The Cornish Coast Path covered in snow is definitely not an everyday sight and not one that I'm about to forget... Taken back in 2018 this was one of the most incredible nature spectacles that I have ever witnessed.

Winter: Things To Do & Where To Go In The UK 2022

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Looking for something to do this winter? These are the best things to do and spots to visit in the UK

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Planning for a last-minute winter staycation or hunting for the most beautiful places to visit in your local area? If you’re looking for the best things to do and places to visit in the UK during December, January and February, your search ends here. To keep the short days and frosty starts jolly, in this travel guide we’ve rounded up the best winter UK trips from every corner of the country

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

The Best Places To Visit In Winter In The UK

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hawksfield

Frosty Starts In Cornwall

Fancy a magical, snowy coastal scene? Head to Cornwall, where you can hole up in Hawksfield on the Atlantic Highway between Padstow and Wadebridge when the weather gets too frosty. Here you’ll find vintage film posters at Goose Shed, proper coffee at Strong Adolfos, and local produce at The Arc Food Store.

HOW? Discover more at hawksfieldcornwall.com

winter wonderland

Visit London’s Winter Wonderland

The iconic London event is back, open everyday from 10 am–10 pm, 8 November 2022–2 January 2023 (excluding Christmas day). Every year (this year being the 15th anniversary), visitors flock to Hyde Park to make the most of Winter Wonderland’s festive joy. To celebrate 15 years, new attractions will sit alongside firm favourites, such as Hollenblitz, Magical Ice Kingdom and the UK’s largest outdoor ice skating rink.

HOW? From 18 November–2 January. Tickets are free during off-peak times, and either £5 or £7.50 at peak times. Booking ahead is essential: hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

decorated Christmas tree in St George's Hall, Windsor castle 2021

See A Festive Royal Display

The official residences of His Majesty The King will be bedecked with festive decorations right through to the New Year this winter.

Head to Windsor Castle to see the 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir tree in St George’s Hall, dressed in sparkly, iridescent ornaments, as well as festive foliage, wreaths and table displays across the property. The Castle’s Undercroft Café will offer a special festive menu throughout December, family arts and crafts workshops will be taking place on the first three weekends in December, and visitors on the 8, 9 and 12 December will be treated to delightful Christmas carols.

Those closer to Edinburgh should visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse for similarly resplendent festive decorations. Families visiting on 17, 22 and 23 December can also enjoy festive arts and crafts activities, including designing your own greeting cards and Christmas crackers.

HOW? Discover more and book your visit at rct.uk

Image: St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle in 2021 (c) Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022.

a bright, neutral toned whisky bar with bottles lining the wall

Experience Warming Whisky

All whisky lovers know that Scotland is the place to be. Now, Johnnie Walker is helping whisky lovers to learn more about the spirit, whether you’re an occasional drinker or an experienced collector. The new Johnnie Walker Princes Street experience, across eight floors, showcases casks, tastings and everything there is to know about whisky, concluding with a trip to the 1820 Bar for a cocktail or the Bothy Bar for a dram.

HOW? Whisky Makers’ Cellar experience from £95 per person. johnniewalkerprincesstreet.com

Image: The Bothy Bar

Thermae Bath Spa

Head To A Thermal Spa in Bath

The Roman Baths in Bath are the remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world and well worth a visit. The baths still flow with natural hot water in winter, from the thermal springs that lie beneath the city.

HOW? Read our guide to the best day spas in Bath

Image: Thermae Bath Spa

ice skating rink in southampton

Head To Southampton’s Westquay

New for Christmas 2022, Southampton’s Westquay will be transformed into a magical winter-scape with a beautiful Christmas tree and illuminated backdrop as well as ice skating rink and Après-Bar experience.

HOW? From 11 November 2022–8 January 2023. Discover more at westquayonice.co.uk

The Cridford Inn

Visit A Cosy Pub In Devon

Found yourself in Devon this winter? Grab a pint at The Cridford Inn. The longhouse dates back to 825AD, making it one of the UK’s oldest pubs.

HOW? Book ahead at thecridfordinn.co.uk

poster advertising The Snowman themed santa's grotto at centre:mk

Meet Santa at centre:mk

Milton Keynes’ huge shopping centre has announced a special, immersive The Snowman themed Santa’s grotto experience this winter in partnership with Penguin Books. Watch a live performance of The Snowman, then little ones can decorate a festive biscuit, meet Santa in his woodland cabin, as well as a new VR sleigh ride which features a virtual tour across rooftops and the night sky, a double decker Victorian carousel, festive train ride, and Christmas cabins.

