Last updated: October 18th, 2023
If you’re looking for the best Malvern Hills walks to keep you busy for a day or two, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together this comprehensive guide in hopes of providing you with all the information you’d need to plan your trip to the Malverns — including the most fantastic Malvern Hills walking routes, maps of the trails, and the cosiest accommodation options to choose from.
The Malvern Hills AONB is an incredible hidden gem in the UK that’s home to some truly spectacular landscapes. While it’s only an hour by car from the picturesque Cotswolds villages, it doesn’t get that many visitors — allowing you to enjoy some fantastic natural sceneries in peace and quiet.
The hills are taken care of by the Malvern Hills Trust, whose aim is to preserve the beautiful nature and environment of the area. The walking trails are therefore very clean and well-retained. So, without further ado — let’s dive into the beautiful forest paths and hilltops of the Malverns!
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📍 Where Are the Malvern Hills?
The Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is situated in Southern England, about 3 hours northwest of London and 1 hour southwest of Birmingham. The hills run about 8 miles (13 km) along the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border and dominate the surrounding countryside and villages of the Malvern district.
As mentioned before, these hills are also just a 1-hour drive from the Cotswolds, so you can easily visit both destinations in one trip.
🌲 Why You Should Walk the Malvern Hills
There’s a reason the Malvern Hills have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These hills are home to some truly remarkable landscapes. From their summits, you can get a spectacular panorama of the Severn Valley, the Bristol Channel, the Three Counties, and the gorgeous surrounding countryside. The views all along the walking trails are absolutely stunning.
Moreover, with the exception of a few popular sections, you’ll find these forest paths mostly devoid of people. It’s truly an amazing place to get away from the busy city life and enjoy some fresh air and nature — which for a large part, you’ll have almost all to yourself.
That’s not all, though. The nearby Great Malvern (situated at the foot of the Malvern Hills) is actually a scenic spa town home to The Malvern — a fantastic spa hotel. What better way to treat yourself after a long day of walking than to slip into a hot tub or lie down for a massage?
🚗 How to Get to the Malvern Hills
Getting to the Malvern Hills by Car
It’s very easy to reach the Malvern Hills by car from nearby cities. Malvern is located on the A449 and you can reach it via the M5 motorway. If you’re arriving from the North on the M5, take the exit at Junction 7.
If you’re arriving from the South on the M5, exit at Junction 8 onto the M50 motorway, and then Junction 1 shortly after. You will see clear signs on the road leading you to Malvern from both directions.
Here are the driving distances and times from close-by cities:
From London: 144 mi (231 km) / 2 hrs 50 min
From Birmingham: 40.6 mi (65 km) / 1 hr 10 min
From Manchester: 120 mi (193 km) / 2 hrs 30 min
From Bristol: 64.2 mi (103 km) / 1 hr 20 min
From Cardiff: 66.5 mi (107 km) / 1 hr 30 min
From Worcester: 10.6 mi (17 km) / 30 min
Malvern Hills Car Parks Near the Walks
There are a lot of car parks all around the hills, at the start of the many trails. Pay and display parking on the Malvern Hills is available all 7 days a week between 6 am and 11 pm, with the exception of Tank Quarry car park, which is open from 6 am to 6 pm, and Black Hill car park, which is open from 6 am to 7 pm.
Parking costs £4.60 per day, and your ticket can be used in any of the Malvern Hills Trust car parks throughout the date of issue. Please note that overnight parking is not allowed. Parking is also free for people with disabilities provided they have a badge.
Getting to the Malvern Hills by Train
There are 2 train stations near the Malvern Hills: Great Malvern and Malvern Link. Both are on the Worcester to Hereford line and will connect you directly to London, Bristol, Birmingham, Oxford, Worcester, and Hereford. Here are the best train stations that’ll connect you to Malvern.
