With spring in sight, it's time to dust off those cobwebs and put a spring back in your step with a welcome amble through bluebell carpeted woodlands, rolling hills or by a cracking coastline.
Whether you're after a short stroll or serious trek, we’ve pooled together a list of the UK’s finest, most idyllic spring walking spots - along with the best pubs to make a well deserved pit stop at on the way...
Beautiful Bluebell Woods: Bruern Wood
One of The UK's most breathtaking natural spectacles is unfolding within ancient woodlands across the UK at this time of year, with bluebells bursting into colour. If, as is thought to be the case, around half the world’s bluebells flower in the British Isles, then a fair percentage of those can be found in the bluebell woods of the Cotswolds. One of our favourites is the gorgeous Bruern Wood, which come spring becomes carpeted with a sea of rich blue.
Pub pit stop: The Wild Rabbit in Kingham. A gastropub which is as pretty as it’s honeystone setting. Warning: it may make you want to redecorate your house.
Trail Through Time: Hadrian’s Wall
One of the UK’s most spectacular constructs, Hadrian Wall stretches all the way from the West Cumbrian coast over to Newcastle and South Shields, providing a spring walk that offers rolling hills, rugged moorland and archeological wonders in abundance. The 84 mile hike is broken down into shorter circular trails packed with ancient earthworks and masonry that caters for all hiking abilities.
Pub pit stop: Vallum’s Farm is the gastronomic gateway to the Wall – serving local, artisan produce in the tea room and restaurant (or buy a picnic from the deli for al fresco dining on your walk). Or break you walk at the Robin Hood, a country inn in the heart of Northumberland.
Be Beside the Seaside: South Downs
For a lung full of fresh sea air, try the South Downs with its rolling hills, sleepy villages and cracking coastline. Take a day to skirt the River Cuckmere down to the sea and admire the dazzling chalk cliffs from below, before heading up to walk atop the Seven Sisters. Or head west, exploring the network of paths around the mischievously named Devils Rest Bottom and over towards Red Lion Pond.
Pub pit stop: There’s 600 miles of South Down Ways, meandering between pretty villages, meaning you’re spoilt for choice. Start your walk from the pub garden at The Tiger Inn; stop off at the charming, rambling Ram Inn in the beautiful village of Firle; or recover in the gorgeous garden (and with great food) at The Jolly Sportsman.
Urban: Regent's Park Canal
One of London’s best-kept secrets, get a unique perspective on the city’s urban landscapes on a walk along the six-mile ‘canal square. As you travel through the heart and soul of London, feast your eyes on a colourful array of canal boats, stop off for a picnic in Victoria Park and enjoy such wonders as the Olympic Park, Hackney Marsh and a wandering pack of hipsters sporting the same side parting.
Pub pit stop: The Proud Archivist is a creative canal-side hub serving up coffee, food and art in almost equal measures. If you’re at the easterly end, stop off at Proud East for craft ale and pizza, or try The Narrow Boat in Islington (which delights in the accolade of being the only pub actually on the canal). Or divert to celeb-favourite The Engineer in pretty Primrose Hill, just a brief stroll from the canal.
Gardens: New Forest
Despite the name, there is nothing new about it, having been ear marked as the ultimate hunting arena by William The Conqueror as far back as the 11th Century. A mecca for wildlife lovers with enough peats, bogs and wild ponies to look like the inspiration for Game of Thrones, the word 'picturesque' was invented for such a place. With miles of amazing New Forest walks to choose from, have a look at the New Forest website for a map of their favourites.
Pub pit stops: The restaurant at The Pig is one of the nicest spots to eat in the New Forest, with its casual vibe, (very) locally sourced – and completely delicious - and stylish setting. While The Mayflower at Lymington has chic but cosy coastal-inspired interiors, and river views from the big garden.