HOW? Discover more at centremk.com

cowdray house with a frosty lawn

Admire The Christmas Lights At Cowdray Estate

This winter, the beautiful Cowdray Estate will be transformed with a light show into a mystical forest of light, with illuminated walls and walkways. The mile-long trail will start in Cowdray woods and end with a light display projected onto the historical Cowdray ruins. Kids can also meet Santa in his grotto.

HOW? From 1–31 December 2022. Book ahead at cowdray.co.uk

Image: Cowdray House.

Edinburgh Christmas Market, Scotland

Visit A Christmas Market

The UK benefits from a plethora of gorgeous Christmas markets – there’s sure to be one nearby. Notable mentions include Winchester, Chatsworth, Manchester, Southampton, York, Bath and Edinburgh.

Image: Edinburgh Christmas Market.

Longleat Festival of Light

Visit Longleat Safari Park’s Festival Of Light

Longleat Safari Park’s annual Festival of Light never disappoints at this time of year, so be sure to book ahead. This year, it is Roald Dahl themed, so book an all-day ticket to ensure there’s time to meet all of the little ones’ favourite characters.

HOW? From 5 November 2022–8 January 2023. Tickets from £22.45. Book ahead at longleat.co.uk

Attend a Literary Festival

Stratford-upon-Avon celebrates its esteemed literary heritage with a biannual festival full of debate, ideas, celebrity author events and workshops. This year, it’ll take place from 11–13 November.

HOW? Discover more and book ahead at stratfordliteraryfestival.co.uk

Fortnum-&-Mason-Piccadilly-landscape

Go For Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason is an art form. While its scones are a huge draw, here it’s all about the tea. With over 300-years’ experience, their on-hand ‘tearistas’ will help you find the perfect blend.

HOW? Book ahead at fortnumandmason.com

Edinburgh cityscape as viewed from the Calton Hill with the Dugald Stewart Monument in foreground in the evening sun

Celebrate Burns Night

Head to the capital city for Burns Night on 25 January, one of Scotlands most cherished celebrations. Robert Burns is a famous scots poet, where silly speeches, haggis, whisky tasting is usually on the menu.

HOW? Find a full guide to events across Scotland at visitscotland.com

Beaverbrook with a small ice rink in front of the hotel

Hunker Down In The Surrey Countryside At Beaverbrook

For quintessentially British countryside festivities, book Beaverbrook’s delightful Stay, Dine & Skate Package, which includes dining at The Garden House restaurant, an overnight stay, and idyllic ice skating on The Lawn, overlooking the picturesque Surrey Hills.

HOW? Available from 1 December 2022–31 January 2023. The Stay, Dine & Skate package starts from £710 per night including overnight accommodation for two, breakfast, unlimited ice-skating, and a onetime beverage and sweet treat per person by the ice-rink. Book at beaverbrook.co.uk

painting class

Try An Art Class

Retreat to the warmth of the artist’s studio this winter. If you’re nearby, try West Dean College and let the surrounding landscape inspire you on one of the college’s weekend creative courses.

HOW? Book ahead at westdean.org.uk

Photo by Diana Akhmedova via Pexels

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Go On A Gin Tour & Tasting

Gin bunnies and design aficionados, take note. What could be more warming than a tour and tasting around the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill (near Whitchurch in Hampshire), which produces around 25 million litres of gin a year. Bottoms up!

HOW? Book ahead at bombaysapphire.com

mary rose museum, things to do in winter

Visit Henry VIII’s Favourite Ship

You don’t need a sunny day to go back in time to 1545. In fact, a stormy, wintry day is much the best setting for a visit to the Mary Rose in Hampshire‘s Portsmouth, which sank that fateful year after 34 years’ service. This magnificent museum will take you to a Tudor treasure trove and teach you a history lesson so much more exciting than one in the classroom.

HOW? Tickets from £24 per child. Book ahead at maryrose.org

Image: Geni via Wikimedia Commons.

