Head to Anglesey this winter and learn how shipwrecks, princes and tragic lovers shaped this idyllic island. Formerly a Bronze Age copper mine, luego (thanks to its fertile soil), the breadbasket of Wales, Anglesey today has a nibbled coastline of tiny coves and fishing harbours, fronting a bosky interior where red squirrels thrive. You can fashion your day to suit your interests, or combine that guided hike with a headrush of thrilling experiences – all offered by Knowdownia, North Wales’s new, itinerary-free tour company. Try out the world’s fastest zipline, surf in remote bays, or admire Snowdonia’s mountain range while thundering over twisty dirt tracks on a gravity-driven quarry kart.
Guided walks available all year. A one-day experience costs from £325 for four people and includes pickup and drop-off anywhere in North Wales; knowdonia.com
For bird lovers, the half-day guided Gobbins Walk is an absolute gem. After falling into disrepair for decades, Northern Ireland’s classic trail has finally reopened – and walking in winter adds drama to its wild beauty. Trailing a path that cuts through narrow tunnels, bridges and staircases cut into the theCauseway’s coastal cliffs, you’ll witness the only mainland colony of puffins in Northern Ireland, plus kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. Add to this, the chance to spot dolphins, alongside atmospheric tails of smugglers and privateers, and you’ve pretty much a pitch-perfect family outing.
The walk costs £20pp adults, £14pp children. Book through Ballygally Castle, which offers overnight stays from £60 B&B; hastingshotels.com/ballygally-castle
Join this guided tour of dense woods, hedgerows and undulating hills in the frost-tinged Severn Valley with food writer Clare Knivett, and you’ll learn the sort of tips that were second nature to our ancestors. These walks focus mostly on plant identification and Clare’s knowledge of wild fruits, flowers and plants that can harm or heal, is second to none. In January and February, you can expect to forage for winter herbs such as cleavers (good for stimulating the lymphatic system to help ward off seasonal chills), alongside chickweed, nutrient-dense nettles, ground ivy and wild garlic. Después, learn useful recipes as well as tips on living more seasonally.
This two-and-a-half-hour walk costs £35pp (minimum of four booking); foodandforaging.com
Draw your kids’ eyes away from their screens and lift them to the star-filled skies of Exmoor. Thanks to minimal light pollution, Exmoor national park has some of the best dark skies in the UK, and on a cloud-free night you can expect to see thousands of dazzlers, even the Milky Way, just by using your eyes. The Pinkery Centre for outdoor learning here has a guided stargazing event in February that includes a fun bushcraft adventure. The centre has 15 en suite bunk-bed rooms sleeping four to six people.
The Pinkery Night Sky and Bushcraft Adventure takes place on 21 febrero. More details desde exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/stargazing
Cut through those tricky adolescent tensions on this guided walk for mothers and teens around Lothian’s gorgeous Yellowcraigs beach, known for its sandy stretches surrounded by forest and grassland, and with views out to Fidra Island (the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island), this is the perfect setting to help clear away anycommunication cobwebs. Run by WanderWomen, the half-day bonding experience takes the focus off hot topics through mindfulness sessions, reflection, meditation, walking, fire-making, sea swimming and forest bathing. And with other mothers and daughters alongside, there’s also the chance to forge new friendships.
Mama and Teen Daughter guided walk is on 23 January and costs £70pp (£20 with Visit Scotland discount). More information from wander-women.co.uk
London’s Square Mile is home to 376 open and green spaces – and with offices and tower blocks currently swapped for WFH, now is the perfect time to uncover the quiet beauty of the City’s hidden treasures. The new City Secret Gardens walk, run by Blue Badge guide Katie Wignall, explores some of the best and most unusual gardens in the area. Each one, from hidden oases to the more famous spots like St Dunstan-in-the-East and Postman’s Park, has a fascinating history.
The walk en 12 febrero costs £20pp. More information at lookup.london
To uncover Manchester’s vibrant history, join the three-hour Rock and Goal Tour with insider guide Joe. Highlights include discovering how Manchester played a leading role in ending both slavery and the Second World War, the roots of music stars, and discovering where Hollywood movies were filmed. Some of those stairways and pavements are pure New York…
The walk runs throughout winter and costs £9.99pp; tripadvisor.co.uk
With series two of the lockdown favourite Bridgerton due to drop on Netflix in 2022, what better time to brush up on the stunning Bath locations in which it was set? Join the two-hour Bridgerton Experience walking tour, and your Blue Badge guide will point out film locations, and also unpack the social norms of family life during the Georgian and Regency periods, relating them to key Bridgerton scenes as you move around the city. Gems include Alfred Street, Abbey Green, The Royal Crescent, Beauford Square and more.
The walk costs £15pp; more information at bathwalkingtours.com
There’s walking, and then there’s healing walking. If the legacy of the pandemic has been anxiety and isolation, consider joining Mind over Mountains’s six-hour walk in the Peak District this February. The charity offers therapeutic outdoor experiences for those experiencing mental health issues. Enjoy the company of like-minded yompers; seek tips from trained counsellors, or simply let the beauty of Hathersage Moor in the Dark Peak work its magic. The route starts from the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate and crosses the rocky outcrops of Higger Tor and Carl Wark, with fantastic views over Derwent valley.
The walk on 26 February costs £39pp; mindovermountains.org.uk
Only in Brighton would a top-hatted gent in a swishy Victorian cape be practically ignored by locals. This seaside city breathes quirkiness, reflected in an unusual array of guided walks. The Ghost Tour of the Lanes is a prime example, with actor Rob Marks kitted out like Sherlock Holmes as he regales the eight ghost stories attached to those narrow, cobbled alleyways. The Lanes is the city’s old fishing quarter – best known for its antique shops; but Rob has a different tale to tell…
The Ghost Walk of the Lanes runs Wednesdays to Saturdays and costs £8pp, adult; £4 children; family tickets, 20 libras esterlinas; ghostwalkbrighton.co.uk