From London: London Paddington to Great Malvern — nonstop / 2 hrs 25 min / £33
From Birmingham: Birmingham New Street to Great Malvern — nonstop / 58 min / £13
From Hereford: Hereford to Malvern Link — nonstop / 34 min / £10
From Bristol: Bristol Temple Meads to Great Malvern — nonstop / 1 hr 54 min / £19
From Oxford: Oxford to Great Malvern — nonstop / 1 hr 28 min / £16
From Worcester: Worcester Shrub Hill to Great Malvern — nonstop / 14 min / £7
From Cardiff or Manchester: No direct trains; the fastest route is to go via Hereford
🏡 Where to Stay in the Malvern Hills
There are plenty of amazing accommodation options in the Malvern Hills, from spa hotels in Great Malvern to quiet countryside getaways in the woods. Here are my recommendations.
BEST SPA HOTEL: The Malvern (⭐ 8.5)
This spectacular 4-star hotel is the ultimate spot for countryside relaxation. It offers an extensive range of relaxing spa treatments, a sauna, a steam room, a hydrotherapy pool, and a gym. There’s also a restaurant and brasserie on-site with delicious organic food.
BEST NATURE GETAWAY: Colwall Park (⭐ 8.4)
This charming country house is located in the peaceful Colwall village and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. You can enjoy afternoon tea at the gardens and also access the slopes of the Malvern Hills directly from there. The location couldn’t be more perfect!
BEST HOTEL FOR VIEWS: Cottage In The Wood (⭐ 8.7) This hotel has been described by The Daily Mail as “the best view in England” and offers direct access to the Malvern Hills. From its premises, you’ll get gorgeous views of the Severn Valley, and all the rooms have binoculars for guests to take in the views!
BEST TOWN HOTEL: Cotford Hotel (⭐ 9.3)
This beautiful gothic Victorian hotel is only a few minutes walk from Malvern Town Centre but is surrounded by its own charming gardens. It’s also home to the award-winning restaurant L’Amuse Bouche, which serves French cuisine made with local produce.
🗺️ Best Walks in the Malvern Hills Maps
Here are the Malvern Hills walking maps for the circular routes that we took and recommend in this guide. With these routes, you can cover most of the hills and surrounding attractions in 2 days.
Day 1 Route: The Beacon, End Hill & Malvern Town
This circular walk takes you to the iconic Worcestershire Beacon, the highest point in the Malvern Hills. It then follows a trail to the other nearby hills before ending in the picturesque town centre of Great Malvern, home to more charming green spaces. Click here to see this map on Google Maps.
Day 2 Route: Swinyard Hill & Gullet Quarry
This scenic circular walk takes you to the peak of Herefordshire Beacon and the nearby hills before leading you to the historic Eastnor Obelisk and the beautiful Gullet Quarry. On your way back, you’ll also pass by a lovely little garden cafe in the woods. Click here to see this map on Google Maps.
🚶🏻♂️ Malvern Hills Walks: Day 1 Circular Walk
🌲 The Beacon, End Hill & Great Malvern Town
📍 Starting point: WR14 4EH (Beacon Road car park)
⛰️ Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
🚶🏻♀️ Total distance: 7.9 mi / 12.7 km
🕖 Total walking time: 4.5 – 5 hours
🗺️ Map of walking route: Click here
1. Upper Wyche to Worcestershire Beacon
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 45 minutes
Start your walk from the Beacon Road car park (WR14 4EH) in Upper Wyche, and follow the signposted trail to Worcestershire Beacon, a hill with the highest summit (425 m / 1,394 ft) in the Malvern Hills range.
Locally known as ‘The Beacon’, this hill is very popular among walkers — in fact, you’ll see more people here than anywhere else in the Malvern Hills. With that said, the trail isn’t incredibly crowded, and you can definitely enjoy some peace and quiet during your walk.
From the Beacon Road car park, it takes around 45 minutes to reach the summit of Worcestershire Beacon. While there are some steep parts, this walk is generally very easy to complete and suitable even for beginners.
While the view from the summit is definitely impressive, the best ‘lookout points’ are actually all along the trail itself! As you climb up, you’ll get a magnificent view of The Beacon right in front of you and of Perseverance Hill behind you, so don’t forget to look back as you walk!
