The UK has miles of woodlands, coastline and hillsides waiting for you to explore – even in winter. These naturally beautiful places are more than the perfect destination for your winter break; they’re also the places that have helped to shape a nation. So get up, get out, and explore the natural wonders of the UK with these amazingly beautiful National Trust destinations.
Eskdale and Duddon Valley
Eskdale is located in the Lake District and is the only place in England you can see the mountains look as if they’re going to fall into the sea. You can find all types of landscapes here, from volcanic uplands to tidal estuaries at Ravenglass.
Humans have been exploring Eckdale for literally centuries, as evidenced by the standing stones that trace all the way back to the Bronze Age. You can also see burial sites on Bootle Fell and Eskdale Moor and the remnants of Roman forts on the coast at Ravensglass. Some of these Roman remains are parts of the larger Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, so as you can imagine, there’s a lot to see. (Tip: Whenever you’re visiting National Trust destinations for winter wanders, it’s a good idea to take a waterproof parka, since you never know when a shower might take you by surprise!)
Cuckmere Valley has a little something for everyone. Take a lovely stroll along the river at Seaford Head nature reserve, which is beautiful any time of the year. You can also take a walk in the countryside that includes views of secluded farmland. You can visit Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters where the sea and the South Downs meet; famous author Virginia Woolf’s country retreat Monk’s House; or Alfriston Clergy House, which was the very first building saved by the National Trust.
During the holidays you’ll find all kinds of seasonal activities here, too, making Cuckmere one of the best National Trust destination ideas for winter break. There are Christmas wreath-making classes, an indoor Christmas fair and a Festive Family Fun weekend with activities and crafts the entire family can enjoy.
You can walk in the footsteps of giants in Northern Ireland at the Giant’s Causeway. This National Trust destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site has many must-see sights for you to explore. There’s the Grand Causeway, with the three rock outcrops that famously make up the Giant’s Causeway. You also have the unique opportunity to see Northern Ireland from the Giant’s Causeway Clifftop Experience, a five-mile guided hike with unfettered views of gorgeous coastline.
The Giant’s Boot is another can’t-miss feature of the Giant’s Causeway, accessible by a small path that takes you right along the sea. Or you can see the Wishing Chair, a natural throne formed by rock columns.
If you’ve explored all the National Trust’s top winter gardens and you’re ready for a little more adventure this winter, then it’s time to head to Lundy, an island sanctuary for wildlife as well as people. This island has dramatic scenery with a dazzling array of wildlife that can take days to fully explore. To get to Lundy in the winter, you must first take an exciting helicopter ride. Once you land, you can explore walking paths that take you to see puffins and other seabirds. There are also places to fish and climb if you’re really feeling adventurous. Lundy is great for adults or for families, as there are many activities to do with children on the island, such as an education centre and family activity packs to help you explore together.
Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort
If you love history, then a visit to Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort is for you. Found within Northumberland National Park, the area’s beautiful landscapes also hold the secrets of the ancient Roman Empire with structures that still stand after thousands of years. You can also explore Housesteads Fort to catch a glimpse into what Roman military life was like (ancient water closets included!). Don’t miss this amazing bit of history that is lurking right in your own backyard – or close enough to it!
If you love spending time outdoors in the winter and want to inject a little archaeology into your explorations, then Sutton Hoo is well worth a visit. In 1939 a ship was found buried in the sandy soil here. Upon further exploration, the ship was revealed to be an Anglo-Saxon royal burial chamber full of riches and history that would transform the understanding of early England.
Sutton Hoo is also home to Anglo-Saxon burial mounds that have helped experts understand more about Britain’s ancient ancestors. You can walk among these mounds that are thought to be the burial grounds of a royal dynasty from the seventh century.
No matter where your winter adventures takes you, Protected Species is ready to keep you warm and dry along the way. We are proud of these beautiful National Trust destinations and hope you’ll take the time to explore some this winter as you stay active in the outdoors!