Christmas can be tiring. But don’t let the dark days get you down, it’s the perfect time to wrap up warm, throw on some wellies and get out on an invigorating winter walk. What better way to celebrate the festive season?
Here are some of the best National Trust walking trails to put a spring in your step during the colder months:
Godolphin Hill walk
A gentle ramble up to the top of Godolphin Hill which boasts one of the best views over West Cornwall. On a clear winter's day you can see as far as St Michael's Mount and St Ives bay. Every time you venture into the Cornish countryside you are helping National Trust rangers maintain pathways and trails for family walks all year round.
Old Harry Rocks walk
Get a view of the breath-taking Jurassic coast from the edge of these unique rock formations. Beautiful on both a calm or blustery day, the sound of the waves beneath is the perfect winter escape to the coast.
London and the South East
Walk the grounds and Belvedere Tower
A walk around the lake at Claremont is special in the winter time. See the mist rise off early in the morning or the frozen edges in the crisp clear water. For a special New Year’s treat, take the chance to climb to the top of Belvedere Tower and you'll be rewarded with a view stretching for miles in all directions. Open specially on New Year’s Day (11am till 2pm) by kind permission of Claremont Fan Court School.
Self-guided walks and trails
The beautiful Sussex countryside around Bateman's provided the inspiration for many of Rudyard Kipling's famous characters. Choose from a variety of routes for all abilities to take in some of the best features of this inspiring landscape. Pop in from the cold to see the festive house and tuck into seasonal treats in the café.
East of England
Family Christmas Walks
From gentle strolls on the all-weather Boardwalk around Sedge Fen to longer walks exploring new wetland habitats, with opportunities to spot amazing wildlife from hen and marsh harriers and short-eared owls to Wicken’s herds of Highland cattle and Konik ponies.
Woodland and Coastal Walk
Winter walks to escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas are on offer at Sheringham Park this year. Frosted plants and clear coastal views is the ideal backdrop for the whole family to explore. The landscape is picture perfect when covered in snow. Some early flowering species of rhododendron will be in bloom at this time of year and it’s a great place to spot over wintering wildfowl passing through.
Whipsnade and Dunstable Downs walk
Dunstable Downs is an ever popular spot for Boxing Day and New Year walks, and it’s not hard to see why. On this circular walk there's a chance to rest and wonder at the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral before climbing up through Whipsnade Heath and returning to the Chilterns Gateway Centre. The view northwards from the Chilterns Gateway Centre is a great place to start and finish your walk.
Winter walks at Longshaw
Take advantage of the amazing views now that the leaves have gone from the trees, and enjoy a wintry stomp at Longshaw over the Christmas break. Pull on those wellies and zip up your coats to get the whole family out of the house.
9. Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
Kedleston long walk
Enjoy a bracing winter morning walk at Kedleston this Christmas. From spotting winter wildlife to historic parkland there’s plenty on this walk to suit everyone. This walk gives fantastic views of the gardens and the back of Kedleston, and gives a good perspective of the size of the whole park.
10. Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Ancient tree walk
Get a different perspective on the fine collection of veteran trees in the park at Dunham Massey in winter when the trees are frosted and bare. They also provide a sparkling backdrop for the herd of more than 150 fallow deer that live among them.
Marsden Moor heritage trail
Blow away the cobwebs on an invigorating 8 mile walk above Marsden that is great for families. Crunch over the crisp moorland and look out for the elusive mountain hare – this native species is found on Marsden Moor and stands out a little bit more in winter as their usually brown coats begin to change to white in anticipation of snow.
12. Gower, Swansea
Rhossili headland walk
The Rhossili headland walk is a perfect walk to blow away the cobwebs this winter. The fresh air is the perfect antidote to over indulgence this Christmas, and the peaceful landscape is enough to leaving you feeling completely at ease.
13. Cwm Gwdi, Brecon Beacons
Walk Pen y Fan – the hard way!
For a more adventurous way to end the year try this favourite but challenging route. Starting from Cwm Gwdi, you’ll experience some of the most spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons whilst challenging yourself to get up to the peak of Pen y Fan, the hard way.
14. Castle Coole, County Fermanagh
The Killynure Trail at Castle Coole
The Killynure trail is open from November to February at Castle Coole. Located off the lake walk, take a brisk winter walk up the hill to be rewarded with stunning views across the estate to the house and beyond.