Top Winter Experiences Right Here In The UK
At this time of the year, it’s easy to think that you need to book an overseas trip to have an incredible break. But that’s simply not true! There’s plenty to see, experience and enjoy in the UK in the winter months.
The Mirror recently shared some of the best places to book a UK break this winter, according to Sykes Holiday Cottages. The company polled 2,000 people to find out what they think is so special about the British Isles in the winter and have shared the findings of their survey.
For instance, did you know that you can see the Northern Lights without having to get on a plane? If you book a trip to the Isle of Skye in Scotland there’s a good chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis lighting up the night sky. While it’s never guaranteed, this is one of the best places in the country to get a glimpse of the natural light show.
And, as the newspaper points out, even if you don’t get lucky with the Northern Lights, you’ll still have plenty to enjoy on the island, including stunning beaches, wild landscapes and charming fishing villages.
It really is a great place to go if you’re looking for an off-grid getaway and with plenty of picturesque cottages to rent on the island you’ll find cosy accommodation where you can snuggle up when you’re not out and about exploring.
If you don’t fancy travelling quite that far north, a weekend to go hiking in the Lake District is a great alternative. There’s a good chance of snow on the hills, which will make the scenery particularly picturesque, and there are trails suitable for all levels of walker.
Another great place to go if you fancy a hiking trip is Snowdonia in Wales. iNews suggested that booking a dedicated winter walking trip, complete with a guide who can teach you about everything from assessing avalanche risks to using ice axes and crampons, could be the way to go if you fancy something a bit different this winter.
For somewhere that’s likely to be less snowy and icy, consider a walking trip to Wiltshire, meanwhile. There are some beautiful spots to discover in the county, along with medieval castles, charming villages and plenty of thatched country pubs where you can warm up with a mulled wine and hearty food.
Of course, you might still want to get into the Christmas spirit on a mini break in December, in which case Manchester could be the place to go. It’s known for having some of the best festive markets in the UK, with a vast selection of stalls in Albert Square and spreading down the nearby streets.
This year the Christmas markets will be open from 8 November to 22 December, so you’ve still got time to enjoy the city’s festive atmosphere. As iNews points out, there’s another reason to head to the city this winter – the Lightopia Festival, which is being held at Heaton Park from 21 November to 31 December.
This is billed as the largest lantern and light festival in Europe, so it’s certainly not one to miss if you’re spending some time in Manchester in December.
If you’ve got quite a long journey to get to Manchester, you might find that luxury coach hire in Manchester is the best way to travel, especially given all the railway strikes happening in the coming weeks.
But if you want a festive destination that’s a little further south, look no further than Bath. This charming city with its Georgian streets looks particularly pretty in December. Its festive market runs until 15 December and there’s an ice rink in the park too.
As the Mirror noted, Bath is a good choice for a winter getaway in January or February as well as around Christmas. The Thermae Bath Spa is a must-visit, given that it’s the only natural thermal spa in Britain.
One of the highlights of a day soaking up the warm waters in the spa is the opportunity to take a dip in its rooftop pool, which has stunning views across Bath’s skyline.
But if you’re after a break that will also allow you to complete your Christmas shopping then Brighton is the place to go. The Argus revealed that the seaside town has been named as one of the best places in the country for all of your festive gift buying needs.
According to a study by Premier Inn, Brighton was named as the ninth best place in the country for a Christmas shopping trip. Edinburgh topped the list, with Oxford, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Belfast among the other cities to feature in the top ten.
Liverpool was another city cited recently as a top spot for a festive getaway. The Knutsford Guardian noted that although it’s not as well known for its Christmas market as neighbouring Manchester, it still has plenty to offer at this time of the year (and probably fewer crowds).
There is a Christmas market, complete with bars selling mulled wine and hot chocolate laced with Baileys. And if you can’t find the perfect present among the stalls at the festive market, you can always head to Liverpool One.
This huge shopping centre is home to more than 170 retailers, bars, restaurants and other attractions, so it’s a great place to pick up a few more presents and get some refreshments once you’re tired of splashing your cash.
Of course, not all winter breaks need to focus on Christmas. One place that it’s certainly worth visiting this winter if you get the chance is Longleat Safari Park. As well as being home to a vast array of interesting animals, not to mention the stunning stately home that’s open to the public, it also hosts an annual Festival of Lights.
This runs from November to January and is a wonderful complement to the estate’s other attractions.
Looking for a romantic break? The Cotswolds should be near the top of your list. It’s home to some of the most picturesque villages in the UK, which are nestled in beautiful countryside scenery. These villages also boast incredibly cosy pubs with roaring log fires, the perfect spots to snuggle up with a loved one after a chilly winter walk.
Or if you’d rather see a natural spectacle, head to North Norfolk this winter. iNews explained that the main reason to travel here in winter is to see a huge flock of pink-footed geese. There are over 40,000 of the birds at RSPB Snettisham, where the geese all take off together at dawn.
It’s an incredible sight to behold, and not one to miss if you’re staying in the area. The RSPB reserve also offers guided sunrise walks on selected mornings at this time of the year, so you can learn all about the various birds you see while you’re out and about.
Another active break option for the winter is a cycling holiday in Carmarthenshire. Head to Brechfa Forest in Wales and enjoy some muddy and fast-paced fun on the mountain biking trails here.
There is the option for guided rides if you’re not entirely confident in your abilities, or you can explore the trails on your own. Whichever option you choose, you can look forward to some stunning Welsh scenery, ancient forest landscapes and plenty of fun exercise.
If you’re hankering for a beach break, the UK has this covered too, although sadly without the hot temperatures. Devon and Cornwall are both known for their stunning beaches. In the summer these stretches of sand are heaving but in the winter you’ll find they’re much emptier and still just as beautiful.
Hike along sections of the South West Coast Path, or if you’re feeling as though you want to enjoy the winter weather, book a storm chasing break in Cornwall to see the Atlantic whipped into a frenzy.