Sick of having a long-distance relationship with the hills? Perhaps it’s time to move your life mountain-wards. Here’s our pick of some of Britain’s best places to live for the outdoors.
Moving to the mountains needn’t mean forswearing culture and community (although if that’s what you want, we won’t judge you!). These outdoorsy towns manage to combine knockout locations with plenty to do on the doorstep. Just imagine the daily commute…
This hub of the Cairngorms National Park is surrounded by natural riches: the hulking mountains of the Cairngorms themselves, the giant Northern Corries, the sprawling Rothiemurchus and Glenmore forests – and what’s more, you have the likes of Glen Affric, Torridon, Skye and Assynt within day-tripping distance.
Straddling the boundary of the Snowdonia National Park, with the Snowdon massif and the Llanberis Pass on its doorstep, this former heartland of slate quarrying is now a hub for both tourists and resident outdoor enthusiasts – especially younger climbers. Read our walkers’ guide to Llanberis here.
A decent-sized market town just outside the eastern boundary of the Lake District National Park, with a historic centre and a pretty riverside, Kendal is a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts, with all the Lake District fells within arm’s reach. It also hosts Britain’s biggest mountain festival in November.
Hilly and mountainous landscapes are easily accessible from the likes of Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds too, but Sheffield hugs the hills like no other British city: its vertiginous western suburbs give way with startling abruptness to the gritstone-studded moors of the Peak District National Park.
5. Fort William
If you fancy living in the shadow of Britain’s highest peak, focus your property search on Fort William. Should the tops of Glen Nevis begin to pall (unlikely, granted), it’s an easy journey to Glen Coe, the Inner Hebrides and other West Highland hotspots. The town itself is busy year-round and there is a lively community of fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Read our guide to Fort William here.
Sublimely situated for the Northern Fells, Keswick is in walking distance of Lakeland giants such as Blencathra and Skiddaw. It has a small but thriving cultural scene (think music festivals, a theatre and an indie cinema), plus plenty of pubs and even a local cheese deli. If you like to divide your weekends between pottering up mountains and pottering around markets, it’s a great choice.
7. Kirkby Lonsdale
Sat on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales with the Forest of Bowland to the south and the Lake District to the west, this is one well-positioned little town. Last year it was voted the best place to live in the North West, mainly because of the panoramic views but also thanks to the community spirit, great schools and decent local facilities.
In the March issue of The Great Outdoors: meet the hill lovers who relocated to the mountains and find out how you can follow in their footsteps. Click here to order your copy with FREE postage.