The joy of the British countryside is that it’s accessible from London and other major cities and you can enjoy it any time of year. Don't let lower temperatures put you off – grab a warm coat and head out on a fresh wintery walk at one of these scenic spots, which reveal a whole new beauty in frosty or snowy conditions.
Approximately 18.6 miles (30km) southwest of London, and easily reached by train, is Box Hill, a summit of Surrey’s North Downs. It takes its name from the ancient box woodland found on the steepest slopes overlooking the River Mole. There are lots of different walks to explore, from a gentle stroll over the top of the famous hill, to a long walk down and up again, taking a well-earned stop at a pub along the way. If it’s a white winter with a decent layer of snow, Box Hill becomes a sledging playground, with kids and adults alike hurtling down its famous slopes, and lots of enthusiastic snow fights!
This challenging 3-mile (5km) Summit Trail takes you along the Tipperary Road through open heath, following a waymarked trail to the highest peak in the Belfast Hills, Divis Mountain. Overlooking the city of Belfast below and with inspiring views of Lough Neagh, the Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough, this is a fantastic vantage point from which to take in the magnificent scenery Northern Ireland has to offer.
Discover ancient oaks and wildlife during this scenic 1.5 mile (2.4km) route, which was designed by landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown when he visited Dinefwr in 1775. It takes you through Dinefwr deer park, which surrounds 12th-century Dinefwr Castle. Fallow deer roam the park and are often joined by a neighbouring second herd in winter. Keep a look out for majestic Newton House, and some of the park's 150 ancient trees that you'll pass; there are nearly 300 ancient trees at Dinefwr, half of them in the deer park.
The rugged terrain around the Roman remains of Hadrian’s Wall in the Northumberland National Park has barely changed in 2,000 years. Explore the moorland from a starting point at Housesteads, the best preserved Roman fort in Britain, before following the Roman Military Way westwards on a loop that takes in Vindolanda Fort to the south. While sticking to the paths on the 7-mile (11km) route is recommended during the winter to help preserve the stunning landscape, the archaeology, wildlife and geographical features remain a sight to behold.
Once you’ve explored the famous Georgian architecture of Bath, take the short stroll to the start of the Skyline trail. The 6-mile (10km) walk takes you up onto the hills overlooking the city for some fabulous views, so make sure you bring a camera! You'll also wander through history, passing an Iron Age hill fort and some romantic 18th-century follies. The path continues through meadows, ancient woodlands and secluded valleys, which look even more beautiful covered in wintery frost or a dusting of snow.
This gentle 2-mile (3.2km) walking trail explores the park’s picturesque parkland, heathland, gardens and peaceful woodlands. The views of Clumber Lake – particularly from Clumber Bridge – are exceptional. Although the house was demolished in 1938, there are many glimpses of its grand past to explore, including the gothic-style chapel, often referred to as a 'cathedral in miniature'.
Once a hunting ground for the Royals housed at Windsor Castle, the ancient oaks and horse chestnuts of Windsor Great Park glimmer resplendently in the winter light. Start your adventure by wandering the length of the famed Long Walk, a nearly 3-mile (4.2km) avenue leading from the castle gates to Snow Hill and the Copper Horse statue of George III. From there, you can look back to view the castle in all its glory, before leaving the park via Bishops Gate to reach the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede.
Discover the winter landscapes of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden with a 5-mile (8km) trail that takes you through the deer park and elegant Georgian water garden. The route offers views of Ripon, the distant North York Moors and the impressive ruins of Fountains Abbey. This walk follows around the boundary of the estate, and after taking in the sights of the deer park, you can wander through the garden and past the Abbey.