Outdoor events for hillwalkers in the UK
Let’s get together in the great outdoors! Here’s our pick of outdoor events – hiking, biking, running, swimming and more – happening in the UK’s high places in the coming months.
The hillwalking community can be a sociable bunch. With plenty of outdoor events organised throughout the year in the UK, there’s bound to be a festival, talk, or activity to suit your calendar. From sunrise birdwatching to stargazing evenings, the outdoor events happening across the UK’s national parks this month will inspire you to get out there. We’ve also included some cultural odes to the mountains, curated and presented inside institutions, for those days when conditions keep us indoors.
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in January
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in Febraury
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in March
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in April
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in May
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in June
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in July
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in August
- Outdoor events for hillwalkers in September
Outdoor events and walking events happening in January 2023
- Loony Dook
- Fan Dance winter series
- Winter Mountain Skills with Mammut Mountain School
- Buff® Winter Trail Wales
- Winter Skills 101 with Girls on Hills
- Atlantic Irish Festival
- Winter Walk 2023
South Queensferry, Edinburgh
Recover from Hogmanay with a dose of cold water at the Loony Dook. Get dressed up in your wackiest outfit for the parade, march through South Queensferry towards the Firth of Forth. Here, you’ll throw yourself into the deep end. Literally. Part of your registration fee goes to the RNLI.
Fan Dance winter series
7 – 8 January
This gruelling non-navigational 24km SAS Selection test march is staged over Pen y Fan, is the world’s oldest Special Forces test with a provable and undeniable heritage. Founded, organised and managed by veteran SAS and SBS soldiers, the ethos is of integrity and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
Winter Mountain Skills with Mammut Mountain School
Ambleside, Lake District
The extensively experienced Mammut Mountain School instructors and guides are ready to help you take your winter skills to the next level. Exploring hand-picked locations, depending on the weather in Lakeland, this one-day course comes with certain equipment provided and a maximum group size of just six.
Buff® Winter Trail Wales
The eighth annual Buff® Winter Trail Wales will lead you along the stunning tracks of the world-renowned Coed y Brenin Forest Park in the Snowdonia National Park. You could be running in snow, frost, under crystal clear blue skies or in rain and mud. Expect great organisation, a warm welcome, and good fun.
Winter Skills 101 with Girls on Hills
Fort William, Glencoe
Delivered by MCI and WML qualified female guides, sponsored by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, this two-day course is for women seeking adventure in winter. The mountains of Scotland are breath-taking in snow, but can be dangerous. The course covers movement-skills, crampons, self-arresting using an ice-axe, avalanche awareness, and winter navigation.
Atlantic Irish Festival
21 -25 January
Wild Atlantic Way, Donegal
The Northwest of Ireland has long been celebrated for its unique Atlantic culture and history. Now there is a festival on the Wild Atlantic Way, making the most of the cosy winter atmosphere, with the best of outdoor activities, live music, cultural talks, and plenty of craic and ceoil with new friends.
Winter Walk 2023
28 – 29 January
Walk off the Christmas celebrations for a good cause and kick start the New Year with marathon, half marathon and 10k walks taking in the Thames, historic bridges, and many key capital landmarks. A bobble hat and neck buff are included for participants with a medal and food at the finish.
Outdoor events and walking events happening in February 2023
- Rombalds Stride
- Yorkshire Dark Skies Festival
- Fort William Mountain Festival
- Welsh Dark Skies Week
- The Dartmoor Winter Traverse
- The South Pennine 24
Organised by the 15th Airedale Scout Group, the Rombalds Stride Winter Challenge is a 23-mile walking or running route taking in some of Yorkshire’s finest scenery. You’ll ascend up the Airedale Valley, over Rombalds Moor to Ilkley and across Otley Chevin. Checkpoints will close on a 2mph walking speed.
Dark Skies Festival
10 – 26 February
Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors
The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, which remain some of the darkest places in England, are once again running a joint Dark Skies Festival in February. 2020 saw the theme of ‘exploration’ run through the impressive programme of events, with 2023 set to bring activities like kayaking, stargazing safaris and zip wires.
Fort William Mountain Festival
16 – 19 February
Scotland’s outdoor capital welcomes you for a packed programme of events designed to inspire you to enjoy and respect the high places here. From bothy sessions to award ceremonies and film screenings, as well as a schedule of guided walks and runs, the activities are as varied as the landscape.
