The best pub walks in Britain

Daniel Neilson

written by
Daniel Neilson

updated 22.09.2021

From its dramatic coastline to its upland mountains, from its stirring moorland to its bucolic inland shires, Britain’s wildly diverse landscapes make for some of the world’s best walking.

Combine this with another uniquely British establishment, the pub, and you have the makings of a rather good day out. Here are ten of our favourite pub walks in the country. If you're in the capital, we've also curated a collection of the best walks in London.

1. Yorkshire’s coast: Whitby to Staithes

Distance: 18.5km; strenuous

Duration: 6-7 hours

Best boozer along the way:The Cod & Lobster, Staithes

Whitby and the cove-hidden villages along the North York Moors National Park’s coastline are some of the country's most picturesque places. The wild North Sea batters the cliff edges, while the diverse array of birdlife battle the elements. This full-day walk follows the Cleveland Way north from Whitby to Staithes – and there's no shortage of pubs along the coastline.

On arrival in Staithes, The Cod & Lobster hangs precariously onto the harbour (and has, on occasion, been a bit too close to the edge – just look at the pictures on the wall from after the 1953 storm). Out of the wind, this is a cosy, welcoming pub with a seafood-heavy menu.

Planning your trip to Yorkshire? Don't miss our guide to the best things to do in Yorkshire.

Staithes Harbour, North Yorkshire

Staithes Harbour, North Yorkshire © Dave Head/Shutterstock

2. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, St Davids

Distance: 11km; moderate

Duration: 4 hours

Best boozer along the way: The Farmers Arms, St Davids

St Davids, Britain's smallest city, provides the perfect starting (and ending) to an exploration of the dramatic Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Take a footpath south to the coast and follow the route around the peninsula of Pen-Dal-aderyn taking in astonishing views over Ramsey Island. Head back to St Davids for a pint at The Farmers Arms.

Pembrokeshire Coast sunset

Pembrokeshire Coast sunset © Matt Train/Shutterstock

3. Kinder Scout, Peak District

Distance: 14km, strenuous

Duration: 6 hours

Best boozer along the way: The Old Nags Head

Kinder Scout is always an adventure. Despite being well connected to the cities of Sheffield and Manchester, there’s a real sense of remoteness on this vast moorland plateau.

Start out from Edale and follow the beginning of the 429km Pennine Way to the waterfall of Kinder Downfall, before returning along the National Trail and into The Old Nags Head. With flagstone floors, roaring fires and its own beer, the Old Nags Head is a pub full of the character you'd expect considering it dates back to 1577.

The Old Nags Head pub

The Old Nags Head pub © David Hugues/Shutterstock

4. Ben Vrackie, Pitlochry

Distance: 12km; strenuous

Duration: 5 hours

Best boozer along the way:Moulin Inn

By the delightful town of Pitlochry, and the even more picturesque outlying village of Moulin, is the pleasingly pointy mountain of Ben Vrackie, an 841m monolith that dominates the area.

Start from Moulin following clear signs up to the mountain, before a sharp 300m pull to the summit. The first pub you arrive at is the Moulin Inn. It's been welcoming visitors since 1695, so is pretty good at it by now. The fact that it has its own brewery makes it pretty much the perfect walking pub.

View from Ben Vrackie summit at sunrise

View from Ben Vrackie summit at sunrise

© Pawel Pietraszewski/Shutterstock

5. Sussex Downs: Alfriston to Litlington

Distance: 5km; easy

Duration: 2 hours

Best boozer along the way:The Plough & Harrow, Litlington

You’d be hard pushed to find a more quaint village in all of Sussex than Alfriston. It's home to one of the oldest pubs in the country, The Star Inn, dating back to 1345.

From Alfriston, walk past the village green and the 14th-century church of St Andrew to the River Cuckmere. From here, the path winds along the river in the folds of the chalk Sussex Downs to the hamlet of Litlington and the 17th-century Plough & Harrow, before a genteel return.

River Cuckmere, South Downs National Park

Swans flying over River Cuckmere © James LePage/Shutterstock

6. Gordale Scar, Yorkshire Dales

Distance: 5km, easy

Duration: 3 hours

Best boozer along the way: Lister Arms, Malham

This short walk manages to include two of Britain’s most incredible geological wonders. Gordale Scar is a 100m limestone ravine riven by glacial meltwater. Walk out of Malham up the Scar, before returning to the road and then following the Dales High Way to Malham Cove, a tremendous limestone amphitheatre.

Back in Malham, the charming Lister Arms is a cosy old coaching inn with some seriously good food.

Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales © albinoni/Shutterstock

7. Thames Path: Marlow to Windsor

Distance: 22km (can be shortened); moderate

Duration: 6-7 hours

Best boozer along the way:The Boatman, Windsor

The Thames Path, a well-signposted 294km National Trail, follows the great river from near its source in the Cotswolds through the centre of London to Greenwich.

Our favourite part is the partly wooded section from Marlow to Windsor Castle. After a long day out, the riverside Boatman in Windsor is an endearing sight. Grab a table on the terrace and watch the boats go by.

Thames Path, London

Thames Path, London © chrisdorney/Shutterstock

8. Tintagel to Boscastle, Cornwall

Distance: 7km; easy

Duration: 2-3 hours

Best boozer along the way: The Napoleon Inn, Boscastle

Tintagel on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast will forever be associated with King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. But it's also the striking cliff-top views from along the South West Coast Path that make this such a popular destination. The 7km coastal walk to Boscastle is one of the finest anywhere.

Finish your walk at The Napoleon Inn or return to Tintagel for a drink at the Ye Olde Malthouse Inn.

Tintagel Castle coastline, Cornwall

Tintagel Castle coastline, Cornwall © Nigel Wallace/Shutterstock

9. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Distance: 6km; easy

Duration: 2 hours

Best boozer along the way: The Holyrood 9A

There are few cities in Britain where you can climb high above the city, yet remain in the very centre. Arthur’s Seat, in the middle of Edinburgh, offers majestic views, a dose of history and mythology, plus the convenience of being near loads of good pubs for afterwards. Start off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and walk around the western side to Gutted Haddie, then around Arthur's Seat to approach from the east.

The Holyrood 9A's tagline is "good beer, good burgers" which is enticing enough itself, even if it weren't for the friendly staff and unbeatable location just off the Royal Mile.

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh © Aleksandr Vrublevskiy/Shutterstock

10. Langdale Pikes, Lake District

Distance: 9km; strenuous

Duration: 6-7 hours

Best boozer along the way:The Old Dungeon Ghyll, Langdale

Great Langdale is easily one of the finest valleys in the Lake District. It comes to an abrupt end at the Langdale Pikes that rise 700m high.

Climb high up to Stickle Tarn, and perhaps to Pavey Ark, before descending for a pint by the fire in a classic hillwalking pub, The Old Dungeon Ghyll. This is one for more experienced hikers.

Langdale Pikes

Langdale Pikes, Lake District © GrahamMoore999/Shutterstock

Explore more of Britain with The Rough Guide to Great Britain. Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Top image: Wooden gateway in Little Langdale, the Lake District, England © antb/Shutterstock

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