Best Boxing Day Walks and Trails

Boxing Day, for many, is a time for relaxation after a hectic Christmas the day before – and one of the best ways to achieve that is enjoying some fresh air on a walk.

You could spend the day watching your kids play with their new toys, watching a classic film on the TV, remembering what presents you got or thinking of ways to use any leftovers. But a walk gets you out of the house and working-off your Christmas dinner.

We’re not saying you should go for a hike that lasts all day or takes you up peaks, but just to stretch your legs and enjoy nature. So, Winfields has picked out some excellent winter walks that you can enjoy this Boxing Day, from National Trust grounds to parks and hills.

Read on to discover some of the best Boxing Day walking routes and destinations near you for some fresh air and exercise after Christmas…

Scotland

Dunnottar Castle

Down the coast from Aberdeen you’ll find a stunning ruined castle perched upon a rocky headland jutting out into the North Sea. It’s a spectacular location for a walk that also includes a beautiful harbour and the wildlife to go with it.

Starting in Stonehaven, you make your way around the harbour and onto a small road and then follow the footpath that will take you to Dunnottar Castle. Along the way are sights, such the war memorial, bays and sea stacks on this rugged coastline before arriving at the castle itself. It’s a stunning ruin that allows you to learn its remarkable history.

You can make your back on the in-land roads, particularly if it’s quite blowy, where you can take refuge in Stonehaven for a relaxing brew.

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Arthur’s Seat

A classic walk or hike and a must for anyone who lives in or visits Edinburgh. This peak forms part of the Seven Summits trail and includes the biggest hills and lookout points within the city, so you can truly appreciate this unique capital.

The extinct volcano is one of the highlights of the Scottish capital with amazing panoramic views from its 720-foot summit. You can start a hike up Arthur’s Seat from almost anywhere in Edinburgh because it’s so close to the city. Princes Street, the Royal Mile, they are excellent start and finish points where you can drop in for a coffee or hot drink.

The Seven Summits includes the seven hills the city was built on, including Edinburgh Castle, and take up to 8 hours to complete in total.

North & Central England

Sycamore Gap

We mentioned movies are often a part of Boxing Day, whether it’s a classic on TV and streaming or a new one you’ve unwrapped. Well, this walk takes you to an iconic film location – from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Sycamore Gap is just one part of most of the spectacular stretch of Hadrian’s Wall and takes you up to Housesteads Roman Fort. There are incredible views across the glacial loughs of Crag, Greenlee, Broomlee and Grindon. There’s a footpath running along most of the Wall, including this stretch, though it can be a little squelchy and wet underfoot.

This is a short walk that can be extended along Hadrian’s Wall or to Crag Lough and there are excellent pubs close by, too, for a post-walk drink.

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Dunstanburgh

One of the most spectacular castle ruins in the UK, the 14th-century Dunstanburgh Castle combines history and the stunning Northumberland coast in a lovely walk. You can do this route on a pathway or walk most of it on the amazing beaches.

This walk, along Dunstanburgh Road, overlooks Embleton Bay and takes you to Craster – famed for its harbour and crabs – for amazing views around the town and across the North Sea. This walk can, in warmer times of the year, form part of the Northumberland Coastal Path, an incredible coastal walk along one of England’s best stretches of coastline.

This coastline is one of the best for walks, hikes and cycling, and we’d highly recommend it for holidays, camping or caravanning.

Cat Bells

This fell is an iconic peak that’s an excellent introduction to hiking the Lake District’s summits, which also makes it one of the most popular walking routes. However, that could have something to do with the incredible views.

The peak sits above the town of Keswick and Derwent Water, providing panoramic views of the Lake District’s mountains and lush valleys as well as the mirror-like lake below. Despite it being a peak, this is an easy climb and walk once you’re up there that isn’t too long – ideal for Boxing Day. There is a footpath, making it accessible for all the family.