Welsh Dark Skies Week
17 – 26 February
All eight protected landscapes in Wales have come together to celebrate what makes our dark skies so unique and special. Together, the three National Parks and the five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be holding events from stargazing and astrophotography workshops with mobile observatories to special guest lectures on biodiversity and heritage.
The Winter Traverse
Start your new year with a big dose of winter and a walk or run across Dartmoor. This fully supported 50 km journey from South to North, through some of the most remote parts of the moors, is more challenge than race. While good fitness is required, walkers can choose to be accompanied by local Mountain Leaders with first-aid cover.
Cost: £55 – £75
The South Pennine 24
This 24-mile fully-supported challenge event is hosted by the South Pennine chapter of the LDWA and traverses a variety of terrain from wild moorland to well-graded bridleways and footpaths in the Dark Peak & South Pennines, with 3,900ft of ascent. All are welcome and soup and refreshments will be provided.
Cost: £22 for non-members
Outdoor events and walking events happening in March 2023
- Braemar Mountain Festival
- Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF)
- Crickhowell Walking Festival
- Women’s Winter Festival – Girls on Hills
- Cleveland Survival
- The National Outdoor Expo
- Wander Wild Festival
Braemar Mountain Festival 2023
2 – 5 March
Cairngorms National Park
A celebration of the mountains in winter, this festival includes workshops on ski touring and maintenance, winter skills and avalanche awareness, low-level walking, navigation, and fell running. The evening programme features illustrated talks from esteemed mountaineers as well as a ceilidh, film night, music, and food.
Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF)
3 – 5 March
ShAFF, the family-friendly adventure film festival, is back. Everyone is welcome from outdoors enthusiasts to armchair adventurers who love a good story. As well as watching films, share a ShAFF beer with adventure athletes and filmmakers in the bar, take inspiration from free talks or enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Crickhowell Walking Festival
4 – 12 March
The Crickhowell Walking Festival is offering 82 guided walks from 3 to 16 miles, including valley strolls to all-day routes on the high tops. There will be old favourites, new challenges, themed walks, and the four-day Usk Valley Walk, as well as entertaining evening events. This year, the festival supports Wales Air Ambulance.
Cost: From £7
Women’s Winter Festival – Girls on Hills
10 – 12 March
Make the Scottish mountains your playground with the Girls on Hills Women’s Winter Festival, in partnership with Abacus Mountain Guides. Whether you’re new to snowy mountains or an experienced winter climber looking for inspiration or to perfect your technique, the festival offers skills and confidence building in a fun and safe space.
North York Moors
This friendly orienteering event is open to group or individual runners and walkers with two timed route options of 25 or 15 miles. As its name suggests this route is not to be undertaken lightly and traverses the highs and lows of the North York Moors, raising funds for Cleveland MRT.
The National Outdoor Expo
18 – 19 March
The National Outdoor Expo is one of the biggest community meet-ups of the year, bringing together inspirational speakers, cutting-edge technologies and the best in gear, all under one roof. Get inspired whether you’re interested in walking, climbing, running, camping, or even eating outdoors and enjoying the view.
Wander Wild Festival
24 – 26 March
Killarney National Park
Wander off the beaten track, swim at sunrise in a lake, and climb Carrauntoohil to see Ireland from its peak at the Wander Wild Festival. Alongside foodie and wellness goodness, this festival celebrates the outdoors and offers the chance to bike, run, ride, stroll and kayak through the weekend in Killarney National Park.
Cost: From €152.00 (£133.70)
Outdoor events and walking events happening in April 2023
- Shropshire Way 80K Festival 2023
- Gay Outdoor Club’s Easter on Ardnamurchan
- Chepstow Walking Festival
- Castle to Abbey Coastal Challenge
- Outdoor Adventure Girls Eryri/Snowdonia Weekend
- Walk Scilly
- Kington Walks Spring Festival
- Haltwhistle Walking Festival
- Ulverston WalkFest
- Staffordshire Moorlands Walking Festival
- Colonsay Spring Fest
- Talgarth Walking Festival
- Ironbridge Walking Festival
- The Kiltwalk
Shropshire Way 80K Festival 2023
Hundreds of runners and walkers will head to the Shropshire Hills for the 80k Festival which showcases the food, history and landscape of this area. It also fundraises for Grow Cook Learn, a charity delivering an education programme that teaches children from inner-city areas about how their food is grown.
