You don’t have to stay indoors just because it’s winter. The UK is beautiful throughout the year even when it’s cold. In fact, some of the many mountains, beaches, and cities shine during this season. We’ve put together just a few ideas of interesting and exhilarating exploits during the greyer months. Don’t let the lack of sun stop you from getting the most out of the UK this winter. Trying to cover a range of different things from walks, sight-seeing, extreme sports and something a little different, we hope you enjoy and feel a bit inspired.
It might seem daunting but in the right conditions, mountain hiking in the UK can be a blast in winter. There are ranges all over the UK offering a range of trails for many levels of hikers. A great example is Pen Y Fan in Wales, which has a relatively easy 90 min trail to the summit. At the top, you’ll have an amazing view of the Brecon Beacons mountain range. Of course, the Lake District also offers many hiking trails. If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging then Grate Gable is a popular 900 m challenge for experienced hikers. Scotland too has almost countless mountains and lochs to explore, usually within reach of small towns and a warm pub. What’s also great is the usual tourist-filled National Parks like Ben Lomond are refreshingly empty during the winter.
The lack of tourists in winter opens many opportunities to see some of the UK’s best sights. Let your imagination go wild or think about places you’ve always wanted to visit. From seaside towns to major cities there’s too much to see in the UK. In winter you can miss the crowds usually swarming places like Stonehenge and tickets to plays and art events are cheaper in bustling cities like London or Manchester. It may be darker but as a country prepared for cold weather, there’s a cosy unique feeling to the UK in winter. Treat yourself to romantic walks through the UK’s beautiful towns and cities like Brighton, Bath, York, Welles and many more. We have prepared historical sights recommendations on England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland.
Some species of birds and woodland creatures only come out during winter. If you want to see interesting animals enjoy some of the national parks this winter. The National Trust has preserved hundreds of thousands of acres for hiking enthusiasts or those on weekend getaways visiting the nearby towns and villages. Places like Devon and Cornwall have incredible reserves with the chance to see all sorts of birds and even otters. Practically all regions of the UK have unique and wide-spanning nature parks that can be fit into many different trips and tours. If you’re still not convinced travellers can even spot adorable seal pups in Cumbria, Lincolnshire as well as a few places in Scotland!
There are plenty of invigorating sports across the UK even during winter. Get a thick wetsuit and take on the waves with surfing still a thing in Cornwall as well as many places in Wales. If that sounds interesting then maybe you’d also enjoy snowboarding or skiing. There are slopes in the Cairngorms or the Aviemore in Scotland, as well as sledging opportunities in the Cotswolds. There is also one of the best ice-wall climbing centres in Scotland – check out Ice Factor in Kinlochleven if interested. If you want to slow the pace or just want something a bit closer many cities like London and Manchester have indoor skiing centres as well as ice skating rings.
Enjoy the City
The city can come alive in winter and offers a great chance to see what’s on. There are many options especially at the end of the year. Any major city is sure to have Christmas markets opening for some interesting shopping and tasty treats. Alongside the annual Christmas Lights, London is famous for this, but many places put in huge efforts in manor houses, national parks, and even nature trails. Have a look at what’s on and feel inspired. If you’re with young children look to your local theatres and take in a pantomime. If you’re with friends, then the winter months are the perfect time to escape to an independent cinema or theatre. Some of the best art exhibitions are also held during winter for this exact same reason. Even if you feel you’ve done everything look ahead and plan a weekend getaway to a completely different city! You’re sure to find something.
There are wonderfully odd activities only available in the winter. Some can make the heart race and others can help you unwind. As an example, consider massages and outdoor hot tubs and some of the UK’s amazing spa retreats like Centre Parcs. Not only is there skiing or hiking in the mountains as we mentioned but odd activities like snowshoeing. Take your walk to the next level with this old method of hiking with spiked shoes across daring terrains. Look also into other types of fun in the mountains. Some ranges like Brecon Beacon offer Canyoning, where you make your way down the mountain through gorges and over boulders. However, if you really don’t like the idea of cold you can also enjoy tropical weather at the Eden Project in Cornwall – a huge biosphere of exotic plants open during winter. There are many unique things to do over the winter and it’s well worth seeing what’s on offer.