Destinations

6 great trails for a socially-distanced holiday

Our pick of the top hiking, running and cycling trails in Britain
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Lockdown has seen a huge upsurge in the number of people cycling and running to get their daily exercise. If you’ve been bitten by the fitness bug, why not take your newfound hobby on the road, on a socially distanced break?

With its diverse landscape, open spaces and inspirational scenery, Britain has some amazing locations for those who want to get active outdoors.

Our pick of these top hiking, running and cycling trails will help you get some fresh air, challenge yourself and enjoy a change of scene from your usual routes.

1. Exe Estuary Trail, Devon

Distance: 26 miles

This predominantly flat route wends its way around the entire Exe Estuary linking Exmouth, Exeter and the picturesque seaside town of Dawlish. It takes in some beautiful views along the River Exe and estuary, which provides a year-round haven for thousands of birds. You’ll also pass some of Devon’s most attractive waterside villages, including Topsham and Exton, where you can stop off to refuel in a suitably socially-distanced pub or tea room (be aware you may have to book ahead though).

Where to stay: Best Western Exeter Lord Haldon Country Hotel, Exeter

Exe-Estuary-Trail,-Devon

2. Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

Distance: 8 miles

Keswick is home to this magnificent mountainous forest, which has nearly 8 miles of running, biking and walking trails to enjoy. As there are several routes, you can try a different one each day if you’re holidaying in the Lake District – and it’s easy to keep your distance from other holidaymakers. The forest has sweeping views across Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater, and the hilly terrain is great for those who want to test their stamina. It’s almost impossible not be invigorated by this dramatic landscape.

Where to stay: Castle Inn Hotel, BW Signature Collection by Best Western, Keswick

Whinlatter-Forest,-Cumbria

3. Millennium Coastal Path, Llanelli

Distance: 13 miles

For a family-friendly day out, try this spectacular section of the Celtic Trail in South Wales. This mostly flat and smooth, traffic-free route follows the glittering Carmarthenshire coast from Bynea to Pembrey Country Park. Along the way, there’s opportunities to spot wildlife in Loughor Estuary and admire the calming views of the Gower Peninsular. At the end of the route, rest up on the golden sands of Cefn Sidan Beach before heading back to base. With so much to see and do, make sure you allow plenty of time to enjoy the full experience.

Where to stay: Best Western Diplomat Hotel & Spa, Llanelli

Millennium-Coastal-Path,-Llanelli

4. The Ridgeway, southern England

Distance: 87 miles

Often referred to as Britain’s oldest road, the Ridgeway still follows the same route used by prehistoric travellers. Today, it’s popular with cyclists, runners, walkers and horse riders. It starts at the World Heritage Site of Avebury and follows a ridge of chalk hills across the North Wessex Downs and Chilterns to Ivinghoe Beacon. The trail takes in Iron Age forts, Stone Age long barrows and the famous hillside white horse figure at Uffington. Of course, you don’t have to complete the entire route if it’s too far, as you might prefer to do circular sections if you’re staying at the same hotel throughout your trip.

Where to stay: Best Western Plus Angel Hotel, Chippenham or The Watermill Hotel, Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western, Hemel Hempstead

The-Ridgeway,-southern-England

5. Deeside Way, Aberdeenshire

Distance: 41 miles

Stretching from Aberdeen to Ballater, the Deeside Way takes you out of the Granite City into the glorious open countryside, where you won’t have to come into contact with the crowds. The trail, which follows the line of the Old Royal Deeside Railway, leads along the north bank of the River Dee, with the Cairngorm mountains providing a scenic backdrop to your adventures. It’s suitable for cyclists and runners, and most of the route is off-road, with one or two steeper sections offering more of a challenge.

Where to stay: The Carmelite Hotel, BW Signature Collection by Best Western, Aberdeen

Deeside-Way,-Aberdeenshire

6. Water Rail Way, Lincolnshire

Distance: 33 miles

You can run or cycle all or part of this purpose-built trail, linking the historic cathedral city of Lincoln with the market town of Boston. The route, which follows the River Witham and is mostly flat throughout, takes you through vast fenland peppered with sculptures celebrating local wildlife and the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who was born around these parts. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for Lincoln Red cattle and Curly Coat pigs. There’s also viewing platforms over the banks of the river if you want to take a breather and admire the scenery.

Where to stay: The Lincoln Hotel, Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western or Best Western Plus Bentley Hotel & Spa, Lincoln

Water-Rail-Way,-Lincolnshire

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