Gay Outdoor Club’s Easter on Ardnamurchan
7 – 10 April
This members-only group weekend will take you to the Ardnamurchan peninsula, and the most westerly point on the British mainland at Corrachadh Mòr (37km further west than Land’s End in Cornwall). The area promises plenty of geological interest and a good variety of coastal, hill and mountain walking over the weekend.
Cost: £96 (plus £17/year membership fee)
Chepstow Walking Festival
11 – 16 April
Chepstow Walking Festival returns in 2023 to offer six days of hillwalking, with many routes taking in the natural beauty of the Wye Valley. As an official ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town, Chepstow is a great base to explore the surrounding hills and the programme promises to be packed with walks suitable for all abilities.
Cost: Free – £5
Castle to Abbey Coastal Challenge
Cleveland Way, Yorkshire
Challenge yourself to a bracing, epic 22-mile walk along the coastal Cleveland Way from Scarborough Castle to Whitby Abbey – the coastal equivalent of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks! Don’t be fooled into thinking this is 22 miles of easy-going coastal path as the route includes around 1,200m of ascent.
15 – 21 April
This event is entirely dedicated to the discovery of the natural beauty and heritage on Scilly by foot – and by sea! The opportunity comes but once a year when you can experience the ‘waking-up’ of the islands when spring is in all its glory on both the inhabited and uninhabited islands.
Cost: From £10
Outdoor Adventure Girls Eryri/Snowdonia Weekend
21 – 23 April
Outdoor Adventure Girls is an outdoor community providing safe and inclusive environments for women to reconnect with nature and the outdoors. This weekender welcomes you to explore Eryri/Snowdonia, including a trip up to its highest peak and much more, with accommodation at YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass.
Kington Walks Spring Festival
21 – 23 April
Located just west of the Offa’s Dyke Path at the intersection with five popular regional trails, passionate volunteers from Kington are again hosting their spring walking festival. The many walking routes of variable distances promise dramatic landscapes, local history, arts, natural history, and of course, excellent town and village pubs.
Cost: £5 to £19.50
Haltwhistle Walking Festival
22 April – 1 May
Explore the landscape of Northumberland – from waterfalls to follies y way of Hadrian’s Wall – over six days at Haltwhistle Walking Festival. For the long-distance walkers, festival organisers are hosting a 62.5-mile journey along the St Oswald’s Way, encompassing coast, woods and moorland.
22 April – 1 May
With three walks a day – ranging from easy to moderate to challenging – hosted every day of this year’s WalkFest, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore this iconic area of Lakeland. The festival has been running for over two decades and the walk leaders promise to delve into the untapped areas of this landscape.
Staffordshire Moorlands Walking Festival
22 April – 2 May
Staffordshire, Peak District
Last year, the festival hosted 40 walks attended by hundreds of walkers and this year will be bigger and better! With plenty of walks in the White Peak area of the Peak District – including sites of interest such as Thor’s Cave and The Roaches – there are more scenic vistas than you can shake your trekking poles at!
Colonsay Spring Fest
24 April – 8 May
Argyll and Bute
Spring on Colonsay is a magical time, we often have our best weather in May and the days are wonderfully long which have inspired the new festival theme: the great outdoors! Join for a celebration of all that spring on the island has to offer with a focus on nature, wildlife and outdoor activities with various walks and talks, too.
25 April – 1 May
ride2stride is a festival of walks, talks and music and it will return this year with new walks from Skipton and a chance to do the Six Peaks Trail for those who like a challenge. There will be walks to suit all levels, all starting and finishing at a train station along the Settle to Carlisle line.
Talgarth Walking Festival
28 April – 1 May
Walkers from Talgarth, the Gateway to the Black Mountains of South Wales, welcome you to walk with them, exploring local history, geology, literature and nature. Explore the area from the festival hub with knowledgeable leaders who love the landscape, from the wooded dingles to the Black Mountains plateau.
Cost: £7 – 10
Ironbridge Walking Festival
29 April – 7 May
This festival promises a warm welcome and 60 free walks from 3 to 20 miles over nine days. You’ll pick from dog-friendly walks to morning missions or longer challenges hosted by friendly and experienced walk leaders who love the area, home of The Wreckin. There are even medals for completing 25, 50 or 100 miles during the festival.
Kiltwalk is Scotland’s largest mass participation walking event with over 120,000 people taking part since 2016. Join one of three distance Kiltwalks, all finishing in the idyllic surroundings of Balloch, Loch Lomond, to raise money for your chosen charity alongside the friendly and welcoming community of Kiltwalkers. (Kilt optional…kind of!)
