20 Incredible Hikes in England you don’t need a car to reach!

Hiking in England without a car – is it possible? There are many spectacular national parks in England but unlike American parks, shuttle bus systems are virtually unheard of. Most of us believe that to reach the start of a hike, you need a car. Yet for those of us who are looking to reduce our carbon footprint on our next hike, can’t drive yet or just want to enjoy more than one pint at the end of the hike there are plenty of car-free hikes in England! From the Lake District in the North to Dartmoor in the South here are 20 hikes in England you can reach by public transport. Which car-free hike in England will you want to go on first!?

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What is a car-free hike?

hike
Hiking in the Lake District can be tricky if you don’t have a car

Whilst hiking generally involves using your feet getting to the start of a trail is not always done on foot. A car-free hike is a hike you can go on without using your car. This means you can leave your house or accommodation, walk or hop on public transport and get straight to the start of the hike.

Reaching some of the most popular hikes in England often requires the use of a car. Our tallest hill, Scafell Pike, is notoriously difficult to reach by public transport. However, there are plenty of car-free hikes in England. Some of our national parks such as the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales have train lines running through them. Other national parks have good bus systems helping you get to the start of a car-free hike in England.

From car-free hikes in the Lake District in the north to car-free walks in Dorset in the south it is possible to hike in England without getting in your car.

Why you should go on a car-free hike in England

Dunstanburgh Castle Hike
Walking along the Northumberland Coastal path

England is not the easiest place to get around via public transport. Our public transport system is quite expensive, not as reliable or as up to date as many other European countries. For many members of the British public getting on public transport is done as an absolute last resort when you cannot drive. Outside of London, buses and trains are mostly used by young and elderly. Various sources believe that Margaret Thatcher said “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure,”. Whether or not she said it or not it highlights the mentality that owning and using a car means you are not a failure. Of course, using your car gives you flexibility and freedom. Getting to remote places in England by car is often much easier. Therefore, why should you go on a car-free hike in England?

There are a few reasons to leave the car at home on your next hike.

Firstly, it is better for the environment! The train will be going whether or not you are on it so why not hop on? Secondly, after a hike it is great to relax and let someone else do the driving as you may be tired from your walk. Thirdly, you can enjoy as many post-hike pints as you like! That pub at the end of the hike always looks so inviting, especially on a sunny day! Go on treat yourself to one or two. Afterall, you are not driving! 

Map of car-free hikes in England

Wondering where these car-free hikes in England are?

Here is a handy map of some of the best car-free hikes in England.

List of car-free hikes in England

Here is a list of 20 amazing car-free hikes in England to check out! Leave the car at home. Hop on the train, bus or bike and go for an amazing car-free walk! From the Lake District in the North to Cornwall in the south there is sure to be a car-free hike near you!

1. Roseberry Topping

Car-free hike in the North Yorkshire Moors

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

anna Roseberry Topping Yorkshire Hiking
Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping is a great car-free hike in the North Yorkshire Moors.

This hill, often dubbed as the Little Matterhorn can be reached by getting the train to Great Ayton. After getting off the train, turn right and follow the road to White House Farm. From there turn left and go up to Airy Holme farm. After this farm you go over fields and can see the iconic peak of Roseberry topping ahead.

The hike up Roseberry Topping is steep but short. From the top are wonderful views across Yorkshire and even out to the Yorkshire coast. Roseberry Topping is also an iconic walk for historical reasons. The young James Cook used to hike up Roseberry Topping. It is said that these early hikes inspired him to become Captain James Cook and travel the world! Who knows what wanderlust you will leave with after getting to Roseberry Topping by public transport!

After admiring the views from the top, you can walk back down through the woods. In spring these woods are full of bluebells! Head back down through Newton woods towards Cliff Ridge Woods. Make your way back to the train station and jump on the train home.

Roseberry Topping is a great car-free hike in England.

2. Hope to Castleton

Car-free hike in the Peak District

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

The Peak district is a wonderful national park in England. The train line also makes the Peak District a great place to start a car-free hike in England! If you are looking for a fairly easy hike in the Peak District but with some lovely views, consider hiking from Hope to Castleton.

You can get the train to Hope from Sheffield. The walk takes you over lovely meadows, over pretty streams and past rolling green hills.

Once you get to Castleton explore the pretty village which must be one of the prettiest villages in the Peak District. You can grab a cup of tea at one of the many tea rooms. You should also venture into Cavedale. This beautiful valley takes you behind the castle and you may recognise the location from films such as the Princess Bride and the Other Boleyn girl.

You can walk back to Hope or hop on the bus back. This is an easy and very enjoyable car-free walk in the Peak District national park.

3. Seven Sisters Cliff Walk

Car-free hike in the South Downs

Recommended by Krix from Travel Hacker Girl

The Seven Sisters Cliff Walk is a popular hike near London. It makes a great day trip from the capital, as it can be easily reached by public transport. You can take the train to Brighton or Eastbourne and then hop on the local bus. They are quite modern and frequent. Experienced hikers often choose to hike from Seaford to Eastbourne. This is a 14 miles hike full of scenic views of the sea and white chalk cliffs. You will pass the famous Beachy Head Lighthouse, which is certainly worth a photo. At 152 metres, Beachy Head is the highest of Britain’s chalk sea cliffs. Unfortunately, it is also a place where many people choose to end their life. It is said to be the third most common suicide spots in the world. To prevent this they have set up signs with helpline phone numbers to support people in crisis on the cliff face.

For many people, the Seaford to Eastbourne hike might be too long. It is, of course, possible to walk a shorter section as well. The visitor centre has free maps with different route options. The ranger on site is also able to give you advice about which hike might suit you best. On a hot summer day head to the beach after your walk. The Cuckmere River flows in the sea here, which is a nice spot for kayaking and swimming. 

4. Wild Boar Fell

Car-free hike in Yorkshire Dales

wild boar feel yorkshire dales hike

Wild Boar Fell is an epic car-free hike in the Yorkshire Dales national park. It is a linear hike starting at Kirkby Stephen train station and ending at Garsdale train station.

This car-free hike in England takes you through one of the least visited parts of the Yorkshire Dales and onto the 4th highest peak in the national park! Whilst you will come across other hikers on the summit, you may not see another soul for a good few hours along the way!

After you leave Kirkby Stephen train station head south towards Manor Bend farm. Once you are there continue on a grassy path towards the ridge that you will soon be following for the rest of the day. After you cross the Tommy Road you will now go upwards towards Little Fell, onto the Nab and finally reach the summit of Wild Boar Fell itself! After Wild Boar Fell go to Swarth Fell then your journey goes downhill for a few hours. This part can be a bit boggy!

The views into Mallerstangdale below are spectacular as are the views over to the Howgills in the distance. You may even be able to spot England’s tallest waterfall!

This is a long hike where you will need to be prepared to navigate boggy ground but otherwise a very enjoyable car-free hike in England. There is also a pub at the end meaning you can get a well-deserved pint before catching the train home.

If you fancy staying a bit longer there is even a vegan B&B in Garsdale! This vegan accommodation is a great place to stay after a long hike.

5. South West Coastal Path

Car-free hike in Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset

Recommended by Charlotte from The Millennial Runaway

The South West Coast Path is England’s longest national trail covering the best of the South West. At 630 miles long, the path covers extraordinary natural landscapes through Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset – including the infamous Durdle Door.

The path affords you views otherwise unseen from the roadside, rewarding hikers with nature reserves, heritage coasts, UNESCO sites and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Climbing a combined ascent and descent of 115,000 feet, you’ll come up-close-and-personal with Wildlife otherwise unseen, such as Dartford warblers, nightjars, western gorse and bristle only found in the West country.

The optimal itinerary is a hike a day over 52 days, but what’s great about this hike is that it can be completed on multiple day hikes, weekly, monthly or over a year or more. And no matter how long it takes you to complete the trail, you’ll receive a certificate and be inducted into the hall of fame!

Home to Butlins, Minehead is very easily accessible by public transport and the starting point for the trail. In fact, all counties are hot spot tourist destinations in England meaning they are simple to navigate to, from and between – if you don’t want to hike it that is! Similarly, Poole – the end of the trail –  is accessible via train making both the start and the end point of the trail within reach.

A number of the locations along the trail that – while they are a delight to explore – are coastal villages so that’s something to bear in mind. Navigating between towns and villages are usually reserved for the local buses, and as with most of England, Sundays tend to result in reduced bus schedules so that’s something to keep in mind.

6. Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Car-free hike in Yorkshire Dales

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

Ingleborough

Did you know it is possible to do the Yorkshire three peak challenge by public transport? I would recommend getting the train up to Horton-in-Ribblesdale the day before though so that you have the whole day to do the challenge.

The Yorkshire 3 Peak challenge involves climbing Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent in one day. This is a 25 mile hike which is both a mental, as well as, physical challenge. The path is easy enough to follow and during the summer months just follow the crowd!

If you don’t fancy tackling all of the 3 peaks in one day, each peak is a wonderful hike in its own right. Pen-Y-Ghent involves a fun scramble. The wind on the plateux of Ingleborough will blow your hat off and the view of Ribblehead viaduct from Whernside is breath-taking. All of these wonderful mountains can be reached by getting the train to either Horton-in-Ribblesdale or Ribbleshead.

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks are all excellent car-free hikes in England.

7. Stanage Edge

Car-free hike in the Peak district

Recommended by Jenny from Peak District Kids

Stunning Autumn Fall landscape of Hope Valley from Stanage Edge in Peak District

The TransPennine Express train line cuts through the Peak District, connecting the big cities of Sheffield and Manchester. Whilst many choose to disembark at Edale to climb to the summit of Mam Tor and visit Castleton, you will find fewer crowds on Stanage Edge and equally impressive views. In fact Stanage Edge featured in the recent Pride & Prejudice adaptation, starring Kiera Knightly. 

To get to Stanage Edge, take the train to Hathersage. During the day the train runs hourly. The train station is just 500 metres out of the village of Hathersage and it’s worth popping in to pick up some snacks and perhaps see Little John’s tombstone (as in Robin Hood’s friend) in the churchyard.

Following the footpaths on an OS Map, take the steep climb up to Stanage Edge past North Lees Hall, a building steeped in history and literary connections. This 16th century manor is thought to have been the inspiration behind Mr Rochester’s home in Jane Eyre. The Eyre family did in fact live here in real life, and the remains of their chapel, built in 1685 and destroyed three years later, can still be seen on the grounds.

Once you have passed North Lees Hall, you can continue on to Stanage Edge itself. This is arguably the most impressive gritstone escarpment in the Peak District, stretching for 6 km (3.5 miles). Looking beyond the escarpment, you will notice that the landscape is sprinkled with old millstones and grindstones, relics of a once flourishing industry.

Follow the footpath along the escarpment north-westwards as far as Crow Chin, then take the lower path doubling back. Then continue further back along the path the other way to Upper Burbage. From here, you can then take the path up to Higgor Tor, for yet more stunning views, then returning back to Hathersage. Click here to check out the full Burbage Edge and Higgor Tor 8 mile hike.

Treat yourself with a pint of Peak Ale and pub lunch at the George Hotel, and perhaps sooth your tired legs at the outdoor pool in Hathersage, before taking the train home again.

This is a 15 km walking trail, but you could shorten it by following the same route to Crow Chin and back, and not taking the more circular route via Higger Tor.

8. Catrigg Force & Scaleber Force Waterfall Walk

Car-free hike in the Yorkshire Dales

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

catrigg force

Catrigg Force is one of my favourite car-free hikes in the Yorkshire Dales! It is a relatively flat hike which takes you to two waterfalls and three caves! You can also do a shorter version of this hike by just visiting one waterfall.

Get the train to Settle, a wonderful market town full of lovely cafes. Grab a baked good from Ye Olde Naked Man Café or a tasty oat cappuccino from Bike Hire for your hike. Walk up Castle Hill or Consitution Hill until you see a footpath to your right. Follow this footpath until you reach another road in about a mile. It is a gentle uphill climb over fields full of sheep. Follow the road until the fork then go left towards Catrigg Force.

Catrigg Force is a spectacular waterfall in Yorkshire. After going over fields, you spot a group of trees. Within these trees lies a secret oasis. Catrigg Force crashes through a gorge into the woodland valley. In summer you can even bathe there. After taking plenty of photos at the waterfall head towards your first cave, Jubilee Cave!

Jubilee Cave is fun as you can go in one entrance and crawl out of another! After Jubilee Cave you can head to Victoria Cave! This is a much bigger cave and was discovered in the year of Queen Victoria’s coronation. You may spot Wet cave on your way up to Jubilee Cave.

After Jubilee cave see how you are feeling. If you are feeling tired you can head straight back to Settle. Otherwise, if you fancy seeing one more waterfall, continue southwards towards Scaleber Force.

Scaleber Force is another magical waterfall in Yorkshire. Very few people know about this waterfall meaning you may have it completely to yourselves! What a way to end your car-free waterfalls and cave walk in the Yorkshire Dales!

9. Ullswater Way

Car-free hike in the Lake District

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

ullswater gowbarrow

The Ullswater Way is an epic car-free hike in the Lake District National park!

The Ullswater Way is a 20-mile hike along the shores of Ullswater. You can choose to do this hike over two days or hike to one end of the lake and get the steam boat back.

To reach the start of the Ullswater Way get the train to Penrith. From there you can get a bus to Pooley Bridge. This is where you hike begins! You can follow the little daffodil sign which highlights where to go. This car-free hike gets particularly spectacular around Gowbarrow Park. From here are epic views of the lake and you can have a break at Aira Force waterfall. In spring you may even spot daffodils along the lake which were said to have inspired Wordsworth’s poem the Daffodils. When you get to Glenridding you have a choice to make. You can either continue along the other side of the lake back to Pooley Bridge. Alternatively you can jump on the bus or hop onboard the Ullswater Steamer boat!

You can get some pretty wonderful photos from this car-free hike in England. You might enjoy this list of Instagram spots in the Lake District national park.

Ullswater Way is a spectacular car-free hike in the Lake District. You must add this hike to your epic car-free hikes in England bucket list!

10. North Yorkshire Coastal Path

Car-free hike in the North Yorkshire Moors

Recommended by Sinead from the Best In York Guide

One of my favourite car free hikes in England is along the North Yorkshire coastal path from the seaside town of Whitby to Scarborough via the pretty fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. This route is part of the much larger Cleveland Way trail.

If you are starting your journey in York, you can catch The Coastliner Bus across the Yorkshire Moors all the way to Whitby. This scenic route was voted ‘Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route’ in 2018. The bus runs all year round with a more frequent service on long summer days. Alternatively, travel by train; Whitby’s train station is right in the heart of the town and is served by Northern Rail. In the summer months you can even catch a steam train to Whitby from the market town of Pickering.

Follow the signs from the centre of Whitby to the Cleveland Way coastal path and you will soon emerge onto the dramatic North Yorkshire coastline. This scenic, elevated path winds past Whitby’s squat white lighthouse, isolated coves and secluded stretches of beach. It is an undulating, windswept but technically easy hike. 7 miles later, take a break in the cobbled lanes of Robin Hood’s Bay or search for Jurassic era fossils on the expansive beach. From here, you can catch the bus back to Whitby or continue past the seal colony at Ravenscar and onwards to the popular seaside holiday town of Scarborough. Scarborough is served by both bus and rail including a direct line back to the city of York.

If you are staying overnight in York, you might want to check out this post about vegan accommodation in York!

11. Mam Tor

Car-free hike in the Peak District

Recommended by Pauline from Beeloved City

If you are looking for amazing hikes in the UK, Peak District should be at the top of your list. Best of all, this beautiful National Park is accessible by train, making it very easy to get there. It’s a very popular day trip from Manchester.

One of the most famous hikes in Peak District is Mam Tor.

You can jump on a train to Edale (about 20 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly) and start from there. When you get to the station, go up the road to the National Trust cafe and turn right. There are many hiking paths in Edale so you will see quite a few signs. Follow the one that says “Mam Tor”. This path will take you through the fields, you will be surrounded by sheep! It’s very pretty.

After about 20 mins, you will start going up. It’s not exactly considered as a hard hike but I wouldn’t say it’s easy either. As you go up, the views over the valley and the peaks will get more and more beautiful. Eventually, you will reach the summit! From the top of Mam Tor, you will get 360 degrees views on the peaks! You can even see Jacob’s Ladder, another amazing walk in Edale.

You can then head back down by staying on the same path (it’s a loop). All together, it will take you about 3 hours to complete the hike. This means that you can go on another walk in Edale afterwards if you wish, or just enjoy a nice lunch at the pub!

12. Hadrian’s Wall

Car-free hike in Northumberland

Contributed by Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

The hike along Hadrian’s Wall is a fabulous choice, as along the way you’ll not only enjoy the beautiful scenery but also learn about ancient Roman history and see some impressive archaeological remains. If you were to walk the entire length of the wall, it would take you six or seven days.

But thanks to the AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus, it’s easy to access the middle section of the wall, which is probably the most interesting, and adjust the length to suit your needs and interests. The bus runs every hour from Hexham bus station to Haltwhistle rail station, stopping along the way at Acomb, Wall, Chollerford, Chesters Roman Fort, Housesteads Roman Fort, Once Brewed, Vindolanda, Milecastle Inn, the Roman Army Museum, Walltown and Greenhead.

This means you can take the bus to one of the more interesting historical monuments along the wall and start walking from there, then pick up the bus again when you’re finished with your walk. Or, if you’re short on time and want to do a mix of bus rides and walking so you can see as much as possible, AD122 Rover passes are available for one day or three days.

I recommend visiting Chesters Roman Fort, Housesteads Roman Fort and Milecastle 42, which is the best-preserved of the various milecastles that punctuate the wall. They are evenly spaced with one Roman mile in between each one, hence the name. Milecastle Inn, right next to Milecastle 42, is a great place to stop for lunch. They will happily prepare vegan meals with a little advance notice.

13. Devil’s Dyke

Car-free hike in the South Downs

Recommended by Danielle from Live in 10 Countries

A hike on the South Downs is the perfect way to flush out the cobwebs and the beauty of Devil’s Dyke is that it’s well connected from Brighton and Hove. Brighton itself is of course on the main line from London with lots of direct services and you can then catch buses from the centre of town. Three dedicated bus routes serve the Downs, with a stop at Devil’s Dyke and will get you there in less than 30 minutes. There’s no need for a car!

A top tip would be to download the Brighton and Hove Buses dedicated app before you come as you can buy a ticket on the app and simply scan when you enter the bus. It’s both cheaper than a physical ticket and faster.

Devil’s Dyke is a real beauty spot, great for nature lovers and wildlife photographers. For those of us who like a well earnt treat, it’s also home to an isolated but lovely pub.

A walk of around two hours from the dyke takes you to Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve, also home to great views, where you might like to picnic and then you have the choice of catching a bus back to Brighton or challenging yourself with the walk back to Devil’s Dyke.

For a longer linear hike, start your day at suburban Shoreham-By-Sea train station, served by city trains from Brighton Station, heading north to reach the South Downs Way. From there you’ll go east and pass via both Devil’s Dyke and pretty Saddlescombe Farm (which has a good cafe) on your way to the nature reserve. This one is a longer option, taking between 4 and five hours depending on fitness.

