Spending winter in the UK’s National Parks

18 February 2019

Holidaycottages share their tips for enjoying the great outdoors during the colder months

To hide inside all through the coldest season is to do Mother Nature a great disservice: some of her greatest shows are reserved for the wintertime. We gently implore you not to!

Dress right and the weather, try as it might, won’t dampen your spirit.  The UK’s National Parks during the winter are the very best way to see and enjoy the countryside at its most beautiful, its most striking and exclusive. Big clear vaulted skies, extreme pure locations, wintering birds, mountains, fells, lakes, wild coasts, and a sense that you may be the only person for miles draw many of us out and away from our firesides to explore the great outdoors and, in some cases, get involved in the odd outdoor activity!

Getting out in the cold can be fun. Photo via Travel Chapter

Why don’t we holiday so much in the winter? Shorter days, colder temperatures and the misconception that many places close for the winter are the main reasons. However, times change and we are seeing more and more visitor attractions and places to eat remaining open all year round. Also, staying at a holiday cottage has hit the mainstream in a big way – and there are so many rental properties tucked away in such splendid locations within the UK’s National Parks. So, staying close by reduces travel time so that you can make the most of the more limited daylight hours. There’s really no excuse not to make the most of the quite awesome British countryside in the winter. So where to go and what to do, without getting too cold?

Climb a mountain

Snowdonia National Park is home to Wales’ highest mountain, and there are seven walking trails to its summit. You don’t even have to be an athlete to reach the peak as there is a train that operates daily! The views across the National Park are phenomenal.

See wild horses on a bike

The New Forest National Park is the place to go to be amongst the roaming wild animals. See the horses on the open heathlands between the gorgeous array of villages and small towns like Lyndhurst, Beaulieu and Brockenhurst. Popular with hobby cyclists, it’s a top choice.

Photo via Travel Chapter

Walk high above the sea

The South Downs National Park with its idyllic long-distance trails and iconic chalk cliffs appeals greatly to wayfarers. Soak in the winter sun replicated a million times on the wave peaks of the majestic blue sea that stretches as far as your eyes can see. Admire the mastery of the seabirds, hurtling around in the thermals – it’s a magical place in the wintertime.

Climb aboard a steamer

Venture across Ullswater in the Lake District National Park aboard a ferry. See the gorgeous, stark outline of Helvellyn, England’s third largest peak on the high horizon, and follow up the ferry ride with a stroll around the Ullswater Way to Aira Force. A favourite of the poet William Wordsworth and one of several lakes that lay claim to be the resting place of King Arthur’s Excalibur, Ullswater is a place of mystery and fable!

Go underground

The Peak District National Park has myriad show caverns and many of them are open all year round such as Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, and the Blue John Caves. If you are an accomplished caver or potholer, there are prospects in some brilliant locations; if you are new to the sport there are activity centres that are open all year round too!

Put your insulated winter coat on, lace up your boots, don your cool ski hat and grab your shades and head out in the wonderful beyond; the warm fire, the cosy bed, and the mug of hot cocoa will all still be there when you get back. Before you know it, the spring will be here with a whole cavalcade of tempting and lush reasons to explore your favourite National Parks anew.

Holidaycottages.co.uk are one of the UK's leading holiday letting agents. They support Campaign for National Parks as a corporate partner.