The British countryside is built for Winter. Shafts of Winter light leaking through silky white clouds, the crisp crunch of frozen ground beneath your welly boots, and the brisk, bracing freshness of a lung full of Winter air. If you ask someone for their favourite season, they’ll likely say Summer. But when you take a good look around, it’s hard to disagree with Winter being the most magical time of year.
To help you make the most of the jolliest season, we’ve scoured our stunning shores to bring you the best Winter walks in the UK. We’ve chosen a diverse range of walks that highlight all the incredible things Winter in the UK has to offer. We’ve even helped you choose which terrific trail is right for you, by telling you what their best for, how long they’ll take, and even the closest cosy pub to can curl up in once you’ve finished your stroll.
If anywhere catches your eye, why not make a trip of it, and start your next walking holiday by checking out our selection of incredible holiday cottages. If you’re in the mood for walking but have missed the Winter season there’s no need to worry, just check out our list of the UK’s best Summer walks.
Cribyn, Powys, Brecon Beacons
Best for: Stunning holiday snaps
Start to finish: 11.5 miles, six hours
Closest cosy pub: The Felin Fach Griffin
Buried in the heart of Wales, to the west of the Malvern Hills, this vast expanse of woodland, moorland, and breathtaking panoramic views, offers some of finest walking routes in the UK. While stunning year round, during the Winter months, this national park’s picture-perfect waterfalls take on an eerie kind of magic, while the nearby mountain tops and tipped with snow; ideal for photographs.
A moderately challenging, but overwhelmingly rewarding walk, this route takes you up what is arguably Wales’ most underrated mountain. Surrounded by a breathtaking view of the Welsh countryside, this route is a fantastic alternative to Snowdonia, which can be slightly hazardous during the colder months.
Hadrian’s Wall Path, Brampton
Best for: A coast to coast adventure
Start to finish: 84 miles, it’s up to you!
Closest cosy pub: The Boatside Inn
Set across 84 miles of stunning Northern terrain, Hadrian’s Wall is one of the best-known remnants of the Roman Empire. While more than a day’s trek, this remarkable route is heaving with history and treats you to a vast array of cosy pubs, bustling market towns, and truly breathtaking views along the way.
In Winter, this national trail really comes alive, as pale light glistens off crystal lakes, and the fresh air is sharp with the smell of pine needles. Whether you decide to tackle all of this coast to coast adventure, or just wander down a bit of the incredible path, you won’t be disappointed.
Ravenscar Loop, North Yorkshire
Best for: A laid back wander
Start to finish: One and a half miles, one hour
Closest cosy pub: Ye Dolphin
In 1985, developers had plans for a fabulous holiday getaway in Ravenscar but went bankrupt after just one hotel. Now, the remarkable remnants are known as ‘the resort that never was’. This relaxed figure-of-eight walking route takes you through all of their best-laid plans, as well as some stunning coastal scenery, and incredible sheer cliffs.
Mostly flat, and just a mile and a half long, this a leisurely stroll for those looking for a laid back evening wander with more than its fair share of breathtaking sights. It’s also one of the few major walking routes that’s wheelchair accessible.
Wilverley Inclosure, The New Forest
Best for: Spotting winter wildlife
Start to finish: Two and a half miles, one hour
Closest cosy pub: The White Buck
One of our favourite destinations here at Snaptrip, the New Forest is home to over 19,000 acres of land that come alive during the winter months. Budding photographers will love the opportunity to capture the frosty leaves contrasting with the stately evergreen trees that populate the forest.
Starting from Wilverley Plain car park, this circular route also passes through vast expanses of open land, perfect for playing games, or stopping for a Winter-themed picnic (if you’re brave enough to take on the cold that is). Also, look out for an array of wintery wildlife along the way, including new forest ponies and beautiful, but increasingly rare, red deer.
Read more: Discover the best towns in The New Forest.
Wheal Coates Route, Cornwall
Best for: Fascinating rock formations
Start to finish: Three miles, an hour and a half
Closest cosy pub: Victory Inn
Cornwall is home to some of the most beautiful walking routes in England and Wales, so it should come as no surprise that the coastal county features high on our list. Situated on the South West coast path, this gentle, three-mile walk takes you through not one, not two, but a whole range of delightful settings, including towns, meadows, and across the stunning Cornwall shore.
A short circular route with a gentle climb, it gives you plenty of ways to clear out those Christmas cobwebs. You can check out fascinating rock formations, explore multi-coloured caves, and delve into well-stocked rock pools. You can even visit Wheal Coates itself, one of Cornwall’s fascinating, historic mines, perched high on the red cliffs.
Trenchford and Tottiford Reservoirs, Dartmoor
Dartmoor in Winter is truly magical. The thick wilderness and fresh forest air make it feel like you’ve stepped through the wardrobe and into Narnia itself. While breathtaking views are not hard to find anywhere in the National Park, this figure eight walk serves up some of the very best, with stunning waterside shots that rival those in the lake district.
Snaking around two beautiful reservoirs, this route tours the Eastern side of the moor, where a Winter breeze from atop the crystal clear water makes the air especially fresh. You’ll spend the entire route surrounded by stunning scenery, treated to panoramic views of the delightful Dartmoor countryside. Best of all, this part of the moor is full of hidden prehistoric treasures, only some of which were uncovered by Channel 4s Time Team when they visited in 2010.
Holkham Nature Reserve, Norfolk
Best for: Bird watching
Start to finish: 16 miles
Closest cosy pub: The Victoria Inn
This stunning nature reserve covers over 9,000 acres of Norfolk countryside and is home to a range of landscapes, sights, and winter wildlife. This long but leisurely walk begins at Burnham Overy Staithe, before winding through all of the diverse terrains this national trust site has to offer.
Throughout 16 miles, you’ll pass from the beach to the bay, through the pretty harbour, and on to an expanse of salt marsh, filled with beautiful birdlife and wintering wildfowl. The variety of natural habitats housed on the reserve make it the perfect place to scour the skies for rare creatures.
South Loch Ness Trail, Torbeck to Dores, The Highlands
Best for: Historic attractions
Start to finish: Seven miles
Closest cosy pub: The Craigdarroch Inn
Nessie, the infamous monster, has made Loch Ness and its nearby Inverness one of the best-known spots in the UK. The stunning Loch is surrounded by several breathtaking walks which sparkle with life at every time of year. This particular section of the Loch Ness trail starts inside the beautiful Scottish woodland, where you’ll be surrounded by a variety of wintering wildlife.
After navigating through woodland, the trail takes you to the “Trail of the 7 Lochs” where you can expect to meet horse riders. From there, you’ll head above the Loch itself, and enjoy breathtaking views of the wonderful Scottish waterway. Along the way, you may be tempted to soak up some history at several fascinating stops, including Aldourie Castle, MacBain Memorial Park, and Dores Churchyard, burial place of Hugh Fraser, ‘the man with the iron hand’.
If you’re travelling with that special someone, check out some more ways to make the most of the UK’s truly wonderful Winters, with the best locations for a couples Winter getaway. If you’ve left it all to the last minute, but still want to whist yourself away on a short-notice staycation, then worry not. Just check out our incredible range of last minute cottages.