Best Boxing Day walks

There's nothing better than a long winter walk after a day of Christmas indulgence – from the mountains of northern Scotland to the canals of southern England, here are some of the best Boxing Day walks in Britain

EG05EA Landscape of  Castleton and  The Hope Valley in snow, taken at Blue John Cavern in The Peak District National Park, England. Uk

For many of us, Boxing Day is an opportunity to pull on our boots and head into the countryside.

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Whether it’s a short stroll around a local nature reserve or something a little more adventurous, we’ve got a winter walk for everyone.

Beautiful Winter landscape image of Chrome Hill and
Walk off your Christmas dinner with an amble up Chrome Hill in the Peak District ©Alamy

Scotland

1

Glenfinnan, Highland

Glen Finnan - looking north
Glen Finnan – looking north ©Jake Graham

Seek refuge from the cold inside one of Scotland’s most majestic churches, then venture into the Highlands past the wizards’ railway to a lonely mountain pass. Map and route.

The Church of St Mary and St Finnan

2

Glenmore Forest Park, Cairngorms

Loch Morlich in Glenmore Forest Park
och Morlich lies beside the starting point of this magnificent walk through the Cairngorm National Park ©Getty

A beautiful six-mile walk through the Cairngorms National Park, perfect for wildlife spotting and amazing Highland views. Map and route.

3

St Abb’s Head, Berwickshire

Coast landscape with cliffs and sea at St Abbs Head, Berwickshire
Coast landscape with cliffs and sea at St Abbs Head, Berwickshire ©Getty

Enjoy a four-mile walk on the coastal cliffs of southern Scotland, spotting seabirds, dolphins and maybe even otters. Map and route.

4

Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge, Highland

Hikers walking through Glen Nevis
Hikers walking through Glen Nevis ©Jake Graham

Tapering south from the Highland town of Fort William, gorgeous Glen Nevis is bound by several high, rugged mountains, including the huge bulk of Ben Nevis, which, at 1,344m (4,409ft) above sea level, is the highest point in the British Isles. This low level walk through the Glen Nevis gorge is the perfect antidote to Christmas Day’s indulgence. Route and map.

5

Glen Affric, Highland

Scots Pine above Loch Affric provides the foreground to the great Peaks of Mam Sodhail and Carn Eige in the North West Highlands of Scotland.
Walk through the meadows and mountains of Glen Affric, Highland ©Getty

An 11-mile hike around the shores of Glen Affric, considered by many to be the Highland’s most beautiful glen. Map and route.

North and Central England

6

Castleton, Derbyshire

Castleton, Derbyshire
Castleton, Derbyshire ©Getty

The good folk of fortress-crowned Castleton, at the head of the Peak District’s Hope Valley, like to celebrate the Christmas period underground. And with an abundance of show caverns honeycombing the limestone in and around the village, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that. Enjoy Boxing Day in the Peak District with a winter wander from this festive village to mighty Winnats Pass. Map and route.

7

Wasdale Head Inn, Gosforth, Cumbria

Wasdale Inn in the English Lake District
Wordsworth, Coleridge and Dickens all stayed at the Wasdale Head ©David Robinson

This venerable inn, hidden within the valleys and mountains of the Lake District, has housed some of Britain’s best novelists and poets – find out what inspired these great writers with a five-mile walk. Map and route.

8

Hawkshead and Latterbarrow, Cumbria

Hawkshead
Winter veil: the village of Hawkshead in the Lake District National Park wakes to a blanket of thin frost and low-lying mist ©Simon Whaley

The small village of Hakwshead in the middle of the Lake District National Park is a great base for exploring the surrounding hills, including the modest peak of Latterbarrow. Map and route.

9

Keld to Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire

Stonesdale Beck flows below Stonesdale Bridge on Stonesdale Moor in Upper Swaledale, part of Yorkshire Dales National Park
Stonesdale Beck flows below Stonesdale Bridge on Stonesdale Moor in Upper Swaledale, part of Yorkshire Dales National Park ©Getty

Midway through this Yorkshire Dales walk, stop off at the Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Britain – before returning across the moors past Roman cairns and craggy tors. Map and route.

10

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, England
The tide ebbs at Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park to reveal a series of wave-cut platforms – Landing Scar, High Scar, Billet Scar – beyond which lies the snow-dusted headland of Old Peak  ©joedanielprice

Tiny, pantiled cottages, honeycombed with narrow courtyards, tumble down a narrow gully to the sea. Front doors look over neighbours’ roofs and vertiginous stone steps link the different levels. Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire is magical in the winter months. While you’re there, escape the bustle of the village with a walk along the coast. Map and route.

