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Mother’s Day 2018: 5 family walks

Get up and out this Mothering Sunday (after the obligatory lie-in, that is), to explore the great outdoors with our top 5 family walks

Mother’s Day 2018: 5 family walks
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Mother’s Day 2018: 5 family walks 

Get up and out this Mother’s Day (after the obligatory lie-in, that is), to explore the great outdoors on one of our pick of these gentle weekend wanders. Wherever you end up on our hit list of easy family walks — from a seaside walk in Scotland to a riverside ramble in the capital — you’ll find we’ve picked the perfect spot for a great Sunday lunch or afternoon tea waiting at the finish line.

  • London: A trip along the Thames
  • South: Springtime at Saltram
  • North: A rural ramble on the Moors
  • Scotland: A coastal escape in East Lothian
  • Wales: Books and brooks on the Welsh borders

LONDON: A trip on the Thames
Mums can explore the capital’s watery artery for free this Mother’s Day, aboard MBNA Thames Clippers. Make a day of it by hopping on at Millbank and heading east to take in Westminster, the South Bank and the best of the capital’s Thames-side landmarks. Jump off at Woolwich (Royal Arsenal) pier, and east head along the Jubilee Greenway with its surprisingly wild stretches of banks and beaches. Pass the O2 Arena and rest your weary legs in one of the pubs around Greenwich Park or grab a bite at Greenwich Market. But of course, don’t leave without doing afternoon tea at the Cutty Sark Cafe, directly beneath the hull of the world’s last surviving tea clipper. 

THE SOUTH: Springtime at Saltram
A short hop from Plymouth, the 18th-century Saltram estate, backdrop for the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, is surrounded by serene parkland and woods, and its 500 acres are best explored in spring when carpeted with snowdrops and daffodils. After a gentle stroll around the estate, take tea in Saltram’s lovely old chapel, or head out along the estuary to Plymouth, where you can lunch at the Tanner Brothers’ acclaimed Barbican Kitchen at the Plymouth Gin Distillery. Some distillery tours are open to families, with free entry for kids, so sign up for some Mother’s Day ruin. 

THE NORTH: A rural ramble on the Moors
Stretch your legs by setting off from Goathland to Grosmont in the North York Moors National Park, then follow a route back along ‘The Rail Trail’, the line than ran from Whitby to Pickering during the ironstone mining peak of the 1800s (a five-mile loop). You could save your energy, however, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway between Whitby and Pickering. Tuck in to pub grub in increasingly foodie Whitby, or head to the teeny weeny Birch Hall Inn, overlooking the ford at the Eller Beck (Beck Hole). Between its two tiny bars you’ll find a proper old-fashioned sweet shop, and fruity Beck Hole Beer Cake on sale. 

SCOTLAND: A coastal escape in East Lothian
For a wild walk within easy reach of Edinburgh (just a 40-minute drive away), head to the sands of Aberlady Bay, before calling in at the pretty village of Gullane. Follow a stretch of the John Muir Way long-distance footpath inland; this circular walk (less than six miles) comes into its own at Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve. It’s a renowned birdwatching spot; in spring, huge migrating flocks amass along the shores to nest and feed. Look west for views of the Forth Estuary and, on clear days, all the way to Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat. Book ahead for lunch at the Golf Inn in Gullane — an increasingly lauded pub with lovely rooms upstairs, too. 

WALES: Books and brooks on the Welsh borders
This Welsh borders walk is a good excuse to visit the iconic book town of Hay-on-Wye, with its mountain backdrop and slew of cute cafes. Set on the 177-mile Offa’s Dyke Path, Hay is a great starting point for numerous walks, including a show-stopping yomp up Hay Bluff, where hardy hikers can walk onwards to Capel-y-ffin monastery. A short detour off-path leads to the farmland hamlet of Bronydd, and onwards to Bettws Dingle farm. From there, a woodland walk leads to a timbered 14th-century coaching house, Rhydspence Inn. Look out for the brook that marks the Welsh-English border, and tuck into a Welsh lamb roast in this cosy country bolthole.  

Need some more inspiration for home turf adventures? We’ve got plenty of ideas for you here.