With the cold weather upon us, the temptation to go into hibernation mode can be strong. But, winter is actually one of the best times to venture outdoors. There’s something magical about winter’s stunning scenery – think snow-topped trees and flowing rivers – combined with smaller holiday crowds and off-peak accommodation it can be the perfect time for a getaway.
From blustery coastal trails, to frosty forest wandering or that ‘post-Christmas feast stroll’, there’s a winter walk to suit everyone. Braving the icy weather to explore, you’ll find landscapes transformed by soft winter light and dustings of frost. Wildlife are also easier to catch sight of in the calm of winter woodlands.
So wrap up warm, and throw on your wellies to boot, as we guide you through the best winter walking destinations the UK has to offer:
Known for its golden stone and rolling hills, the Cotswolds is full of natural beauty. You’re also within walking distance to some of England’s grandest castles and country houses. You can walk along historic trails through breath-taking woodlands, wildflower meadows, and ancient villages – like Bourton-on-the-Water or Stow-on-the-Wold.
Broadway Tower is a popular Cotswolds destination, set within a 50-acre estate. Visitors can experience English heritage as they visit the Tower Museum, Deer Park or walk the grounds with a picnic.
On the topic of food…the Cotswolds has no shortage of delicious local cheeses, meats and drinks. Known for its slow food ethos, there are market towns, gastro pubs, old inns and fine dining restaurants scattered throughout the region.
Where to stay: Set across 400 rolling country acres, Farncombe Estate is the perfect gateway to the Cotswolds. Surrounded by hills, hiking trails and breath-taking natural landscapes, Dormy House and the Fish are an ideal base for ramblers of all kinds. With sprawling forests and fields, peppered with ambling trails, and a dedicated Muck Boot Co boot room – it’s the right balance of relaxation and outdoor adventure.
Although known for its spectacular coastline, including the dramatic granite cliffs of Land’s End, Cornwall is more than just a summer holiday destination. The stunning natural beauty, culture and history found in Cornwall are present year-round. And what better way to explore the area’s cultural heritage and the impact this has had on its landscape than by foot. For an idyllic winter walk route, try the cliff walk between Perranuthnoe and Porthleven. Beginning with a panoramic view of St Michael’s Mount, the path continues around Cudden Point to Prussia Cove and finally Praa Sands. Expect wind-whipped rolling waves and rugged scenery.
Where to stay: Located in a secluded bay on the south coast of Cornwall, The Nare Hotel is one of the best situated hotels in the British Isles. With spectacular sea views and naturally beautiful rural landscape, it’ location allows you to escape from the stresses of everyday life.
One for the history buffs. See some of Britain’s best preserved Roman Forts as you wander amongst moorland, dotted with woods and streams that surround the volcanic ridge where Hadrian’s Wall was built. The scenery here has barely changed in almost 2,000 years.
Nearby is Lindisfarne Castle where Anglo Saxon history meets the ghosts of marauding Vikings and a wild, stormy coastline. With the priory ruins forming the centrepiece of the route, this walk features stunning seascapes – plus you’ll be walking in the footsteps of saints and early pilgrims.
Where to stay: The Lord Crewe Arms is tucked into the southern edge of Northumberland – just across the border from County Durham. With moors that shout for adventure, Lord Crewe Arms encourage heading out on foot and exploring their surroundings.
The Scottish Highlands
With rugged terrain featuring dramatic glens, glistening rivers, and herds of majestic red deer – the Scottish Highlands are breath-taking! There are many places to explore, but a few of our favourites include Inverness and Dornoch.
While Inverness may be the largest city in the Highlands, it also happens to be one of Scotland's smallest. Climb up to Inverness castle to see the town's picture perfect backdrop.
Nearby, the quaint seaside town of Dornoch is home to a beautiful cathedral, where services were held as early as 1239. Next take a stroll along Dornoch's stunning stretch of beach.
Where to stay: Alladale Wilderness Reserve’s 100 square kilometres of rugged mountains, forests, rivers and lochs are located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands – the ideal base for wandering.
The best part is that after getting mucky in our wellingtons on a chilly day, there’s always the reward of a cosy pub with a crackling fire.