Winter in England has a bad reputation. People assume that winter in England is miserable and grey, that it rains constantly and that it’s impossible to enjoy a holiday in the UK over the winter season. But they’re missing out on some of England’s top winter break destinations!
Winter in England can be the perfect time to plan a UK break. It’s festive and fun, the pubs are warm and welcoming and the fish and chips by an open fire are all the more rewarding after a walk in the crisp, cool air. Contrary to popular belief, we are also blessed with some pretty stunning sunny winter days!
So if you find yourself in need of a break this winter then try out winter in England – head to these top winter destinations and you won’t be disappointed!
Winter Walks In Haworth,Yorkshire
Home of the famous Bronte sisters, this tiny village in Yorkshire is one of the prettiest places to visit in the winter. The street lamps on wet cobbled stones and the wind whipping through the wild moors give this place a winter atmosphere like no other.
Some of the top things to do here over winter include visiting the Bronte parsonage museum where you can get an insight into the lives of the famous authors, walking in the beautifully wild moorlands before heading to a proper English pub for a warming pie and chips around a log burning stove.
This is England in winter at its finest and we would thoroughly recommend you go and find out!
Where To Stay In Winter
The Fleece Inn has a relaxed restaurant and an award-winning bar, perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine and your favourite person. There is free Wi-Fi throughout.
The Old Registry in Haworth is packed with character. Situated in the centre, you won’t have far to go to explore Haworth’s attractions. This is a romantic hotel, perfect for couples.
Explore England’s Capital, London
If the north doesn’t sound too inviting at this time of year then head to the capital. London is at it’s best during the Christmas season, with the famous Christmas lights and countless Christmas markets selling stocking fillers and mulled wine.
The great thing about visiting London during the winter is that there is so much to do that’s inside (and free!) If you get caught in a bad spell of weather then simply hop on the bus to one of London’s many awesome museums (we love the Natural History Museum!)
If you visit London in October then why not get into the Halloween spirit and visit the London Dungeons or scare yourself silly at one of it’s many ghost walks through London’s most haunted streets!
Where To Stay
The Walrus Bar and Hostel is a well reviewed and centrally located hostel, much nicer than some I’ve stayed in!
The Z hotel in Shoreditch is great value in an upbeat and popular part of London with good dining options.
Or for something a little more romantic, The Mandrake is a beautiful boutique hotel in central London.
Winter In England – Winchester
Having lived in Winchester for several years I know it’s changing seasons very well, and winter is one of it’s best. The historic city of Winchester is perfectly suited to the grey days that winter in England sometimes brings. The cobble stones and ancient buildings are incredibly pretty when lit by candle light from the many bars and restaurants and there’s always a fire burning in one of the many pubs.
If you come to Winchester in December then make sure you head to the Cathedral grounds, where the famous Winchester Christmas market takes place. You can find out about opening times and how to get there in my guide to the best Christmas markets in Hampshire.
Where To Stay In Winter
Head to The Old Vine for accommodation within a few minutes walk of the cathedral. This characterful pub has an award winning bar and a restaurant to match.
This unique 18th-century inn is 5 minutes walk from the city centre and is the perfect place to stay for winter in England with it’s cosy log fires, fine wines and excellent food.
Christmas Lights In The Cotswolds – Winter In England
Blenheim Palace’s illuminated light trail is the highlight of the Christmas celebrations here, and arguably one of the best light shows in England at winter. With a woodland laser garden and a vaulted Tunnel of Light that twinkles with more than 100,000 white bulbs, you can warm yourself with a mulled cider as you explore the extensive grounds. There are also fair rides for children, a fire pit to toast marshmallows and a Christmas market (on certain dates only).
Where To Stay
Malborough Arms is a 15th-century former coaching inn, offering bed and breakfast accommodation overlooking the towns historic streets. If you’re here for Blenheim Palaces beautiful light show then this is the perfect place to stay as it’s within easy walking distance.
Bird Watching In Norfolk
Every winter thousands of pink-footed geese migrate to England, swapping their breeding grounds in Greenland and Iceland for Norfolk’s salt marshes.
The geese spend their days feeding on the sugar beet left in the farming fields and fly back to their nests at dusk, when you can see hundreds and hundreds of them flying home. It’s an incredible sight, and definitely worth visiting England in winter for!
Most of the Geese have arrived by the end of November. If you happen to be visiting in December and January then take a boat trip from Morston Quay to be in with a chance of spotting baby seal pups swimming in the sea and relaxing on the beaches.
