The 13 Best Mountains Worth Climbing in the UK

Interested in mountain climbing? From the highest mountain in England to great summits for beginners, you’ll find a great option in the list below.

1. Slieve Donard, County Down

Delamont-V2

Great for: A moderate hike with great views.
Fun fact: Slieve Donard is the highest peak in Northern Ireland.
Nearest Campsite: 35-minute drive to Donard Car Park from Delamont Country Park Club Site*.

Towering over the Mourne Mountains, 850 metres above sea level, Slieve Donard is a great option for those with mountain walking experience. The relativity short walk has a well-defined path to the summit but do go prepared as there are some sharp inclines. You’ll follow along the Mourne Wall for most of your summit and decent. From the summit, depending on the weather, you’ll get to see the beautiful Mourne Mountains, the Isle of Man and even Newcastle Beach.

The Mourne Wall Challenge Walk is a popular choice among experienced walkers, taking you to 7 of the 10 Mourne Mountains. It’s a good 22 miles and hard to complete in a day, but if you’re up for a challenge and the weathers permitting, there are some fantastic views to be seen.

2. Scafell Pike, Cumbria

Scafell-Pike

Great for: Serious mountain walkers looking for a challenge.
Fun fact: Scarfell Pike, at 978 metres is England’s highest mountain.
Nearest Campsite: 30-minute drive to Wasdale Head Car Park from Ravenglass Club Site*.

There are many routes to the summit of Scafell Pike. Borrowdale, Langdale and Eskdale are all options, with the shortest route being from Wasdale. Although the shortest option, experienced walkers will need to allow around 6 hours in good weather conditions to complete the hike from Wasdale. Scafell is one of the most challenging mountains in the UK, and you’ll need to scramble no matter which route you choose.

Pre-planning is key with Scafell Pike. Make sure you check the weather in advance and prepare for all possible situations. Snow, strong winds and poor visibility are all common conditions at high altitude.

3. Ben Nevis, Lochaber

Ben-Nevis,-Glencoe

Great for: Serious mountain walkers looking for a challenge.
Fun fact: Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Great Britain at 1,344 metres.
Nearest Campsite: 35-minute drive to Glen Nevis Visitor Centre from Glencoe Club Site*.

If you’re looking for a demanding walk, Ben Nevis is a real challenge, even for experienced mountain walkers. The route starting at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre is the easiest. However, on average, you’re looking at 7-9 hours on the mountain. Being the highest mountain in Great Britain, Ben Nevis can get busy. There’s no shop or café at the summit, so ensure you take enough water and food for the summit and descent.

Ben Nevis, can be covered in snow, very cold, wet and windy even in the summer months, so it’s important to go prepared. Take waterproof, warm layers including a hat and gloves so you can layer up as you climb. A map, compass, navigational skills, a first aid kit and emergency shelter, are necessary year-round.

4. Cat Bells, Cumbria

Cat-Bells

Great for: A moderate hike with great views.
Fun fact: Beatrix Potter used the Cat Bells and surroundings as inspiration for The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.
Nearest Campsite: View our campsites in the Lake District*. 

At around 3.5 miles, it’ll take around 2 hours in total to ascend and descend the Cat Bells. Being one of the most popular mountains in the Lake District, you’ll rarely find yourself walking the fell alone. If you prefer a quieter walk, try going early in the season or out of season.

The walk itself isn’t too challenging, but there are some rocky sections you’ll need to scramble over. While the weather isn’t usually too problematic at the peak, it can get windy and cold so pack layers and waterproofs. The moderate walk is well worth the effort, with stunning views at the summit across Derwentwater to Skiddaw.

5. Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons

Pen-y-Fan

Great for: Walkers looking to summit their first mountain.
Fun fact: Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in South Wales.
Nearest Campsite: 50-minute drive to the Storey Arms car park from Rhandirmwyn Club Site*.

Around 350,000 people climb Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons each year. It should take you around 2 hours to reach the summit where you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views over the Brecon Beacons National Park. The path can be steep in places and the welsh weather unpredictable, but this is a great option as a first mountain.

6. Ben Macdui, Cairngorms

Ben-Macdui

Great for: A challenging summer climb.
Fun fact: Ben Macdui is said to be haunted by the ‘Grey Man of Macdui’.
Nearest Campsite: 17-minute drive to the car park at Aviemore Ski Resort from Glenmore Camping in the Forest campsite*.

At 1,309 metres, Ben Macdui is the second-highest mountain in Britain and the highest peak in the Cairngorms. While not a particularly challenging climb in terms of terrain, it is a long walk and you’ll need to go prepared. Good navigational skills are essential, and like any of the mountains listed here, weather is incredibly changeable. If you plan on doing this climb outside of the summer season, you’ll need proper winter gear including ice axes and crampons. The route is exposed the entire way so you’ll be in for a windy walk and should go prepared, wearing the correct clothing and proper walking boots.

