Best Boxing Day walks

There's nothing better than a long winter walk after a day of Christmas indulgence – from the mountains of northern Scotland to the canals of southern England, here are some of the best Boxing Day walks in Britain

28th November 2017
Hope Valley Derbyshire

Scotland

Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge, Highland
Glen Nevis, Highland, Scotland
Hikers walking up Glen Nevis, Highland, Scotland ©Jake Graham

Tapering south from the Highland town of Fort William, gorgeous Glen Nevis is bounded by several high, rugged mountains, including the huge bulk of Ben Nevis, which, at 1,344m (4,409ft) above sea level, is the highest point in the British Isles. This low level walk through the Glen Nevis gorge is the perfect antidote to Christmas Day's indulgence. Route and map

Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Tobermory Scotland
The town of Tobermory – built as a fishing port in 1788 – accounts for one third of Mull’s population ©Alamy

Revel in the festive shops, illuminated streets and charming harbour of a small island town in the Inner Hebrides before taking a walk along the sandy shores of Calgary Bay. Map and route.

Glenmore Forest Park, Cairngorms
Loch Morlich in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland
Loch Morlich lies beside the starting point of this magnificent walk through the Cairngorm National Park ©Getty 

A beautiful six-mile walk through the Cairngorms National Park, perfect for wildlife spotting and amazing Highland views. Map and route.

St Abb's Head, Berwickshire
St Abb's Head, Berwickshire
Ramble along the clifftops of St Abb's Head, Berwickshire ©Getty 

Enjoy a four-mile walk on the coastal cliffs of southern Scotland, spotting thousands of nesting seabirds, splashes of pink thrift and maybe even otters. Map and route.

Glen Affric, Highland
Glen Affric, Highland
Walk through the meadows and mountains of Glen Affric, Highland ©Getty

An 11-mile hike around the shores of Glen Affric, considered by many to be the Highland's most beautiful glen. Map and route.

North and Central England

Castleton, Derbyshire
Winnats Pass, Peak District National Park
Winnats Pass, shaped by glacial meltwater, lies in the middle of the Peak District National Park ©Getty

The good folk of fortress-crowned Castleton, at the head of the Peak District’s Hope Valley, like to celebrate the Christmas period underground. And with an abundance of show caverns honeycombing the limestone in and around the village, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that. 

Enjoy Boxing Day in the Peak District with a winter wander from this festive village to mighty Winnats Pass. Map and route.

Wasdale Head Inn, Gosforth, Cumbria
Above the Wasdale Inn rises Wasdale Fell, a favourite  with trail runners
Above the Wasdale Inn rises Wasdale Fell, a favourite with trail runners ©Martin Jones)

This venerable inn, hidden within the valleys and mountains of the Lake District, has housed some of Britain's best novelists and poets – find out what inspired these great writers with a five-mile walk. Map and route.

Hawkshead and Latterbarrow, Cumbria
Hawkshead Cumbria
Winter veil: the village of Hawkshead in the Lake District National Park wakes to a blanket of thin frost and low-lying mist ©Simon Whaley

The small village of Hakwshead in the middle of the Lake District National Park is a great base for exploring the surrounding hills, including the modest peak of Latterbarrow. Map and route.

Keld to Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire
Stones dale Beck, Stonesdale, Upper Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales National Park
Stonesdale Beck flows through Upper Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park ©Getty

Midway through this Yorkshire Dales walk, stop off at the Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Britain – before returning across the moors past Roman cairns and craggy tors. Map and route

Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire
Robin Hood's Bay
The tide ebbs at Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park to reveal a series of wave-cut platforms – Landing Scar, High Scar, Billet Scar – beyond which lies the snow-dusted headland of Old Peak ©Alamy

Tiny, pantiled cottages, honeycombed with narrow courtyards, tumble down a narrow gully to the sea. Front doors look over neighbours’ roofs and vertiginous stone steps link the different levels. Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire is magical in the winter months. While you're there, escape the bustle of the village with a walk along the coast. Map and route.

Howgill Fells, Cumbria
Sedbergh, Cumbria
Sedbergh sits beneath the Howgill Fells in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

This challenging walk in the north-western corner of the Yorkshire Dales begins in the village of Sedbergh and climbs into Howgill Fells – take a break on The Calf, with staggering views west over the Cumbria landscape and east over North Yorkshire. Map and route.

South England

Dunster, Somerset
Dunster Somerset
Christmas illuminations– every winter, the village of Dunster and its 11th-century castle remembers its medieval past, lighting up its streets and houses with lanterns and candlelight ©Alamy

High on a hill in north-east Exmoor, medieval Dunster Castle glows above lantern-lit houses, music-filled streets and bustling gift shops. It’s a magical scene best enjoyed after a winter walk. Map and route.