Where To Stay This Winter
This pretty bnb is right next to Holkam nature reserve, one of the best places to spot the geese. It’s also close to the sea, and the town with it’s cosy pubs and restaurants.
The Cobblers is located centrally in beautiful Wells next the Sea, just a very short stroll to seafront (Quay) and all the pubs, shops and restaurants. It’s also very close to the Holkam nature reserve!
Stay at Reeds Barn if you’re after some luxury. With an outdoor and heated swimming pool, a sauna and landscaped, picturesque gardens you won’t want to leave. It’s also situated perfectly between Holkam and Morston quay so if you can drag yourself away you’ll be in right place!
The Lake District – Winter In England At It’s Best
One of the best treks I’ve ever done was in February in the Lake District. We had lovely sunny weather, snow capped mountains and views for miles. And seeing Lake Windermere as the early morning winter mist rolled over was truly magical. The Lake District is the perfect place for a winter break in England and no matter the weather, it won’t disappoint.
There are so many wonderful walking routes around the Lake District, some more strenuous than others so make sure you’re fully prepared before you set off. If walking isn’t for you then take to the lake in a row boat or visit the wonderful Beatrice Potter museum. Or simply jump from tea shop to cosy pub and fill up on delicious food and drink – you are on holiday after all!
Where To Stay
Less than 5 minutes walk from Lake Windermere, May Cottage B&B is a cute Lakeland Cottage that offers complimentary use of leisure facilities and a pool at a nearby hotel, so you don’t have to go far to get a little slice of relaxation after a hard days walk.
The classic adults only Victorian property dates from 1860, and maintains its period features. We love Wheatlands Lodge because it serves a traditional Cumbrian breakfast using locally sourced produce and is just a few minutes walk from Windermere town centre.
Winter Paddling In The New Forest
For all the adventurous types out there don’t fear, we have the perfect UK winter activity for you! Head to Beaulieu in the New Forest where you can take part in their ‘winter paddling’ activity. You can choose from canoeing or kayaking and head off on a two hour trip down the Beaulieu River where you’ll see tonnes of bird life and might even spot Beaulieu’s resident seal!
Where To Stay
The Montagu Arms is a beautiful country house in the New Forest. It’s home to the award-winning The Terrace Restaurant, but better than that, it offers access to the SenSpa so you can warm up after your day out on the water!
Get Festive In Bath This Winter
Bath is a great place to head if you’re spending winter in England. It’s famous Christmas market will put you into a festive mood, complete with ice-skating rink and traditional crafts for sale.
If you aren’t there for Christmas then head to the thermal baths for a day of relaxation. The rooftop pool is particularly special during the winter, when the cool open air makes the heat of the water all the more appealing.
Where To Stay
Stay somewhere grand – Bath was after all the go to place for London’s elite in the Victorian era. The Kennard will make you feel like royalty with it’s chandeliers and beautifully furnished rooms.
If that’s not to your taste then go for somewhere with a view. This chic apartment is in the centre of Bath and it’s rooftop terrace will take your breath away.
Go Star Gazing In Northumberland This Winter In England
Northumberland is one of Englands top astronomy spots, especially during the winter months when it gets darker earlier. Head to the Kielder Observatory where you can book a talk with an experienced astronomer and get a chance to gaze at the night sky thorough one of their powerful telescopes.
The days won’t be boring either, with Hadrian’s wall to see, Kielder Forest and the Tyne Valley to explore.
Where To Stay
Kielder Cottage comes with a telescope and a hot tub, so there’s no need to leave in the evenings here! It’s in a perfect location – only 10 minutes from the observatory and with several great walks close by.
What To Pack For A Winter Break In England
You’re going to need a slightly different wardrobe for a winter break in England than you would in the summer! Unfortunately there is a high chance of rain or snow, and even if you’re lucky then you’ll definitely want to wrap up warm! Here are a few essentials on top of your normal packing list that you might want to consider bringing.
- Bring a nice raincoat – just in case it’s the only thing you get to wear here!
- Waterproof walking shoes are essential if you plan on doing any countryside walks, and probably pretty essential for city breaks too! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ruined nice shoes walking in the rain here!
- Bring a warm winter coat, preferably with a hood!
- A winter hat, gloves and a scarf are great accessories for cold winter walks in the UK.
As you can see, England in the winter time is far from boring. In fact, winter in England is one of my favourite times of year! Let us know where you’re planning to head for winter this year, or if you’ve given any of these winter destinations a try!