Facebook pixel tracking icon
Climb Snowdon logo

9 Best UK Mountains For Beginners

Climb Snowdon - 9 Best UK Mountains For Beginners

New to the world of walking and hiking? Intrigued by the prospect of climbing some of the UK’s most famous mountains? We’re here to point you in the right direction.

As a beginner, choosing the right peaks impacts how much you enjoy the experience. Pick too tough a challenge, and you may struggle, putting yourself off walking in the future. Go too easy, and you miss out on that feeling of personal satisfaction when you reach the top.

In this article, we discuss nine of the best UK mountains for beginners, briefly describe the walk and explain why we think it deserves a place on this list. Whether you want to tick off as many of the list as possible or you are searching for a good local option, this list is a great place to start.

But, before we lace up our walking boots and dig out the waterproof jacket, we want to note that beginner is a broad term and encompasses a wide range of people. Every new walker brings a different level of fitness and technical ability to the table. We have tried to ensure that all the mountains on this list are suitable for novices, but you should always be aware of your limits and make sensible decisions. If in doubt, build up to a more challenging mountain by gaining experience on smaller hills and long, flatter walks. There is no need to rush into the big stuff – the mountains are not going anywhere.

Sugar Loaf – Abergavenny

Sugar Loaf is a popular beginner mountain and a great introduction to more challenging walking. Situated in Monmouthshire, on the eastern edge of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park (or in English, Brecon Beacons), the mountain tops out at 596 metres and boasts commanding views of the Usk Valley and surrounding countryside.

Part of the Black Mountains (not to be confused with the Black Mountain on the western edge of the Bannau Brycheiniog), Sugar Loaf sits approximately 3 km northwest of the Gateway to Wales, Abergavenny. Sugar Loaf’s proximity to the bustling market town means you can comfortably depart from Abergavenny to climb to the summit.

Every approach to the summit features soft slopes, so the hike is a perfect introduction to hill and mountain walking. Woodland features quite heavily on the lower slopes, ensuring you pass through various landscapes as you walk. This gives way to heather and bilberry as you proceed up the mountain.

Though you can approach Sugar Loaf from all sides and enjoy a comfortable climb, the southern face is particularly special. Reach the summit for sunrise or sunset and the mountain will reward you with a delightful panorama. Walking in Y Bannau during those twilight hours is an unforgettable experience. Just remember to pack your head torches!

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

Standing at 1,085 metres, Yr Wyddfa is the tallest mountain in Wales and one of the most iconic peaks in the United Kingdom. Nestled in the breathtaking Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, it is also home to the fantastic Climb Snowdon team, who can always help you through your first Yr Wyddfa experience, should you need any support.

While Yr Wyddfa has a reputation for being a tough climb, this is only true for a handful of tricky routes. Though the Crib Goch ridgeline scramble is not for first-timers, there are several easier and more accessible routes to the summit. Llanberis Path is often touted as the easiest route, though the Snowdon Ranger Path is generally a safe bet too. For those who want the mountain experience without walking, there is always the Snowdon Mountain Railway…

Though we believe almost anyone can climb Yr Wyddfa with a little preparation, we want walkers to be safe and responsible. Reaching the summit is no mean feat and all mountain environments can be dangerous in certain conditions. If you are considering the climb, we recommend checking out our guide to climbing Yr Wyddfa responsibly. We also published a our blog post covering how hard climbing the mountain actually is.

Ysgyryd Fawr (The Skirrid)

Few British peaks have a name as mysterious and enticing as The Skirrid – it sounds like something from the pages of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy epics. The mountain’s traditional moniker, Ysgyryd Fawr, comes close. In Welsh, Ysgyryd means shattered or split. When you first approach this distinctive mountain, you can see why. The western ridge seems to be missing a sizable chunk, resulting in an unusual two-fanged, twin-peak profile.

Situated in the Black Mountains in Monmouthshire, not too far from Sugar Loaf, the mountain’s unusual appearance ensures it is the subject of plenty of local myths and legends. One story has the mountain cleaving in two at the precise moment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Geologists argue the missing section slipped away in an ice age landslide. But who are they to get in the way of a good story?

The Skirrid is a pleasure to climb. A relatively easy 5 km circular route departs from the car park on the B4521, takes in the summit and then returns. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Skirrid Mountain Inn, either. It is supposedly Wales’ oldest and most haunted pub and its fascinatingly gruesome history attracts plenty of visitors. We will skip all the gory details for now – you can discover them yourself when you stop for an excellent pub lunch or a refreshing post-walk beverage.

