This collection of 8 great winter walks for families is designed for getting outdoors with your kids on short, frosty and spectacular days.
The nights might have closed in, the skies might be grey and the temperatures might be low, but that doesn’t mean your family adventures have to stop. There are thousands of great walks family around Britain – from woodlands to beaches and hills to waterfalls – that make perfect short strolls for you to enjoy with your children. Here are some of our favourites…
1. Malham, Yorkshire Dales
Nestled in the green folds of the Yorkshire Dales, Malham is a beautiful stone village with a couple of good pubs, a small shop and some lovely hotels and B&Bs. The walks are the main highlight, though, with the geological wonders of Malham Cove, its limestone pavement and Gordale Scar just a short stroll away. The spectacular waterfall of Janet’s Foss is another big favourite with families, and all of this is reachable in an easy loop walk from the centre of Malham.
2. Wells beach, Norfolk
Wells-next-the-Sea is a beautiful seaside on the North Norfolk coast, full of arcades, chippies and ice cream shops – all the stuff kids love! It’s also a great place to walk, with a lovely golden beach with sand dunes and colourful beach huts. Once you’ve explored the beach and dared to dip your toes in the sea, you can stroll back on clear paths through glorious pinewoods towards your start point.
3. Stanwick Lakes, Northamptonshire
Stanwick Lakes is an oasis of calm in the Northamptonshire countryside with miles of walking trails, lakes, wildlife and plenty of activities for kids. Your children can walk, run and cycle for miles along woodland trails; watch wildlife from bird hides; climb climbing frames; swing on tyre swings; go fishing; ride horses; hire boats; have picnics and BBQs; and if the weather turns bad you can head to the visitor centre with its warm cafe and soft play area.
4. Beachy Head, South Downs
Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters Cliffs in the South Downs National Park are fantastic to walk with kids in winter. Just a short distance from the busy seaside town of Eastbourne, you’ll stroll along gently rolling clifftop paths (keep away from the edge!) past the famous Beachy Head Lighthouse towards the beach at Birling Gap, where at low tide you can walk along the pebbles beneath iconic white chalk cliffs.
5. Formby beach, Merseyside
Formby Beach is a glorious place to walk as a family, with giant sand dunes, coastal pinewoods, sweeping stretches of sand and the blustery Irish Sea all just a short stroll from the National trust car park in Formby village. It’s a brilliant area to walk, run, ride or chase your family dog around (we’ve done this a lot!) and is just a short drive from Liverpool. You could spot rare wildlife too – including Formby’s iconic red squirrels that can be seen scampering along tree branches if you’re lucky.
6. Blakeney Point, Norfolk
Blakeney Point’s famous grey seals tend to be born from November to January, making this a wonderful place to walk as a family in winter. The awesome spectacle of seal mating season takes place shortly afterwards, with bulls fighting for territories and female attention. As well as being one of Britain’s most spectacular sand spits, Blakeney Point is also an important seabird breeding colony, with around 4,000 sandwich terns breeding here from March to August. The beach, dunes and shingle ridge are fantastic places for kids to charge around and burn off some energy!
7. Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire Dales
Aysgarth Falls is one of those places that really does have to be seen to be believed. The falls are made up of two main sections – the higher and lower falls – which lie either side of a lovely little stone bridge that’s a perfect place to view the higher cascades. The upper falls are the first you’ll see, and they’re great, but the lower falls are even more spectacular. The whole stretch of Aysgarth Falls runs for around one mile along the River Ure, with a grassy picnic area near the bridge and lovely woodland trails lower down that are pushchair and wheelchair accessible.
8. Sycamore Gap, Hadrian’s Wall
This is a slightly more challenging walk than the ones above, but the rewards are worth it in this wild and remote part of Northumberland. The whole 84-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall once stretched the width of England and formed the north-west frontier of the might Roman Empire, and this is one of its most impressive remaining sections. You’ll walk on the Pennine Way past historic landmarks to the famous tree at Sycamore Gap (one for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves fans), then return the same way with a camera full of great family photos!