Where to find snow in the UK this Christmas

Christmas, Days out, Seasonal

Posted by Hannah on 21st November 2023

St Peter's Church in Addingham dusted in snowPhoto courtesy of @Anthonycgreig

 

On average, the UK gets a white Christmas every six years. But more often than not, it’s that sludgy snow that no one likes, not the lovely white dusting we see in the films we watch with our loved ones.

However, it is certainly possible to find snowy places in the UK, and even if you can't locate guaranteed snow at Christmas, we've found the best places for snow in Scotland, England and Wales that you can explore over the entire winter season. Some of them even boast ski slopes if you fancy an exhilarating snowy adventure.

Utilising over 1,500 outstanding photographic entries we received as part of our Winter Watch competition in partnership with the RSPB, we’ve chosen our favourite images of snow-covered fells, frost-bitten woodlands and blisteringly white fields blanketed in powder and sunshine to create a UK snow map. So, if you're looking for somewhere to go for snow at Christmas, you might want to give these snowy places in the UK a try.

Browse our holiday cottages for winter


Skip to:


Loudoun Hill in Scotland on a snowy dayPhoto courtesy of @Fio_namac

Where to find snow in Scotland

With snow falling in Scotland on average 38 days a year, and just 7.4 days on average in Cornwall, according to the Met Office, it’s wise to head up north if you’re seeking a white Christmas. If you're wondering, 'where does it snow in Scotland at Christmas?', the country's spectacular mountain ranges are most likely to receive a dusting of snow through the winter. As well as the Cairngorms National Park and Glencoe, remote areas in the Highlands and the Isle of Skye are highly likely to see snow and are some of the best places for snow in Scotland. 

Scotland is also the most popular UK country for staycation skiers; with guaranteed snowy mountains during the winter, you’ll be sure to find the resorts swathed in the white stuff. The season for Scottish ski resorts runs from December to early April but this can vary depending on the amount of snowfall.


Snow in the Cairngorms: mountains in the background, trees to either side and icy water in the foreground

The Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National Park is the snowiest location in the UK and is also the country's leading destination for snow sports. According to the Met Office, Aviemore enjoys 66 days of snow a year, while the weather station at the Cairngorm chairlift has 76. 

One of the most popular Scotland ski resorts, Cairngorm Mountain offers often challenging but beautiful slopes. The resort has its own Snow School, to provide complete beginners with the opportunity to take to the Cairngorm slopes. If you fancy yourself as a pro, there are classes to take your skills to the next level! If you’re visiting as a family, group bookings are available or if you prefer the one-on-one approach, private sessions can be arranged. Children’s classes are also available for those aged 5-7.

Alternatively, if you're not into your adrenaline-fuelled snow sports, why not drive the Snow Roads or feed some reindeer?

Discover the Cairngorms


Orkney Islands covered in snow - a fence runs down the left-hand side; sea  and mountains in the background

Orkney Islands

The Orkneys are a group of islands that lie just off the mainland's north-east tip and, being so far north, receive their fair share of snow. The Loch of Hunland is recorded as receiving an average of 59 days of snowfall a year. 

If you want a real spectacle, visiting the Orkney Islands during winter is a must. As the image above shows, there'll be moody skies mixed with crashing waves, allowing you to connect to the wild landscape, which houses some of the most durable and robust wildlife you'll ever encounter.

Discover Northern Scotland


Fort William in winter - the town and the mountains behind are covered in snow

Scottish Highlands

With its mountainous landscape and northern location, it's no surprise that the Scottish Highlands are often topped with snow. Among two of the snowiest places in the Highlands are the villages of Kinbrace and Knockanrock, which can see as many as 50 snow-covered days a year. 

The Highlands boast five winter sports centres, where skiers and snowboarders of all abilities can thrive. There's no need to leave the UK for wintery fun when there are over 80 miles of slopes so close to home.

