Late-summer walks around the UK with great hotels nearby
Late summer is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, so we thought we'd share some of our favourite mountain, river, waterfall and cliff walks - along with some suggestions for country & coastal hotels to unwind in afterwards.
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, Yorkshire
Why we love it: This 4.5-mile circular route follows a well-defined footpath, close to the edge of two rivers - the Twiss and the Doe. There are six waterfalls and although climbing the waterfall steps can be strenuous, we'd recommend it because the views are phenomenal. There's a café to refuel in afterwards and a picnic spot if you want to bring your own food.
Car parking is free, but the trail costs £6 for an adult ticket, £3 for under-16s and £15 for a family ticket (covering two adults and up to three children). The trail is open 9am-7pm until 31 August, and 9am-4pm from 1 September-31 October. We recommend you wear walking boots or strong shoes, as the path can get slippery.
Where to stay: The Castle Inn Hornby is on the edge of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a 20-minute drive from this trail. Even better -- rooms here have roll-top baths, which we enjoyed soaking in after a day exploring.
Hawkstone Park Follies, near Shrewsbury
Why we love it: You'll find sandstone cliffs, deep ravines, caves, a ruined Norman castle, a 100-foot monument and a grotto at Hawkstone Park - which was created in the 18th century and spans more than 100 acres. There's loads to see and you could easily spend the whole day here. Even better, we've negotiated a deal so two adults can get entry for £4.50 a head - that's a saving of 45%.
Where to stay: The Lion Hotel, a Grade II-listed property in Shrewsbury town centre. This former coaching inn, which counts Charles Dickens among its previous guests, is a 30-minute drive from Hawkstone. Here you'll get a free apéritif on arrival - something you may welcome after a day of walking.
Helvellyn, The Lake District
Why we love it: We know this 8-mile route is pretty strenuous, but we couldn't resist including it. This ridge walk, which is one of the most popular walks in the Lakes if not the country, takes you to the summit of one of the national park's most iconic fells. It is a challenge, but you should manage it if you're a confident walker.
The start point is in Glenridding village, at the southern end of Ullswater. From here you head west along Striding Edge, which leads to the peak of the mountain. After taking in views of the Lake District and beyond, you can descend via Swirral Edge, past Red Tarn and, eventually, return to Glenridding. There's the Travellers Rest pub in the village where you can reward yourself with a meal and/or a drink.
Note: given the nature of this walk, we recommend (as always) that you check the local weather forecast before setting off. Also, part of the route is steep, so if you're scared of heights, this probably isn't the hike for you.
Where to stay: Once you’ve conquered Helvellyn, relax with an overnight stay at The Skiddaw Hotel. We've negotiated a dinner, bed and breakfast package for £129. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Glenridding.
The Teign Valley loop, Dartmoor
Why we love it: Hunters Path is a great route for those who want to explore beautiful Dartmoor. Hunters is one of the national park's best known walking routes and it's easy to see why - the view down the Teign Gorge, which drops into the River Teign, is spectacular. The route circles around the River Teign, past Castle Drogo where you can take a break. We'd recommend that you start this 3.8-mile walk at Fingle Bridge; you can park here and there's a pub - The Fingle Bridge Inn - which could be a good place to end your walk. This route is relatively easy but, as always, walking shoes are recommended.
Where to say: Lifton Hall Hotel is short drive from Dartmoor National Park, making it a great base for exploring. We've negotiated a 2-night stay for £159, including a 4-course tasting-menu dinner on the first night. This hotel is a 35-minute drive from Fingle Bridge.
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Abergavenny, Wales
Why we love it: This iconic mountain stands at 596m, making it one of the highest in the Black Mountains. It dominates the skyline and if you make it to the top you'll be treated to panoramic views across South Wales, the Brecon Beacons and Southwest England.
One thing that makes this mountain special is that it’s a haven for wildlife. If you're lucky, you might spot skylarks, house martins, swallows, buzzards and red kites.
The main access point onto Sugar Loaf is from the car park in Llanwenarth. From here you can head for the summit -- this route will take up to five hours to complete and covers four miles. Or, if you're after a gentler pace, head to one of the paths across Llanwenarth.
Where to stay: Llansantffraed Court is a 15-minute drive from Llanwenarth. Not only is this a VisitWales Gold Award-winning hotel, but we have negotiated an offer that includes an overnight stay and a tasting-menu dinner for two in the 2-AA-Rosette, Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant.