9 Bank Holiday Walks That End In A Pub
It’ll soon be Easter Weekend and the start of bank Holiday season!
What are you doing?
If it’s Easter Monday, chances are in the last twenty-four hours you’ve probably consumed enough chocolate to make Augustus Gloop look like an amateur, so perhaps you like to spend the day slowly digesting – like a boa constrictor in pyjamas – in front of those daytime films they always put on at this time of year (Ben Hur springs to mind)?
Or perhaps you’re just reveling in the fact that this is the Bank Holiday season, there’s another one coming up soon so you can legitimately spend the day doing f*ck all and not feel guilty about it.
We have a Bank Holiday tradition in our family – and it’s one shared by many. We go for a walk that almost always ends up at a pub.
As a child I hated this. All I wanted to do on Easter weekend was eat chocolate eggs for breakfast.
But now that I am older (and potentially more mature), I’ve realized that Bank Holiday walks in April and May are super magical.
First, it’s official. Spring has sprung. The daffodils are out. The days are getting longer and the dawn chorus is getting louder. So go out and enjoy it – it’ll soon be summer and we’ll be complaining that it’s too hot.
Second, most of the people you meet on your jolly along the seafront/canal/riverside are in a similar state of Bank Holiday contentment, save for those who are on their way to work (I know, I’ve been there too).
Third, you get to walk off all that chocolate and then promptly ruin it by downing a few pints and maybe a roast dinner when you get to the pub.
So, if it isn’t already part of your Bank Holiday itinerary, perhaps you could make a walk a new tradition? Even if your friends and family laugh in your face at the idea: grab them by the scruff of the neck and head to the pub for a revitalizing springtime adventure!
Here are some recommendations for our UK City Girls:
1) Bristol: Leigh Woods and the Clifton Suspension Bridge to the Eldon House, Clifton
Walk: Leigh Woods https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/leigh-woods
Pub: The Eldon House http://www.theeldonhouse.com/
Duration: Your choice
Transport: Free parking at Leigh Woods. Bus 8 and 8A services for Clifton Village.
Leigh Woods is, to use a local phrase, gert lush.
You don’t need to drive there if you live in the city and you can make your walk as long (or as short) as you want.
Start in Clifton Village and head over the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. From here it’s a short walk to the woods, where you’ll find a number of trails of different lengths all mapped out by the good ol’ National Trust.
Once you’ve had your fill of the peaceful trees and awesome views along the Avon Gorge, make your way back to Clifton Village where there are a number of watering holes to choose from. I recommend The Eldon House, who do a stellar roast dinner and offer a number of real ales on tap.
2) Bath: The Kennet and Avon Canal to the George Inn, Bathampton
Walk: Along the Kennet and Avon Canal https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/walking/canal-trails/kennet-and-avon-canal-trail
Pub: The George Inn, Bathampton https://www.chefandbrewer.com/pubs/somerset/george-inn/
Duration: 1h30, 3 miles
Transport: Free on-street parking around the Holburne Museum on Bank Holidays.
This is a very easy and relaxing walk that takes in a short section of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which runs from London to the Bristol Channel.
If you’re feeling brave and want to go a little further, then you can continue on to the Dundas Aqueduct, which adds a fair few miles (albeit flat ones) to your route. Alternatively, you can spend some time enjoying the beautiful city of Bath and all its Georgian loveliness.
The canal walk begins in Sydney Gardens, behind the Holburne Museum. Find the gate through to the canal and turn left, following the path until you reach the George Inn (I told you it was easy).
Once you’ve sampled the quintessentially cosy atmosphere of the pub, all you have to do is make your way back along the canal without falling in. Bonne chance!
3) Brighton: Seven Sisters and Birling Gap to the Tiger Inn
Walk: Birling gap from the Tiger Inn, East Dean https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birling-gap-and-the-seven-sisters/trails/birling-gap-walk-from-the-tiger-inn
Pub: The Tiger Inn https://www.beachyhead.org.uk/the-tiger-inn/
Duration: 1h30, 3 miles
Transport: East Dean is serviced by the 12, 12A and 12B buses between Eastbourne and Brighton
If you live in Brighton then the obvious choice is to go for a walk along the seafront – but I’m guessing you’ve done this a hundred times already? Right?
If you are willing to take a little drive, or a bus, further out of town you’ll find this lovely walk, which starts in the tiny village of East Dean and takes you along a beautiful section of the South Downs Way.
There’s a little bit of everything here: kissing gates, fields, cliffs, churches, sheep and even a lighthouse. You’ll encounter some steep climbs and it’s likely to be muddy, but the view of the iconic Seven Sisters will be worth it.
The walk brings you back to the Tiger Inn, where you can rest your bones and raise a glass to your achievement.
4) London: Hampstead Heath to the Spaniard’s Inn
Walk: Hampstead Heath https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/hampstead-heath/
Pub: The Spaniard’s Inn https://www.thespaniardshampstead.co.uk/
Duration: Your choice
Transport: Tube: Hampstead, Golders Green, Hampstead Heath, Gospel Oak.
London Girls, if you haven’t been to Hampstead Heath you are missing out.
Situated up a hill in North London, this place is like an oasis of calm amidst the sprawling metropolis.
There are plenty of routes you can take through the Heath, I like to start at the Highgate Side (east) and walk up to the top of Parliament Hill, where you are treated to an epic vista of London. Kenwood House is also a nice stop on your way to the Spaniard’s Inn on the Hampstead side (west).