11

Howgill Fells, Cumbria

Sedbergh and Howell Fells
Sedbergh sits beneath the Howgill Fells in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

This challenging walk in the north-western corner of the Yorkshire Dales begins in the village of Sedbergh and climbs into Howgill Fells – take a break on The Calf, with staggering views west over the Cumbria landscape and east over North Yorkshire. Map and route.

12

Tideswell, Derbyshire

St John the Baptist church in Tideswell
Worship has taken place on the site of St John the Baptist church in Tideswell since the 11th century ©Alamy

Take a winter wander from Tideswell’s ‘Cathedral of the Peak’ into the depths of Miller’s Dale and Monk’s Dale in the Peak District National Park. Map and route.

South England

13

Dunster, Somerset

Dunster Castle, Somerset
Dunster Castle, Somerset ©Alamy

Christmas illuminations– every winter, the village of Dunster and its 11th-century castle remembers its medieval past, lighting up its streets and houses with lanterns and candlelight ©AlamyHigh on a hill in north-east Exmoor, medieval Dunster Castle glows above lantern-lit houses, music-filled streets and bustling gift shops. It’s a magical scene best enjoyed after a winter walk. Map and route.

14

Pentire Head, North Cornwall

Pentire Head, Cornwall
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,” wrote poet Laurence Binyon as he sat on the cliffs at Pentire Point in 1914 ©Getty

This 3.5-mile circular walk around a Cornish headland has everything you need for the perfect Boxing Day walk – dramatic geology, a wealth of wildlife and a secluded cove with a hidden secret. Map and route.

15

Clare, Pentlow and Cavendish – Suffolk/Essex

St Mary the Virgin church in Cavendish
Like many East Anglian buildings, the exterior of St Mary the Virgin church in Cavendish is dressed with flint ©Alamy

Set out on a winter’s hike through the Stour Valley on the Suffolk-Essex border, discovering a trio of churches, each with their own fascinating history. Map and route.

Wales

16

Llyn y Fan Fach, Camarthenshire

Llyn y Fan Fach, Powys
Llyn y Fan Fach, Powys ©Getty

A four-mile walk in the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park along a bustling river, a lonely llyn and a wild mountain ridge. Map and route.

17

Blorenge, Monmouthshire

Blorenge, Brecon Beacons
Keeper’s Pond on the flanks of Blorenge in the Brecon Beacons ©Getty

The rounded hilltop of Blorenge in the Brecon Beacons National Park was once dominated by industry – now, wildlife flourishes among vast swathes of heather moorland. Map and route.

18

Mawddach Estuary, Gwynedd

Barmouth
Barmouth Bridge over Mawddach Estuary ©Getty

Savour the beautiful scenery on this 10-mile walk to the stunning Cregennen Lakes in the foothills of Cader Idris in Snowdonia National Park. Route and map.

19

Llyn Tegid, Gwynedd

Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) near the small town of Bala in Gwynedd in Wales in the United Kingdom.
Llyn Tegid, known as Lake Bala in English, sit in the east of Snowdonia National Park ©Getty

Known in English as Lake Bala, Llyn Tegid is the largest natural lake in Wales – explore its banks and surrounding forests in the east of Snowdonia National Park with this 8.5-mile hike. Map and route.

20

Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire

Rainbow above Wooltack Point on the Deer Park in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
Rainbow above Wooltack Point on the Deer Park in Pembrokeshire ©Drew Buckley

One of the finest stretches on the Pembrokeshire coastline, the Marloes Peninsula takes in a long sandy beach, dramatic rock formations and towering clifftops. Map and route.

21

Waterfall Country, Powys

Rocks in front of the Sgwd yr Eira waterfall, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Sgwd yr Eira and the rest of the waterfalls are at their most impressive after heavy rain ©Getty

Discover a world away from the crowds with a spectacular walk through Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Map and route.

22

Mwnt, Ceredigion

Mint church, Wales
Mwnt church, Wales ©Alamy

Surrounded by hill, sand and sea on the Ceredigion coast in Wales is a small, white-walled church, at its most magical around Christmas. Map and route.

Northern Ireland

23

Slieve Bearnagh, County Down

Sleeve Bearnagh, Mournes, Northern ireland
Hiking along Mourne Wall, County Down ©Getty

The Mountains of Mourne loom large behind the resort town of Newcastle. The beaches and dunes here are superb for walking, but Newcastle’s jewel in the crown sits inland; a fulfilling circuit of two of the Mournes’ most notable summits, Slieve Bearnagh (739m) and Slieve Meelmore (682m). It’s a tough walk but, whether permitting, makes for a great Boxing Day adventure. Map and route.

24

Glenariff Nature Reserve, County Antrim

Glenariff Nature Reserve Northern Ireland
Boardwalks lead through the reserve form one waterfall to the next ©Getty
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This short circular gorge walk, abound with tumbling rivers and waterfalls, navigates through a lush reserve in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim. Map and route.