Seasonal Delights: Where's best for Winter Walking in the UK

Why we love winter walking in the UK

When summertime ends and the clocks go back, something exciting happens in the British countryside. While the tourists head home, many seasoned walkers know that some of the very best days of the outdoor calendar year are just around the corner, which is why we adapt our guided walking holidays especially.

In autumn the luscious woodland in the Lake District turns to a riot of red, orange and yellow to match the best pyrotechnics of bonfire night. Red squirrels emerge from the canopy on sunny days to forage while murmurations of starlings provide one of nature’s true spectacles as they swirl in their thousands at dusk. Over river estuaries and the vast empty beaches of Northumberland and Norfolk, pink-footed geese flap and honk as they arrive from Scandinavia and, up on the moors, mountain hares prepare for the winter by camouflaging their coats white. Meanwhile, down over stepping stones and into the valley of Dovedale in the Peak District, the calm waters of rivers and gorges reflect the changing landscape while the tinkling call of a flock of waxwings trips through the air. With the cows back in the byre and the ground hard under foot, the patchwork fields and ancient paths are ours to enjoy. But it’s the light which transforms everything – all the way through to early spring, the low sun picks out features and colours in the landscape that aren’t normally seen.

We asked Gillian, our UK Walking Operations Manager, to share with us what's special about winter walking holidays with HF and why she especially loves exploring the British countryside when the days have drawn in and change is in the air.

Carefully crafted walks, expertly led

Lake district guided walking holiday

As the countryside changes, so does HF Holidays’ choice of three daily guided walks. As the days draw in or out, the walks and itineraries are adapted until we find ourselves walking through the carpets of snowdrops that herald the arrival of spring.

If you’re feeling full of energy and want to make the most of the daylight, why not try a full day hike? Mix it up with an easier route another day, where we might linger for a simple lunch. The middle walking option too is crafted to give you the best seasonal experience. There's the chance to potentially drop in to a cosy country pub after your walk as well; the Stiperstones Inn in Shropshire is one of our favourites - everything you imagine a country pub should be. Real fires, oak beams, stone floors, good food and a warm welcome. Not to mention their own whinberry gin!

Gillian's top five tips for winter walking

Lake District guided walking holiday

If you’re tempted by that extra getaway during January and February for the first time and want to try a winter guided walking holiday, follow these tips and we guarantee you’ll be back for more. As the great Alfred Wainwright said; There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

5 Top Tips for Winter Walking

  1. Get your base layers right. There are some fantastic modern fabrics that keep you warm while wicking moisture away from the skin to keep you comfortable.
  2. Take a waterproof shell. The last thing we want while walking is to get wet, so a waterproof outer layer is essential.
  3. Carry plenty of water. It’s just as important to stay hydrated in winter as it is on a hot summer’s day.
  4. Pack an extra jacket. An extra fleece or jacket will mean you won’t cool down too much during any outdoor stops.
  5. Use walking poles. A personal choice but many people swear by them for extra confidence when crossing occasionally slippy ground.

Gillian's Top Three Winter Walks

Helm Crag, Lake District guided walking

Helm Crag
Southern Lake District

Set out from our house in Coniston and take on the Lion and Lamb rocks along Helm Crag to a beautiful waterfall and stunningly quiet valley out of season. A popular walk among the HF team!
Take me there
Malham Tarn, Guided winter walking

Malham Moor
Southern Yorkshire Dales

Exploring the iconic Malham Cove and catching a glimpse of one of the many beautiful waterfalls that Yorkshire has to offer is special at any time of year, but catching a glimpse with frost on the ground and a chill in the air turns this beautiful sight into something magical.
Take me There
Snowshill, Cotswolds winter walking holidays

Snowshill & Broadway
Cotswolds

Squirrelled away in the Cotswolds is a hidden gem at Snowshill with it's quaint village pub where we have time to take in the wonderful Cotswold scenery and warm up with your favourite post-walk drink..
Take me there

Our favourite winter walking holidays

Southern Lake District, winter walking holiday

You can have your own winter walking adventure at a number of our country houses across the UK. Our favourite destinations for this time of year include the following areas and houses though:

Where to go on a Winter Walking Holiday

  1. Winter Walking in the Northern Lake District, from Derwent Bank
  2. Winter Walking in the Cotswolds, from Harrington House
  3. Winter Walking in the Shropshire Hills, from Longmynd House
  4. Winter Walking in the Southern Yorkshire Dales, from Newfield Hall
  5. Winter Walking on the Dorset Coast, from Lulworth House
  6. Winter Walking on the South Downs, from Abingworth Hall