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Places to visit in UK this winter

If there’s one thing the British know how to do – and do well – it’s winter! For the outdoor types, that same cold drizzle and biting wind that makes the cities seem so grey at times can also give the rugged countryside a real dramatic kick. Winter can be a great time to travel to the UK with plenty of unspoilt and atmospheric landscapes as well as some gorgeous cosy cities to choose from. From all our collective trips over the UK during the so-called offseason.

The Cairngorms, The Scottish Highlands – best for outdoor winter activities

The Scottish Highlands make a cosy getaway any time of the year but during the winter parts of it turn into a dramatic winter wonderland! There’s arguably no more enchanting place to enjoy winter than the Cairngorms National Park, this truly beautiful and activity-rich protected park becomes much more than a place to hike. Due to its high altitude during most winters you can expect the area to be covered in snow and ice. So visit for great outdoor adventures such as skiing, sledding, and snowboarding. The park features both low level and high-level hiking and snow activities, so no matter your adventure desires or experience level, you can find plenty of outdoor enjoyment here. Alternatively, just watch wildlife instead, in the winter you can spot red deer, winter hare, and ptarmigans.

York, Northeast England – wander cobbled streets and visit historic attractions

York is beautiful city to visit anytime time of the year but during the winter its particularly atmospheric. History plays a significant part in any trip to York as the city was founded in 71 AD. Rich historic buildings have been lovingly restored throughout the years, so visitors are free to roam the cobbled streets and just take in the rich heritage of the picturesque city (as well as the cute independent shops)! However, if you want a few indoor activities to keep you well out of the cold, York has plenty of those as well. For example, try the fantastic York Dungeon and the wonderful gothic York Minster. So bring your camera and a good pair of walking shoes and remember to wrap up, it can get pretty chilly in the North of England during the winter months.

Peak District – for wild, rugged and atmospheric landscapes

One of the most naturally beautiful places to visit in England, the UK’s first national park is an excellent place to get a little exercise during the frosty winter months. Eschew the summer crowds and step into a magical winter wonderland. This national park offers the chance to enjoy many outdoor winter activities such as snowboarding, but most people come to enjoy a comfortable walk to look at the spectacular scenery the Peak District is known for. Also, throughout this area are many quaint pubs and cosy cottages ideal for warming up after a hike into the hills and valleys of the Peak District.

Canterbury and Whitstable – a great combination of an elegant historic city and a pretty coastal town

Whitstable (is a seaside town on the north coast of Kent in south-east England) and Canterbury (a cathedral city 5 miles away) seem to be, on the surface, summer destinations, but actually these lovely areas of the UK are excellent throughout the year. Whitstable’s illustrious coastline is a beauty to behold during winter and best of all, you will not be fighting the crowds during the offseason. This is the ideal time to take in one of the many historic sites of Canterbury and Whitstable. Cathedrals and historic buildings seem to be around every corner in this area and even during the offseason, locals keep the electric atmosphere buzzing.

fantastic places to visit in the winter in the UK

TRAVELUK

20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter

Becky Moore / 28 SeptemberShareTweetPin ItLinkedInBufferReddit

If there’s one thing the British know how to do – and do well – it’s winter! For the outdoor types, that same cold drizzle and biting wind that makes the cities seem so grey at times can also give the rugged countryside a real dramatic kick. Winter can be a great time to travel to the UK with plenty of unspoilt and atmospheric landscapes as well as some gorgeous cosy cities to choose from. From all our collective trips over the UK during the so-called offseason, we’ve narrowed this list down to 20 of our favourite places to visit in the UK in the winter…

The Cairngorms, The Scottish Highlands – best for outdoor winter activities

20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper
20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper

The Scottish Highlands make a cosy getaway any time of the year but during the winter parts of it turn into a dramatic winter wonderland! There’s arguably no more enchanting place to enjoy winter than the Cairngorms National Park, this truly beautiful and activity-rich protected park becomes much more than a place to hike. Due to its high altitude during most winters you can expect the area to be covered in snow and ice. So visit for great outdoor adventures such as skiing, sledding, and snowboarding. The park features both low level and high-level hiking and snow activities, so no matter your adventure desires or experience level, you can find plenty of outdoor enjoyment here. Alternatively, just watch wildlife instead, in the winter you can spot red deer, winter hare, and ptarmigans.

York, Northeast England – wander cobbled streets and visit historic attractions

20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper
20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper

York is beautiful city to visit anytime time of the year but during the winter its particularly atmospheric. History plays a significant part in any trip to York as the city was founded in 71 AD. Rich historic buildings have been lovingly restored throughout the years, so visitors are free to roam the cobbled streets and just take in the rich heritage of the picturesque city (as well as the cute independent shops)! However, if you want a few indoor activities to keep you well out of the cold, York has plenty of those as well. For example, try the fantastic York Dungeon and the wonderful gothic York Minster. So bring your camera and a good pair of walking shoes and remember to wrap up, it can get pretty chilly in the North of England during the winter months.

