The best UK walking festivals for 2024

ridge The best UK walking festivals for 2024 Laura Wallwork
Approx read: 4 mins

May is National Walking Month in the UK.

Here’s a lineup of wonderful walking festivals scheduled for this year from May through September.

In May, the weather becomes warmer and the days longer, which are the perfect conditions to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Walking festivals vary in time scale from one to several days and take place in some of the best walking destinations across the UK. Many of the larger festivals have a variety of events going on, including guided walks, talks and foraging.

Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Isle of Wight

Dates: 11-19 May 2024

Duration: 9 days

Level: All abilities

Cost: FREE – £20

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, with an event in spring and another in autumn. The spring session sees the island’s nature beginning to stir, a great time to explore the steep, beautiful scenery of the island. Guided walks take you in search of red squirrels, among bluebell woods and through shallows on a seagrass harvesting project. Every day provides a choice of different walks that suit all levels.

Dorchester Walking Festival, Dorset

Dates: 11-19 May 2024

Duration: 9 days

Level: All abilities

Cost: FREE – £15

Explore the stunning landscapes of the Jurassic Coast. The festival offers over 50 free guided and self-guided walks. Choose from the Trail of Thomas Hardy, discover Iron Age forts, walk in the footsteps of the Romans and explore dramatic coastal paths.

Suffolk Walking Festival, Suffolk

Dates: 11-26 May 2024

Duration: 2 weeks

Level: All abilities

Cost: FREE – £25

Started in 2007, this walking festival and is one of the largest and longest-running in the country. Taking place every May, this festival celebrates Suffolk’s natural landscape and heritage and covers every part of the county. Almost 60 guided walks explore this flat county. Visit Orford Ness – an island full of secrets – and take in the idyllic landscapes of Dedham Vale.

cotswold The best UK walking festivals for 2024 Laura Wallwork

Winchcombe Walking Festival, the Cotswolds

Dates: 17-19 May 2024

Duration: 3 days

Level: All abilities

Cost: £3 – £10

Winchcombe labels itself as the walking capital of the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are a variety of 21 walks and 2 events on offer. The walks are led by knowledgeable leaders who will provide insight into the history, flora and farming of the area. A wonderful opportunity to learn more about the countryside and what is going on. Hikes explore pubs, archaeological sites and a meteorite-themed walk in honour of parts of a meteor that crash-landed in February 2021 making headline news.

Arran Mountain Festival, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Dates: 17-20 May 2024

Duration: 4 days

Level: Moderate – Extreme

Cost: £25 – £75

Not for the faint-hearted. This four-day walking festival takes in everything from wildlife-watching coastal walks to scrambling over granite ridges. Walks vary from the moderately labelled Three Beinns Horseshoe to the extreme hike of the A’Chir Ridge Scramble. All walks are rated for technicality and endurance. If you’re looking for a challenge, these will tick all the boxes for you.

Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival, Wales

Dates: 3-8 September 2024

Duration: 6 days

Level: All abilities

Cost: £5 (accompanied children are FREE)

This festival has a choice of 28 walks of up to 14 miles and several themed walks with local history and geology. The Vale of Glamorgan is situated on the coast between the Gower and Cardiff and offers a variety of walking routes. The area includes the southernmost point of mainland Wales, rolling countryside and the dramatic Heritage Coast, with towering cliffs and remote beaches. It has been named the ‘Friendliest Walking Festival’ and walks are guided by experienced walk leaders.

gower The best UK walking festivals for 2024 Laura Wallwork

Gower Walking Festival, Wales

Dates: 7-15 September 2024

Duration: 9 days

Level: All abilities

Cost: £5 (previous years)

The programme is still being finalised for this year. The Gower is a piece of land that protrudes into the sea west of Swansea on the southern coast of Wales. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this festival is sure to take in the best of Wales’ beaches. Hikers will take in Rhossili Beach, the coves of Caswell and Pwll Du and the estuary at Three Cliffs. The festival offers a diverse and sustainable programme of events, with minimal environmental impact, to educate and encourage those who take part.

Richmond Walking and Book Festival, Yorkshire

Dates: 20-29 September 2024

Duration: 12 days

Level: All abilities

Cost: TBD

The programme is still being finalised for this year. Yet, the walks will explore the beautiful Northern Dales in autumn led by experienced guides. There will be a selection of graded walks to choose from each day, from ambitious climbs to historical strolls. There will also be participatory events such as a Poetry Open Mic and Book Club discussions.

Somerset & Exmoor Coast Festival, Somerset

Dates: 21-29 September 2024

Duration: 8 days

Level: All abilities for the smaller walks and challenging for the 80 Miles in Eight Days walk

Cost: £68 for 80 Miles in Eight Days. £6 (excl transport) – £9 (incl transport) for individual walks.

With such a diverse coastline, there is much to discover in terms of nature, geology and history in the area.

The festival offers you the opportunity to join the 80 Miles in Eight Days walk along the entire coast of Somerset, from Brean to Porlock. There will also be other walks that explore some of the lesser-known areas on the Somerset and Exmoor coast.

No matter your level or ability, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your physical ability. What’s more important is that we get outside and enjoy the natural beauty that is on our doorstep. Let’s hope the weather cooperates!

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