Sep 11, 2023
10 best UK wet weather walks
Here in the UK, rain is inevitable no matter the season. Despite our best planning, many of us are often caught out in a surprise downpour when enjoying a walk, whether through a stunning forest, along the coast, or at the top of a mountain.
Below, we’ve detailed 10 popular walks in the UK that are known for their history and scenic beauty. And they are always enjoyable and memorable, even in wet weather. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to warm up when the weather takes a turn.
1. Derwentwater Walk, Lake District, Cumbria:
The Derwentwater Walk is a picturesque circular route that surrounds Derwentwater, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Lake District. Known for its breathtaking scenery, this walk offers panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding fells, including Cat Bells and Skiddaw.
Elevation and Terrain: With a mix of well-maintained paths, woodland trails, and some gentle slopes, this walk is suitable for walkers of all abilities, even in wet weather. As an optional detour (and for those who like a challenge), the highest point on the route can be found at the viewpoint on Cat Bells, which stands at 451m high.
Cafes and Pubs: Helping you keep warm and dry after a rainy walk (or even a mid-walk escape if it’s downpouring) is the charming town of Keswick. You’ll find an array of cafes, tearooms, and traditional pubs to dry off and warm up in after a downpour.
2. Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire:
The Malham Cove and Gordale Scar walk is a memorable journey through some of the most captivating limestone landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales. This circular route includes exciting geological features like the towering Malham Cove and the beautifully rugged Gordale Scar.
Elevation and Terrain: This walk promises a mix of terrains, making it suitable for a range of walking abilities and weather conditions. The highest point of the walk is found at The Cove, a towering limestone amphitheatre with a flat top, which stands at 80m high. It’s a great spot for panoramic views that look fantastic even in the rain.
Cafes and Pubs: Within Malham, you'll find several options for a post-walk meal, coffee, or a simple pint. One of the most notable pubs with walkers is the Buck Inn, a traditional Yorkshire pub - the ideal spot to get out of the rain and warm up while enjoying some good old Yorkshire hospitality.
3. Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland:
The Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors with its impressive hexagonal basalt columns formed by volcanic activity. In addition to the captivating views of the rugged Northern Ireland coastline, this coastal walk provides a chance to witness the geologic marvel of the Causeway.
Elevation and Terrain: The terrain on the walk around the Giant's Causeway is relatively easy, making it accessible to a wide range of walkers, including families. The path is well-maintained and allows you to explore your surroundings at your own pace, and is a good option even in rainy weather.
Cafes and Pubs: After this walk, the nearby town of Bushmills has several options for food and drinks. One of the most popular spots is the Bushmills Inn, a historic pub known for its extensive selection of Irish whiskeys - the perfect place to unwind by the fire and escape the weather.
4. Glen Nevis, Lochaber, Scotland:
With imposing views of Ben Nevis, the Glen Nevis walk is a popular route with walkers across the UK. This picturesque glen also provides the chance to immerse yourself in the stunning Scottish Highlands. Expect sights of the River Nevis, lush greenery and loads of wildlife.
Elevation and Terrain: The Glen Nevis walk features a variety of terrains with some uneven ground and rocky sections, making it generally suitable for a variety of walkers and skill levels. While the hike's highest point is the summit of Ben Nevis itself (at 1,345m), the Glen Nevis walk provides an opportunity to admire this iconic peak from a lower elevation.
Cafes and Pubs: Fort William, the largest nearby town, attracts Glen Nevis walkers with its selection of pubs and cafes including the Grog & Gruel - an ideal place to unwind, escape the rain, and keep warm.
5. Bristol Harbourside Walk, Bristol, Somerset:
Unlike the majority on this list, the Bristol Harbourside Walk is an urban walk, taking you through the vibrant heart of Bristol. With stunning waterfront views and sights of historic docks and warehouses, this walk combines history and culture with access to a host of local amenities.
Elevation and Terrain: The Bristol Harbourside Walk is predominantly flat, making it accessible to walkers of all abilities. The well-paved paths are suitable for prams, wheelchairs, and cyclists, ensuring it is a family-friendly and inclusive experience.
