Atholl Estates, Perthshire
Discover a giant Christmas tree and a magical white castle in the Atholl Estates’ winter wonderland. Blair Castle and the surrounding pine woods will take your breath away, literally, when carpeted with snow, or frozen with a hard frost. The famous Highland estate is set in beautiful Perthshire, which is also known as Big Tree Country for its rich foresting heritage, majestic specimen trees and woodlands.
Nant yr Arian, Ceredigion
Watch ravenous red kites swoop to feed in this enchanting forest in the Cambrian Mountains. Lying at the head of a beautiful valley, Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest offers waymarked paths, daily red kite feeding and lots of wintry events preceding Christmas. This walk features scenery that’s especially pretty in winter, and ends at the lake where red kites are fed every afternoon.
Rocky Mountain, Co Down
When Clive Staples Lewis was a young boy growing up in Belfast at the start of the 20th century, the sight of the Mourne Mountains on the southern horizon was enough to transport him to imaginary worlds. Those mountains later became his inspiration for the fantasy world of Narnia, and it’s alleged that some of the Narnian locations were also based on scenery around the village of Rostrevor – just a few miles down the valley from this walk.
Haworth, West Yorkshire
Walk though a landscape made famous by the Brontë sisters before exploring a village that celebrates Christmas like no other. Haworth’s involves a unique event called Scroggling the Holly. A word peculiar to Haworth, ‘scroggling’ means gathering, and the festival sees local children parade in Victorian costumes along the village’s main street to welcome the Christmas spirit.
Explore a frozen fen landscape, where speed skating championships have taken place since the 1850s. When fields ice over at Earith, Welney or Whittlesey, word travels the Fens like lightning. Skating is limited to a few places, but fields are kept flooded in readiness for a freeze. Formal racing is organised by the National Ice Skating Association, but everyone can enjoy a leisurely glide beneath the great dome of the Fenland sky. If you don’t fancy taking to the ice yourself, you can always soak up the atmosphere of an official race in a picnic chair with a blanket and flask of tea.