Once you reach the summit, you will get a stunning panoramic view of the countryside surrounding the hills. You can find a spot on the grass to sit down and enjoy a picnic or a snack. This is also a great spot to take a nap under the sun. Just remember to bring some sunscreen — otherwise, you might wake up with Rudolph noses like we did! 🙂
2. Sugarloaf Hill, North Hill & End Hill
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Once you’re done soaking up the views at the Worcestershire Beacon summit, continue onward to the next three hills — they are a lot quieter, secluded, and offer even better views.
As you walk down Worcestershire Beacon, you’ll get a postcard-worthy view of Sugarloaf Hill, North Hill, and End Hill right in front of you. You can climb all of them to get more stunning panoramas of the nearby countryside and villages. Or, if the wind is too strong (it definitely was when we were there), simply go around some of these hills to find some shelter from it.
From Worcestershire Beacon, it should take roughly 45 minutes to get to the top of North Hill (398 m / 1,305 ft) via Sugarloaf Hill (369 m / 1,210 ft). Then, it’s approximately another 30 minutes to get to the summit of End Hill (328 m / 1,076 ft). Along the paths and on the summits, you’ll find some benches you can sit on to enjoy the views.
3. End Hill to St. Ann’s Well Café
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 35 minutes
After taking in the views from the summit of End Hill, it’s time to start making your way back to the Beacon Road car park — with many worthwhile stops along the way.
Upon descending End Hill, walk along the W Malvern Road (at the edge of the Malvern Hills) to the historic Tank Clock Tower. Built in 1843, this tower is a local landmark and stands next to a large water collection tank.
Continue down W Malvern Road, past the North Quarry Car Park, and back into the woods. Keep walking south along the forest path, and after about half an hour, you should reach St. Ann’s Well Café, a very picturesque cafe right in the woods.
Their outdoor seating space is very tranquil, and it’s hard to find a better place to stop for some delicious cakes and a warm cup of tea. What’s more — they’re dog-friendly too!
🧁 St. Ann’s Well Café opening hours: Thursdays to Sundays, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
4. Great Malvern Town Walk
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
St. Ann’s Well Café is only a 10-15 min walk from the town centre of Great Malvern, and it’s about halfway between End Hill and Beacon Road car park (the starting point of this walk). So while you’re there, it’s a great idea to take a little detour to explore what Malvern town has to offer.
From St. Ann’s Well Café, make your way down to Foley Terrace. From there, go down the 99 steps that will lead you to the beautiful Rose Bank Gardens, one of the best spots in town.
From this garden, you can get a pretty marvellous view of the Great Malvern Priory and the buildings surrounding it. This is definitely one of the best panoramas in town, so give yourself some time to take it in!
After visiting the garden, head on over to the beautiful Bellevue Terrace, which is lined with lovely flower pots and offers another gorgeous view of the city’s landmarks. Follow the Bellevue Terrace path before merging onto Worcester Road. Then, keep walking until you reach Faun, a great place to stop for some sandwiches, snacks, and coffee.
Afterwards, make your way back down the same road and head on to the Great Malvern Priory via Church St. This former monastery is now a church and is the most iconic building in town. Inside, there’s an impressively large display of 15th-century stained glass and medieval wall tiles.
After visiting the Great Malvern Priory, head back onto Church St and make your way to the charming and tranquil Priory Park. This quintessentially Victorian park has a Swan Pool crossed by a wooden bridge, and it’s an especially lovely place to walk through and explore. If you visit in the spring, you’ll even come across some beautiful blossoms!
5. Foley Terrace Back to Beacon Road Car Park
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 35 minutes
Spend some time relaxing at Priory Park, and then make your way out onto Orchard Road. From there, head on to Priory Road and then on Abbey Road. Walk past the pretty Victorian houses on Abbey Road until you reach a merging point with Wells Road and Foley Terrace.
