These Are The UK’s Prettiest Towns To Visit In Winter

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From the snowy Scottish Highlands to lovely Christmas markets

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Visiting the UK this winter, or planning a frosty staycation? Here in Britain, we are lucky to house a plethora of pretty towns, ripe for the visiting. From little towns nestled in bucolic countryside to mediaeval markets, here are the UK’s best towns to visit in winter. Make sure you wrap up warm!

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The UK’s Best Towns To Visit In Winter

Winchester, Hampshire

Set in the grounds of the mediaeval Cathedral, Winchester Christmas Market is one of Europe’s most famous festive affairs. With a buzzing atmosphere, delicious food and drink, and an ice rink, too, this one’s not to be missed. Winchester town is delightful, too – Hampshire‘s county town and one of the UK’s oldest cities. Stroll through the ancient streets and admire the old old buildings, hot chocolate in mittened hands.

STAY: Two Bare Feet, an utterly unique private house that was previously an office before being creatively refurbished by Hannah McIntyre. twobarefeetwinchester.co.uk

Inverness, Scottish Highlands

Inverness Scotland Landscape with buildings architecture Inverness Travel Scotland Concept in the heart of the highlands

Inverness, Scotland

Considered the happiest place in Scotland, Inverness is an ancient city on Scotland’s north east coast, well-located to make the most of Scotland’s most famous mythical creature, the Loch Ness Monster (it is Inverness, after all). Hop on a cruise on Loch Ness or, if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, take a stroll through the pretty town and along the Caledonian Canal, soaking up the gorgeous sights.

STAY: Why not make it a regal trip and stay in Ardverikie Castle, a broodingly gothic Scottish castle that plays the role of Queen Elizabeth II’s much-loved Balmoral in The Crown. ardverikie.com

Belfast, Ireland

With quirky bars, cosy pubs, and plenty of scenic walks to embark on nearby – perhaps you’ll even attempt to visit a few Game of Thrones filming locations – hop over to Belfast for a wintery staycation warmed by Irish hospitality. The German-style Christmas market is a must-visit, too, featuring global cuisine, plenty of beer, and a Santa Train.

STAY: For a city jaunt, stop in the chic Harrison Chambers of Distinction, a boutique hotel on the doorstep of Belfast’s theatre and museum quarter. Country lovers should retreat to the nearby Holywood Hills where Culloden Estate & Spa is ready and waiting with palatial suites and excellent views. chambersofdistinction.com / cullodenestateandspa.com

Bakewell, Derbyshire

View of All Saints Church in Bakewell, a small market town and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, lying on the River Wye, England, UK

Bakewell, Derbyshire

This idyllic town – home of the famous Bakewell Tart and Bakewell Pudding – is one of the UK’s best towns to visit in winter. Nestled in the Peak District on the banks of the River Wye, the sand coloured buildings, mediaeval five-arched stone bridge and plethora of cosy pubs and pretty courtyards make for a delightful wintery stroll.

Nearby, head to the gorgeous Chatsworth House – lovely year-round, but at its best when the Christmas Market is running and the scent of mulled wine is flowing through the air. Note: Chatsworth Christmas Market ends quite early in 2022, running only until 23 November, so best tick this one off the list ASAP (Christmas shopping, anyone?). chatsworth.org

STAY: Originally a manor house, The Peacock at Rowsley is a lovely Derbyshire bolthole close to both Bakewell and Chatsworth House; their restaurant is delightful, too. thepeacockatrowsley.com

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

If you’re looking to explore Snowdonia this winter – the name is definitely on theme, at least – then the picturesque Beddgelert is an ideal base from which to explore the best that the National Park has to offer. Here, there’s Aberglaslyn Pass to the south, Nant Gwynant to the east, and Snowdon to the north, all making for exciting wintery walks and sights.

Beddgelert is also a stop on the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, meaning you’re well-connected to visit other pretty towns nearby – though it is also, of course, a very pretty village itself, with stone buildings, a lovely bridge, and panoramic hilly scenes.

STAY: Nestle yourself away in the gorgeous stone Tan Llan private house for countryside tranquility and walks galore. catchthebreeze.co.uk

Broadway, Cotswolds

UK's Best Towns To Visit In Winter: The Cotswold village of Broadway, Worcestershire, England.

Broadway, Cotswolds

Often called the ‘gem’ of the Cotswolds, Broadway is filled with local shops, quaint cafes and lovely restaurants to bundle in to, away from the cold. Warm up with tasty cream tea from a traditional tea room, or embark on a wintery stroll surrounded by green. The shops stay open late in winter (until around 8:30 pm) to accommodate Christmas shoppers and festive stalls fill the hidden courtyards selling unique gifts, too.

STAY: Originally a 14th century coaching inn, the 86-room The Lygon Arms epitomises Cotswolds country luxury. Head here in the footsteps of the likes of Oliver Cromwell and King Charles III, for delectable local menus, and an indulgent spa – and pups are welcome, too. lygonarmshotel.co.uk

Featured Image: Aerial view of snowy houses (c) Getty.