Cafes and Pubs: If you’re caught in a downpour in the Bristol Harbourside, you'll find a range of options for a bit of respite. One of the most popular cafes is Spoke & Stringer. Or if you're in the mood for a traditional pub experience, head to The Ostrich Inn.
6. Causeway Coastal Path, County Antrim, Northern Ireland:
The Causeway Coastal Path is a spectacular long-distance route offering striking views of Northern Ireland's coastal scenery. Whether you’re in rain or shine, this coastal walk promises some fantastic sights including The Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, White Rocks Beach, and the Harbour village of Ballintoy.
Elevation and Terrain: The Causeway Coastal Path varies in terms of elevation and terrain, from well-maintained gravel paths and boardwalks to rugged trails with rocky outcrops. As a long-distance route, this walk caters to different levels of fitness and hiking abilities, however, you can choose the sections that suit you best.
Cafes and Pubs: Along the Causeway Coastal Path, you'll find cafes and pubs in the various towns and villages the path passes through. This includes the town of Ballycastle where you can dry off in the cosy and welcoming O'Connor's Bar and Lounge.
7. Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall:
The Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall offers rugged coastal beauty with dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and serene landscapes. As the southernmost point in mainland Britain, the area also has many beautiful beaches to explore that are well worth a visit, even in the rain.
Elevation and Terrain: The Lizard Peninsula has a mix of terrain that caters to a range of walkers. While the elevation changes aren't extreme, the walk includes some moderate inclines and descents. The terrain consists of well-maintained footpaths, grassy tracks, and rocky sections.
Cafes and Pubs: The village of Lizard is a wonderful place to refuel after your walk or take shelter if the weather changes. The Witchball Restaurant & Public House is a popular choice amongst walkers.
8. Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire:
Bourton-on-the-Water, often referred to as the "Venice of the Cotswolds", is a stunning village nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds. This quintessential English village is home to charming bridges, quaint tearooms, and cosy pubs.
Elevation and Terrain: The walks around Bourton-on-the-Water are relatively flat and accessible to walkers of all abilities. The terrain consists of well-paved pathways and gravel tracks that follow the meandering River Windrush - an ideal destination for families and those seeking a leisurely stroll.
Cafes and Pubs: Bourton-on-the-Water boasts a variety of tearooms, cafes, and pubs where you can escape the rainy weather including The Mousetrap Inn, a charming pub with a riverside garden.
9. Tollymore Forest Park, County Down, Northern Ireland:
Tollymore Forest Park is ideal for nature lovers – you’ll find forest and riverside walks that showcase County Down's natural beauty. Regardless of the weather, this scenic park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a relaxing and peaceful walk.
Elevation and Terrain: The elevation and terrain within Tollymore Forest Park varies, allowing you to choose from a range of paths to suit your preferences and fitness levels. The park features well-maintained paths through ancient woodlands, along the banks of the Shimna River, and across picturesque bridges (with some more challenging inclines here and there).
Cafes and Pubs: After your walk in Tollymore Forest Park, you can head to the nearby coastal town of Newcastle to visit the Quinns Corner Bistro to relax and escape the weather.
10. South Downs Way, South East England (Various Counties):
The South Downs Way is a long-distance path that takes you on a memorable journey through rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and charming towns. This walking route is well worth a visit, rain or shine, with stunning sights along the way including the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs.
Elevation and Terrain: The South Downs Way spans roughly 100 miles, and its terrain varies from gently rolling hills to more challenging climbs and descents. While it is suitable for walkers of varying abilities, it does include some sections with steeper gradients, especially as you approach viewpoints and the downs themselves.
Cafes and Pubs: Along the South Downs Way, you'll have the opportunity to stop at charming towns and villages, including Eastbourne and Winchester, where you can find a wealth of cafes, tearooms, and pubs. In Eastbourne, The Beach Deck is a popular choice, with beachfront scenic views.
Happy walking! And don’t mind about the weather…