The best ski resorts in the Scottish Highlands

  • Glenshee Ski Centre: With 22 lifts and 36 runs, Glenshee is Scotland’s largest ski resort with plenty to appeal to all types of skiers or snowboarders, whether it’s your first time on the snow or if you’re hurtling down the mountains of Scotland every winter! Hire an instructor, join a class, try out race training or simply enjoy a leisurely glide down the mountain.
  •  Nevis Range Mountain Resort: While all of Scotland’s ski centres provide panoramic views, the Nevis Range is where you’ll reach your highest points, offering the best skiing in Scotland for spellbinding scenery. It is home to Britain’s only mountain gondola, which can transport you 650m up Aonach Mor in 12 minutes. 
  • Glencoe Mountain Resort: Another of Scotland’s snow sport resorts, Glencoe offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for all abilities. There are 20 runs and eight lifts on offer, and a lodge café is found at the bottom of the chairlift so a meal comprising a hot drink and some food is never far away.
  • Lecht Ski Centre: The Lecht is one of Scotland’s best resorts accessed by some of the most picturesque roads. If you’re on holiday in Scotland with children, then it’s worth remembering this resort as it caters very well for little ones. There is a lift to take them to the top of the park and penguins, snowmen, toadstools and various other fun characters to weave in and out of! 

Discover the Highlands


Hillfield Park in Solihull, Midlands after snowfall - the sun is setting and there is a bridge in the foreground. Trees in the backgroundPhoto courtesy of @1978rebecca

Where to find snow in England

The snow is not just limited to Scotland – many of the northern reaches of England also enjoy a frequent blanket of snow. While the best places for snow in England are less numerous than in Scotland, there are still many snowy places worth seeking out if you're looking for a white Christmas. 

You may even find some snowy flurries further down England, moving into the South West – it is, of course, less regular than snow in England's northern reaches but it is truly magnificent when it settles. Whilst the quality of the skiing slopes won’t be like anything you might find on the continent, skiing in England can still be an unforgettable experience if you fancy giving it a go.


Hadrian's Wall in snow - trees and hills in the distance

Northumberland

This large northern county also has a large annual snowfall, and the deserted landscape carpeted in snow is truly a sight to behold. With the North Pennines also crossing through Northumberland, you can expect to see these peaks often topped in snow.

Bet you didn’t know you could ski in Northumberland, though. On the edge of the village of Allenheads, there is a small ski facility with a variety of slopes, rope pulls and at the bottom, a lovely spot for a picnic lunch! 

There are no options for classes here as it is only a small village resort which requires membership for use. If you’re a beginner, don’t let the lack of facilities put you off as it might be a good opportunity to try your skills on a smaller slope. As members, you’ll also get discounts on ski wear and equipment for a number of selected snow sports stores.

Discover Northumberland


Durham Dales in County Durham blanketed in snowPhoto courtesy of @Toffeepiglet

County Durham

Home to a large stretch of the North Pennines , rural and hilly County Durham is one of England's most northern counties and also sees a high level of snowfall each year, making it one of the snowiest places in England.

The small village of Copley is the snowiest in England, found just south of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and also has its own outdoor ski centre, where you can take to the snowy slopes for real without leaving the UK.

Widdybank Fell, at the heart of the North Pennines, is the snowiest of this range of hills, with an average of 50 days of snow a year. Here, you'll find two towering waterfalls, High Force and Cauldron Snout, where icicles hang on the chillier days.

Discover County Durham


Snowy Lake District scene

Cumbria

Home to some of the highest peaks in the UK, Cumbria, and in particular the Lake District and the North Pennines, is also often topped with snow during the winter months. For a village scene dusted in snow, head to the village of Alston, the highest village in England, found a thousand feet above sea level.

While the season is much shorter and more unreliable, the Lake District does offer skiing opportunities, too. The Lake District Ski Club in Raise, next to Helvellyn, is run by volunteers with all the maintenance carried out by its members. Founded in 1936, early members built a rope tow but today there is a lift in place with the rope tow running at weekends. 

If you don’t want to become a member (which is £50 a year), it costs £20 a day to use all of the facilities, but unlike the big resorts in Scotland, there are no classes, instructors or equipment hire, so if you’re a beginner, this probably wouldn’t be your first option. If you know what you’re doing though, this is a great spot to glide down the slopes and take in the stunning views across the Helvellyn mountains.

Discover Cumbria


A snowy park in Pudsey, Leeds - trees, bandstand and benches covered in snowPhoto courtesy of @BeccaNdaisy

Yorkshire

It must take a certain softness of snow and a certain stillness in the air for the powder to settle the way it has on the trees in this picturesque snap from Rebecca Roberts. Forming blades of brilliant white on the branches of the leaf-barren trees in this park in Leeds, it’s amazing how such minimalism in a photograph can conjure up such raw emotion in the observer.

