When people take holidays in the winter, it’s usually to escape the wintery weather in favour of something more tropical. For some, however, winter is a wonderful season where you can wrap up warm and enjoy the fresh air as you look forward to the Christmas festivities.
If you fall into the latter category, then there are some great places to see in the UK in wintertime. Here are our top picks for the best places to visit in the UK in winter.
There’s plenty to do in Exeter, such as taking a stroll down the historic quayside, or even taking a Red Coat guided tour if you want something more structured. The RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) has some great exhibitions and events the whole family can enjoy and it’s free to enter, as is The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. Be sure to check out Exeter Cathedral and the Exeter Underground Passages whilst you’re in the city too!
The capital of Devon has plenty to offer all year round, but winter is the only time you will see Exeter’s fantastic Christmas market. Situated just outside Exeter cathedral, there’s an abundance of tents selling all kinds of crafts, gift ideas and more. To make an evening out of it, have something to eat at one of the stalls selling mouth-watering food from all over the world, and then stop for a few drinks in the Bavarian-style bar.
Bath is often hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and it’s even recommended that you walk the Bath skyline trail in January in order to see the stone buildings lit up in the winter sun. Bath also houses an ice rink from November to January and, if you’re looking for some evening entertainment, you can cosy up at the Green Park Brasserie where there is live music four nights a week, or you could catch a show at the Theatre Royal Bath.
Of course, Bath’s most famous attraction comes from its namesake, the Roman Baths. Bath is one of the best places in the UK to visit in winter because of this unique way to warm up. This is a must-see attraction even if you’re only in Bath for the day, and there are a number of ways to experience it. You can go for an evening tour followed by a three-course meal, or you can get a treatment in the ancient hot springs.
Because of its beautiful location within the boundaries of Exmoor National Park, Dunster is one of the best places to see in the UK in winter. This scenic village was created around Dunster Castle, which gives you two wonderful sights to see straight away. The castle sits atop a densely wooded hill, giving it a real fantasy feel. Plus, if you go for a walk on Exmoor, you might just see an Exmoor pony or two.
Dunster and the surrounding areas are great places for a winter walk. With fewer people around than in the summer, you get a much better feel for the tranquil atmosphere of the place. Take a stroll down to Cleeve Abbey to see some traditional Cistercian architecture, or visit the Watermill, a historic building that still boasts most of the original cogs, wheels and grinding stones.
While Dawlish is a seaside town, it’s still worth a visit in winter. If you wrap up warm, a stroll along the south coast’s Dawlish Warren Beach is still a breath-taking sight even in the cold months. The Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and well worth a visit.
Only a short trip from Dawlish is Powderham Castle, one of Devon’s oldest family homes. Powderham Castle is a beautiful piece of architecture situated within expansive grounds that are also home to many deer. This manor house also hosts many events such as live music, deer park safaris and even a masquerade ball in February.
Another coastal town that is just as beautiful in the winter is Sidmouth. If you’re visiting Devon, Sidmouth is definitely worth a look. You can take scenic walks along Jacob’s Ladder beach or through The Byes Riverside Park, but the most breath-taking walk to take whilst in South Devon is along the Jurassic Coast. This coastline is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers some of the best coastal views in the country at any time of year.
If you don’t fancy hiking, one of Sidmouth’s top attractions is The Donkey Sanctuary, the site of an international charity aiming to improve the welfare of donkeys. Hundreds of donkeys are free to roam the grounds of the sanctuary, and they also host donkey experiences, where you can get up close and personal with these wonderful creatures.