Guide to the best Great British river walks

Walking, Nature, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ruth on 12th February 2021

River walks

How lovely the little river is, with its dark changing wavelets! It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank, and listen to its low, placid voice.” George Eliot – The Mill on the Floss

Totalling almost 125,000 miles of waterways, British rivers have shaped the landscape of our country, from tiny streams meandering sleepily past grassy riverbanks, to giant watercourses spilling out into vast seas and inviting in centuries of industry.

Flowing from mountainous sources to salty estuary mouths, many of the rivers in Great Britain pass through some of our country’s most spectacular landscapes – and a river walk is the perfect way of soaking up the scenery. 


As you walk along UK rivers, you might spot fish leaping upstream, kingfishers darting furtively along the bank or native spring flowers unfurling in the warm breeze. You can hear the gentle bubble of the water as it makes its way along a stony riverbed, listen out for the boom of geese flying overhead, or notice the splash of an otter as it glides gracefully into the water. While you wander, let the hubbub of the modern world fall silent as you tune into the natural environment and notice the unique rhythm of the river.  

Wherever you choose to visit, there are plenty of nice river walks to try. Let us help you explore some of the best days by the water with our UK river guides below, so you can find your perfect riverside escape. 

Rivers to explore in England

Devon rivers

River walks in Devon

With almost 70 rivers to choose from, Devon is a fantastic county to visit for waterside walks. Wander along babbling brooks that flow through bluebell-clad woodland, trace ancient waterways from source to sea or climb high above gorges, spotting nature as you go.

Devon river walks

Yorkshire rivers

River walks in Yorkshire

Home to some of the most famous rivers in the UK, including many that gave their name to beloved dales, Yorkshire has plenty of river walks to choose from. Whether you’re exploring the iconic countryside scenery or are choosing a more industrial setting, there are plenty of inspiring routes to discover.

Yorkshire river walks

Kent rivers

River walks in Kent

The setting of some of the most picturesque rivers in England, Kent offers the opportunity to discover nature, history and culture as you walk. Ramble through bucolic scenery past ancient oast houses, head to the estuary to see the landscape dotted with wading birds, or spot the spire of Canterbury Cathedral as you roam.

Kent river walks

Scotland rivers

Rivers to explore in Scotland

Scotland’s waterways carve through the landscape – from crashing waves to placid lochs; gentle valleys to giant mountains – so it’s no surprise the country is home to some of the best river walks where you can soak up the abundance of natural beauty.

Scotland river walks

Wales rivers

Rivers to explore in Wales

With Welsh waterways intermingled with myth and legend, could there be a more enchanting place for a river walk? Seek out trails that carry you past magical waterfalls, along crumbling castles and into cosy pubs in the fantastic country of Wales. 

Wales river walks

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.