14. Blencathra

Car-free hike in the Lake District

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

Blencathra and the Northern Fells, Lake District

Blencathra is an epic hill in the Northern part of the Lake District national park. Whilst most people drive to the bottom of this amazing fell, it is possible to get to Blencathra by public transport.

The X5 bus runs between the lovely market town of Keswick and the bustling town of Penrith. Blencathra lies above the villages of Threlkeld and Scales. Luckily the X5 bus stops at Threlkeld and if you are feeling plucky you could always ask the driver to drop you off at Scales.

From either Threlkeld or Scales you can hike up to Blencathra for some of the best views in the Northern Lakes. Adventurous hikers may even opt to attempt to climb the peak via Sharp Edge. Sharp Edge is a razor thin ridge which makes for an exhilarating scramble to Blencathra! Much less busy than the more famous scramble of Helvellyn, this ridge is arguably more spectacular, if not slightly more dangerous. Do not attempt in wet weather or if you don’t like heights! You don’t have to climb Blencathra via Sharp Edge as there are plenty of other routes up.

When you reach the summit of Blencathra you are rewarded with remarkable views. This was worth climbing up for! Afterwards head back down to Threlkeld for a drink in a local pub before catching the X5 bus back to either Penrith or Keswick. Penrith has a train station too making this a doable car-free day hike in the Lake District. 

15. St Ives to Carbis Bay

Car-free hike in Devon

Recommended by Travels with Eden

The hike between St Ives and Carbis Bay is one of the most picturesque in England. It’s located on a small stretch of the South West Coast path, which spans 630 miles through Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset.

To walk from St Ives to Carbis Bay, simply head down to Porthminster beach from St Ives station. As you look towards the sea, head to your right along the beach promenade and start to hike up the hill, past Porthminster restaurant. At the top of the hill, carry on along the path with sea views all the way. You’ll then start the descent onto Carbis Bay Beach.

In total, the walk is 1.5 miles and should take around an hour. There are some amazing views on the way so be prepared to take some good pictures. Once you reach Carbis Bay, you can spend time at the beach or board the St Ives Branch line for a 3-minute scenic ride back to St Ive’s. If you’re feeling adventurous, carry on along the coastal path. Many opt to walk to Hayle Towans on the South West Coastal Path and board the St Ives branch line at Lelant Saltings to return.

The hike starts in St Ives, Cornwall. St Ives is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations, famous for its family-friendly beaches, artist colony, stunning coastline and delicious cuisine. The path follows the St Ives Branch line, a scenic train journey from St Ives to the mainline station St Erth. It also passes through the neighbouring town of Carbis Bay and the village of Lelant. St Ives is easily reached by train from anywhere in England.

St Ives can also, be reached by bus. The bus station is located ideally overlooking Porthminster beach and the start of the hike. To reach St Ives, board the T1 Tinner from Hayle, Camborne, Redruth, and Truro. If you’re coming from Penzance, board the A17, 16 or 16A.

16. Northumberland Coastal Way

Car-free Hike in Northumberland

Recommended by Kathi from Watch Me See

The Northumberland Coastal Path is a long-distance hike in the far north-east of England. It runs for 62 miles (~100km) from Cresswell in the south to Berwick-upon-Tweed on the Scottish-English border in the north. Both ends are well-connected by public transport and there is also a great local bus service connecting different stops along the way. That means you can either hike the entire path in one go (around one week) or tackle it in sections.

The majority of the trail leads along the coast and through the Northumberland Coast AONB –  that means “Ares of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and should give you an indication as to what makes this trail so special!

Hikers are rewarded for their efforts of multi-day trekking with sweeping views and sandy beaches, wildlife-rich nature reserves and numerous heritage sites spanning thousands of years of history. Along the way, lie fascinating castles and colourful coastal villages. There is no shortage of things to explore. With my long-distance hiking packing list, you will ensure that you only pack what’s necessary and make your trip more enjoyable.

