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Preparing for Winter Wonderland: Walking Tips in the UK

Walking holidays in the UK do not end because it’s wintertime. I was shocked when our British friends suggested an outdoor getaway to Scotland in December last year! When it gets cold, I immediately think of fleeing to somewhere tropical. Not a place covered in snow. Or at least, I’m going to stay inside if there’s a blizzard outside.

But I’ve learned that it’s wildly refreshing to spend time outdoors in the winter – especially as the short days make for less hours in the daylight. My mood was greatly affected by the lack of sun last season, so I’m making and effort to get outside when they sky is blue – even if it’s freezing outside.

I walk everywhere living in London now that I don’t have a car. It’s amazing how much you utilize your own two feet when the other options of transport are limited – especially for short distances. That’s what inspired me originally to start enjoying UK walking holidays and mini vacations.

Thinking of your own wintery walking weekend? I have a few tips!

Ideas and Inspiration

A Seacoast Walk

Always an amazing idea, as there’s often not a soul on the shore during the winter. We love to go to South Wales and hang on Barry Island, as the whole beach there allows dogs to run free during the off-season. It’s a hoot watching the furry ones lose their mind with freedom. I also love places like Seven Sisters just outside Eastbourne. But to warn you, even in the summer, it’s super windy on the chalky white cliffs. So keep in mind it will definitely be chilly around the holidays and might call for a break at the pub sooner than normal. Go farther west if you fancy to Cornwall or Devon for more shore-lined adventure.

Head North

If based in London, it is possible to do Scotland during the winter for a long weekend. We actually drove up for four days, but it did take a large chunk of the time to drive. Look into mid-week flights if possible, or try some of the great train lines, allowing you to relax or work on your way there.

The Scottish highlands are ideal for walking and trekking year-round – although are can be quite snowy. If concerned, stick to a place like Edinburgh that offers lots of city walking and the beautiful Arthur’s Seat hike right in city center. Views are incredible of the city below once you make it to the top.

Day Trips From London

I think even a walk through Richmond Park in the winter can be a challenge! Consider a day trip through the countryside to get your feet wet (maybe literally) and see if this type of trip is for you. Start at one of the great parks in the city of London, then branch out on the train to places like Coombe Hill & Chequers, only 35 miles from city center for a historic walk. South is Brighton and Ditchling Beacon, a pretty park with view of nearby Box Hill.

The Walking Gear & Tips

A waterproof jacket is an absolutely must for anyone living in or visiting the UK. Rain can happen unexpectedly at anytime. Winter brings about complications because you can get a terrible chill quickly if damp. Work with layers – have a thick coat then put a thinner waterproof windbreaker.

winter tree and hills of snow

Your chest area is what needs to stay the warmest, and your fingers/toes. It’s well worth investing in wool socks and a sturdy pair of walking boots that are flexible, thick and keep the heat in. Same goes for thermal gloves, because a walk or hike can quickly and if you can’t feel your fingers anymore.

Once you have all your gear sorted out, you need to know what you’re up against. Like mentioned, it cold as hell in the UK. There might not always be a ton of snow on the ground, especially in the southern part of UK countries, but the wind and rain can make things bitter cold really fast.

Do you like to travel in the winter? Do you like to spend time outside in the winter or be cozy indoors?

EileenCotterWright

Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA expat living in London, UK. She is a freelance writer and owner of group travel site PureWander.com. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for about a decade. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Twitter @Crooked_Flight.

More posts by EileenCotterWright

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