With around 11,000 miles (17,800 kilometres) of gorgeous coastline, you’re spoilt for choice for coastal walks in the UK. Fortunately, we have all manner of deluxe Plum Guide homes in the country's coastal hubs, villages and towns. In this post, we're looking at Wales, Ipswich, Cornwall and Devon for some of the best paths in the British Isles. That means we’ll have covered east, south and west, but that doesn't mean you can't find stunning coastal walks in Scotland and the north. Bring an anorak to fight off the extremely unlikely chance of summer rain in the UK, and get trekking along the rugged coastline, between the beaches, rocky bluffs and coves. We shall be your guide.
The Cornish Coast Path wraps around the little toe that sticks out of the southwest of England. Here, you’ll find that pretty much everyone is at it – people go to Cornwall to walk (or surf, which is the closest thing to walking while being in the sea). Expect stunning scenery, undulating hills, dramatic cliffs and beaches remembered for their pirate history. Reach the famous Land’s End and consider taking part in the country’s longest walk, from there to John O’Groats in Scotland. Maybe not today. Visit the UNESCO village of St Just and make your way around to Kynance Cove and the Lizard Peninsula. The latter is known for its rare igneous rock that looks like snakeskin when wet. ‘Sounds like you, dad,’ retorts your little one. If you did want to get your surf on (and your children behave enough), you could take a break from walking, and take your board to Fistral Beach, Gwithian Beach or Perranporth Beach among many others in this surfing hub. Drop by at the Eden Project and wander through its rainforest bubbles for a quite literal change of atmosphere.
Eden Project, Cornwall UK | Photo: Richard Szwejkowski / Flickr
Wales is the place to go for gorgeous coastal walks in the UK. The Wales Coast Path was completed in 2012, and comprises 870 miles (1,400 kilometres) of craggy and picturesque coastline. And where better to start than in the capital city of Cardiff. Wander through the Cardiff Bay, where adventurer Captain Scott set off for the North Pole in 1910, reaching it 18 months later. Your trip won’t be quite as arduous, although it’s all relative, right? Trek from Chepstow to Blackrock or take on the hefty 14 miles (22.5 kilometres) of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast from Newton Burrows to Gileston. Of course, if you love walking that much, presumably you won’t mind popping inland a little for Mount Snowden, the highest peak south of Scotland in the UK.
People like to walk their dogs here because an advert in the UK once had a little girl asking her parents if all dogs go to Devon when they die. As it happens, it’s a gorgeous part of southwest England, full of walking trails bounding high above the cliffs like a happy canine. Moreover, you’ll get two coasts for the price of one, as Devon has both a north and south shore. On the latter, amble west from Lyme Regis to Exmouth and Torquay, where you’ll find the ghost of an angry hotel owner (the Brits will know what we’re talking about). Continue on for Dartmouth and Plymouth. Up north, Combe Martin makes for a picturesque sight, while Saunton Sands is surrounded by stunning cliffs. Picnic by the red cliffs of East Devon and watch the sun go down, turning the sky crimson.
Plymouth Bay, Devon UK
We could have easily gone for East Sussex or Hampshire in our guide to the best coastal walks in the UK, but wanted to move somewhere a little further along from Devon and Cornwall. And Suffolk has a rich history, a quaint city centre and…wait for it…60 miles (100 kilometres) of walking to be had on the Suffolk Coast Path. Ramble along the sandy beaches of Kessingland, Southwold and Thorpeness among other scenic bays. Climb aboard one of the foot ferries that take you across the waterways, so you can continue your walk. Then, back in the town of Ipswich, recharge your batteries with an upscale meal at Mariners, Aurora Bar and Restaurant or Hintlesham Hall.
Beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England