Best Winter Walks

Winter is here and winter is beautiful. A winter walk is the best way to appreciate this amazing season. Crisp air, trees dusted with snow, glorious sunsets and morning mist. The UK and Ireland are chock-full of fabulous winter walks where you can see some breathtaking scenery and incredible animals. Get your waterproofs out, strap up your boots and get walking this winter with our list of the very best winter walks.

To borrow a phrase from the Scandinavians, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Winter is notorious for bringing about sudden changes in weather, so it’s vital to make sure you’re prepared. Pack appropriate clothing and footwear, allow plenty of time, and keep a mobile phone on you to make sure you have an enjoyable worry-free time.

Woburn Deer Park

Red Deer Woburn Abbey Winter
Imagine spying a noble stag in the distance, his rust-coloured coat clear against the snowy background, and a heavy mist blown from his mouth with each breath. It is a truly majestic sight that most of us have never seen. Fortunately, this can be easily fixed with a visit to Woburn Deer Park. This incredible 3,000 acre park surrounds the Grade I listed Woburn Abbey, home to the Dukes of Bedford for over 400 years. There are over 1,500 deer here across 9 species, including Red Deer and Père David’s, meaning sightings are frequent and varied. Winter is arguably the best time to visit, as the deer will all have their antlers and you’ll hear males bellow to establish dominance. There are several footpaths throughout the park which allow you to walk between the giant herds of deer, which are quite used to the sight of people. If you get a bit too chilly you can always pop into one of Woburn village’s pubs for a bite to eat and a hot drink by the fire.


Where to stay nearby

Toddington M1 Southbound

Bedford Marston Moretaine

Milton Keynes at The Hub


Cotswold Way

Cotswold Way Winter
Dry stone walls capped with snow, rows of icicles dangling from cottage roofs, and frosted trees dotting the gently rolling landscape. It can only be the Cotswolds, one of the country’s most beautiful regions. The Cotswold Way is a major walking trail which stretches from Chipping Campden to Bath, passing through some stunning scenery and quaint villages. At over 100 miles long, it’s a bit of a struggle to fit this walk into a single day, but you can pick up the walk from anywhere en route and be in for some great views. Fortunately there are plenty of Travelodges near the route, so you’ll be able to head back to a lovely warm bed after a long day’s hiking.


Where to stay nearby

Cirencester

Burford Cotswolds

Cheltenham


Lake District – Buttermere

Buttermere Lake District Winter
Buttermere boasts one of the best lakeside walking routes in the Lake District. It’s an easy going gravel path that circles the entire lake, guaranteeing some of the best views you can get in this country. An inspiration to some of our nation’s greatest writers and artists, the landscapes of the Lake District are beautiful at any time of year, but winter brings a real sense of magic to this magnificent area. There are also plenty of spectacular waterfalls in the Buttermere Valley that you can see in full force in the winter months. When it gets cold enough many of the waterfalls freeze, creating dramatic ice structures with giant spear-like icicles.


Where to stay nearby

Cockermouth

Penrith


Red Squirrel Walk, Formby

Red Squirrel Formby Winter
Once you’ve recovered from that sudden bout of OCSD (overly cute squirrel disorder), take a minute to compose yourself, and let’s find out how to see some red squirrels this winter. Just north of Liverpool, in a small woodland on the west coast, you can take a stroll amongst these wonderful little creatures. With tiny tufted ears, bright bushy tails and soft russet fur, red squirrels are a delight to see. Populations dwindled after introduction of the grey squirrel, and now there are only a few strongholds of these bundles of cuteness left. Formby is one of the best places to see red squirrels, on an easy walk following the National Trust woodland route. Winter is a great time to see these animals, as they’ll stand out against a white background, and look extra adorable digging through the snow.


Where to stay nearby

Southport

Liverpool Stonedale Park

Liverpool Stoneycroft


Dartmoor

Dartmoor Wistman's Wood Winter
Dartmoor is one of the most rugged and harsh landscapes in England, with giant rock monoliths topping the rolling hillsides. The weather on the moors can change quickly, and thick walls of fog can appear out of nowhere. No wonder then that Dartmoor was the inspiration for Hound of the Baskervilles. But once the fog clears and the sun shines through, you’ll see Dartmoor for the truly breathtaking place that it is. There is nowhere in the country like Dartmoor – a unique landscape of rich moorland, giant granite tors, and the sweetest little wild-roaming ponies you will ever see.