Discover Yorkshire


Snowy bench at sunset in DarwenPhoto courtesy of @katiecrunchie22

Lancashire

Even the warm rays of a low sun seem to have little effect on the carpet of white that coats the landscape in this picture captured by Kaye Willan in Darwen. With everything encased by winter’s touch except for the turnstile, all that’s left to do is sweep the flurry of frost from the bench and sigh contentedly as the sun sets over the distant hills.

Discover Lancashire


A dog waiting patiently by Peak Forest CanalPhoto courtesy of @theemmagram

Derbyshire

This border collie fits in aptly with the near-black and white arena that encompasses this still taken by Emma in Derbyshire at the Peak Forest Canal. With the canal bending out of sight and the snow-topped trees merging with the white winter sky beyond, this stunning portrait of a patient pup waiting for his bestie just goes to show that the scene doesn’t need 3' of snow for it to perfectly encapsulate that enchanting wintery ambience.

Discover Derbyshire


A snow storm by the River TornePhoto courtesy of @carolhallphoto

Lincolnshire

Another water-based image, this time featuring the River Torne, shows that desolate beauty is still beauty and nonetheless merits consideration when thinking about the wonder and mysticism of winter. There is almost no background to be seen as the unrelenting blizzard pummels the river and its banks alike. However, it takes nothing away from the splendour of this capture from Carol Hall.

Discover Lincolnshire


A pristine white scene in BredfieldPhoto courtesy of @beccakeeble

Suffolk

Not an area you would usually associate with extreme weather conditions, Suffolk, in the east of England, has been known to experience serene snowfall in the winter months, so it's a great choice of destination if you're wondering 'where is the snow in the UK?'. Rebecca Keeble proved this to be true with this searching shot of a pristine field as the winter sun beats down upon it. Completely untouched by man and beast, this photo is a microcosm of wintertide.

Discover Suffolk


A wide frosty path bordered by snowy treesPhoto courtesy of @_ryan_kerr

Dartmoor

Representing Devon in the South West of England is Dartmoor, proving that you needn’t be that far north in order to enjoy the crunch of icy crystals beneath your feet. This scene taken in Dartmoor’s namesake national park by Ryan Kerr shows a deserted clearing bordered by woodland on both sides as the snow settles on everything the light touches. Magical simplicity.

Discover Dartmoor


A snowy village along the Welsh coastPhoto courtesy of @tort83

Where to find snow in Wales

Although not as common as England or Scotland, if you look in the right places you may be able to find snow in Wales too. With plenty of mountain ranges that enjoy a sprinkling of the white stuff, you can find the answer to the question, 'where does it snow in Wales at Christmas?', atop the country's lofty peaks. 


Snowy Snowdonia - a lake is captured in the foreground with mountains rising in the background

Snowdonia/Eryri

Although the name may suggest otherwise, snow is a rarity in Snowdonia National Park/Eryri National Park, a picturesque region full of mountains, peaks and lakes in the north-west of the country. Snow can fall on the mountains from October onwards though, so it's a contender for the snowiest place in Wales. 

If you're heading that way and are keen to climb to the summit of Mount Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa, the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands, then there'll definitely be an increased risk of slips, trips and falls - so tread carefully!

Discover Snowdonia


Where to find snow in Northern Ireland

When snow settles, it almost always looks special, no matter where you are. But Northern Ireland has the landscape to emphatically elevate the scene from special to positively mesmeric. Scroll on if you need photographic proof.

The beautiful Dark Hedges in County AntrimPhoto courtesy of @capturedna

Northern Ireland

You would be forgiven for thinking that this image from @capturedna seems familiar. That’s because Bregagh Road is more commonly known as The Kingsroad from the hit TV show Game of Thrones. It might not have looked as beautiful as this winterscape though when Arya Stark and others travelled through the two rows of looming beech trees on their way to Winterfell.


Map of the snowiest places in the UK

Are you still searching for the answer to 'where is the snow in the UK?' Then check out our UK snow map which features all the beautiful destinations outlined above. 

Please enable cookies via the cookie preference centre to view this content.


Snowy escapes

Wake up to views of snow-covered rooftops and fields with a getaway to one of these top winter destinations. Check out our Scotland, Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria and Wales cottages, amongst others, to plan your own snowy escape!

Holiday cottages for winter

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.