Julia Bradbury interview: Why I love walking in the UK
Interview 09 February

Julia Bradbury: Why I love walking in the UK

The roaming TV presenter chats Britain's best walks, family travel, and why she'll always return to the Peak District

You're about to return to UK television screens with Best Walks with a View – what can we expect from the series?
We feature eight walks all over Britain, and the beautiful thing about them is they are doable in a day, or half a day. They are easy walks that the whole family can do.

How did you choose just eight?
With great difficulty! Of course, there will be people who say “Why didn’t you include Scotland?” or “Why didn’t you include Norfolk?” but unfortunately you can never cover the whole country. We’d need a series of 24 walks, at least, to cover all the right regions!

We have tried to pick a good geographical spread, and have included a few places that are close to my heart personally. They’ve all got cracking views and they’ve relatively accessible – there’s nothing too hardcore in this mix.

Julia with Chris Bonington
Julia with Chris Bonington

So do you recommend places to have a pub lunch or a picnic as well?
Yes, that’s right. They’re family-friendly walks. That’s not to say there isn’t a bit of challenge in some of them. In the Lake District, in the walk through the Borrowdale Valley we got to the top of Castle Crag. It’s not a piece of cake, so there is an element of challenge to that, but Chris Bonington made it to the top with me and he’s 81 now. He’s an exceptional 81 year old!

Do you think the UK is a good place for family-friendly walks?
From my experience, families are quite adventurous – and there are lots of parents who like to take their kids out walking. I think the way to do it with younger kids is to sell it to them as an adventure and make it as interesting as possible.

Throw a picnic in there as well! If you can, involve geocaching or tell stories about the landscape. That’s what my dad did with me when I was little. He made it as fun as possible and he challenged me to get to a certain place before him. I was quite competitive so I’d race him!

Julia with her dad in the Peak District
Julia with her dad in the Peak District

Of the eight walks that you’ve included, is there one that’s your favourite?
There are lots of favourites in there... The Peak District is the obvious one because that’s where it all started for me. During the Peak District walk in the series, I sit down with my dad and we have a good old natter about things. It’s a very personal walk to me.

The Dorset Golden Cap Walk is also just so very, very lovely. There’s always something so exciting about the Jurassic Coast – it just looks so lush and lovely. Dorset has always been a favourite of mine.

In Anglesey we do a coastal walk that I know a lot of people love, and there’s good food in Anglesey so it would be a favourite for that reason.

Did you have time to stop and enjoy the views while you were filming?
When you’re filming you tend to be a bit of a tizzy because you’re on such a tight schedule. You’re interviewing people and your mind is very much on the story and not the location, so you don’t necessarily take in the location properly. Sometimes, I’ll go somewhere and think “I’ve been here before...” – and then it turns out I've filmed there!

Do you use guides when you walk, or do you prefer to walk on your own?
I do use guides and we always use guides when we’re filming – they really help when you need to get to certain places and meet certain people. We’d be lost without them.

I'm an ambassador of Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, so I’m all for guides when I'm travelling for leisure too. I think in some cases they can make your walking experience more fun because you know there's no chance of getting lost.

I know that going guide-free is a thrill for lots of people, but for most it’s quite reassuring to be accompanied by someone who knows where they're going!

Julia Bradbury's Best Walks With a View starts on Friday 19 February on ITV. Find your own UK walking adventure on Julia Bradbury's new website The Outdoor Guide – with family-friendly ambles, coastal hikes, National Trust rambles and lots more...

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