.

The Lake District

The Lake District

Situated in Cumbria, Northwest England is the beloved Lake District, favoured for it’s clear glacial lakes and outstanding scenery. Some of the more accessible walks in this area include:

Catbells – This trail is suitable for the whole family with views of Derwentwater, the fells of Skiddaw and Blencartha. Alfred Wainwright, British fellwalker, guidebook author and illustrator described this trail as a ‘family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together’.

Loughrigg – You can find a stunning panorama view of the lakes at the top of Loughrigg, and several options for gentle walks including the wooded riverside path from White Moss to Grasmere. There is also the slightly steeper climb on the 3 mile loop to the summit where you can find the green pools and stepping stones into Rydal Cave along the way.

The Peak District

Peak District

Deep in the midlands you can find the Peak District National Park, known for its impressive valleys and a 155 mile long Peak Way Walk featuring limestone dales and historic villages.

Mam Tor and The Great Ridge – a more moderate climb with rewarding dramatic panoramas of the Peak District, this 6.8 mile journey with views of the Hope Valley and nearby hills provides spectacular views of the countryside.

Bamford Edge – Short and sweet, this 1.9 mile route is a nice option for a quick trip. Made from an outcrop of gritstone rocks looking out over Ladybower reservoir, this dramatic vista like many in the Peak District provides photo opportunities worthy of a postcard. Also recommended are Stanage Edge, Derwent Edge and Curbar Edge – each a glorious spot to watch the sunset with family and friends.

You can find more information on walks and guided walking tours in The Peak District here.

Scotney Castle and Kilndown Woods – a personal favourite

Scotney Castle

Scotney is a National Trust property in Kent and includes 780 acres over which you can roam. These include the beautiful woods that run down from the quaint village of Kilndown where, in the Spring, the Bluebells are stunning.

Bedgebury Pinetum

Also very close to Scotney (a 10 minute drive) is Bedgebury Pinetum which is 2,200 acres of woodland crisscrossed with trails and is a great day trip with the grandchildren.

Bedgebury Forest has miles of trails for family cycling and mountain-biking, walking, and running. Enjoy climbing, jumping, sliding and swinging on the Play Trail, with a range of play areas for different ages. You can also explore the canopy on a Go Ape tree top adventure. The Bedgebury cafe at the visitor centre has wonderful views of the pinetum and is set beside one of many lakes.



There are many idyllic trails to be found along the river Thames that will feel very different from the bustling city of London. Marlow, Buckinghamshire is a quaint Georgian village with lots to offer by way of tranquillity, history and nature. You can complete the circular walk in a day, following the Thames path for the first 5 miles, passing ancient villages and detouring through Homefield Wood – landing in Marlow for tea.

You can also find the UK’s only 2 Michelin star pub, Tom Kerridge’s The Hand and Flowers, in case you wanted to add some fine dining to the end of your journey.

Seven Sisters and the Eastern Downs

Seven Sisters

These beautiful chalk stone cliffs span 280 hectares of the East Sussex shore. Not just a sight for sore eyes, they are ‘globally-important habitats, with unique wildlife and heritage secrets, making Seven Sisters a truly special place’.[2]

This breathtaking coastal landscape boasts rivers, pebble beaches, and glorious woodland – and don’t forget to hunt for fossils at Birling Gap too. The trail is long at 19 miles, but again can be taken at your own pace with plenty of places to rest on your journey.

UK walking tours – if you are interested in exploring more of the UK on foot in a group, you can visit the Ramblers website which includes hiking and walking tours in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Make it your own

The above suggestions are to name but a few of the many natural trails, breathtaking coastlines and historic sites from the top to the bottom of the UK. Whatever journey you take, be mindful to make it yours.

Retirement is a time to choose your new path, discover what you would like to spend your time doing, and check off bucket lists. At Progeny we believe in supporting you with this journey. With a broad range of planning services, you can spend your time getting out there, seeing the world and finding true happiness through an active retirement.

If you would like to discuss your retirement plans with our team of professionals, you can contact us here.

[1] Age UK, Walking tips and advice for older people, May 2024

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Past performance is not indicative of future results and the value of investments can fall as well as rise. No representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.

Edward ReadCutting

Financial Planner

Ed has a keen focus on retirement planning with specialist technical knowledge of UK and Belgian pensions legislation and investments and in-depth experience of various tax authorities’ attitudes to offshore investing.

Learn more about Edward ReadCutting