You could take any of the walking routes in Dartmoor and have a fantastic time, but one thing not to miss is the Wistman’s Wood trail. This ancient oak woodland is full of twisted trees and moss covered rocks that come straight out of a fairytale. Fangorn Forest can’t hold a candle to Wistman’s Wood. Just park up in Two Bridges and it’s a short sign-posted walk to this stunning woodland.


Where to stay nearby

Plymouth Roborough

Okehampton Sourton Cross

Okehampton Whiddon Down


Cairngorms – Rambling with Rudolph

Reindeer Cairngorms Winter
It’s fair to say that a winter walk would definitely be improved if you happened to bump into Santa’s reindeer. Or any reindeer, for that matter. Most people don’t realise that for the past 60 odd years, there has been a herd of these furry festive friends roaming free in Scotland in the Cairngorms National Park, and you can walk amongst them. Head over to the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, just outside Aviemore, and take a guided walk up the mountains to see the herd and hand feed Rudolph! With their soft velvet noses, and curious nature, these gentle giants are a joy to be around and make for a truly unforgettable experience. And the scenery’s not too shabby either.


Where to stay nearby

Inverness Fairways

Inverness

Inverness City Centre


Connemara

Connemara Winter
Connemara National Park is a vast wilderness where rugged mountains rise straight out of the Atlantic Ocean. Lakes, heathland, and bogs dot the landscape, with fishing villages spread along the inlets and coves of the coast. As winter draws in, mountain tops get capped with dustings of snow and this harsh environment takes on a more delicate look. There are too many gorgeous walks to choose from in Connemara, and for seasoned ramblers you can just head out with a map and a compass and go off piste. For those wanting a gentler experience, one of the most beautiful, and not too strenuous, winter walks to do is the href=”https://www.irishtrails.ie/Trail/Clonbur-Wood-loop-trail/224/” rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>Clonbur Wood loop trail. This walk takes you through woodland, along the shores of Lough Mask, and across the Clonbur River on a flat, easy track.


Where to stay nearby

Galway City


Snowdonia – Llyn Ogwen

Llyn Ogwen Snowdonia Winter
Legend has it that Llyn Ogwen is the last resting place of Excalibur, thrown into the lake by one of King Arthur’s knights. If you’re taking a walk here in winter, we thoroughly recommend you do not take a plunge to retrieve the ancient sword – it will be chilly. Llyn Ogwen is a beautiful ribbon lake nestled into Snowdonia National Park. The National Trust walking route around the lake is an easy flat walk giving unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains of Tryfan and Glyderau. This walk is especially attractive at sunset, where the light reflects off the still water.


Where to stay nearby

Bangor

Porthmadog

Caernarfon


London – Greenwich Park

London Greenwich Park Winter
Living in a city needn’t stop you from having a fantastic winter walk. London is one of the world’s biggest cities, and has some of the best winter walks you can do. From canalside strolls to woodland walks, London has it all. A favourite of ours in winter is to take a wander around Greenwich Park, where you can visit the Royal Observatory, walk beneath ancient trees, and take in the best view over the city. One of the things about a winter walk in London that we really appreciate is that you’re never too far from a top quality hot chocolate to warm you up.


Where to stay nearby

London Greenwich High Road

London Greenwich

London Docklands


Hadrian’s Wall Walk

Hadrian's Wall Walk Winter
You don’t need to go all the way to China to see a ruddy big wall, we have our very own here in the UK. Stretching coast to coast, Hadrian’s wall is 73 miles long and was built to protect the Roman Empire’s encampments in the North of England. You can walk all the way along the wall, passing the remains of ancient towns, turrets, and forts to get an idea of life in Roman Britain. Spanning from Newcastle to just west of Carlisle, the Hadrian’s Wall Walk can be picked up anywhere along the route, or you can do the whole thing end to end. Although the weather can be bad in winter, you’ll have the pleasure of some peace and quiet from other ramblers, and some absolutely breathtaking views along the route. Just make sure to take plenty of warm clothing and some waterproofs.


Where to stay nearby

Gateshead

Carlisle Central


Want more walking inspiration?
Click here