An absolute highlight on this hike is a detour to the tidal Holy Isle – also a great day hike from Berwick-upon-Tweed. Here the Coastal Path continues in a loop around the island. Wander among the sand dunes on the nature reserve, climb the stairs up to Lindisfarne Castle and visit the legendary ruins of Lindisfarne Abbey, where the first Viking raid of history was recorded.

To get to the start of the trail in Cresswell, take the bus from Newcastle upon Tyne to Ellington. From there continue on foot (30 minutes to Cresswell) or by bus (5 minutes). Berwick upon Tweed has a well-serviced train station with trains arriving from all over the country.

Note that the bus service to the Holy Isle varies depending on tidal times and has limited services in off-season.

This is a great car-free hike in Northumberland!

17. Ilkley Moor

Car-free Hike in Yorkshire

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

Ilkley Moor is a wild barren place. There are many wonderful walks to do across the moorland. What’s even better is that you can reach Ilkley Moor by public transport!

Ilkley is a pretty spa town in Wharfedale in Yorkshire. There are lots of nice cafes, including a wonderful veggie café to fuel up in before or after your car-free hike on Ilkley moor. Most importantly though, Ilkley has a train station! It is easy to reach Ilkley by train from Leeds or Shipley. Once you pull into Ilkley train station it is just a 1 mile walk to the moor itself. This walk is also a great warm up as you will ascend by 100m. Head towards the Cow & Calf pub to start your car-free Ilkley Moor hike.

The Cow & Calf are two distinctive rocks and mark the start of your car-free hike on the moor. Follow the path or scramble up the rocks then pick a path you like the look of! You could head over to the stone circle or head up to the summit of Rombald moor. It is wonderful to just make your own route and ramble over the moor. If you visit in late spring you may see pretty tuffs of cotton flowers blowing in the wind. In August the moor turns purple as the heather comes alive.

When you begin to get tired head downwards and back into the town of Ilkley where you can catch a train home.

18. Malvern Hills

Car-free Hike in Worcestershire & Herefordshire

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

The Malvern Hills are 9 hills in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Many people just go up one of the two main hills but a few attempt to walk the whole ridge in one day! Whilst you can reach the start of this hike by train getting back from the end of the ridge is trickier!

Catch the train to Malvern Link. From there it is a 20-minute walk to the North Quarry car park. Once you are here head upwards and start on your car-free hike! It is easy to identify the various hills and follow the path southwards. Your first major summit will be the Worcestershire Beacon from which you will see fantastic views of the English and Welsh countryside. Continue south along the path and go downwards before you start your next major ascent onto Herefordshire Beacon. There is also normally a small café open by the Herefordshire Beacon which does amazing vegan sausage sandwiches. Go upwards onto the summit and admire the old iron age fort. From here you have a choice to make. Either go down, see if the bus is running or start the walk back to Colwall train station which is 3 miles away.

Alternatively, you can keep going all the way to Hollybush to say you have walked all 9 of the hills! Just be aware that buses at the other end can be infrequent. Your best bet is to hitch hike. Of course, not everyone is comfortable with hitchhiking but hikers tend to be a friendly bunch. As there is a car park in Hollybush ask if anyone is passing a train station and see if you can catch a lift. They should take pity on you. See if you can find a couple with a dog. Start to stroke the dog and if the dog likes you, you are in.

Similarly, some people who do the length take 2 cars, leave one at one end and one at the other, so they may take pity on you too.

You can do the Malvern Hills by public transport but be aware that there is a lot of walking from the hills to the train station afterwards. Buses do tend to run during the summer months so you may be able to hop onto a bus. Alternatively see if you can pluck up the courage to ask for a lift!

19. Scafell Pike

Car-free Hike in the Lake District

Recommended by Sarah from Veggie Vagabonds

Though the North of England and the Lake District are absolutely chocka with awesome hikes, a highlight that you can’t miss is climbing Scafell Pike. Not only is this one incredibly scenic trail but you’ll also be standing at the highest point in England once you reach the summit. 

