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snowy Brecon Reservoir, Brecon Beacons National Park

Are you in need of a UK winter break? We feel the same way! Treat yourself to some time away and explore the UK in all it’s wintery glory with a visit to one of our best UK winter destinations.

Winter holidays are for bracing walks on crisp and frosty mornings, icy lakes that glisten in the sun and picturesque snow-covered mountain peaks. Add to this the home comforts of a holiday cottage; curling up with your favourite book and a glass of red wine in front of a crackling fire at the end of each day, and you have yourself the perfect cosy getaway.

From Devon in the south all the way up to the Scottish Highlands, we’ve picked out a handful of our favourite UK locations for winter breaks that we know you’ll love too.

Tempted yet? Read on and discover our 10 best places to visit in winter in the UK…

10. Dartmoor, Devon

Snowy Dartmoor view from just outside Mortenhampstead

Dartmoor National Park is a picturesque, vast expanse of moorland that looks particularly beautiful during the wintertime, especially when coated in a soft blanket of snow.

Try one of the national park’s many walking routes – varying in length and difficulty – including heritage trails, where you can learn more about the archaeology of the area; the Fernworthy Reservoir route, which is a wildlife haven and ideal for animal lovers; and the Wray Valley Trail, which follows the Moretonhampstead Railway line that opened back in 1866.

Dartmoor is one of the best places in the UK for stargazing, and what better time of year to enjoy this past time than when the nights draw in and the skies are cold and clear? Head to Combestone Tor to enjoy excellent stargazing in a remote but beautiful location, where light pollution is low and you’ll be surrounded by stunning valleys, so you can enjoy the view around you as well as above. Use this dark sky calendar to determine the best days for stargazing in Dartmoor.

Our handy Dartmoor travel guide is packed with fantastic ideas for your next winter holiday and be sure to find yourself an idyllic Dartmoor holiday cottage.

9. Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Snowy hillside in Pembrokeshire

You may only think of Pembrokeshire as a summer destination – but, think again!

Sand castles and sunbathing are likely out of the question (unless you’re a particularly hardy soul), but there are plenty of winter treats on offer that you will get just as much enjoyment from.

Why not explore the beauty of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, home to almost 600 miles of footpaths and bridle ways, on a fine winter’s day? Or take a step back in time to days of old; Pembrokeshire is home to over fifty fortresses and castles, including the imposing Pembroke Castle and Castell Henllys, a replica of the recently excavated Iron Age fort. Wintery magic at every turn!

For more things to do in Pembrokeshire, browse our handy Wales travel guide and for some fantastic holiday accommodation, you can view this range of Pembrokeshire holiday cottages.

8. Northumberland

Winter sunrise at Kielder Water in Northumberland

If peaceful walks and stunning scenery are prerequisites for your ideal winter break, Northumberland is the place for you.

Its famous coastal path provides many beautiful walks, and add to that the idyllic scenery of the Northumberland National Park, and you can see why Northumberland ranks high on our list of winter destinations.

The perfect place for those who love nothing more than to strap on their walking boots, Northumberland offers breath-taking views no matter where you go, and you’ll be blown away by the imposing Dunstanburgh Castle and the holy island of Lindisfarne.

If the weather gets a bit chilly en route, head for a warming bite to eat (or well-earned drink!) in one of Northumberland’s many charming towns and villages. Book lovers will love wandering in the quaint town of Alnwick, home to Barter Books, one of the biggest second-hand bookshops in Europe. It is also where the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ phenomenon was born, so keep calm, grab a good read, and carry on home to relax in cosy warmth. Bliss!

For more things to do on your next holiday in Northumberland, browse our handy Northumberland travel guide and find yourself the ideal Northumberland holiday cottage.

7. Norfolk Broads

St Bennets Mill at sunrise on the Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads is one of the most unique places to visit in the UK, boasting over 125 miles of beautiful waters, meandering through Norfolk and Suffolk.

Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, the Broads is particularly appealing to the eye during the winter, when the sky is crisp and pink and the morning frost lightly coats the reeds that line the marshes.

To truly appreciate the natural beauty of the Broads close up, we recommend hopping on a boat and touring the waters. If you don’t fancy that option, you can still be rewarded with incredible scenery and an abundance of wildlife on foot.

Walkers will relish exploring the land of the Norfolk Broads National Park, strolling along the river paths and visiting some of its quaint towns and villages to further soak up the natural beauty of this region. For more things to do on your winter visit to the Broads, take a look at our handy Norfolk Broads travel guide.

6. Ireland’s west coast

Mountains in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland

Explore Ireland’s west coast in winter from the comfort of your car! No need to worry about bracing winds and sub zero temperatures, you can bask in the natural beauty that surrounds you as you cruise the open road.

The iconic Wild Atlantic Way, one of our favourite scenic UK road trips, is the ideal way to explore Ireland’s west coast. Spanning 1600 miles, this incredible drive can take several weeks to complete, but if you’re short on time, you can just cross off a short section of the route and you’ll still be in for a treat.

Highlights along the route include Malin Head, the most northerly point of Ireland, and the steep cliffs and rugged rock formations that surround it; The Bay Coast, which offers a selection of picturesque and secluded beaches between County Mayo and Galway, and the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, stretching 14km across the Burren region in County Clare.