Described as “a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved” by Wainwright, this is an excellent Lakes’ walk from Keswick.

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Hawkshead

This walk is described in Alfred Wainwright’s writings and combines two of the best attractions to the Lake District – traditional village scenes and summit views. This route takes you up Latterbarrow hill for amazing views.

The walk to the summit of Latterbarrow is described by Wainwright as “needing little effort yet yielding much delight”. This is true as the walk is fairly easy as you set off from Hawkshead – with its whitewashed cottages and cobbled courtyards – and experience this wonderful winter’s walk to the crest of this hill and its monument.

The return to Hawkshead is just as rewarding with this village’s excellent pubs waiting to welcome you in from the cold with Esthwaite Water to the south.

Robin’s Hood Bay

This small fishing village on the Yorkshire coast is in the North York Moors National Park is a stunning destination at any time of year. However, in winter, this is a beautiful location to escape to for a walk along the coast.

Robin Hood’s Bay is 6 miles south of Whitby and 15 north of Scarborough, making it very accessible. It’s small, pantiled cottages, with narrow courtyards, are inviting while you simply wander down a narrow gully to the sea. You can even walk to this quaint village along the former railway line, from Whitby, that’s now a public footpath.

The location of Robin Hood’s Bay provides stunning views of the North Sea and forms part of the Cleveland Way trail and is the endpoint of Wainwright’s coast-to-coast route.

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Frodsham Hill

Woodland this close to the cities of West Cheshire and Merseyside is too good to pass up, even more so when excellent views are on offer. You can also see the remains of the Iron Age hill fort of your way to the top – a great mix of history and nature.

10 miles north of Chester, Frodsham Hill features three connected woodlands as well as grassland and heathland, offering a great blend of natural habitats. The top of the Hill, which includes a war memorial, offers the reward of views across the Mersey Estuary, Wirral and on to Wales. Though it may look tall, this is an easy walk and very accessible.

Frodsham is also the starting point for the 34-mile Sandstone Trail that follows the Mid Cheshire Ridge and ends in Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Malham Tarn & Cove

One of Yorkshire’s most recognisable and beautiful locations, Malham has become even more popular in recent years following its appearance in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This is an amazing walk at any time of the year, but winter is special.

Outside the town of Malham, and 23 miles north of Skipton, this walk is a circular route that takes in the breathtaking Malham Cove and Malham Tarn. This walk can stretch across fields and hills or on roads – whichever you are more comfortable with. Close by, you’ll also discover the Gordale Scar ravine and Janet’s Foss waterfall.

You can plan your walk around a trip to the Lister Pub, one of the highest-rated pubs in the UK that’s extremely welcoming following a walk around Malham’s top sights.

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Castleton

In the heart of the Peak District but accessible from East Cheshire, Manchester and Yorkshire, Castleton is a walking and hiking hotspot. Aside from the excellent hiking trails around the area, the village itself is worth exploring, too.

Around the town’s borders, you have the 11th-century Peveril Castle and the Cave Dale valley. Depending on where you’ve come from, you could actually pass through one of the more striking natural formations, Winnats Pass. In the town, you’ll find excellent shops, cafes and pubs where you can enjoy relaxing comfort breaks after your walk.

We’d highly recommend checking out the fantastic Christmas Tree festival that’s run every year and sees up to 50 trees decorated by local groups.

Wales

Llandudno

You can’t go wrong with a classic UK seaside town and this is one the best that combines a Victorian beach resort with the Welsh hills. In Llandudno, you start off walking along the promenade and then around the Great Orme.

You have a great choice on which walk to take. Up and down the promenade, maybe including the pier, around the Orme or even up it. You could even walk through the town and on to Conwy. Either way, this is an excellent spot for a Boxing Day walk that gets by the coast and in sight of amazing landscapes. Ideal for family walking.

The route around the Great Orme can be quite blowy, so bear this in mind when you arrive and choose which walk you want to go on.

