Discovering rivers and woodland in the New Forest
The New Forest, famous for its ancient heathland and wild ponies, is full of woodlands and wildlife, making it a perfect place for walking.
Christmas offers so many reasons to put on your walking boots and head out into the great outdoors. Whether it’s to breathe in the refreshing winter air, de-stress from busy shopping centres, or to walk off your Christmas dinner, there’s no denying that nothing will make you feel quite as festive as a walk over the Christmas period- and if it’s accompanied by a blanket of glistening frost- then even better! Here are a few of our favourite Christmas walking locations:
Follow the links to open each location in our award winning digital mapping service, OS Maps. To find great walking routes, select Routes in the top menu, and then Discover Routes – or use the plotting tools to create your own. You can have a go at using the full features of OS Maps for free with our one week trial.
What could be more festive than a walk around the UK’s ‘mistletoe and holly capital’? A prime location for walkers, Tenbury is a small ancient market town situated in the Teme Valley. Tenbury Wells lies in an area known as ‘The Town in the Orchard’, boasting fields of fruit and hop growing trees, which has led to its close association with mistletoe. Many of the orchards in Tenbury are full of this festive plant, and mistletoe auctions have been held in Tetbury for over 100 years. After a leisurely stroll around the surrounding countryside, take a look at some of the beautiful Georgian buildings that Tenbury boasts, and warm up with a mulled cider in one of the beautiful 17th century pubs.
For a truly magical Christmas walk, take a trip to the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland to get a glimpse of the only free-ranging herd of reindeer in the UK. A haven for wildlife, walking and climbing, Cairngorms National Park is diverse- complete with wild mountains, heather moorlands and magical forests, perfect for a winter adventure. The reindeer herd in their natural habitat are a must-see, and arranged daily walks are a great way of walking amongst Santa’s four-legged helpers as you enjoy breath-taking views across the Cairngorm Mountains.
Lyme Park is beautiful throughout the year, but we think it offers some extra magic over Christmas. Nestled just at the edge of the Peak District, the beautiful mansion house is surrounded by lavish gardens within a deer park, and is the perfect setting for a festive stroll. The 1,300 acre estate offers stunning views, and its own medieval herd of red and fallow deer. A walk around Lyme will take you past some of the most iconic filming locations around the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, so you can be transported back to the Regency era yourself, without any of the Christmas TV!
Delight all members of your family, with this truly magical trail around the ruin of Audley’s Castle on the shores of Strangford Lough. Take in the breath-taking scenery of the magnificent castle, spot the huge range of wildlife on the trails, and experience the real location of Winterfell, from the enormously popular ‘Game of Thrones’. The setting is so beautifully festive, that Santa himself visits Castle Ward throughout December, when families can enjoy a magical experience complete with crafts, hot drinks and festive treats!
Please note Northern Ireland is mapped by OSNI so therefore OS leisure mapping is not available for this area on OS Maps.
No list of the best Christmas walks would be complete without a mention of Bedgebury National Pinetum. With the most complete collection of conifers than anywhere else in the world, it’s easy to imagine that you’re walking through Narnia when exploring the grounds. There are plenty of trails to choose from spanning over 320 acres, including a special winter route, which is particularly magical through the festive season.
If you want to escape the madness of sale shopping, or simply head outside for some much-needed family time, a walk in the open air is the ideal opportunity. Let us know your favourite places to visit in the comments below.
OS Maps is the award winning digital mapping service from OS.
Get an annual subscription from just £23.99 and unlock leisure mapping for the whole of Britain on your desktop and mobile devices, including all leisure mapping 607 OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps.
Click the link below for more information.