Bedgebury Forest

Go On An Invigorating Walk

What’s a British winter without wrapping up in every layer you can get your mitts on and venturing out into the cold when there’s even the slightest glimpse of sunshine? Blow away the holiday cobwebs with an invigorating walk – perhaps around Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest in Kent.

HOW? Plan your trip and find walking trails at forestryengland.uk

Image: Bedgebury Forest.

Normanton Church

Further north, walk the shores of Rutland Water to Normanton Church, which was saved from certain destruction by the community in 1970 when plans to flood the area were set into motion. Thankfully, the structure still stands, appearing to float on the water from a distance – it’s the stuff of fairytales in the winter.

HOW? Plan your trip and find printable maps at anglianwaterparks.co.uk

Image: Normanton Church.

 

 

Arthurs Seat View

Or walk to the summit of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh for spectacular views of the city and snow-capped mountains in the distance. Then head to the Sheep Heid Inn for a warming hot chocolate and a game of skittles.

And, if you’re spending a while in Edinburgh, take an hour train to the medieval seaside town of St Andrews. Famously where St Andrews University students dwell, you won’t be short of things to do: blustery beach walks on West Sands and Castle Sands, plenty of indie cosy coffee shops, with smart hotels and restaurants.

HOW? Discover more at visitscotland.com

Yorkshire Dales National Park Stazione Centrale

Visit Yorkshire

Walk through the Yorkshire Dales to the ruins of Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in the country.

Or Castle Howard, recognisable from Brideshead Revisited, is spectacular both inside and out. At Christmas time the house is decorated with thousands of decorations and hosts a fantastic Christmas market.

HOW? Find opening times and ticket prices at castlehoward.co.uk. Pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Head To A Wildlife Reserve

Witness a wildlife show like no other at Donna Nook nature reserve, Lincolnshire. Each year between November and December, a colony of grey Atlantic seals deliver their pups in the dunes.

HOW? Discover more at lincstrust.org.uk

Ski chairlift ar Glenshee on a sunny snowy day. The chairlift stops just below the summit of The Cairnwell a Scottish munro.

Ski On Home Soil

Scotland has a ski season, too, don’t you know. From 17 December, go for a ski at Glenshee where there are 22 lifts and 36 runs to take advantage of, with something to suit all abilities.

HOW? Plan your trip at ski-glenshee.co.uk

Cotswolds Village Snow

Wander Through A Chocolate Box Village

Just as your typical Cotswolds villages are divine in summer, they’re just as compelling in winter even if you just stay in the car. Our favourites are Chipping Campden, a former wool trading centre, Bourton-on-the-Water, known for its model village and railway, and Bibury, said to be the most beautiful village in England by William Morris.

Hunker down in one of the area’s loveliest pubs. To order a pint next to Kate Moss, head to the Swan at Southrop; for Prue Leith’s favourite foodie pub, head to The Fox Inn at Lower Oddington and for Laurie Lee’s old haunt, choose The Woolpack in Slad.

If you enjoy walking, don’t miss Miserden‘s new interactive nature trail, with information points and QR codes to inform families all about the surrounding wildlife.

HOW? Check out our ultimate guide to the Cotswolds, its lovely pubs and its cosy hotels for all of our favourite spots.

Norfolk Broads

Head To The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are busy throughout the summer but the world and his wife are missing a trick, this spot is undoubtedly at its most dramatic in winter, when only a handful of brave souls wind between the frost-covered banks. Keep your eyes peeled for the otters.

HOW? Discover more at norfolkbroads.com

Chatsworth House Derbyshire

Take A Trip To Derbyshire

The county calls for a whole week’s stay as there’s so much to see. You’ll want to spend a day or two traversing the Peak District National Park.

Reserve a day to explore Chatsworth House too. The estate that’s known as Mr Darcy’s abode in the Kiera Knightley adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, doesn’t disappoint. Meander around the gardens, marvel at the architecture and design, before settling into their fabulously grand afternoon tea.

HOW? Plan your trip and book ahead at chatsworth.org

Image: Chatsworth House.

Brecon-Beacons-National-Park

Explore The Welsh Foodie Scene

Cardiff is at the vanguard of a new Welsh foodie scene. Check out gems like 100 percent vegan Anna Loka, or the splendid Chapel 1877, where you might dine on roast rump of welsh lamb with parmentier potatoes.

HOW? Book ahead at anna-loka.com and chapel1877.com

Featured Image: Land’s End, Cornwall.