For more things to do on an Irish winter holiday, take a look through our Ireland travel guide and find yourself an ideal holiday cottage in West Ireland.

5. Peak District

Snow at Mam Tor, Peak District

The Peak District offers some of the most beautiful, rural landscapes in the UK. On a frosty winter’s afternoon, with the sun shining, it can provide a stunning backdrop to a leisurely stroll or challenging hike.

Walk the magical Padley Gorge trail, try the Lantern Walk at Lyme Park or trek the Pennine Way towards Kinder Scout.  Up the ante slightly and hire a bike to cycle your way around the magnificent Monsal Trail. You can even head out to the slopes of  Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre to perfect your skiing skills.

The Peak District is known for its underground haunts, and you can explore Poole’s Cavern or go caving, abseiling and rock climbing at a number of underground locations.

There are also some stunning National Trust-owned properties that only become more majestic alongside the clear blue skies of a chilly winter’s day. Walk around the grounds of Chatsworth, which plays host to its own farmyard, as well as magnificent gardens, or find yourself transported back to the Edwardian era with a visit to Lyme Park, House and Garden. The Peak District is an adventurer’s paradise!

Find more fascinating things to do on a winter break in the Peak District with our Peak District travel guide and browse a range of Peak District holiday cottages to find your favourite.

4. New Forest

Wild horses walking in the new forest national park

Another national park to make it onto our list, the New Forest in Hampshire is a magical destination for a winter break. This vast area of unspoilt woodland and heathland is interspersed with charming villages and traditional pubs serving local ale, making it the ideal location for a cosy cottage holiday.

Explore the national park and discover ponies and cattle roaming freely on the heathland, and enjoy walking alongside the crystal clear rivers that run through the park. Head towards the coast for some peaceful tranquility and observe a spectacular sunset, best enjoyed on a clear winter’s evening.

Stick around after dark to take advantage of the excellent stargazing opportunities, as the New Forest boasts some of the UK’s darkest skies. A magical place to visit from dawn till dusk!

Find your ideal winter retreat at a New Forest holiday cottage.

3. Cotswolds

Mickleton high street in winter, Chipping Campden, Cotswolds

The Cotswolds exudes picturesque scenery. Its quintessentially English villages, made up of traditional thatched cottages and honey-coloured stone, will be sure to charm you. Encompassing an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that spans an area of 90 miles by 25 miles, along with 3000 miles of public footpaths, this is truly an outdoor lover’s dream.

Walk the famous Cotswold Way, which begins in Chipping Campden and ends in the city of Bath, admire the flora and fauna on display along Winchcombe Way or for something more challenging, take on the 13.5-mile-long challenge of Windrush Way and be treated to some remarkable panoramic views.

You can even try a Cotswolds pub walk, and enjoy a long day of walking that ends at one of the many quaint and magical pubs that can only be found in the Cotswolds, where you can warm up against a delightful burning log fire with a pint or a chilled glass of wine and relax.

For more things to do in the Cotswolds, browse our handy Cotswolds travel guide. Find your picturesque Cotswolds holiday cottage to base your next idyllic winter holiday.

2. The Scottish Highlands

Loch Morlich, Aviemore, Scottish Highlands

Don’t let the freezing temperatures of the far north put you off, Scotland is a sight to behold in the wintertime.

For dramatic wintery landscapes, the Scottish Highlands is an unrivalled holiday destination. There are few places around the United Kingdom that offer so much peace and quiet amidst such majestic, untouched natural surroundings.

Crisp sunrises out and about on the glens reveal the mist covered mountains and the silvery lochs. And if you fancy a change of pace, the highlands can offer an adrenaline-filled break too! The Cairngorms is the only place in the UK that boasts natural ski slopes, so there are countless opportunities to get stuck into a variety of winter sports!

For more things to do in the Highlands, browse our travel guide to Scotland. View our full range of Highlands holiday cottages.

1. Brecon Beacons

snowy landscape at Brecon Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Our number one place to visit in the UK in winter is the Brecon Beacons! Why? Because this magnificent South Wales National Park offers a vast and varied landscape, with some of the most astounding walks you can imagine.

A picture-perfect area encompassing spectacular peaks, picturesque countryside, enchanting woodland, charm-filled towns and captivating history, the Brecon Beacons is not to be missed.

Keen walkers will undoubtedly take on The Beacons Way, a waymarked footpath that stretches 99 miles across the national park, passing a host of attractions and remarkable peaks along the way.

If you don’t have time to do the full route, some of the highlights of the Brecon Beacons include climbing Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, where you will be rewarded by the views from the top as you stand proudly amongst the clouds. You may see wild ponies roaming the countryside freely, as well as a fascinating network of caves and mines that are worth keeping an eye out for.

Head to Henrhyd to observe 90ft of plunging water at South Wales’ highest waterfall. Tucked away in the Graig Llech Woods, you can also observe some of Wales’ most fascinating wildlife.

Discover a host of things to do on your next visit to the Brecon Beacons with our free Brecon Beacons travel guide.

Did we convince you to book yourself a winter break? Find your winter 2020/2021 getaway right now by browsing this full range of fantastic holiday cottages. Excited for the festive season? Take a look at our 12 best Christmas towns in the UK, that you must visit!

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