Let’s get outside! We don’t care how cold it is! You’d not normally think that the wintertime is ideal for visiting the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland). If people are into the cold, they often will go somewhere with craggy peaks to try a little skiing. Although the UK doesn’t have the Alps, it’s just as wonderful to enjoy the outdoors there, all the crisp snow and the activities galore that embrace adventure year-round. Enjoy a leisure stroll to the pub or scale a few peaks – it’s up to you.
Always in the top choice, Scotland is a huge destination full of mythical and beautiful places to walk outside. Beginners can simply head to Edinburgh though and try Arthur’s Seat for some outdoor time. It’s a moderately strenuous walk/trek to the top of a hill that overlooks the city in Holyrood Park. Make sure you have the right walking boots for this, as the paths can be slippery and narrow.
Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
For the adventure-seekers, this is the place to mountain climb in the winter. This vast park in north Scotland offers tons of mountaineering opportunities, weather permitting, in the UK. Several lodges and outdoor centers provide certification courses and treks by group, including the Glenmore in Aviemore. Although you’ll need some top-notch hiking gear to succeed, this can be a great introduction to mountain-type adventures through the UK and the world.
Leave the bustle of downtown and the crowded Christmas markets to enjoy the surrounding scenery. There’s a six-mile loop called the Skyline walk, boasting expansive meadows and plenty of challenging hills. It explores Bathampton Woods, lovely in both the snow and the early spring.
London Walking Holidays!
Now, here me out. London has a whole bunch of parks and green spaces. Not just any sparks – but massive sprawls of hills, trees and wildlife that are just waiting to be explored. You could spend an entire getaway in this city only exploring its outdoor spaces. Consider Richmond Park for instance, that has a massive population; or Green Park, which is in the center and the biggest in London. If you’d like something a bit cheesier (which can still be fun), walk around the annual Winter Wonderland carnivals and beer gardens – I clocked several miles exploring the one in Hyde Park.
Close to London are a few day trips as well for prime walking holiday experiences. You could make your way to Surrey for some winter walks through castle grounds, or enjoy a short break to Brighton for some brisk seaside strolling.
Types of UK Winter Walks
Everyone can take part in winter walking holidays in the UK. Several trails through Devon, Yorkshire and Suffolk offer paved pathways that make the stroll a little easier. These are ideal for prams when you have little ones along, or those who have less mobility and need smooth surfaces for walking. Have a look at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire and Ickworth, Suffolk for ideal conditions.
Some critters will hibernate for the winter, but many are out and about just like us all winter long. Certain parks and districts have the best wildlife spotting in the UK during the winter. Knole Park in Kent has rangers who support the local deer population and will offer tips on sighting them at a respectable distance. On the Isle of Wight, there is a large population of red squirrels that stand out against the winter backdrop you can keep an eye out for too.
Winter Walk Tours
If you’d like to just unplug, unwind and let someone else do the planning, some tour operators offer guided walks throughout the UK for different travel groups. Look into the National Trust, as they have many walks and tors listed on their site for all abilities all over the UK.
Have you taken a walking/hiking holiday before? What time of the year? Do you like to be active on your trips or take it easy?