Peak District – for wild, rugged and atmospheric landscapes

20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper
20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper

One of the most naturally beautiful places to visit in England, the UK’s first national park is an excellent place to get a little exercise during the frosty winter months. Eschew the summer crowds and step into a magical winter wonderland. This national park offers the chance to enjoy many outdoor winter activities such as snowboarding, but most people come to enjoy a comfortable walk to look at the spectacular scenery the Peak District is known for. Also, throughout this area are many quaint pubs and cosy cottages ideal for warming up after a hike into the hills and valleys of the Peak District.

Canterbury and Whitstable – a great combination of an elegant historic city and a pretty coastal town

20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper
20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper
20 fantastic places to visit in the UK during the winter Global Grasshopper

Whitstable (is a seaside town on the north coast of Kent in south-east England) and Canterbury (a cathedral city 5 miles away) seem to be, on the surface, summer destinations, but actually these lovely areas of the UK are excellent throughout the year. Whitstable’s illustrious coastline is a beauty to behold during winter and best of all, you will not be fighting the crowds during the offseason. This is the ideal time to take in one of the many historic sites of Canterbury and Whitstable. Cathedrals and historic buildings seem to be around every corner in this area and even during the offseason, locals keep the electric atmosphere buzzing.

Woodstock, The Cotswolds – a fine Georgian town which literally lights up in the winter

A Christmas holiday is becoming more popular these days and if you want to take the kids to enjoy the festivities surrounding the Christmas season, Woodstock, the Cotswolds is the place to do it. As well as truly stunning surrounding landscapes, the city lights up, literally during winter. Blenheim Palace provides a Christmas celebration to remember with a lighted trail featuring over 100,000 luminescent bulbs in the futuristic woodland Laser Garden. Further down the trail, colored lights take over the palace’s façade illuminating the castle perfectly. Walk the ground sipping on mulled cider or toast marshmallows on the fire pit. There is even plenty for the young ones to enjoy with a classic Victorian era carousel, Christmas market, and a helter-skelter. Woodstock, The Cotswolds is sure to be your family’s Christmas haven.

West Bay, Dorset – a stunning coastal community where Broadchurch was filmed

Along the English Channel coast, you will find West Bay Coastline. This is a hot spot for locals and tourists looking to soak up the sun during the summer months, but just because winter is here does not mean the area lacks any charm. Visiting West Bay Coastline during the winter affords you the same breathtaking scenery as it does in the summer, but you need not worry about the hoards of other people obstructing your pictures. Plus, there are many cafes and eateries that offer coastal cuisine without the hustle and bustle of summer crowds as well. You can visit the atmospheric setting for the famous TV series Broadchurch and explore filming locations without battling crowds.

Bath, Somerset – an elegant historic city where you can warm up in the thermal spas!

Bath is an elegant and beautiful city that also makes a wonderful winter destination. There are many lovely independent shops, bars, and their famous Christmas market to explore and somehow, the great British winter seems that little more bearable in one of the Baths ancient (or modern!) thermal spas. Looking to warm up in indoor attractions then try the famous Pump Room, visit Bath Abbey, go to the theatre or a live Jazz evening. Also, try shopping and sampling some of the city’s award-winning independent restaurants – you won’t regret it!

Dartmoor, Devon – a vast moorland of craggy and atmospheric landscapes

Edinburgh – the winter holidays are both a sparkling and cosy affair in the Scottish capital

There are many, many reasons to visit Edinburgh in the winter – their wonderful and excellent Christmas markets, the beautifully decorated Dome which is truly stunning this time of year, the atmospheric cobbled streets, dungeons and the chance to warm up with a wee dram in one of the many cosy taverns and bars. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and definitely one for fans of history and architecture so don’t forget to also visit their striking castle which dominates the skyline. Edinburgh has been settled for over 3000 years and over 20% of the entire city is listed as in conservation areas. Don’t forget to stay on for Hogmanay probably the most famous New Year’s Eve party in the world.

East Dean, East Sussex – go in search of smuggler’s haunts and bracing coastal walks

East Dean on the surface is a quaint, picturesque village and if you want to simply stroll around the town taking pictures, you are welcome, but visitors to this area are often more interested in the dark past of East Dean rather than the almost fairytale setting of today. It was once home to ruthless smugglers. One of the most famous accounts is James Dippery. A resident of East Dean, he was a renowned smuggler, but bought his freedom in the early 1800s by ratting out other smugglers in the area. He did lose his freedom to live in East Dean, but is said to have died a rich man in Australia. During the winter go in search of his old haunts in East Dean and then take a bracing walk to nearby Beachy Head pictured above (the walk is  5 miles and should take around 3.5 hours).

Oxford, Oxfordshire – an elegant university city home to many excellent shops, restaurants and Harry Potter!

History is everywhere in Oxford. A trip here seems to invite you to take pictures of the many historic buildings dotting the city. Apart from simply snapping pictures, Oxford features many small and larger attractions to explore during the winter season from their wonderful Christmas festivities (carol concerts and markets) to museums, libraries, bookshops, the Oxford Artisan Distillery and just gazing at their wonderful universities. Pubs and restaurants in the area are very inviting as well when the temperature begins to fall. Even though winter is not the high tourist season in Oxford, many biking and walking tours are still available and should be taken advantage of during your stay (this includes the Harry Potter tour where you can walk the same mysterious hallways Harry, Hermione, and Ron once did!)

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