Top 10 winter walks in the UK

Rural, Activity, Walking

Posted by Hannah on 8th November 2021

Winter walks in the UK

The UK is famous for its outstanding national trails, coastal paths and rural walking routes which are especially scenic in winter. While the flowers of spring, the greenery of summer and the vivid colours of autumn have all disappeared, an early start to the day in winter will be rewarded with mist rising from the lochs, valleys and forests. 

Winter is an excellent time to get out and explore the natural world, and you'll feel the benefits of soaking up the mild sunshine during the shorter days too. The UK is blessed with a wide array of winter walking routes for you to explore, whether you're looking for winter hikes to get your blood pumping or some more sedate winter walks where you can slow down and truly appreciate the scenery.

We've rounded up 10 of the best winter walks in the UK to inspire you to get out and explore even when it's cold outside. Discover some of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK during winter, and if you're looking for a cosy cottage to come back to after your day out in the fresh air, simply click the button below to discover our collection of winter holiday cottages.

Winter cottages

The Lake District

Walla Crag to Ashness Bridge, Cumbria

Passing over the lake of Derwentwater, the jewel of the Lake District, this is one of the best winter walks for showcasing some of the region’s finest scenery. Stop at  Ashness Bridge with Skiddaw as its backdrop, one of the Lake District’s most photographed places. With scenery as spectacular as this, you’re guaranteed a magnificent view, whatever the season.

Distance: 4.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Barrow Gate, Borrowdale | Sleeps 5 + 2 dogs

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, Dorset

This spectacular walk over Corfe Castle, one of the UK’s most photographed sites, makes for a pretty special winter walk. If you’re an early riser, catch the mist hanging over the ruins and a beautiful sunrise. If you’d like a lengthy jaunt, walk from Corfe Castle Square all the way to Kimmeridge Bay on the  South West Coast Path. For more wonderful walks in Dorset, take a look at our guide to the area. 

Distance: Variable - 1.5 or 5 miles 

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Jasmine Cottage Corfe, Corfe Castle | sleeps 5

Heddon Valley

Heddon Valley, North Devon

Set on the coast, backed by Exmoor National Park, Heddon Valley offers a stunning walk. One of our favourite winter walks in England, you can take in the crisp, fresh air while exploring the route’s diverse landscape from the wooded valley all the way through to the rocky beach. After your wander, pop into the local pub, The Hunters Inn, for a cosy pub lunch. Both North and South Devon are packed with beautiful walks like this one, so why not take a look at our guide to the best Devon walks?

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Beacon Down, Lynton & Lynmouth | sleeps 6

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey and Devil’s Pulpit, Wye Valley

The spectacular ruins of the 12th-century Cistercian abbey are a sight to behold in every season, but in the winter, it is truly magnificent. On a crisp morning, with the mist settling over the River Wye, this is one of the most unforgettable walks in winter. 

Distance: 7.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Maybury, near Tintern | sleeps 2

Blakeney Freshes

Blakeney Freshes, Blakeney, Norfolk

Set on the North Norfolk Coast Path, this wild winter walk stretches across  Blakeney Freshes reserve. On a cold morning, catch the mist rising from the marshes and look out for flocks of golden plover and other resident birdlife.

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Waters Rush, Blakeney | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Sawrey in the Lake District

Beatrix Potter Walk, Sawrey, Lake District

One of the best winter walks for literary fans, the Beatrix Potter trail covers numerous sites with links to the author, including her home, the wooded fells of Claife Heights and the western shore of Lake Windermere. At 8 miles, the walk is perfect if you’re looking for a way to warm up while taking in the sights and sounds of the Lake District. And if you're visiting the Lake District and packing your walking boots, why not take a look at our guide to the best walks in the Lake District

Distance: 13 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Stay nearby: Brook End, Near and Far Sawrey | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Leading you through a medieval deer park, home to wild red, fallow and sika deer, the 5-mile walk at  Fountains Abbey is truly beautiful. The circular route passes the 18th-century Studley Royal Water Garden and has wonderful views over Ripon and the mysterious North York Moors. As one of the most popular destinations in the UK, Yorkshire has plenty to do all year round; take a look at our guide to winter days out for more inspiration. 

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Brown Hare Cottage, Ripon | sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Loch Ness

The South Loch Ness Trail, Scotland

For those hoping to catch a glimpse of Nessie through the winter morning mist, the  South Loch Ness Trail is perfect. Starting just outside Fort Augustus, the trail leads you through years of myth and legend, as well as past beautiful wildlife and woodland. As the peaceful “undiscovered” side of Loch Ness, this magical trail is perfect for winter walking holidays.

Distance: 28 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Stay nearby: Cawdor Cottage, Fort Augustus | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Worcestershire Beacon

Worcestershire Beacon, Cotswolds

The view from the top of  Worcestershire Beacon is well worth the climb. This 4.5-mile hike through the Malvern Hills is an idyllic winter walking route, with far-reaching views over the Severn Valley. Start your jaunt at the Upper Wyche village and climb 425 metres to enjoy the most spectacular views. For more scenic walks in the Cotswolds, take a look at our guide. 

Distance: 4.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Hillside Hideaway, Malvern | Sleeps 8

Wistman’s Wood

Two Bridges to Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

If you’d like to explore the mysterious Dartmoor landscape, this circular footpath is truly enchanting for winter walks in the UK. Passing over farmsteads and open moorland, this bracing route leads you to the mystical oaks of Wistman’s Wood. Even on a bleak winter’s day, this twisting woodland is like something out of a fairy tale.

Distance: 10 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Stay nearby: Poppy Suite On Dartmoor, Yelverton | sleeps 2

Discover the UK this winter

Now you have a list of the best UK winter walks, it's time to get out and explore. Winter is a brilliant time for a UK holiday, where you can enjoy visiting some of the most popular attractions away from the crowds of the summer. Plus, we have a wide range of cosy cottages in which you can cuddle up after your adventures. Click the button below to find your perfect place to stay on a winter holiday in the UK. 

Winter cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.