The UK’s 10 best walks to explore this winter

The UK’s 10 best walks to explore this winter

The UK is home to ample stunning spots of natural beauty, ones that people are willing to travel far and wide to experience – and winter walks can be some of the most picturesque of all. 

As the cold weather creeps in, making many of us want to instinctively retreat into our homes, holiday home operator, Verdant Leisure, is encouraging Brits to get out and about. Their new research names 10 of the best walks from across the UK to embark on over the winter season.  

41% of people avoid going on winter walks when the weather is rainy and bleak, but this new data uses rainfall averages and social media popularity to determine the driest, and best, walks to challenge yourself to over the next few months. 

The data examines much-loved walking routes and ranks them based on their social media popularity, visitor ratings from sites like TripAdvisor, and average rainfall between December and March so walkers know which locations tend to be the driest.   

The top 10 winter walks in the UK

Seven Sisters, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Seven Sisters Cliff from South Downs National Park, Eastbourne

Taking the top spot on the list, with a five-star TripAdvisor rating and over 14.6 million engagements across social media, is Seven Sisters in Eastbourne.

Getting its name from the iconic seven chalk cliffs that make up Sussex’s coastline, the Seven Sisters stretches across Eastbourne to Seaford, offering ocean clifftop views and refreshing coastal walks along the bottom.

If you come during the winter, however, make sure you wrap up warm to protect you from that chilly sea air.   

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

View from the top of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset

Nestled within the Mendip Hills, lies an area of outstanding natural beauty; boasting over 12 million hashtags on TikTok, Cheddar Gorge is a must-see for anyone looking for a memorable experience.

This immense wintery landscape offers mysterious caves (with two of the UK’s biggest show caves), pinnacles, rolling hills and cliffs ready to be explored.

With famous landmarks such as Jacobs Ladder and a 3-mile clifftop walk to take in the views of Somerset, this wintery walk deserves its 4.5-star rating from TripAdvisor and is perfect for the avid explorer.   

John Muir Way, Dunbar, East Lothian 

Looking over from Greenock Esplanade towards the hills above Kilcreggan Roseneath and Helensburgh

With an average of 46mm of rainfall between December and March, The John Muir Way offers 134 miles of mesmerising coast to coast views of Scotland.

It stretches from Dunbar (the birthplace of John Muir) in East Lothian with the trails winding west across Scotland to the town of Helensburgh, just north-west of Glasgow.

This wild route offers multiple walks, hikes and cycling routes, perfect for walkers of all abilities. With its 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor, the scenery on show here is second to none with forests, lakes, coastlines and old castle ruins offering plenty for the eyes to feast on, whichever trail chosen to explore.  

Belhaven Beach, Dunbar, East Lothian 

This bridge is known as ‘The Bridge To Nowhere’ and was built as part of Dunbar’s Victorian beach improvement scheme. It crosses Biel Water where it flows in Belhaven Bay and the North Sea at Dunbar

Another spot in East Lothian appears on the list, but this time it’s by the sea. Found amongst the rolling hills of John Muir Country Park, Belhaven Beach is the ideal spot for a frosty beach saunter whilst taking in the scenic views of the Forth Estuary.

The bay, which has been given a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor with little reports of rain, offers grasslands, sand dunes and rich salt marsh which spans all the way from Belhaven to the north of the River Tyne.

A sandy stroll here will also mean you’re in with a chance to spot some ancient castle ruins, adding a bit of history to your walk.

Sycamore Gap, Crag Lough, Northumberland   

Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland

Found in Northumberland National Park is the Sycamore Gap, home to the most photographed tree in the UK. This spot is a social media favourite with data showing it has 350,000 engagements across Instagram and TikTok, proving its already existing popularity.

The gap exists within the vast gap between Hadrian’s Wall and border to the national park that many walkers are drawn to over the winter months.  

The most popular walk for this location is the Hadrian’s Wall Path, with additional views of the Steel Rig and the lake Crag Lough. This muddy yet scenic walk is great for taking in views of the rolling hills with TripAdvisor users who have previously visited the spot calling it ‘stunning’ and ‘magical’.  

Kielder Water and Forest Park, Hexham, Northumberland  

Kielder Reservoir on a sunny winter morning

A place particularly favoured by outdoor enthusiasts with a rating of 4.5 from TripAdvisor, Kielder Water and Forest Park is home to Europe’s largest man-made lake and England’s largest forest, making it a must-see spot for walkers, cyclists, and nature lovers.

With almost 1.5k location tags on Instagram, it’s also a part of England’s first and largest International Dark Sky Park, making it the perfect spot for stargazing on an evening winter stroll.   

Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby, North Yorkshire 

Reflection of the North cliffs of Robin Hoods Bay

A famous 4.5 star rated seaside town and a gem on the North Yorkshire coast, Robin Hood’s Bay is must when it comes to wintery walks, with nearly four million photos and videos shared through Instagram and TikTok.

For wholesome views of the stunning beaches and wildlife, take the Robin Hood’s Bay Circular Coastal Walk which offers an all-round glimpse into the different landscapes of Whitby.

Prior to visiting any beaches, check the tide tables online or ask the locals, and always wrap up warm for the wintery winds and high chance of rainfall.     

Dunstanburgh Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland   

Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland, viewed from the north

The 1.3 mile walk along the Northumbrian coastline doesn’t disappoint as you approach Dunstanburgh Castle, with almost 50,000 people stopping to take a quick snap or video to share to their socials.

Once one of the grandest and largest fortresses in the north of England, the castle stands out amongst its surroundings of this scenic stretch of the Northumbrian coast, dating all the way back to the 14th century.   

The most common route for this wintery walk starts in the village of Craster, travelling through working farmland leading up to the castle, where the journey ends in the village of Embleton, the perfect location to watch a winter sunset.   

Barnard Castle, County Durham  

Winter sunset at Barnard Castle and the River Tees in County Durham

With nearly two million videos of this spot shared to TikTok and 4.5-star rating from TripAdvisor, it’s no surprise that Barnard Castle is a favourite wintery walk, offering charming views and is ideal for exploring.

These ruins of this fortress overlook the scenic market town nestled in the hills of County Durham, sharing its rich history and beautiful landscape with the locals and visitors.

The surrounding valleys and riversides are ideal for a winter ramble, with what’s left of Barnard Castle reflecting on the river Tees, setting the scene for the perfect wintery walk.    

Burns Trail, Alloway, Ayrshire 

Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland

The birthplace of famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, the Burns Trail is rated 5 stars on TripAdvisor is an unmissable venture when exploring the small village of Alloway.

The walk around his birthplace offers beautiful sights of the river, which may be frozen over in the winter months, the famous Doon River and Brig’O’doon (the bridge) and even the opportunity to visit the poet’s first home if you have the time.

With plenty to feast your eyes on as you walk this is a perfect opportunity to experience the fresh Scottish countryside air over the winter.    

To find out more about the UK’s best winter walks, visit Verdant Leisure.  


  • Louise Rhind-Tutt

    Writer, editor and restaurant reviewer Louise was brought up close to the hills of the Peak District. A longtime keen walker, and recent enthusiastic convert to hiking mountains, she is at her happiest when going uphill.

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Louise Rhind-Tutt

Writer, editor and restaurant reviewer Louise was brought up close to the hills of the Peak District. A longtime keen walker, and recent enthusiastic convert to hiking mountains, she is at her happiest when going uphill.

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