Hiking in England: TOP 5 Single-Day Trails

A scenic vista of rolling grassy hills and valleys in the picturesque Peak District of England

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Hiking in England unveils a tapestry of natural wonders, from the rolling hills and verdant meadows of the countryside to the dramatic coastal paths that hug the island’s rugged shorelines.

In this post, we’ll embark on a journey through the diverse hiking trails that England has to offer. We’ll equip you with essential tips to ensure a seamless and unforgettable outdoor experience, and highlight some of the most breathtaking single-day hikes that will leave you in awe.

Interested? Let’s get started.

Want a longer trek? See our backpacking in England guide where we list the best multi-day trails.

Key Tips for Hiking in England

  • What to bring: For beginner hikers or those unsure of what to bring, refer to our day hiking checklist. Otherwise, be prepared for unpredictable weather by packing proper waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, and layered clothing.
  • How to stay safe: In addition to wearing layered clothing to protect you against the weather, you need to constantly check for ticks, especially if you stop and take a break trailside in grassy areas.
  • Best times to go are from May to September when the weather is milder, days are longer, landscapes are in bloom, and crowds are smaller, allowing for ideal outdoor adventures and a quieter experience.

Top 5 Hiking Trails in England

These are the best hiking trails in England that can be completed in a single day:

1. Castleton, Mam Tor, and The Great Ridge Circular

A picturesque landscape showcasing the rugged beauty of the Peak District in Castleton, UK, with rolling grassy hills dotted with rocky outcrops

Length: 8 mi / 12.9 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 4-5 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,096 ft / 639 m
Location: Peak District National Park
Permissions and Fees: None
Active Calorie Burn: 2400 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This spectacular 8-mile Peak District loop is a moderate 4.5-hour challenge featuring the iconic “Shivering Mountain” Mam Tor summit, a ridge trek over multiple peaks with amazing views, a descent through scenic Cave Dale and Castleton village, and some steep, potentially muddy sections best tackled with proper footwear spring through fall.

2. Glenridding and Helvellyn Circular

A majestic green mountain peak rises beneath wispy white clouds in the Lake District near Keswick, UK

Length: 8 mi / 12.9 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Hard
Duration: 5-7 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,755 ft / 840 m
Location: Lake District National Park
Permissions and Fees: None
Active Calorie Burn: 3100 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This challenging 8-mile loop near Glenridding requires navigating the narrow, exposed Striding Edge and Swirral Edge scrambles with hands-on climbing to summit Helvellyn, England’s third highest peak with amazing views, so it’s best attempted April-September by experienced hikers with proper gear, steady footing, and a head for heights during ideal dry, clear conditions.

3. The Roaches and Lud’s Church Circular

As the sun sets, its warm glow bathes the rugged, rocky terrain of The Roaches in Leek, UK

Length: 7.7 mi / 12.4 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,391 ft / 424 m
Location: Peak District National Park
Permissions and Fees: None
Active Calorie Burn: 2200 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This very popular 7.7-mile loop trail near Allgreave is considered a moderately difficult hike that requires careful footwork as you climb up steep, rocky sections using your hands to reach the summits of Hen Cloud and The Roaches where you’ll be rewarded with awesome sweeping views, plus you’ll get to see the legendary Lud’s Church chasm, ridges, muddy forest areas, and maybe even spot some escaped wallabies from long ago.

4. Yorkshire Three Peaks Circular

Against a brilliant white sky, the rolling green and brown moorlands of Yorkshire, UK stretch out in a serene natural landscape

Length: 24.5 mi / 39.4 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Hard
Duration: 8-12 hours
Elevation Gain: 5,236 ft / 1596 m
Location: Yorkshire Dales National Park
Permissions and Fees: Only for parking
Active Calorie Burn: 3900 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

For only the most experienced hikers, this extremely challenging 24.5-mile loop near Austwick requires climbing the massively steep, rocky peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough within 12 hours, necessitating proper gear, ample food and water, navigation skills, and an early summer start to avoid finishing after dark.

5. Old Glossop and B-29 Crash Site Circular

Beneath a vibrant blue sky, a striking brown rock formation stands tall, surrounded by lush green foliage and wildflowers in Glossop, UK

Length: 8.2 mi / 13.2 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 2-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,761 ft / 537 m
Location: Peak District National Park
Permissions and Fees: None
Active Calorie Burn: 2300 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This moderate 8.2-mile loop near Glossop gradually climbs up to Higher Shelf Stones and the sad wreckage site of a crashed 1948 US Air Force plane with a memorial, going through boggy peat moorlands requiring proper waterproof boots, but offering awesome views in the Peak District if you hike it between January and October when conditions are best.


What are the most popular national parks in England?

The most popular national parks in England are the Lake District (famous for lakes, mountains, and villages), Peak District (gritstone ridges, moorlands), Yorkshire Dales (limestone valleys, waterfalls), New Forest (ancient woodlands, heathlands, free-roaming ponies), and Dartmoor (rugged granite tors, wild ponies), attracting millions of visitors annually for their diverse and picturesque landscapes ideal for hiking and outdoor adventures.

What are some tips for hiking on a budget in England?

To hike on a budget in England, take advantage of free parking areas, pack food and snacks, bring reusable water bottles, use public transportation or carpool to trailheads, camp at inexpensive campsites or wild camp in permitted areas, purchase second-hand gear, stick to shorter day hikes to avoid accommodation costs, and explore national parks and public footpaths outside peak seasons when prices are lower.

Do U.S. citizens need a visa to hike in England?

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to hike in England for stays of up to 6 months. As part of the U.S.-U.K. Visa Waiver Program, American tourists can visit the U.K. for tourism purposes, including hiking and other outdoor activities, for up to 6 months without obtaining a visa in advance.

Spread the word →

Why you should trust us

At Hikinglite, we're all about helping you hit the trails with lightweight and ultralight outdoor gear that won't weigh you down. Our crew of content creators? Real outdoor enthusiasts who've logged countless miles on the trails.

Leading the pack is our editor-in-chief, Alex Jardine – an ultralight evangelist who's hiked over 10,000 trail miles across the globe. He's basically a walking outdoor encyclopedia. This dude loves testing out the latest and greatest products, so you can trust his recommendations are always well-informed and reliable.

We treat all our suggestions like advice from close trail buddies. No fluff, just real insights from folks who live and breathe the outdoor life.

Have any questions?

More Insights

Suscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay smartly informed with our weekly newsletter

Follow us

hikinglite logo white
© 2024 Hikinglite - All rights reserved

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe now to stay ahead of the pack with the most up-to-date outdoor content.