From snowshoeing through the Pennines to bathing in natural hot springs to searching for the Northern Lights in Scotland’s dark sky spots, there’s a dozen ways to explore the outdoors this winter and we’ve pulled together a list of our favourites. #forthosewhotravel
Snowshoe Through Deep Snow
Winter walks are one of those get-outside-and-explore activities that have become a staple everywhere. But snowshoeing is something else entirely. It’s your chance to wrap up warm, tuck a thermos flask in your backpack’s side-pocket and access areas covered in thigh-high snow; areas that are usually inaccessible with any other footwear. That’s the thrill of snowshoeing. But the best part is exploring the untouched and uninhabited landscapes of the UKs best winter playgrounds. From the valleys of the Lake District to the spines of the Pennines to the freezing wilderness of Scotland, snowshoeing lets you take in the scenery of these special destinations in ways you never have before -- and it doesn’t get better than a guided tour with Eden Outdoor Adventures.
Dog Sledding Hotspots
There are experiences almost-everyone dreams of doing, and dog sledding is one that will leave you with pinch marks up your arm. That’s because every moment is a rush. A thrill. Hurtling along snow-covered trails, alongside frozen lakes and into thick forests as the words “mush, mush” pour out of your mouth. But while dog sledding in Scandinavia would be the pinnacle, there are places across the UK that let you soak up this sensation. From Gloucester to Wales, Leicestershire to Cumbria, make this winter one to remember with a snow or no-snow dog sled adventure.
Bathe in Bath’s Hot Springs
The Romans subscribed to the concept of salus per aquam - health through water. In fact, some people believe that the word "spa" originates from the initials for that phrase. They used the extensive facilities at Bath to socialize, improve their health, engage in spiritual activities and meditate. But while the original Roman Baths are no longer available to be enjoyed, the same 45°C geothermal hot springs that flow below the city now feed the Thermae Bath Spa and it’s the perfect winter activity. Combining contemporary and Georgian architecture, this is your chance to experience these ancient hot springs in a steaming, open-air rooftop pool that offers the most incredible views across Bath’s honey-coloured buildings.
Walk Amongst Winter Wildlife
When it comes to spotting wildlife, location is everything, and the UK is located almost exactly halfway between the Arctic and the equator making it the ideal place to see so many migrating visitors enjoy a pitstop. Canadian geese and Bewick’ swans, redwings, fieldfares and sanderlings. Pink-footed geese, bohemian waxwings and great northern divers. And the influx of long-distance birds is only one reason to pack a pair of binoculars in your Roll Top. That’s because the winter months give you a great chance to see the tracks from some of the UK’s rarest residents. Translation: get ready to spot some deer, badgers, rabbits and foxes by following their prints in the snow.
Escape To A Woodland Lodge
Whether you’re 6 or 60, some things never change and the thrill of camping in an off-grid treehouse is one of them. Stepping into a home in the unknown with an Adventure Bag packed full of essentials, a wobbly walkway leading you to the rustic living space as you get ready to play a game of truth and dare. That’s an adventure, and winter knows how to take it up a level. From the mid-afternoon sunsets to the cosy cabin vibes to the crunchy-leaf walks on your doorstep, this is what it’s all about and they’ve been taken to the next level, quite literally. From rustic to ritzy, the planet is pockmarked with some of the most secluded and special treehouses.
Skiing in Scotland
Scotland is the ultimate adventure playground. Tour the tundra plateaus of the Cairngorms, stroll along the knife-edge ridges and peaks of the Cuillin, road trip along the epic Northern coast and see the whitewaters of whirlpools, waterfalls and the waters surrounding different isles. But for something unexpected, head up high, above the rain line, and you’ll find the kind of snowfall that lets you hit the slopes on skis or snowboards at any one of Scotland’s five ski resorts, from Glenshee to Cairngorm to the 32-run mountain known as The Nevis Range Resort.
Walk The Unwalkable
Head into any mountainous region in the summer and you’ll stumble across a boggy quagmire of some kind, one that either stops you in your tracks or forces you to find a new route. But the freezing temperatures of winter can turn almost any quagmire into solid ground that invites you to skip across. That’s an opportunity not to pass up, one where the winter lets you walk across the once unwalkable, taking in new landscapes as you travel across the lowlands instead of hiking the hills. From the Peak District to the Brecon Beacons, you can’t beat a winter’s walk of this kind. Just make sure your route is completely frozen or you’ll end up with wet feet and cold toes.
Search For The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are a permanent fixture of most bucket lists, but you don’t need to head into the Icelandic wilderness in order to see them firsthand. In fact, spend a winter’s week in Scotland and you’ll have every chance of seeing the aurora borealis dancing across the night sky above you. That’s right, you don’t need to pack your bag like a military soldier and venture into the arctic circle to experience this natural light show; you just need to head to Scotland when the conditions are right and the skies are clear. For the best chance, head to a certified dark sky location, somewhere off-grid like the Isle of Skye or the Cairngorms and then stare in disbelief.
Thanks for reading. For more travel inspiration, follow us on Instagram and Facebook -- and then subscribe to our For Those Who Travel podcast.