8 best UK coastal walks – how many have you done?

Cracking coastal hikes for any time of the year.

Whether it’s a hot sunny day, a crisp winter’s morning or there’s a wind brisk enough to blow your hat off, walking by the sea is great for our bodies and our minds. Scientists say that sea air actually boosts our brains and helps them repair as we age.

We’ve teamed up with the national mapping agency Ordnance Survey to put together eight of the best circular coastal walks in the UK. How many have you ticked off your walking list?

A group walking along a hillside next to a beach on a sunny dayCredit: Saga Exceptional

1. Gower, South Wales

Distance: 6.9km (4.3 miles)
Difficulty: moderate

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Rhossili Bay (pictured above) is the jewel in the Gower’s crown, and was recently ranked 11th in a list of the most beautiful coastal locations in the world. This walk takes you from Rhossili village up onto the crest of the hill before returning on a clear path to walk behind the sandy beach. Don’t forget to leave time for a swim or surf – and obligatory ice cream.

View route on OS Maps

2. Hengistbury Head, Dorset

Distance: 10.4km (6.4 miles)
Difficulty: moderate

A view of Hengistbury Head.Credit: Shutterstock / Camden Photography

This is a lovely walk along the coastline, with a slight incline up Hengistbury Head, taking in views of Southbourne Beach and the River Stour. The walk also has useful amenities, such as car park, toilets and places to eat close by.

View route on OS Maps

3. Seven Sisters, Sussex

Distance: 12.75km (7.9 miles)
Difficulty: moderately challenging

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A view of the cliffs at Seven Sisters, SussexCredit: Shutterstock / Ian Woolcock

This circular walk takes in Birling Gap, the famous Seven Sisters and the Friston Forest. The first hour is the hike along the coastal cliff path and is stunning. It is undulating with a lot of ups and down and it can be slippy in wet weather. The rest is through fields and forest and still enjoys great views.

View route on OS Maps

4. Holy Island, Northumberland

Distance: 8km (5 miles)
Difficulty: leisurely

A view of Lindisfarne Castle on Holy IslandCredit: Shutterstock / Steve Silver Smith
Lindesfarne Castle, on Holy Island off the Northumberland coast

A walk that takes in one of the most unique places in Britain: the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. This historic island is accessed by a tidal causeway (check tide times) and is rich with history, heritage and nature. If you are lucky, you may spot a grey seal.

View route on OS Maps

5. Shieldaig Peninsula walk, Scotland

Distance: 5.1km (3.2 miles)
Difficulty: leisurely

Shieldaig village in the Scottish Highlands, a view over the lochCredit: Shutterstock / Diane C Macdonald
The village of Shieldaig is considered to be one of the prettiest in the Highlands

A stunning stroll around the An Aird peninsula along the shores of Loch Torridon. Start your walk in one of the most picturesque villages in the Highlands, Shieldaig. You’ll discover shingle beaches, birch copses, heather moorland and sea cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, herons and porpoises.

View route on OS Maps

6. Ravenglass, Lake District

Distance: 3.5km (2.2 miles)
Difficulty: leisurely

A view of boats on a calm estuary off the coast of the Lake DistrictCredit: Shutterstock /Rodney Hutchinson
The estuary at Ravenglass – on a clear day you can see to the Isle of Man

Did you know the Lake District has a coastline and a pretty seaside village called Ravenglass? It’s well worth a visit and on a clear day you can see across to the Isle of Man. This walk goes along the coastal path, beach and tree-lined tracks. You’ll see the remains of the Roman bath house, the village and the estuary. The 150-yard section of the route beside the River Esk floods at exceptionally high tides.

View route on OS Maps

7. Moelfre, Isle of Anglesey

Distance: 8.28km (5.1 miles)
Difficulty: moderate

A view of an Anglesey fishing village MoelfreCredit: Shutterstock / Tim Snow

This is a beautiful section of the north-east coast of Anglesey, starting in the pretty seaside village of Moelfre. You’ll walk along the coastal cliff path before returning inland via the remains of Roman round houses and a Neolithic burial chamber. If the weather is nice, you can stop for a dip at Traeth Lligwy Beach.

View route on OS Maps

8. Padstow, Cornwall

Distance: 4.57km (2.95 miles)
Difficulty: easy

A view over the harbour at Padstow in CornwallCredit: Shutterstock / Timsimages.uk
The bustling harbour at Padstow

This walk starts right by the harbour. The stroll along the Camel Estuary takes in the Doom Bar sand bank and a World War II battery before heading back over farmland to Elizabethan country house Prideaux Place.

View route on OS Maps
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Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her

Updated:

Phillipa Cherryson is a senior digital editor for Saga Exceptional. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV. In her spare time she loves the outdoors and is a trainee mountain leader and Ordnance Survey Champion.

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