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Waterfall Country

If you want a world away from the crowds on Boxing Day with a spectacular walk through the Brecon Beacons National Park, this could be the place. Waterfall Country, or the Vale of Neath, is a spectacular walking location unlike any other.

Beautiful and picturesque scenery with special features is how you would describe this location that has a series of waterfalls on top of each other. Here, you’ll find incredible woodland and biodiversity, including the many pools after the waterfalls. Though this is a popular spot, it’s unlike any other for a Boxing Day walk.

There are small towns close by should you want to park there, with Swansea and Neath to the south west of the falls.

South East England

Box Hill

This is an outstanding area of woodland and the summit of the North Downs where you can experience incredible views of Surrey. This sits within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and overlooks the River Mole, so you are in for a great walk.

There is a range of trails on offer from longer routes to the shorter Stepping Stones walk that takes you to the iconic landmark within the woodland. Amazing flora and fauna, as well as wildlife, can be seen wherever you head off to thanks to the varied woodland and downland. The hilltop stroll is easy and accessible, perfect for a Boxing Day walk.

19 miles south-west of London, Box Hill can be accessed by car or train if you head for Dorking on the Sutton & Mole Valley Line.

Richmond Park

Larger green spaces can be hard to come by in London, and you may want to get away from the hustle and bustle, seeking tranquillity. Wide-open spaces, grasslands and deer herds are an excellent way to get some fresh air and relaxation in the capital.

The park includes Richmond Hill itself, which provides a fantastic vantage point for views, and the route isn’t too strenuous with much of it on pavement. In this 17th-century park, you can combine nature and history with its Grade-I listed building, White Lodge, a former royal residence. An easy walk for all the family to enjoy with amazing pictures opportunities.

You can exit this royal park and make your way along the River Thames where you can find even more relaxation and nature.

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Clare & Pentlow

Sometimes, an easy walk around old villages is all you need on a Boxing Day stroll, and Suffolk has plenty to offer. The Stour Valley, on the Suffolk-Essex border, offers history and nature in one incredible walking package.

Winter is a magical time for exploring peaceful river valleys and rural churches. This walk, which starts in the historic market town of Clare, with its 133 listed buildings and castle. You head to Pentlow, alongside the River Stour, and then up to Cavendish and the beautiful St Mary the Virgin church. Head back to Clare along Cavendish Road for an easy finish.

This walk, when combined with crisp air and milky sunshine, is an ideal Boxing Day stroll that gives you a true taste of Suffolk.

Holkham Beach

If you want the coast for a Boxing Day walk, Norfolk is one of the best places to be. You are never far from the coast in this county and there is a great mix of landscapes to enjoy and discover. This walk is all about the beach, though.

Holkham beach, on a frosty Boxing Day morning, is particularly beautiful. Holkham offers a blend of pinewoods to sand dunes, the beach and then the sea. The shoreline at Holkham is part of one of the largest national nature reserves in the UK and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna, so you are in for some sights everywhere you look.

This is an accessible area, largely flat and not far from Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea, so the whole family can enjoy this walk.

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Stowe

Stowe can mean different things to who you ask. To some, it’s a stately home or school, while for others, it’s a famous corner on a racetrack – but they’re all linked. The corner is named after the school that’s based at Stowe House, where this walk takes place.

The gardens and the majority of the parkland at Stowe are listed grade I separately from the House. The large grounds, all part of the National Trust, allow you to pause and reconnect with nature. The renowned gardens are an amazing site and area to walk around, as is the Octagon Lake, with it being extremely accessible with footpaths.

This is a large area, so even if you don’t manage to see all of Stowe and its grounds, it’s well worth another visit to stretch your legs and relax.

Northern Ireland

Divis Ridge

This route takes in the highest of Belfast’s hills and rewards you with stunning views across the city and surrounding areas. This trail can be a short stroll around the summit or much longer if you want to start your walk from Belfast city centre.

