The autumn season is in full swing here in the UK and soon, winter will follow. Although the UK weather can get dull and gloomy, especially during winter months, it hasn’t dampened the traveller’s spirit – over 3.2 million travellers visited the UK in December 2019. Also, UK residents made 3.9 million international visits in the same period.
While travelling abroad or staying indoors may seem like the best thing to do during winter, it is also one of the best times to experience the Great British Outdoors. And we’ve listed a few great ways you can spend your next winter break in the UK:
See the northern lights in Scotland
The Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights, is one of the most spectacular displays in the night sky. It’s a sight to behold with awe and wonder as the brilliant, multi-colour lights swing and whirl across the dark skies of the northern hemisphere. And it can be witnessed from plenty of locations in Scotland. So if you want a truly magical winter experience, consider packing some waterproofs and blankets and head up north to observe this natural phenomenon.
For the best chances to see the northern lights, visit the Shetland Islands as this is the furthest north you can get in Scotland. There are also plenty of other destinations such as The Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Caithness for a perfect setting and backdrop to witness one of the natural wonders of the world.
Experience the architectural beauty and culture of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one the best places to visit all year round. The city has a rich history dating back to the Early Middle Ages, which can be seen within its finest ancient buildings and architecture dotted around the city. You only need to take a quick stroll through the cobbled streets of the Old Town alleyways to appreciate its authentic and architectural beauty. And there is still so much more to see, from the Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral to the Gothic architecture at the Scott Monument. It’s no wonder Edinburgh was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
Also, if you plan on staying for New Years, you are in for a real treat. Hogmanay happens on New Year’s Eve, which is one of the biggest festivals in the country. The city comes alive with live music, traditional Scottish dancing, torchlight processions, street parties and a spectacular firework display. It’s a perfect way to celebrate the end of the year.
Hike the South Downs Way
If you prefer something more quiet and reserved, then why not consider hiking the South Downs Way? Rather than staying cooped up indoors, you can enjoy the fresh air and the freedom of walking a diverse array of landscapes in the beautiful countryside sites on the South Downs.
The trail is going to be a lot more peaceful and quiet during winter. A perfect setting to feel in tune with your surroundings and nature, which is difficult in city landscapes. There will also be fewer tourists at village pubs, inns, shops and B&Bs, so the residents will surely appreciate you making the trip.
Moreover, you could spend the long winter nights stargazing at numerous Dark Sky Discovery Sites along the South Down Way. Some of them include Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon in East Sussex. Pack some warm layers, waterproof clothing and hot chocolate for a truly wonderful experience among the stars.
And if you plan on making any of the trips, consider purchasing a suitable travel insurance cover. While the NHS can cover you for any unexpected illness or injury in the UK, you will still need cover for trip cancellation and lost, stolen or damaged possessions. It’s certainly worth considering especially if you plan to book travel and accommodation in advance and bring valuable items for the winter trip.