Outdoor events and walking events happening in May 2023
- Shap Outdoor Festival
- Bingley Walking Festival
- Alton Walking Festival
- Arran Mountain Festival
- Isle of Wight Spring Walking Festival
- Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival
- WalkFest 2023
- Guernsey Spring Walking Festival
- Malvern Walking Festival
Shap Outdoor Festival
21 April – 22 May
Nestled between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the village of Shap lies in the picturesque Lowther Valley. Perhaps most famous for its award-winning chip shop, it is now keen to also become known for its landscape and wildlife, by launching the first ever Shap Outdoor Festival on Saturday 22 April. The festival is a celebration of the stunning scenery and nature that can be explored in the Lowther Valley, with a number of individuals and organisations coming together to provide a packed programme of events for locals and visitors alike.
Bingley Walking Festival
The 6th Bingley Walking Festival offers a choice of between four and five walks, all mapped and led by experienced walk leaders in the area around the Airedale Valley. Each walk will have something different to offer to walkers of all abilities, ages and experience. Well-behaved dogs are also welcome on most walks.
Cost: Free (donations welcome)
Alton Walking Festival
1 – 31 May
Held at the gateway to the South Downs National Park, fondly known as ‘Jane Austen country’, Alton Walking Festival welcomes enthusiastic walkers, wanderers, and explorers of all ages. Discover an abundance of wildlife and cultural heritage on one of over 100 walks led by knowledgeable volunteer walk leaders.
Arran Mountain Festival
12 – 15 May
Isle of Arran
Scotland’s premier hillwalking and mountaineering festival offers an opportunity to meet like-minded people, discover a fascinating island and have unforgettable days in the safe hands of experienced local leaders. With names to inspire, like Ceum na Caillich and Caisteal Abhail, Arran’s mountains are amongst Scotland’s most amazing landscapes.
Cost: From £20
Isle of Wight Spring Walking Festival
13 – 21 May
Isle of Wight
You may have visited the Isle of Wight before, but this festival offers the chance to tread off-the-beaten-track routes to really explore. The island celebrates the return of the annual Walking Festival when locals invite you to get to know their little slice of paradise.
Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival
20 May – 11 June
The Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival takes place in and around the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Beauty . This nationally important and cherished landscape has much to offer with plentiful outdoor activities on offer – from fishing to gliding by way of biking and, of course, hillwalking.
27 – 29 May
North York Moors
This special edition of the North York Moors Walking Festival celebrates the Year of the Coast. Enjoy the usual rambles with the addition of longer linear walks along coastal stretches of the Cleveland Way (with transport back to the start). It’s billed as a great way to explore beautiful coastline.
Cost: From £8
Guernsey Spring Walking Festival
20 May – 4 June
Join experienced leaders from the Bailiwick of Guernsey Guild of Accredited Guides for their annual Spring Walking Festival. Each day will offer the chance to explore Guernsey, Herm and Sark, from coastal hikes and hidden ruettes tranquilles. All are rated from an easy amble to a more testing hike.
Malvern Walking Festival
27 May – 4 June
Malvern Hills AONB
Over 50 walks offer a wide variety of choice for all abilities and interests, from short local strolls to long distance multi-day walks exploring history, nature, local brewing, the arts and notable people from the area. For the energetic, there’s the popular Malvern Hills End-to-End and Back walk and the 31-mile “Worcestershire Way in a Day”.
Cost: From £5
Outdoor events and walking events happening in June 2023
- The Big Retreat Festival
- North Wessex Downs Walking Festival
- Ballater Walking Festival
- Wrexham Walking Festival
- Quantock Hills Walking Festival
- Localsh Dirty 30
- Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival
- Herefordshire Walking Festival
- Otley Walking Festival
The Big Retreat Festival
1 – 4 June
Billed as a feel-good getaway, The Big Retreat Festival offers four days to relax and reboot in the wilds of West Wales. Reconnect with yourself, your loved ones, and nature with access to over 300 carefully curated experiences: fitness, yoga, talks, workshops, foraging, feasting, arts, bushcraft, live music and more.
Cost: From £82.50
North Wessex Downs Walking Festival
2 – 11 June
North Wessex Downs
A varied programme of walks across the North Wessex Downs will take place during the festival, including 27 walks and family-friendly events, some of which are free. You can seek out wildlife or history, visit a working farm or soak up the views from the top of the downs alongside knowledgeable and welcoming guides.