There are a number of different routes to climb Scafell but some are easier to access than others. If you’re coming by public transport, the most popular route from Wasdale Head is probably your best option. For this trail, you can get trains to Seascale and then a minibus runs to the trailhead on weekends. It’s a 9km route which takes around 4 hours and is probably the best for beginner hikers as there is no scrambling involved and an obvious path. 

If you have the option to, the trail starting from the other side of the peak at Seathwaite is much more varied, passing through rolling landscapes which will blow your mind. It’s slightly more technical but could still be considered by confident beginners. This option is 15km for a return and takes 5-7 hours to complete. 

You can get here by travelling to Keswick, the closest big town, then the 78 bus can take you towards Seathwaite. 

Alternately, if you want to turn it into a bigger adventure, why not cycle and camp along the way? We last climbed Scafell Pike as part of our Three Peaks Challenge by Bike, and cycled from Wales to the Lake District and came from Keswick towards Seathwaite/Borrowdale, before continuing to Ben Nevis in Scotland.

The cycling in the area is damn special and the last 10km towards Scafell Pike travels past scenic lakes and impressive peaks. You’ll find a number of great campsites close by so you can turn it into a fun multiday trip!

20. Orrest Head

Car-free Hike in the Lake District

Recommended by Anna from My Travel Scrapbook

View from Orrest Head, Lake District

Orrest Head in the Lake District is not the longest car-free hike on this list but it is an iconic one. I wanted to end this list of best car-free hikes in England with a hike that inspired a generation of hikers.

Alfred Wainwright went on a car-free hike to Orrest Head back in 1930 as a 23-year-old. What he saw at the top of that hill encouraged a lifetime of car-free hikes in the Lake District national park! What better way to follow in his foot prints than by getting the train to Lake Windemere and hiking up just as Wainwright would have.

This is more of a walk than a hike but still a thoroughly enjoyable one with an incline of around 200 feet. As you get off the train at Windemere, head down the road toward the tourist information centre. Then cross the busy A591 towards the hotel The Windemere. You will then see a sign saying Orrest Head 1 mile away. Just follow this path and you will reach one of the best Instagram spots in the Lake District!

At the top enjoy the views of the surrounding fells. When you are ready follow the same path back down into Windemere where you can grab some delicious food before getting the train or bus home.

Orrest Head seems a fitting choice to end our car-free hikes in England list.

Which car-free hike in England would you like to go on?

Which car-free hike in England do you like the sound of? Have you done any of these or have we missed your favourite car-free hike in England? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to be a more sustainable hiker? Looking to reduce your carbon-footprint on your next hike? Why not go on a car-free hike in England? While you need a car to reach many hikes in England, there are quite a few hikes you can reach by public transport! From the Lake District to the South Downs here are the best hikes in England you can reach by train, bus or bike! Which car-free hike in England will you want to go on first? #hike #car-free #englandhikingWant to be a more sustainable hiker? Looking to reduce your carbon-footprint on your next hike? Why not go on a car-free hike in England? While you need a car to reach many hikes in England, there are quite a few hikes you can reach by public transport! From the Lake District to the South Downs here are the best hikes in England you can reach by train, bus or bike! Which car-free hike in England will you want to go on first? #hike #car-free #englandhikingWant to be a more sustainable hiker? Looking to reduce your carbon-footprint on your next hike? Why not go on a car-free hike in England? While you need a car to reach many hikes in England, there are quite a few hikes you can reach by public transport! From the Lake District to the South Downs here are the best hikes in England you can reach by train, bus or bike! Which car-free hike in England will you want to go on first? #hike #car-free #englandhiking

One Reply to “20 Incredible Hikes in England you don’t need a car to reach!”

  1. I live in the middle of England and there isn’t many beautiful hiking trails here. I’ve always wanted to visit Hadrian’s wall but never found myself in Northumberland as it’s quite far North for me. Hopefully one day I can visit. Great post though, you’ve given me some ideas of future places to visit on day trips 🙂

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