With nearly 3,000 mountains to choose from, the UK is a great place for any outdoor enthusiast. Whether you are after extreme ridges, challenging hikes, or just spending some time enjoying the beautiful scenery, it’s hard to beat a British holiday in the hills. The satisfaction of reaching the summit whilst spending the day surrounded by wildlife, mountain air and stunning scenery is hard to beat. Returning to a cosy cottage for a soak in a hot bath and a tipple of your choice by a roaring fire where you can exchange stories of your days adventures is likely to sooth any weary limbs.
With so many beautiful mountains gracing the British Isles, it is hard to pick the best. However, here are our top six. They are all located in stunning mountainous regions so you can easily plan a different mountain adventure each day. Alternatively, if you only fancy one trip into the hills these fantastic holiday locations also have plenty of other activities on offer.
View of Snowdon
Snowdon, North Wales
Climbing the highest mountain in Wales should be on everyone’s bucket list. You will be rewarded with miles and miles of stunning views, turquoise mountain lakes and a few Welsh sheep! Whilst Snowdon stands at 1,085 metres high, the 8 different routes to the summit makes it accessible to people with a wide range of walking abilities. For those who can’t tackle the mountain by foot, the Snowdon mountain railway is a great experience and offers stunning views and a lovely relaxed day out. There is a café at the top for that well deserved cup of tea and piece of cake.
Whilst the railway and café make Snowdon accessible to all, during the peak summer months on a lovely sunny day it can get busy. If you are looking for a mountain walk where you want to feel like you are the only one out in the hills try the less well known but equally stunning Nantlle Ridge, or Carnedd Llewelyn – the second highest mountain in Wales.
Walking and climbing aren’t the only activities in the mountains in Snowdonia. You can also try surfing in the mountains at the world’s first inland surf lagoon, flying over the mountains on the fastest zipline in the world, or bouncing under the mountains on a series of giant trampolines.
The mountains are not the only highlight of north Wales. If sea and sand are more your thing you will be spoilt for choice with the wide selection of gorgeous sandy beaches. Try your hand at surfing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. Alternatively, simply enjoy a good book and an ice cream with the sand between your toes. The close proximity to both the sea and mountains has meant north Wales is often described as the ‘adventure capital of the UK’. If all this sounds a bit too much you can escape back to the hills for some gentle walks, stunning scenery and a slice of bara brith.
If the combination of mountains, seaside and adventure activities sounds like your perfect holiday have a look at our wide selection of holiday houses in Snowdonia here.
Ben Nevis, Scottish Highlands
Standing at 1,345 metres, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK. Whilst it is a long and strenuous climb to the top, the easiest route to the summit is not technically difficult. The sense of achievement of conquering the king of all mountains and the awe inspiring view of the Scottish highlands from the top of this striking peak is hard to beat. At the summit you will find a stony plateau which is the collapsed dome of this once active volcano. There are no cafés at the top of Ben Nevis but you will find an abandoned metrological observatory which can be used for shelter in emergencies.
If you don’t fancy walking to the top of Ben Nevis, but you want to experience the views, you (and your dog!) can take a gondola to the top of nearby Aonarch Mor. There are some lovely walks from here, or during the summer months the more adventurous can bring their mountains bikes and ride the challenging but exhilarating tracks back down again.
Closeby you will also find the picturesque railway line that runs from Fort William to Mallaig that was used to film the Hogwart’s Express in the Harry Potter films. It’s not surprising that this beautiful surrounding area has been used in many films locations.
To start your Scottish adventure browse our selection of holiday houses here.
Snowboarders in the Cairngorms
Cairn Gorm, The Cairngorms, Scotland
Cairn Gorm is the best known mountain in the stunning Cairngorm National Park. Standing at 1,244 meters high it is the 6th highest mountain in the UK. The Cairngorm National Park provides a picturesque setting for hill walking during the summer months. If you decide to walk up Cairn Gorm itself you can stop for refreshments at the Ptarmigan Restaurant on your way up. As well as the impressive mountains you will find immense forests and moorland, as well as sparklingly clear rivers and lochs, all teeming with British wildlife from osprey to wildcats, red squirrels and an abundance of birdlife.
