10 great Christmas walks

Walk off your Christmas lunch and festive puds with our selection of seasonal walks across the UK.

The festive walk has become as much of a tradition, as tinsel, turkey and Christmas pud. It’s a great way to burn off the festive calories and spend time with family, friends or solo.

We’ve teamed up with the UK’s national mapping agency Ordnance Survey to bring you 10 great walks to try. So whether you fancy tramping through woodlands, striding along a beachfront or taking in a city stroll, lace up your boots because we’ve got something for everyone.

A family group with a dog walking along a beach in the winter timeCredit: Shutterstock / MonkeyBusiness Images
A festive walk can be enjoyed with all the family

Ordnance Survey discount for Saga readers

Ordnance Survey has an exclusive offer for Saga readers. The UK’s mapping agency is offering 25% off a 12 month subscription to its award-winning OS Maps.

OS Maps was named the best walking app in our buyers’ guide to the best walking apps.

Woods and parkland in the Chiltern Hills

1. Christmas Common, Oxfordshire

Distance: 8.2km (5.1 miles)

Difficulty: Moderate

What could be more seasonal than a walk on Christmas Common. It’s thought the name derived from the abundance of holly trees in the area. Today Christmas trees are grown commercially in the area, so the festive link remains.

This walk is still free along good paths and quiet lanes. You’ll take in beech woodlands and the Chiltern escarpment.

Park at the National Trust Watlington Hill car park. Take care on the road out of the car park. There’s also one long climb and one short steep climb, but you’ll enjoy the benefit of great views.

For food and drink afterwards try The Fox & Hounds, on Christmas Common.

View route on OS Maps

The UK’s mistletoe and holly capital

2. Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire

Distance: 10.7km (6.6 miles)

Difficulty: Moderate

Tenbury Wells is an ancient market town surrounded by orchards. The apple trees are loved by mistletoe, which sparked its seasonal fame – the town claims to be the UK’s holly and mistletoe capital. Every December the town holds a Mistletoe Festival and you should be able to see the parasitic plant growing wild on this walk.

This is a gentle stroll from the centre of the town, through farmland and woods. Around the halfway point you’ll go over Haws Hill, a great spot to stop for a break and take in the views.

There’s a great choice of refreshments in Tenbury when you finish.

View route on OS Maps

Step back in time with Pride and Prejudice locations

3. Lyme Park, Cheshire

Distance: 9.8km (6.1 miles)

Difficulty: Moderate

The 3,500 acre Lyme Park estate is beautiful at any time of year, but especially at Christmas. This walk offers stunning views and the chance to glimpse the estate’s deer herd.

You’ll also see some of the iconic filming locations for the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice drama series. Lyme Park stood in for Mr Darcy’s home – played by Colin Firth.

From the car park you’ll walk through woodland and then up Sponds Hill to enjoy beautiful views and then back to the car through the deer park.

There is a choice of refreshments at Lyme Park, but don’t forget to check opening hours.

View route on OS Maps

An easy but stunning waterfront walk

4. Loch Morlich, Highland

Distance: 6.8km (4.2 miles)

Difficulty: Easy

A nice Christmas walk for all the family, with easy level paths and the UK’s highest beach at its end.

This is one of the best Christmas walks for all the family in Scotland. You’ll enjoy stunning views to the mountains (often snow-capped in winter) from this circular stroll and the freshwater loch is close to the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd (don’t forget to book if you want to visit).

Parking, toilets and refreshments are all available at the Glenmore Visitor Centre.

View route on OS Maps

Britain’s smallest city and coastal views

5. St Davids, Pembrokeshire

Distance: 5.2km (3.2 miles)

Difficulty: Easy

St David’s is the UK’s smallest city, boasting a 12th century cathedral. It has been the destination for pilgrims for centuries, so it feels fitting to include this festive walk.

Park in the pay and display car park by the cathedral and then follow the route out of St Davids and down to the coastal path. There are great views out to sea and down to tiny inlets as you walk past St Non’s Chapel and Porthclais Harbour, before returning to St Davids.

Take time to visit the cathedral on your return. You’ll also find a choice of pubs, cafes and restaurants in the centre of St Davids.

View route on OS Maps

Beaches and a thatched inn to finish

6. Crawfordsburn Country Park, Belfast

Distance: 6.3km (3.9 miles)

Difficulty: Easy

Located on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, Crawfordsburn Country Park is a relaxing retreat with sandy beaches, wooded glens and rocky shorelines.

This route follows the circular Meadow Walk, the longest signposted trail and there’s an optional extension along the coastal path to Grey Point Fort.

A short stroll will take you to the thatched The Old Inn, one of Ireland’s oldest hotels. Visitors have included author CS Lewis and former US president George W Bush.

View route on OS Maps

Capital Christmas cheer

7. The Holly Walk, Kew Gardens

For those living in the capital, you don’t necessarily have to head out of London for some Christmas cheer in the outdoors.

Kew Garden’s kilometre-long Holly Walk is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of holly plants, planted in 1874. Or wait until it’s dark and enjoy the winter light trail, although you will need to pre-book this popular attraction.

You’ll find food venues and pop up caterers along the route.

Kew Gardens website

A wheelchair-friendly route

8. Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

Distance: 1.1km (0.7 miles)

Difficulty: Easy

The ruins of 12th century Fountains Abbey are truly something to behold, especially on a frosty winter’s day. Come face to face with some of the oldest and largest abbey ruins in the country and explore vaulted ceilings, grand columns and an imposing tower.

This is a short, but accessible route. Don’t miss the disabled access via the west gate car park, which has designated blue badge parking.

You’ll find a National Trust cafe on site serving refreshments.

View route on OS Maps

Explore a sensory winter garden

9. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Distance: 4.8km (3 miles)

Difficulty: Easy

Anglesey Abbey boasts 114 acres of grounds including a renowned sensory Winter Garden.

A three-mile circular walk takes in these gardens which were planted for the sensory qualities of scent, texture and bright colour throughout the colder months.

Anglesey Abbey also boasts one of the finest snowdrop collections in the country, with 400 varieties of these delicate white flowers, many of which are rare. The first snowdrops to appear are usually found beneath the splendour of the Winter Garden, and generally visible from mid-December.

Refreshments are available on site.

National Trust website

Cornish waterfront walk

10. Trelissick, Cornwall

Trelissick is set on its own small peninsula on the River Fal and has been looked after by the National Trust since 1955.

This walk explores the mixed woodland on both sides of the Lamouth Creek. It also takes a tour around Iron Age Roundwood Fort, passes the King Harry Ferry and offers spectacular views through the trees.

Refreshments at the National Trust cafe.

View route on OS Maps

More Christmas walks

You can find more festive routes from Ordnance Survey here.

Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her

Updated:

Phillipa Cherryson is a senior digital editor for Saga Exceptional. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV. In her spare time she loves the outdoors and is a trainee mountain leader and Ordnance Survey Champion.

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