Malvern Hills

Yes, you asked for mountains. Yes, the name would suggest the Malverns are “merely” hills. But, as there is no official definition for what constitutes a hill or mountain (the Cambridge Dictionary helpfully informs us that a mountain is a big hill but does not reveal at what point a hill becomes a mountain), we are including them here. They certainly deserve their place.

With a fantastic ridgeline running between the two protrusions of British Camp and Worcestershire Beacon, the Malverns feature some steep-ish slopes but nothing beyond a beginner’s capabilities. Well-maintained footpaths and bridleways crisscross the hills, allowing you to explore to your heart’s content.

If you walk from south to north, you will end up at Great Malvern, a quaint spa town and an excellent place to grab a bite to eat or refresh mind, body and soul with a healthy caffeine hit. It is roughly 8.5 km from the British Camp car park to Great Malvern, so you can expect to complete the walk in around three hours, leaving plenty of time to walk back. Or to catch the bus, if you prefer.


Capped with a gritstone summit, this famous limestone mountain is the second highest of Yorkshire’s beloved Three Peaks. Standing at 723 metres, it is a little smaller than nearby Pen y Ghent and slightly easier on the legs. With brilliant views over the Pennines and Lake District, as well as the Irish Sea, Ingleborough is popular amongst both new and experienced walkers.

This is largely due to the mountain’s diverse array of fascinating geological features. Walkers can climb up through Trow Gill, a beautiful, steep-sided gorge, explore the mysterious depths of the Gaping Gill cave, and enjoy the majestic ridgeline walk from Simon Fell to Park Fell.

Most of Ingleborough’s beginner walking routes start from the car park in Clapham village. However, the mountain offers a relatively easy climbing experience on all sides, ensuring you can take your pick from the available route suggestions. It also means you can scale the mountain several times and each ascent will bestow a different experience.

Yes Tor

Once thought to be the highest peak in Dartmoor, modern surveying tools have revealed Yes Tor is the second, losing out to High Willhays by just two metres. That said, the craggy, rock-topped peak is far more interesting and iconic than the new record holder, making it a more satisfying and attractive climb.

Many walkers tackle both peaks over a relatively easy 10 km loop that departs from Meldon Reservoir. At 619 metres, Yes Tor does not pose too much of a challenge on its own. Coupled with High Willhays, the walk requires a higher level of fitness but no real technical experience.

Dartmoor is also an excellent spot to try your hand at wild camping. Though a local landowner is engaging in a concerted campaign to remove the public’s right to wild camp in Dartmoor, there is resistance and the most recent legal appeal reinstated the right to wild camp in parts of the National Park. You can find out more about the issue and offer your support at Right to Roam.

Mam Tor

Situated in the picturesque Peak District, Mam Tor is a wonderful option for beginners looking for their first ridgeline walk. Requiring no advanced technical skills and featuring relatively gentle slopes and wide trails, the mountain is extremely popular with local walkers and visitors from further afield. With this in mind, it is best to walk on weekdays if you are looking for a quiet climb with a bit more space to enjoy your ascent.

Overlooking the Edale Valley and Winnats Pass, the mountain reaches 517 metres. On reaching the summit, walkers are greeted with a phenomenal panorama that spreads from Kinder Scout to Stanage Edge and, on clear days, encompasses Manchester and the limestone hills to the south of the National Park.

Mam Tor means Mother Hill and the name supposedly derives from the way a series of historic landslides created several smaller peaks beneath the main tor. These landslips also resulted in the mountain’s other popular nickname – Shivering Mountain. At the foot of the climb, walkers can visit several caverns, while the legendary Pennine Way long-distance walking route begins in the nearby village of Edale.

Clougha Pike

Tucked away on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, Clougha Pike is 413 metres high. Its position 10 km east of Lancaster means walkers enjoy majestic views of some of the north’s most impressive Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In good weather, you can look out over Morecambe Bay, the Lake District, the Pennines, the Isle of Man and even Eryri (Snowdonia).

Due to the mountain’s unique geographical formation, beginners will want to walk up Clougha Pike’s western edge via the path that runs through Rowton. Approaches from the east and north are far more challenging. In places, the ground becomes so boggy that it can be difficult to identify the trail and establish which way to head.