Whilst a lovey place to visit in the summer, the Cairngorms are perhaps better known for winter sports. The north western slopes of Cairn Gorm boosts 30kms of ski runs and 11 lifts, making it the most popular ski and snowboard destination in the UK. If you want to leave the crowds behind you can even have a go at ski touring.
There are also a number of castles in the area, an open air folk museum and the Royal Deeside’s Victorian Heritage Trail which includes Balmoral Castle. Golfers have the choice of 12 golf courses, whilst adrenal junkies can visit Britain’s only permanent bridge-based bungee jump just outside Pitlochry.
Find a cosy base for your Cairngorm holiday here.
Scafell Pike, Lake District
The Lake District National Park is undoubtedly one of the gems of the British Isles and Scafell Pike is one of the highlights of this renowned region. England’s highest mountain is certainly worth climbing. On a clear day you can see as far as Wales, Scotland, Ireland and even The Isle of Man. The spectacular views have inspired a wealth of poets such as Baines, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Wainwright. If you are a novice walker, the easiest and most popular route is from Wasdale. However, if you want to try something more challenging and would prefer to escape the crowds you might prefer one of the other routes.
After a day in the mountains you might like to take a cruise or try your hand at water sports on Windermere – the largest natural lake in England. The Coniston Boating Centre based on the nearby Coniston Waters is another great place if you want to try sailing, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing or even hire a motor boat.
As well as lakes and mountains there is plenty to do in the surrounding area with adventure playgrounds, visitors’ centres, a bird of prey centre, 800 year old Muncaster Castle, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and even the Laurel and Hardy Museum.
Find your perfect holiday house in this truly picturesque setting here.
View from Pen y Fan
Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons
Pen y Fan – the tallest mountain in the Brecon Beacons – is one of the most popular mountains in the UK. And for good reason. You will find some of the country’s finest scenery amongst the mountainous plateaus of the Brecon Beacons and standing at 886 meters high it is smaller, and therefore more accessible, than some of the taller peaks in north Wales. The easiest track starts at 440m which makes the climb to the top very manageable. If you have any young explorers on holiday with you this is a great first ‘proper mountain’ to conquer. On a clear day you will be rewarded with superb views across to the Black mountains, the Bristol channel and Swansea Bay.
For the more adventurous, and those who would prefer a longer walk where you can escape the crowds on a clear summers’ day, you can conquer the classic horseshoe walk which includes the 3 highest peaks of the Brecon Beacons or try one of the other lesser trodden routes up Pen y Fan.
If you would like to explore under the mountains, the Brecon Beacons has four of the five longest limestone cave systems in Britain. If you aren’t ready to commit to the full caving experience you can admire the rock formations at Dan yr Ogof.
Start your adventure on, or in, one of these mountains here.
Climbers at Stanage Edge
Kinder Scout, Peak District
The central location of the Peak District makes it the perfect base for a short break in the hills, or for anyone living in central or southern England who doesn’t want to travel too far. Whilst it might not have the imposing peaks on offer in Scotland and Wales, the dramatic high moorlands and steep sided limestone dales makes it a popular spot for walkers, climbers and cyclists.
If you fancy tackling the highest peak, which is also where our right to roam in the UK started, then you should head to Kinder Scout. There are a number of different routes, but perhaps the most popular is from Edale. This is also the start of the Pennine Way which provides 268 miles of spectacular walking nearly all the way to Scotland!
The Peak District is also extremely popular with climbers. Boosting over 10,000 routes it is hardly surprising that people flock from all over Europe to experience the huge number of different routes on offer here. If you are new to climbing but fancy giving it a go there are a number of organisations that will take you out for the day. If you fancy a day on the water then head to nearby Carsington Waters where you can sail, kayak, fish, or even hire a bike to explore the area on two wheels.
Like most of these mountainous regions, if you are after an adrenaline fuelled adventure, the Peak District has plenty on offer. From gorge scrambling to zip lines to theme parks, there is plenty to keep everyone happy here!
If you are tempted to visit the Peak District you can find your perfect holiday house here.
Fort William to Mallaig railway
Having a holiday in the mountains is something that anyone can enjoy at any time of the year. It’s a great holiday for families, friends and couples. Enjoy long sunny days and stunning views in the summer or blow the cobwebs away in the winter. Pack your camera, Kendal mint cake and plan your next adventure!