The Malvern Hills might not be the most obvious place for a dog-sledding adventure, but Arctic Quest, situated just outside Tewkesbury, offers thrilling rides and a chance to get fully involved with the pack. With only four people per session, visitors get plenty of hands-on time with the dogs, before learning how to “mush”, and embarking on a first brief ride. Once you’re feeling confident, the trails get longer and the dogs move faster, until you’re “mushing” at considerable speed. Afterwards, there’s a chance to swap stories over warming drinks around the campfire.
The two-hour Full Mushing Experience costs £120pp; arcticquest.co.uk
A combination of indoor and outdoor wintry activities make this a great choice for anyone looking to pep up winter days with a shot of adrenaline. Based at Glencoe, this small-group trip begins with a snow-shoeing trek, before an ice-climbing session in nearby Kinlochleven, home to the largest indoor ice-climbing centre in the world. The next day offers the chance to race through the snow on a husky-drawn sled, before sipping hot chocolate at a local artisan chocolatier.
Three-night break, departing 4 February and 25 March from £929, including most meals, transfers and experiences; culturetrip.com
A new winter experience from CBK Adventures, this evening adventure takes place on the Northumberland coast, beginning with a sociable meal in a 10-person Finnish army tent, complete with its own log-burning stove. Guests then warm up in the neighbouring four-person Finnish tent sauna, with dry heat or steam available, before a plunge into the freezing waters of the North Sea. A cold-water expert will be on hand to ensure safety (there are dry suits for those who can’t face the bracing temperatures) with hot drinks and all-weather robes available the moment you step out of the sea.
The Ice Dip Social costs £99pp; cbkadventure.co.uk
Cold-water swimming is one thing, but swimming in winter – and at night – takes it to a whole new level. Outdoor and wild swimming specialist Angela Jones runs group swims in the river Wye. Swimmers are accompanied by a safety team, and there’s a chance to warm up by a firepit afterwards, with mince pies and a hot drink. Daytime cold-water swim events are available, and bespoke swims for private groups can be arranged. Stay at Creates in Monmouth, a buzzy bistro with eight bedrooms (doubles from £70 B&B, createsmonmouth.com).
Introduction to Cold Water Swimming costs £40pp; swimwildwye.co.uk
If you long to see the northern lights, but don’t fancy a trip to Scandinavia in its cold, dark winter, this three-hour flight – with departures from regional airports – is a great idea. After a pre-flight talk by the astronomy team, including the forecast for the lights, passengers are accompanied on board by Pete Lawrence, a regular astronomer on the BBC’s Sky at Night, who gives a commentary of what can be seen outside. The plane is darkened inside to enable the best views, with spectacular constellations on all sides, even if the northern lights remain elusive.
The Northern Lights Flight Experience costs £229pp; omegabreaks.com
For the most romantic of wintry adventures, book the Hinterlandes Hidden Hut, a simple, self-catering cabin (the highest in the UK). Ideal for a few days off-grid, the hut is located 20 minutes’ walk up an unnamed fell, surrounded by glorious mountain views, best seen through the large picture window next to the bed. The hut has a hot shower, composting toilet and pizza oven, and alongside walks from the door, ghyll-scrambling, mountain-biking and 4×4 driving are all on offer nearby.
From £190 a night; canopyandstars.co.uk
It’s not only Canada and Alaska that offer wildlife-spotting adventures in winter; the Isle of Skye is home to the International Otter Survival Fund, and this two-night package at Kinloch Lodge offers an excellent chance of seeing these elusive creatures. In the winter months, otters need to surface more often to find food, meaning there is a better chance seeing them pottering around the shores of Loch na Dal. Skye is also home to puffins, porpoise, minke whales and seals, and the package includes a day with a local nature guide. Kinloch Lodge is a charming hotel in a stunning location.
A two-night break costs £520pp, dinner, B&B including an otter-watching day; kinloch-lodge.co.uk
Skiing in Europe still looks like a complicated prospect this winter, meaning there’s never been a better time to explore the Scottish slopes closer to home. This short break from Wilderness Travel reveals Scotland’s best skiing, from Glenshee and the back bowls of the Nevis range to off-piste routes in the Cairngorms. Every morning, the ski guide will assess the conditions and choose where the best skiing is to be found; if there’s not enough snow, other activities – from mountain biking to winter walking – will be on offer.
A four-night break from £855pp B&B, based on a group of four, sharing a Ski Tour Guide; wildernessscotland.com
A unique opportunity to get up close with these wild, wintry animals, this one-hour trek through the Cumbrian countryside involves walking with wolves both on a leash and running free. Accompanied by an experienced wolf handler, who gives an insight into the evolution, physiology, social structure and communication between the animals, walkers have the chance to howl alongside the animals. A great experience for wildlife photographers and nature lovers, but children must be 16 or over to join the walk.
A one-hour Walk with Wolves costs £95pp; predatorexperience.co.uk
An epic walking adventure for those with some experience of mountain trekking, this trek covers seven of Snowdonia’s mountains, with 3,000m of ascent. The walks take in glacial valley bowls, dome-shaped plateaux and breathtaking ridge walks, along with glorious views and the chance to reach the summit of Snowdon. Daily distances are around 12-15km, involving stiff ascents; fortunately, a mid-afternoon finish means there’s plenty of time to recover before having to lace up your books the next day.
A three-night break is £540pp B&B, including lunches and transfers; adventurousewe.co.uk.