Though a straightforward climb when approached from the west, Clough Pike regularly features in lists detailing the UK’s top mountains and appeals to walkers of all abilities. Many suggested beginner routes leave from the Birk Bank Car Park on Rigg Lane and take in Ottergear Bridge and Clougha Pike Chambers along the way.


We end this guide with another Welsh favourite, Pen-y-Fan. Hitting 886 metres, it is the highest mountain in South Wales and the jewel of the Bannau Brycheiniog. In Welsh, Pen-y-Fan means something approaching the Mountain’s Peak or the Top Spot. However, along with the slightly smaller and adjacent Corn Du, the summit is often referred to as Cadair Arthur – Arthur’s Seat. This points to the region’s strong association with Arthurian mythology and Celtic history.

There are several routes to the summit, only one of which is certainly suitable for beginners. It is sometimes known as the Motorway. This rather dismissive name comes from the number of walkers who frequent the route in good weather. It departs from Pont ar Daf Car Park and is roughly 6.5 km in length. The gradient is gentle and the paths are well-maintained and designed to handle heavy footfall, making it suitable for families and beginners. It can get very busy. So, if you are looking for isolation, time your visit carefully or perhaps opt for another peak entirely.

As your fitness and walking skills improve, Pen-y-Fan and Y Bannau are the perfect place to return to. The Cwm Gwdi to Cwm Llwch walk is more challenging but far quieter, while the Beacons Circuit and Horseshoe Ridge walks are spectacular hikes that take in many surrounding peaks, too. A word of warning, though. The area is notorious for changeable weather and the peaks are very exposed. Be sensible, plan ahead and always check the forecast before you climb.

Guided walks open up even more mountains

All the peaks listed above are ideal for beginners striking out on their own and tackling their first mountain walks without assistance. However, not everyone wants to do it that way. Some people prefer a little company and support and feel more confident alongside an experienced walker. Others find local knowledge and expertise enrich their walking experience. Many want to take on one of the bigger UK mountains in a safe and enjoyable way. Guided walks are a great option in all these instances. With this in mind, here are three excellent options for guided walks.

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

Climb Snowdon Guided Walks occur several times a month and are guaranteed to run regardless of booking numbers. Led by an experienced local guide, the walks typically start in Llanberis village, ascend to the summit via the Snowdon Ranger Path and return via the Llanberis Path. Along the way, you will enjoy fantastic views of Llyn Cwellyn and Mynydd Mawr, as well as the complete Eryri panorama from the summit. As the walk finishes in Llanberis, you can also enjoy a well-earned post-walk treat from one of the delicious cafes in the village.

Ben Nevis

Climb Ben Nevis Guided Walks see you take on the UK’s highest peak, discover the Giant of the Grampians and explore a truly memorable mountain landscape. Standing at 1,345 metres, Ben Nevis is achievable for beginners with a relatively good level of fitness. With more than 15 years of experience walking the mountain, our expert guides are there to help you overcome the challenge while providing insight into local history, culture and natural ecosystems. They also cover all route planning and navigation, so you don’t have to worry about anything and can focus exclusively on enjoying the walk.

Scafell Pike

Climb Scafell Pike Guided Walks are ideal for those who want to progress from smaller hills and experience England’s highest mountain. At 978 metres, the summit is certainly within reach of most beginners. While summiting Scafell Pike is a rewarding physical challenge, the mountain’s major appeal is its varied ecology. There is an enormous amount to explore here, much of which many walkers miss. From panoramic views and elegant peregrines to rare plant life and songful skylarks, our local guides ensure you get the full Scafell Pike experience. With so many routes to choose between and complex terrain to traverse, navigation is also tricky. Climb Scafell Pike guides eliminate any anxiety surrounding the walk and routing, while offering support to walkers summiting Scafell Pike for the first time.

What next?

If you are just getting into walking and want to experience the best of the UK’s mountains, there are a few things you can do. First off, make sure you do your research. Our blog contains a range of guides and articles for Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)-related walking, many of which include advice that translates to other peaks.

Second, consider walking as part of a group with Climb Snowdon. Our trained mountain leaders offer support and guidance throughout the day, and walking with other beginners is a rewarding social experience. Alternatively, our sister site, RAW Adventures offers various skills courses to improve your abilities in the mountains and boost your confidence.

If you want to learn more or speak to the friendly Climb Snowdon team about organising a mountain walking trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch. While we’re based in Eryri, at the base of Yr Wyddfa, we organise guided walks on any and all mountains. We also run skills courses for anyone who wants to learn core mountain skills that will ensure you are expertly prepared for all future adventures!