Take the Foley Terrace path, which will lead you back into the woods for the final leg of this walk. Hit the trail south among the woods, and after about 35 minutes, you’ll be back at Beacon Road Car Park, the starting point of this entire walk. The trail is very tranquil and you’ll be breathing in some of the freshest air.
🚶🏻♂️ Malvern Hills Walks: Day 2 Circular Walk
🌲 British Camp, Swinyard Hill & Gullet Quarry
📍 Starting point: WR13 6DW (British Camp car park)
⛰️ Difficulty: Moderate / Strenuous
🚶🏻♀️ Total distance: 6.2 mi / 10 km
🕖 Total walking time: 4 – 4.5 hours
🗺️ Map of walking route: Click here
1. Herefordshire Beacon & Millennium Hill
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 30 minutes
If you think day one’s route looks stunning, day two’s route will impress you even more. Some of the most breathtaking views of the entire Malvern Hills range are actually right at the beginning of this circular walk, at the summit of Herefordshire Beacon (338 m / 1,108 ft).
Start your walk from the British Camp car park (WR13 6DW) and take the uphill path that starts right from the middle of the car park, through the trees. Keep walking up among the trees and ignore the path on the right-hand side.
Soon after, you’ll see some concrete steps that will take you up to the summit of Herefordshire Beacon (AKA British Camp).
During the climb, you’ll get an incredibly picturesque view of the surrounding hills — in fact, you can even spot Worcestershire Beacon in the distance! Take your time enjoying the panorama, because this section of the Malvern Hills walks is truly one of the most beautiful ones.
It should take you about 20 minutes to reach the summit of Herefordshire Beacon from the British Camp car park. Afterwards, continue onwards to Millennium Hill (327 m / 1,072 ft). It should take you just around 10 minutes to get to the top of Millennium Hill from Herefordshire Beacon.
The view along the way is remarkable; you can catch a glimpse of the British Camp Reservoir (which you’ll get closer to later on during this walk)!
2. Hangmans Hill & Swinyard Hill
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 35 minutes
From Millennium Hill, make your way onward to Hangmans Hill (276 m / 905 ft), and then onto Swinyard Hill. The great thing is that these sections of the trail are quite secluded and much less crowded than the beginning of the trail (the section between British Camp car park and Herefordshire Beacon).
Enjoy the peace and quiet during your walk, but be sure to bring something warm as it can get super windy!
It should take around 35 minutes to reach the summit of Swinyard Hill (237 m / 777 ft) from Millennium Hill. From the top of Swinyard Hill, you can get a view of the Eastnor Obelisk, which is the next stop on this walking route.
3. Swinyard Hill to Eastnor Obelisk
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 30 minutes
Near the summit of Swinyard Hill, you should see a sign for a circular walking route. Follow that path southwest down into the woods and keep walking until you see a kissing gate.
Go through the gate and keep following the trail. Eventually, you’ll come across some metal fencing. Go up the path through the fence and you’ll reach the Eastnor Obelisk soon after.
Standing 90 ft tall, this monument was put up in 1812 to commemorate important politicians from the past. The walk to the obelisk is very calming and filled with peaceful views of the surrounding countryside. Take your time and soak up this beautiful scenery before moving on to the next stop!
4. Midsummer Hill & Gullet Quarry
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 45 minutes
When you’re ready to leave the Eastnor Obelisk, go down the same path you came up until you reach the metal fencing. From there, take the path on the right, which eventually merges onto another path that’ll lead you back to the Malvern Hills.
Follow that path north for a while, and then turn right to head up Midsummer Hill (284 m / 931 ft). It should take around 35 mins to get to the top of Midsummer Hill from Eastnor Obelisk. While the view from the top of the hill is lovely, it’s the path downhill that will steal your heart.
From the summit, follow either of the two downhill trails that take you north to Gullet Quarry. We took the one on the right and it took us through woodlands that looked straight out of a chapter of a fairytale. If you visit in the spring, you’ll even come across some purple blossoms!
It should take only around 10 minutes to reach Gullet Quarry from the top of Midsummer Hill. The downhill journey is very quiet and calming — we didn’t even see one other person on that path. Once you reach the quarry, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the water and rocky hills.
