The best coastal walks in the UK, from Giant's Causeway to the Gower Peninsula.

Few countries can rival the UK for coastal scenery and the best way to enjoy it is to strike out on two feet. Here’s our pick of the best coastal walks in the country.

The Gobbins, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland

Length: 2 miles

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A steel bridge that runs along the path of The Gobbins, Northern Ireland (iStock)

You’ll need to book for this one, but it’s well worth the advance planning (and £15 fee). Originally opened in 1902, the Gobbins path has always aimed to get visitors up close and personal with the Antrim coastline, and today the reimagined route includes bridges, tunnels and steps carved into the cliffs. You’ll head out with a guide, and might spot dolphins along the way.

The Giant’s Causeway, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland

Length: 1.6 miles

Basalt columns at dusk with majestic cloudscape at Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland (iStock)

See the world-famous Giant’s Causeway from a different angle by taking the Red Trail from the visitor centre up to Weir Snout viewpoint and along the clifftop above the causeway. You’ll reach the Shepherd’s Steps, where you can descend back to sea level for a hop around on the basalt columns that make up the causeway.

Britain's favourite hikes

Show all 9

Edale
Mount Snowdon
Scafell Pike
Great End / Long Pike

Britain's favourite hikes

Edale

1/9 Edale

Edale on the Pennine Way in Derbyshire was the 2nd busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Mount Snowdon

2/9 Mount Snowdon

The summit of the highest mountain in Wales was the busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Scafell Pike

3/9 Scafell Pike

England's tallest mountain was the third busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Great End / Long Pike

4/9 Great End / Long Pike

Great End and nearby Long Pike were the fifth busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Bill Boaden

Hope Cross

5/9 Hope Cross

Hope Cross in Derbyshire was the 8th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

John Fielding

Hollins Cross

6/9 Hollins Cross

Hollins Cross in Derbyshire was the 7th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Helvellyn

7/9 Helvellyn

Helvellyn was the 6th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Fairholmes

8/9 Fairholmes

Fairholmes, by Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District, was the 10th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Allen Crags

9/9 Allen Crags

Allen Crags in the Lake District was the 4th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Edale

1/9 Edale

Edale on the Pennine Way in Derbyshire was the 2nd busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Mount Snowdon

2/9 Mount Snowdon

The summit of the highest mountain in Wales was the busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Scafell Pike

3/9 Scafell Pike

England's tallest mountain was the third busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Great End / Long Pike

4/9 Great End / Long Pike

Great End and nearby Long Pike were the fifth busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Bill Boaden

Hope Cross

5/9 Hope Cross

Hope Cross in Derbyshire was the 8th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

John Fielding

Hollins Cross

6/9 Hollins Cross

Hollins Cross in Derbyshire was the 7th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Helvellyn

7/9 Helvellyn

Helvellyn was the 6th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Fairholmes

8/9 Fairholmes

Fairholmes, by Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District, was the 10th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

Allen Crags

9/9 Allen Crags

Allen Crags in the Lake District was the 4th busiest hiking location in Britain in 2018 according to data collected by Ordnance Survey

Getty

The Chain Walk, Elie, Fife, Scotland

Length: 500m

A cave near Kincraig Point on the Elie Chain Walk along the Fife Coastal Path (iStock)

More a scramble than a walk, this short length of via ferrata is a series of eight chains, both horizontal and vertical, bolted into the cliffs near the coastal village of Elie. You’ll need sturdy shoes with a decent grip to make your way along here but the route is suitable for all, including children. The long-distance (188km/117mile) Fife Coastal Path also passes through Elie, on its way from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Tay.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Length: 3 miles

Buildings in the surrounding area of Dunnotar Castle are believed to from the 15th century (iStock)

Take this short and simple walk out from Stonehaven to approach dramatically sited Dunnottar Castle along the clifftops. You’ll also get a lovely view back over the horseshoe-shaped harbour at Stonehaven and can visit the impressive war memorial on Black Hill. Return the same way or via the road.

Golden Cap, Dorset, England

Length: 4 miles

A signpost on the Jurassic Coast, Dorset, with Golden Cap in the background (iStock)

Strike out on the South West Coast Path from Seatown, climbing up onto the cliffs from the beach to reach the trig point atop Golden Cap. At 191 metres (627ft) this tabletop hill is the highest point on England’s southern coast and the view reaches for miles in all directions – you’ll spot Chesil Beach and Portland Bill as well as plenty of pretty thatched villages inland. Loop back through Filcombe Wood to return to Seatown.

Mawgan Porth to Harlyn Bay, Cornwall, England

Length: 10.5 miles

The Bedruthan steps, Mawgan Porth looking towards Watergate Bay, North Cornwall (Getty)

Cornwall is home to some of the UK’s most dramatic coastline and this section of the South West Coast Path shows it off at its best. You’ll pass postcard-perfect sandy coves and summit windswept headlands, but the highlight is perhaps Bedruthan Steps, where – at low tide only – you can clamber down to the tidal beach. At high tide just enjoy the view, over the huge rock stacks standing battered by the surf.

East Dean to Seaford, East Sussex, England

Length: 8 miles

The Seven Sister cliffs on the South Downs overlooking the English Channel (Getty)

Few places on the UK’s coast can rival the Seven Sisters for drama, the towering bastions of dazzling white chalk rising up from the sea to a height of some 500ft (152m). Walking along their tops is reminiscent of riding a rollercoaster, the path ascending and descending multiple times as you make your way along to the coastal town of Seaford.

Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Swansea, Wales

Length: 4.5 miles

Rhossili Bay is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty in the United Kingdom (iStock)

The smooth arc of sands at Rhossili Bay practically beg for your footprints and it’s an easy walk down the cliffs from Rhossili village to reach them. Even better though is the loop walk out along Rhossilli Down, for views across the sands as well as to Exmoor and the Brecon Beacons, and back along the beach.

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