Ballater Walking Festival
3 – 9 June
Just east of the Cairngorms lies the village of Ballater. Here, local ramblers are hosting their annual walking festival of tough, moderate and easy walks inviting you to explore the area. There will also be a programme of evening entertainment including talks, dinners and a ceilidh.
Cost: From £15
Wrexham Walking Festival
3 – 11 June
Walkers in Wrexham in North Wales invite you to join them on nine days of free guided rambles in the area, nestled between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley, offering beautiful borderland scenery. All walks will be led by trained volunteer walk leaders and are graded easy, moderate and hard.
Quantock Hills Walking Festival
8 – 12 June
This year marks the fifth walking festival in and around the beautiful Quantock Hills. Once again, the majority of the walks will take place over the weekend. For those looking for a challenge, the festival is also featuring a tough four-day walk along the Coleridge Way.
Localsh Dirty 30
A 30-mile circuit from Glenelg, passing the Skye Ferry, the Skye Bridge and the world famous Eilean Donan castle before climbing over the hills and past ancient brochs before returning to the finish in Glenelg, this walking and running race will challenge you as you explore the stunning natural surroundings.
Cost: From £30
Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival
16 – 25 June
From the foothills of the Cairngorms to Moray’s award-winning coastline, enjoy long summer days discovering Moray’s natural, historical and cultural landscape during this 10-day festival. It offers a wide range of rambles and other activities, including foraging and history walks.
Herefordshire Walking Festival
17 – 25 June
With nine days and over 50 walks on which to explore Herefordshire and its magnificent surroundings – the Wye Valley AONB, The Offa’s Dyke Path, Malvern Hills AONB, Brecon Beacons National Park, and the newly established Golden Valley Pilgrim Way – there’s something for every rambler at this festival.
Cost: From £6
Outdoor events and walking events happening in July 2023
Otley Walking Festival
24 June – 2 July
Over 40 walks and events (some free) will take place over nine days at Otley Walking Festival, catering for all abilities. Enjoy shorter town-based walks, meadows and field paths, strenuous moor land hikes, entertaining evening events, and new themed walks showcasing the wonderful variety of Wharfedale countryside on the doorstep.
White Cliffs Ramblers Walking Week
17 – 23 July
For the previous 10 years, the local Ramblers group has run the White Cliffs Walking Festival, but this year are trialling a Walking Week, open to members and non-members. Some of the walks will start in unusual locations and include the chance to socialise at the end of the walk with eating and/or drinking in some of local haunts. There will be a mixture of short, medium and longer walks. Just turn up for those you wish to attend in the usual manner.
Outdoor events and walking events happening in August 2023
Mendip Ramblers Free Walking Festival
26 – 28 August
The Mendip Ramblers’ annual Walking Festival will be based in Wells, Somerset in 2023. Famous for its Cathedral and Bishops Palace, it is the smallest free standing city in the UK. Lying at the heart of Somerset it is surrounded by beautiful and varied countryside. Each day, there will be three morning walks with daily afternoon family walks of approximately four miles. Walks include at least one stop for food andndrink and all walkers are welcome.
Dartmoor Walking Festival
26 August – 3 September
Dartmoor National Park
Explore a different side to Dartmoor and delve into its folklore, history and landscape with a range of walks led by expert guides while raising money for a life-saving service – the Devon Air Ambulance. With walks ranging from 3 miles to 15 miles; some women-only walks and some Wheelchair/Scooter walks, this family-friendly walking festival has something for everyone including access to listed buildings, secret wild-swimming spots and more!
Outdoor events and walking events happening in September 2023
Kington Walks 2023 Autumn Festival
20 – 24 September
Kington is a great centre for walking, located on the Herefordshire-Radnorshire border at the intersection of the Offa’s Dyke Path with five popular regional trails. Kington Walks festivals offer a taste of this superb walking country that surrounds the locality through a varied menu of walks led by an enthusiastic team of volunteer walk leaders. The walks – short and long – feature dramatic landscapes, local history from the ancient to the industrial, arts, natural history, and excellent town and village pubs.
Cost: £5 to £19.50
Have we missed one of your favourite outdoor events or are you hosting an upcoming event? Let us know.
If you prefer to experience the great outdoors in solitude, check out the walking routes across the UK that come tried, tested and recommended by our expert contributors.