🌿 Take note: While the downhill stroll is gorgeous, the last half of it is very steep and can also be slippery as it’s paved with leaves and tree roots. Be extra careful and go down slowly!
5. Ruffz Café & British Camp Reservoir
🚶🏻♀️ Walking time: 1.5 hours
After taking in the stunning views of Gullet Quarry, it’s time for the final leg of this walk and to make your way back to the British Camp car park. It takes a total of 1.5 hours to reach the car park from the quarry, so it’s a good idea to stop for some snacks and tea along the way.
Located right in the woods next to Gullet Quarry, Ruffz Café has an incredible outdoor setting and gives off the vibe of a secret garden in the forest. From the quarry, simply follow the path east and you should reach this cafe in just a minute.
Their outdoor seating area is set up right in the middle of the woods, and it’s simply breathtaking. Be sure to try their delicious banana cake!
Once you feel rested, continue down the path east and then turn left once you reach Chase End Road. Following that path up north, you’ll be walking along the edge of Swinyard Hill back towards Hangmans Hill.
Keep following that path, which will eventually take you northeast, around Hangmans Hill. Once you’ve passed that hill, the trail will lead you to the British Camp Reservoir.
As you’re approaching the reservoir, there’s one bit of the trail that involves a very steep uphill. It can be quite difficult for those who aren’t the most well-trained, but definitely still doable with frequent breaks. Once you’ve reached the reservoir, it’s just another 10 minutes back to the car park where this walk began.
🌿 More Malvern Hills Walking Routes
You now have 2 days worth of walking routes to take in the Malvern Hills. However, if you have more time or simply want to explore other walking trails, here are some more great routes to follow.
Malvern Hills End to End Walk
📍 Starting point: HR8 1SE (Chase End car park)
⛰️ Difficulty: Strenuous
🚶🏻♀️ Total distance: 9.3 mi / 14.9 km
🕖 Total walking time: 5 hours
🗺️ Map of walking route: Click here
If you want to walk all of the Malvern Hills summits from end to end, then you can essentially combine parts of the day 1 and day 2 walking routes and merge them into one long end-to-end walk. This route starts at the Chase End car park and takes you through practically all of the hills, before ending on North Malvern Road, which leads you straight into the Great Malvern town centre.
Since this is a linear walk, you obviously won’t be ending it where you started it. The good news is that this walking route ends at North Malvern Road, which merges with Worcester Road going south. Following that path will lead you straight into Great Malvern town, where you can stop at some cafes, such as Faun, to relax after the walk.
How to Get Back to the Car Park After the Walk
To get back to Chase End car park, the fastest and most convenient way to do so is to grab a taxi from Great Malvern’s town centre or call Malvern Taxis. Expect to pay around £25 to £30.
Alternatively, you can easily split this long walk into shorter separate walks if you’d rather not do it all in one go. For instance, you can use the car parks and facilities at Hollybush, British Camp, and Beacon Road as starting or ending points of your route.
Other Malvern Hills Circular Walks
If you’d like some more options for circular walks other than the ones covered in this guide, here are some other routes to explore.
- A circular walk around Worcestershire Beacon: 1.5 hrs / 3 miles / moderate – map + route
- Two circular walks in Hollybush: 2 hrs / 3.2 miles / moderate – map + route
- A circular walk from Wyche to Wynds Point and back: 2 hrs / 4 miles / moderate – map + route
- A circular walk around North Hill from Great Malvern: 2 hr / 2.5 miles / moderate – map + route
🎒 Top Tips for Walking the Malvern Hills
🧥 Bring a windproof jacket! — Many parts of the walks are extremely windy, so be sure to bring some warm layers and perhaps even a scarf. I recommend the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket as it’s very well-insulated and so lightweight that you’ll barely feel it inside your backpack.
