Celebrating Britain's 100 favourite walks

Every month around 9 million of us lace up our boots and head out to explore, roaming far and wide across the British countryside. To celebrate this much-loved national pastime we teamed up with ITV to discover the country’s favourite walking trails - as voted for by you.

In a two-and-a-half-hour TV special, Julia Bradbury and Ore Oduba guided us through a countdown of Britain’s 100 Favourite Walks, showcasing the finest rambles, scrambles and ambles across the countryside and through cities. 

Among the nominees were over 40 of our most-loved locations which are visited by thousands of walkers all year round: from the wild and rugged landscape of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland to the famous chalk sea-stacks of Old Harry Rocks in Dorset.

" From one end of the country to the other, from the mountains to the sea - we’ve pretty much covered every bit of Britain that there is for hikers to explore."

On their journey Julia and Ore uncovered the history and hidden stories behind the trails, as well as the impact they have on our lives.

Below are the top 10 walks as voted for by the nation, including Britain’s number one. We’ve also included some of our other favourite walks across the country, in case you’d like to explore somewhere new.

What’s more, with every step you take on one of our trails you’ll be helping our rangers and volunteers to look after the high peaks, low valleys, woods, rivers and far-reaching views that make Britain such a walker’s paradise. 

Our connections with the nation's top 10 favourite walks:

Ullswater Lake Cumbria

1. Helvellyn, Cumbria 

If you’ve ever hiked to the summit of Helvellyn, you won’t be surprised that the Lake District’s third highest peak has been voted as the nation’s favourite walk. Our rangers help to care for this special location as part of the Fix the Fells partnership: repairing paths, improving drainage and keeping the landscape looking spectacular. The infamous ‘Striding Edge’ approach involves scrambling along a narrow ridge, but other routes are available for the less-adventurous. You could also head slightly north to try some of our trails around Ullswater, or head to Aira Force so see the thundering 65ft waterfall.

View of Snowdon, Wales

2. Snowdon, Gwynedd 

There are six official paths to the summit of Snowdon, which range in difficulty. The Llanberis Path is the easiest and most popular route, while the Watkin Path is the most challenging (and least-travelled), with sections of loose scree and steep drops. If you don’t fancy the ascent to the top there are also plenty of lower-level walks to try, from the Fisherman’s path beside the rushing River Glaslyn to exploring the rocky hillock of Dinas Emrys: said to be the lair of the red dragon that adorns the Welsh flag.

A young woman walking across roacks in front of a waterfall at Janet's Foss, part of the Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire

3. Malham Tarn Estate, Yorkshire Dales 

With over 2,900 hectares of woodland, rolling hills and rugged moorland you might find it hard to choose which part of the estate to explore first. You could hike towards Malham Cove – a towering crescent-shaped rock face carved into the landscape, and topped by a huge crackled slab of limestone. Perhaps you’ll find yourself at Janet’s Foss - a flowing waterfall hidden among the trees that is said to be the home to Janet, Queen of the Fairies. It makes the perfect spot to dip your toes on a hot day.

View of a small town nestled in the fells of Cumbria

4. Cat Bells, Cumbria 

At a mere 451 metres high Cat Bells is considered a ‘minor’ Lake District fell, but it’s still got plenty to attract keen walkers. Hunkered down on the edge of Derwentwater, the views from the top are more than worth the short but steep climb to the summit. Alfred Wainwright described it as a ‘family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together’, and it was also a favourite of Beatrix Potter who used the surrounding landscape as inspiration for many of her stories – like Mrs Tiggy-Winkle the hedgehog who famously lived behind a little wooden door on the fell.

A striking view of walkers on the Scafell path with Wastwater in the distance at Wasdale, Cumbria

5. Scafell Pike, Cumbria 

Topping out at an impressive 978 metres above sea level, Scafell Pike towers over the surrounding Lake District landscape. As England’s highest mountain you might well find yourself climbing up into the clouds, but on a clear day you’ll be able to marvel at spectacular views in all directions. There are three routes from Wasdale Head, each of which offers a strenuous hike to the summit – the perfect way for active walkers to test their mettle.

Llyn Ogwen, still waters, with the snow-capped peak of Y Garn, Snowdonia, Wales

6. Tryfan, Gwynedd 

Tryfan is famous for its rugged landscape, but this also makes for very tough terrain that should only be attempted by experienced and well-equipped hill walkers. To enjoy superb views of Tryfan and the Glyderau mountains without committing to the strenuous climb, why not take a hike around Llyn Ogwen instead? With no peaks to tackle you can really immerse yourself in your surroundings, from the sound of gently lapping water to the deep breaths of fresh mountain air. Legend even says that this is the final resting place of the sword Excalibur – cast into the lake by a knight of King Arthur.

Buttermere in winter

7. Buttermere, Lake District 

The Lake District is famed for its mountains and adventurous trails, but you don’t have to be a hardcore hiker to enjoy a walk here. The four-and-a-half mile Buttermere circular is an easy and level walk around one of the region’s most beautiful lakes, flanked by gentle green fields and the towering peaks of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks – Alfred Wainwright’s favourite fell. The only difficulty is deciding which way round the lake you want to go.

A reflective Tarn Hows at sunrise, Lake District

8. Coniston, Cumbria 

When you arrive in Coniston, your eyes are immediately drawn to the looming fells that tower over the village and lake. The Old Man of Coniston is the highest point in the range, and makes for a great mountain hike with a bit of scrambling thrown in. We don't own the land around the peak, but we do care for the beautiful Tarn Hows nearby - a great spot if you’re after a slightly gentler walk. Why not take the Steam Yacht Gondola across the lake to Monk Coniston to arrive at the starting point in style?

View of Dunstanburgh Castle from the north west

9. Dunstanburgh, Northumberland 

Northumberland is one of the country’s quieter retreats, making it the perfect place to escape for a while. The rugged coastline is hard to beat, with bracing sea air that’s sure to lift your mood and blow away the cobwebs. Beginning from the tiny fishing village of Craster, follow your feet along the coast path past the mighty ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and the long golden sweep of Embleton Sands. It’s a wonderful walk all year round, but especially in the summer when you can take a break from walking to paddle in the waves.

Mist on Mam Tor

10. Mam Tor, Peak District 

The summit of Mam Tor is one of the most dramatic viewpoints in the Peak District. From the top you get a 360-degree view, including Kinder Scout to the north-west, Derwent Moors to the north and east, and the Vale of Edale sprawling out at your feet. Once you’ve stretched your legs and had your fill of rejuvenating fresh air, why not head down to Edale for a cup of tea at the Penny Pot Café?

More of your favourite walks across the country