Edinburgh landmarks Arthur's Seat and the Royal Mile top the best walks in the UK list
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Ahead of National Walking Day on April 5, Newcastle-based Turning Tides Psychology analysed TripAdvisor reviews to reveal the most popular places to visit for a walk across the country. By analysing 1,000 UK locations, Turning Tides’ research revealed that the two most popular walking spots in the UK are both in Edinburgh. Arthur’s Seat is the most popular overall with 6,642 reviews that mention walking, followed closely by the historic Royal Mile with 6,271 reviews that mention walking.
It comes as no surprise that Arthur’s Seat is the most popular walking spot in the UK thanks to its breathtaking views of the Capital and various routes to go for a stroll on the ancient volcano. In fact, both Arthur’s Seat and the Royal Mile are among the most popular walking spots in the world, coming in 11th and 12th position respectively in the worldwide ranking.
The UK’s third most popular walking spot is Tower Bridge in London (6,062 walking reviews), followed by York City Walls (5,984 walking reviews) and Chester City Walls (4,264 walking reviews) completing the top five.
Dr Alicia Brown, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Turning Tides Psychology, commented on how walking can benefit your mental health. She said: “Walking has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and even improve cognitive function, yet it is one of the most underrated forms of exercise when it comes to mental health.
“As well as helping to get you out and about in nature, walking is beneficial because it bilaterally stimulates the body, moving left and right, which activates the same centres of the brain that trauma therapies like EMDR (eye movement desensitisation reprocessing) target. Bilateral stimulation helps to naturally heal the brain, so even just walking around your own local area or park can provide benefits to you.
“Walking can also have huge cognitive benefits. Research has found that walking around 10,000 steps per day could lower the risk of dementia by up to 51 per cent. A study published online in September last year by JAMA Neurology analysed health information from 78,000 healthy people aged 40 to 79 and compared the walking and non-walking groups over seven years, finding that those who racked up more steps had a lower incidence rate of dementia. The study was observation so it cannot provide conclusive evidence, but does highlight the benefits of walking.”