📱 Download the Mapy.cz app — Google Maps is pretty useless when it comes to mapping out the hiking trails and paths between the hills. We used Mapy.cz to help us navigate our walks. You can use their website to plan your route before you go and then their app during the walks as it shows you all the different trails on the hills. Their maps are very detailed and you can also download them so that they’ll be available even if you don’t have signal.
🥾 Wear slip-resistant shoes — While there’s no need to put on proper hiking boots, some parts of the walks will take you through steep and slippery forest paths, so a good pair of non-slip walking shoes would serve you well.
🌿 Forge your own routes — There are so many different paths you can take between the different hills, and this guide is only laying out a few of them for you. There’s no right or wrong way to walk the Malvern Hills, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
We originally wanted to follow a route that we’d found online, but then decided to just take whichever path we felt like taking, which led us to creating the routes shown in this guide. So don’t be afraid to venture off the suggested routes and explore at your own will!
🦆 Mind the animals when driving — If you’re planning to drive to or around the Malvern Hills, please be mindful of the many pheasants that frequently cross the roads. We sadly came across quite a lot of them lying deceased on the roads.
☀️ The Best Time to Walk the Malvern Hills
The summer months of June through August are the best time to walk the Malvern Hills as you’ll get nice, warm weather. While it is a bit more crowded during that time of the year, it’s very easy to find secluded paths and sections of the walk with very few people around.
Alternatively, April, May, and September are also good times to visit. You’ll see fewer crowds and while it’s slightly colder during those months, the weather is still pleasant. We went in April and even managed to get sunburnt from lying on top of Worcestershire Beacon, under the sun!
🍺 The Best Pubs in the Malvern Hills
Who doesn’t love a good pint of beer and a delicious pub meal after a long day of walking? Here are some of the best pubs around the Malvern Hills to stop by.
- The Chase Inn — One of the most popular pubs in the area; it offers stunning views of the Black Mountains from its beer garden.
- The Brewer’s Arms — A vibrant, welcoming hillside pub with delicious food, a beautiful view of the hills, and free WiFi.
- Bluebell Inn — Located at the foot of the Malvern Hills, just a short walk from the Great Malvern train station, their beer garden is a great spot to end your walk.
- Wellington Inn — This pub has an outdoor seating space surrounded by rolling green hills and offers one of the most beautiful views that you can get from any pub in the area.
🏰 Other Things to do in/Near the Malvern Hills
There are plenty of things to do in Malvern and around the area aside from walking the Malvern Hills. Here are some of the best attractions to see nearby and other activities to keep you busy.
🏰 Explore Eastnor Castle
Situated in the foothills of the Malverns, this fairytale castle is surrounded by a beautiful lake and is home to some splendid interior decor. You can also visit the adventure playground on its premises — it’s the perfect place for kids and even has a treetop walkway!
🚢 Take a Walk in Upton upon Severn
This charming and vibrant country town is just a 15-minute drive from the Malvern Hills and is home to a flourishing marina surrounded by a variety of restaurants, cafes, and boutique stores.
🚴🏻♀️ Cycle in the Malverns
The Malvern Hills is an amazing place to cycle in the UK. There are a number of scenic mountain bike trails there, and biking is a great way to explore some of the best hidden gems in the area. From short 1-hour routes to more challenging 4-hour routes, there is something here for bikers of all levels.
🎭 Catch a Show at the Malvern Theatres
This centre of drama and entertainment hosts a variety of captivating productions, films, and events. You can see their upcoming shows and events on their website.
🏡 Visit the Picturesque Cotswolds Villages
You can easily pair a visit to the Malvern Hills with a staycation in the Cotswolds, which is just an hour away by car. There are tons of picturesque Cotswolds villages to explore; some of the best ones are Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden, and Bibury.
📸 My Malvern Hills Photography Gear
This is the photography gear I used to capture the beauty of the Malvern Hills. You can also see my article on the best cameras for bloggers for more options other than the ones listed below.
- Cameras: Nikon D610 + Sony A6400 (check out the best Sony lenses)
- Main lens: Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8
- Wide-angle lens: Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8
- Prime lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G
- Tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod (Ball Head)