The walk should take between 6-8 hours, depending on the weather and your experience. On a clear day, the views from the summit are spectacular, you’ll be able to see the Cairngorm Mountains in all directions.

7. Great Gable, Lake District

Great-Gable

Great for: Experienced walkers looking for a challenge.
Fun fact: Great Gable is next to Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.
Nearest Campsite: View our campsites in the Lake District.

At 899 meters, it should only take you a few hours to reach the summit of Great Gable. Although it’s not a particularly long walk, there are some steep sections, making this mountain a challenge for beginners and those with a little experience. There are many routes you could take to reach the summit, including those starting from Wasdale, Eskdale and Brotherdale.

8. Mam Tor and the Great Ridge, Peak District

Mam-Tor

Great for: Beginners looking for a long walk with spectacular views.
Fun fact: Mam Tor, meaning ‘Mother Hill’ is also known as the ‘Shivering Mountain’.
Nearest Campsite: 23-minute drive to Castleton car park from Hayfield Club Site*.

Easily accessible from Castleton, Mam Tor is consistently popular with hillwalkers and outdoor enthusiasts. With a stone footpath all the way to the top, this walk is reasonably doable for beginners. On a clear day, you can enjoy views of Kinder Scout, Hope Valley and Edale. The views from the top of Man Tor are some of the best in the country and feature heavily in many photographs of the Peak District. The 6-and-a-half-mile route shouldn’t be underestimated, make sure you pack waterproof, warm layers and take a map and compass.

9. Buachaille Etive Mor, Highlands

Buachaille-Etive-Mor

Great for: Experienced walkers used to the mountains.
Fun fact: The view of the mountain from the A82 is one of the most photographed sights in Scotland.
Nearest Campsite: 13-minute drive to Buachaille car park from Glencoe Club Site.

The iconic pyramidal shape of Buachaille, coupled with the challenge of getting to the summit, make it one of the most popular mountains in the Muro peaks, especially in the summer months. You’ll need a head for heights and navigational experience before attempting this climb. The walk up is steep and rocky in places, but once you reach the ridge, you can enjoy the views as you journey towards the summit. The steep, scrambly descent is also challenging; you’ll want a good pair of walking boots and plenty of snacks and water to see you through the 7-9 hour walk.

10. Snowdon, Wales

Scafell-Pike

Great for: Walkers looking to summit their first mountain.
Fun fact: Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and England.
Nearest Campsite: 42-minute drive to Pen-y-Pass car park from Llanystumdwy Club Site*.

At 1,085 metres, it’ll take you 6-8 hours to summit and descend Snowdon. While it’s no walk in the park, Snowdon is doable if you’re reasonably fit and used to walking long distance. Out of the 6 possible routes to take, Llanberis is the easiest if it’s your first time. Other routes include the Pyg Track, Miners’ Track, Watkin Path, Rhyd-Ddu Path or the Snowdon Ranger Path. Many rescues involve people that have got lost and couldn’t get back on track, so it’s important to choose your route and stick to it. Take a map and compass, wear appropriate walking boots and take plenty of food and water.

The summit offers breath-taking views over Snowdonia, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire on a clear day.

11. Helvellyn, Lake District

Helvellyn

Great for: A short hike with great views.
Fun fact: Helvellyn is the 3rd highest mountain in the Lake District.
Nearest Campsite: View our campsites in the Lake District.

The easiest route to summit Helvellyn starts from Thirlmere and should take you a few hours to reach the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with impressive views. If you’re more experienced and looking for a challenge, take the route from the eastern side of the mountain. Approaching from the east means you’ll need to scramble around Striding Edge and Swirrel Edge. To summit and descend from Thirlmere it should take no more than 3-4 hours.

12. Aonach Beag and Aonach Mòr

Aonach-Beag-and-Aonach-Mor

Great for: Experienced walkers looking for a challenge.
Fun fact: Aonach Beag has one of the UK’s only almost-permanent snow patches which only melts in the hottest summers.
Nearest Campsite: 28-minute drive to Glen Nevis car park from Glencoe Club Site*.

There are many ways to summit these two mountains, joined together by a ridge. Aonach Mor is a popular ski resort with a gondola that allows you to access the mountain high up. Taking the Gondola to the Aonach Mor is how most people find it easiest to approach Aonach Beag.

13. Ben Lomond

Ben-Lomond

Great for: Experienced walkers looking for a challenge.
Fun fact: Ben Lomond is the most popular mountain in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
Nearest Campsite: 12-minute drive to Ben Lomond car park from Milarrochy Bay Club Site*.

With a peak of 974 meters, Ben Lomond is a relatively long walk but with well-maintained paths. It can take anywhere from 5-7 hours in total to summit and descend. This popular mountain offers great views over Loch Lomond on a clear day.

Feeling inspired? View more activities to add to your bucket list