On the trail, you will have an incredible opportunity to enjoy 180-degree views across Belfast and further afield. You’ll be able to spot the Antrim Plateau to the north, Scotland to the east and Ireland’s Mourne Mountains to the south. There’s nowhere else that can offer such sights, making this a brilliant walk on Boxing Day.

You can, of course, walk up the mountain for a longer hike, but you can also drive if you want an easier walk post-Christmas Day.

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Kearney

For getting sea air, amazing views and enjoying the rugged coastline of Northern Ireland, this is the perfect place for a Boxing Day walk. With its simple traditional dwellings and an unspoilt, timeless character, this is a special walking route.

Kearney is a National Trust village on the lower Ards Peninsula, where you can discover the traditional fishing village and its abundance of wildlife. Waterproof and windproof clothing are essential as the weather can be wild. It may be a short walking route, but you are advised to inform someone of your intended route before leaving.

One the walk, you will be able to see across the Irish Sea to Scotland and the Isle of Man while you can also retreat and relax in Portaferry.

South West England

Dunster

Dunster in winter is a delight thanks to its historic highlights that make it a special location for a Boxing Day walk. As this is around a village, you can really make this walk your own, thanks to the huge attractions in the Dunster and just outside.

Under the shadow of the castle, Dunster is a stunning medieval village that can offer you a smorgasbord of walking stops. It may be 2 miles from the Bristol channel, but you can walk along the River Avill where you’ll also find the watermill. Outside the village centre is the deer park, so you can see unique wildlife at the same time.

While in Dunster, you can even learn about how it was the birthplace of the song “All Things Bright and Beautiful” or visit the West Somerset Railway steam train.

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Burton Bradstock

This walk follows the South West Coast Path and includes incredible views of the Jurassic Coast. A combination of amazing landscapes and sea air is just what we need on Boxing Day to blow away the cobwebs from Christmas.

You have a great deal of choice and landscape on this walk, from the quaint stone village of Burton Bradstock itself to the cliffs and glorious beach – they’re not just for summer. This walk is a great way to enjoy the Jurassic Coast at Christmas time, especially when you catch the golden glow of the cliffs. Much of the walk is over soft ground, so bear this in mind.

You can also relax in the village, following your walk, at the side of the River Bride, which is an excellent way to wind down and catch your breath.

Penrose

If you want to enjoy a mix of woodland, beaches and wetlands, this is the place for you in Cornwall. At Penrose, you’ll discover what makes the South West of England so special, it’s landscape and wildlife are so hard to match.

This woodland is set around the largest natural lake – Loe Pool – in Cornwall with wildlife at its heart. Penrose is home to barn owls, otters and much more, so you could be in for a treat on your walk. This National Trust site includes 1536 acres of land to discover, as well as the beaches where you can unwind listening to the waves.

Along the coast, almost next door, you’ll find the town of Porthleven – the most southerly port in the UK – and its beautiful harbour to stroll around.

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Dyrham Park

For, literally, acres of space to explore and unwind, this National Trust site is perfect, especially with its magnificent views over to Wales. There are plenty of walking trails that ensure you can take in the best sights and sounds of winter.

Dyrham Park is the perfect place to enjoy sweeping vistas on Boxing Day with its views across the Cotswold Hills and the Bristol Channel. With 270 acres of parkland, you have plenty of choices when it comes to which trail you take and what highlights you include on your walk. Much of the park is made of footpaths, so it’s very accessible for all ages.

This is such a varied area to explore, including Neptune Hill and the deer park, so there is something for everyone on Boxing Day.

Each of these walks is ideal for getting outside and some fresh air on Boxing Day to burn off your delicious dinner from the day before. They’ll give you the chance to take in some of the best beauty spots around the UK.

Click on the links below to browse some of the walking and hiking essentials that you can find at Winfields Outdoors.

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