Pentire Head, North Cornwall
Pentire Head
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,” wrote poet Laurence Binyon as he sat on the cliffs at Pentire Point in 1914 ©Getty

This 3.5-mile circular walk around a Cornish headland has everything you need for the perfect Boxing Day walk – dramatic geology, a wealth of wildlife and a secluded cove with a hidden secret. Map and route.

Goring-on-Thames to Pangbourne, Oxfordshire
Goring
Goring-on-Thames is the meeting point of two national trails: the Ridgeway and the Thames Path ©Alamy

Take a walk from the torchlit streets of an Oxfordshire village through the Goring Gap – a winter-worn valley of naked trees and frozen paths, carved by the River Thames. Map and route.

Valley of Rocks, Devon
Valley of Rocks, Devon (©Getty Images)
Blow away the cobwebs on Boxing Day with a clifftop ramble through Valley of Rocks ©Getty

Exult in towering sea cliffs where feral goats clamber skilfully between Devonian crags on our short circular walk around the Valley of Rocks in Devon. Map and route.

Marlpit Hill, Kent
Misty dawn over Marlpit Hill pasture
Misty morning over Marlpit Hill pasture ©Sarah Medway

This short circular walk begins in Marlpit Hill on the northern edge of Edenbridge, Kent. Once at the heart of the medieval Wealden iron industry, the area is now tranquil farmland. Map and route.

Caen Hill Locks, Wiltshire
In the 19th century Caen Hill’s locks were gas lit at night
In the 19th century, Caen Hill’s locks were gas lit at night ©Anna Stowe

Ramble along a thriving Wiltshire waterway and discover busy market towns, chalk ponies and an incredible flight of locks. Map and route.

Wales

Sugar Loaf Mountain, Monmouthshire
Sugar Loaf, Monmouthshire
Pinched at its crest, the iconic Sugar Loaf peak is visible from miles around ©Getty

In its relatively modest 596m, the summit of Sugar Loaf in the Brecon Beacons National Park encompasses much that is magical about mountains, hills and woodland – explore this wonderful Welsh peak with a  five-mile circular walk. Route and Map.

Llyn y Fan Fach, Camarthenshire
Llyn y Fan Fach
Looking east from Bannau Sir Gaer over Llyn y Fan Fach ©Getty

A four-mile walk in the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park along a bustling river, a lonely llyn and a wild mountain ridge. Map and route.

Blorenge, Monmouthshire
Blorenge Brecon Beacons
Keeper's Pond on the flanks of Blorenge in the Brecon Beacons ©Getty

The rounded hilltop of Blorenge in the Brecon Beacons National Park was once dominated by industry – now, wildlife flourishes among vast swathes of heather moorland. Map and route.

Mawddach Estuary, Gwynedd
Mawddach Estuary, Gwynedd
Barmouth Bridge over Mawddach Estuary ©Getty

Savour the beautiful scenery on this 10-mile walk to the stunning Cregennen Lakes in the foothills of Cader Idris in Snowdonia National Park. Route and map.

Llyn Tegid, Gwynedd
Llyn Tegid/Lake Bala, Snowdonia
Ellyn Tegid, known as Lake Bala in English, sit in the east of Snowdonia National Park ©Getty

Known in English as Lake Bala, Llyn Tegid is the largest natural lake in Wales – explore its banks and surrounding forests in the east of Snowdonia National Park with this 8.5-mile hike. Map and route.

Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire
Marloes Penisula
Wooltack Point, Pembrokeshire ©Drew Buckley

One of the finest stretches on the Pembrokeshire coastline, the Marloes Peninsula takes in a long sandy beach, dramatic rock formations and clifftops of wildflowers. Map and route.

Waterfall Country, Powys
Sgwd yr Eira Waterfall
Sgwd yr Eira and the rest of the waterfalls are at their most impressive after heavy rain ©Getty

Discover a world away from the crowds with a spectacular walk through Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Map and route.

Northern Ireland

Slieve Bearnagh, County Down
Bourne Wall, County Down
Hiking along Mourne Wall, County Down ©Getty

The Mountains of Mourne loom large behind the resort town of Newcastle. The beaches and dunes here are superb for walking, but Newcastle’s jewel in the crown sits inland; a fulfilling circuit of two of the Mournes’ most notable summits, Slieve Bearnagh (739m) and Slieve Meelmore (682m). It's a tough walk but, whether permitting, makes for a great Boxing Day adventure. Map and route.

Glenariff Nature Reserve, County Antrim
Glenariff
Boardwalks lead through the reserve form one waterfall to the next ©Getty

This short circular gorge walk, abound with tumbling rivers and waterfalls, navigates through a lush reserve in Northern Ireland's County Antrim. Map and route.

Discover more great walks in the British countryside here.

Main image ©Getty

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