If you are feeling brave you can always take an icy dip in one of the ponds – they’re a popular spot for a bit of crazy year-round wild swimming.
Expect London prices at the Spaniard’s Inn. It’s one of the city’s oldest watering holes and boasts a busy history and a distinguished clientele, including the Romantic poets Lord Byron and John Keats (and Harry Styles, who celebrated his 20th birthday there… *groan*).
5) Birmingham: Clent Hills and the Fountain Inn
Walk: Clent Hills, Stourbridge https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clent-hills
Pub: The Fountain Inn http://www.thefountainatclent.co.uk/
Duration: Your choice
Transport: Bus route 192 between Birmingham and Kidderminster. Parking at Nimmings café.
The beautiful Clent Hills in Worcestershire are just a thirty-minute drive from central Birmingham.
Sure, you have to climb a hill, but when you get to the top you can see as far as the Black Mountain range in Wales (on a clear day, of course!).
This popular area, maintained by the National Trust, has a variety of interesting walks: from woodlands, to historic sites – including some imposing standing stones at the summit. You can take your pick of the routes and make the day as long or short as you like.
Once you’ve taken in the view, make your way to the Fountain at Clent, an olde worlde pub that offers a wide variety of traditional ales.
6) Manchester: Dovestone Reservoir to the Clarence
Walk: Dovestone Reservoir https://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200393/parks_countryside_and_canals/686/dove_stone_reservoir
Pub: The Clarence https://www.theclarencepub.com/
Transport: Bus service 180 runs from Manchester to Greenfield, about a one mile walk from the reservoir. Pay & Display Car Parking.
Dovestone Reservoir is a beautiful spot just forty minutes from the centre of Manchester.
The reservoir sits at the edge of the Peak District National Park and you can walk right around the perimeter, soaking up the tranquility of the still, clear waters.
For an easy route, park at the Pay & Display Car Park and follow the track around the edge of the reservoir to the central dam. Here you can cross over and make your way back to the starting point.
More intrepid adventurers can continue past the dam to Greenfield Reservoir where the views become more rugged (and the path more secluded), giving you a glimpse of the wild Saddleworth Moor.
Once you’re done strollin’, it’s just a five-minute walk to the nearby Clarence pub, where you’re sure of a warm welcome.
7) Liverpool: Formby and the Pinewoods
Walk: Formby Beach and Forest https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/trails/undiscovered-formby
Pub: The Pinewoods https://www.greatukpubs.co.uk/thepinewoodsformby
Duration: 1h45, 3 miles
Transport: Train to Freshfield. National Trust parking available.
Formby has it all: woods, beaches … asparagus.
Just thirty minutes north of Liverpool, this beautiful area of the country boasts glorious woodlands and beaches that stretch for miles. It is also home to the indigenous red squirrel and, oddly, an asparagus plantation.
My recommended walk takes you through the woods and along the sand dunes of the Sefton Coastal Path (though there are shorter alternatives).
The Pinewoods pub is not far away, a cosy little place where you can rest your weary feet after a blustery seaside walk.
8) Newcastle: Durham Heritage Coast and the Stapylton Arms
Walk: Blast Beach and the Durham Heritage Coast https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/durham-coast/features/discover-blast-beach-on-the-durham-coast
Pub: The Stapylton Arms, Hawthorn, Nr. Seaham https://thegoodpubguide.co.uk/pub/sr7+8sd/stapylton+arms/
Duration: Your choice
Transport: Free parking at Nose’s Point. Trains from Newcastle to Seaham.
Just a short drive from Newcastle is the extraordinary scenery of Blast Beach and Nose’s Point: a real-life example of how nature can quickly take hold of a once-industrial landscape.
The black beaches of this stretch of coastline are a reminder of the area’s coal mining history: until the 1990s, colliery waste was disposed of here on the shoreline. Now the area is protected and the wildlife is gradually returning, making it an unusual historic location to take a stroll.
There are a number of short walks along the coastline – or if you’re feeling adventurous you can walk here all the way from Newcastle along the coastal path!
Afterwards, stop in for a drink at the nearby Stapylton Arms where you’re sure to find friendly faces and hefty portions for a Bank Holiday lunch!
9) Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat to the Sheep’s Heid
Pub: The Sheep’s Heid Inn https://www.thesheepheidedinburgh.co.uk/
Duration: 2 hrs, 2.7 miles
Transport: Start at Holyrood Palace (about 15 mins from Edinburgh Waverley)
Edinburgh Girls, you’re in for a treat: this has got to be the coolest city walk. Ever.
The walk up to Arthur’s Seat, the highest point of Holyrood Park, is a popular one and gives you a small taste of the Scottish Highlands in the centre of the city.
The climb up to the summit is worth it – where else in Britain can you so easily climb to the top of a dormant volcano? The views over Edinburgh are incredible.
Once you’ve had your fill of the strong winds that often whip up around the Seat, it takes just ten minutes to get down to the Sheep’s Heid Inn, where you can have yourself a wee dram or a hot toddy.
Scotland KNOWS how to do post-hiking drinks.
Written by Charlotte Drew (Instagram: @charlotte_hikes) who is a keen hiker and founder of Bristol Girl Hikers. She writes a blog about her hiking adventures at www.theuphillstruggler.wordpress.com