41 of the best bite-sized Boxing Day walks in Britain

Blow away the Christmas cobwebs with a stroll along the coast and through forests (or just between pubs)

Penzance, Cornwall

Freshly renovated, the 2.7 mile coastal path between Marazion and Penzance is perfect for Boxing Day 2023. The surface is excellent, the way lined with new sculptures. Plus, it passes a dog-friendly beach and affords brilliant bay views across to magical St Michael’s Mount. tinyurl.com/4b5h7d7t

Bournemouth, Dorset

For a blast of brisk sea air, promenade for three miles along the seafront from Bournemouth Pier to Poole. You’ll pass West Cliff Gardens, the striking Canford Cliffs and Rockwater café on Branksome Chine Beach, a delicious spot to refuel. tinyurl.com/3fb7r95n

Ashton Court, Bristol

Across the Avon from central Bristol, Ashton Court has 850 acres of open, green space. The 2.2 mile Deer Walk explores the 14th-century deer park (squint to imagine Rudolf) and offers brilliant Bristol views. tinyurl.com/4mjun553file

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

Honeyed stone, frosty parkland, Cotswolds vistas… Dyrham Park, on the outskirts of Bath (en route to the M4), is a beautiful Boxing Day venue. The three-mile Prospect Walk is great; or try the peaceful poetry trail, which is lined with winter verse. National Trust admission applies. tinyurl.com/4ffbd46e

Beechenhurst, Gloucestershire

Driving to or from the south-west? Beechenhurst’s 4.5 mile Sculpture Trail is the perfect place to stretch your legs. The varied outdoor artworks enhance the Forest of Dean’s natural landscapes – and encourage kids to explore. There’s an adventure playground and café (open Boxing Day) too. tinyurl.com/5fbyf26h

Windsor Great Park, Berkshire

The smooth trails of this royal park are perfect for mud-free strolls. There are various routes; the longer 5.7 mile Savill Garden to Virginia Water loop is a beaut, especially when low winter sun filters through the trees and reflects off the lake. tinyurl.com/2v9kkppu

Savill Garden to Virginia Water loop in Windsor Great Park Credit: Doug Harding / Visit Windsor Image supplied by Rowena Moore
The Savill Garden to Virginia Water loop in Windsor Great Park (Photo: Doug Harding /Visit Windsor/Warwick Sweeney)

Halnaker, West Sussex

There’s something to interest everyone on this five-mile loop near Chichester: a restored windmill, a thriving vineyard, a 12th-century Priory Church (open daily) and a sunken tree tunnel, once part of a Roman road. Plus, the cosy Anglesey Arms offers festive cheer. tinyurl.com/y4tr4a5j

Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Before your ferry leaves, pop out for a pint or two. A four-mile loop starts at Yarmouth’s Wheatsheaf Inn and pit-stops at Freshwater’s Red Lion, both cosy pubs with open fires. It also passes a hide at Mill Copse, good for spying over-wintering birds. tinyurl.com/yuatvv2k, tinyurl.com/54fbkpfj

Coccolith, Surrey/Kent

Follow a 1.8 mile trail up to Coccolith, a new sculpture on the North Downs Way Art Trail. It’s a striking piece, and a good place to enjoy invigorating views. Refreshments (and free parking) can be found at the new Titsey Brewing Company Taproom. tinyurl.com/44t6w862

Fleet Street Quarter, London

Add some enchantment to a city stroll by following the Fleet Street Quarter’s Snowman Trail (running until 5 January). Twelve sculptures paying homage to Raymond Briggs’ art work and animation, and inspired by the “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, are dotted around the district’s Christmas-quiet streets. tinyurl.com/5fwu2mfr

Epping Forest, Essex

More than 280km of paths weave around Epping Forest, an easy Boxing Day escape from London. Try the on-theme Holly Trail, a 2.5-mile circular from Chingford Plain on well-surfaced forest paths; keep an eye out for muntjac deer, ancient trees and bright-red berries. tinyurl.com/mrc7bn5k

Brandon Country Park, Suffolk

Handily just off the A11, this park within Thetford Forest is excellent for easy, evergreen strolls. The 3.5 mile Forest and Heath Trail delves deep into the woods, via an arboretum, open glades and a Scots pine plantation, fairy-tale-like under a lick of frost. tinyurl.com/2jpehrer

Forest and Heath Trail Brandon Country Park, Suffolk Picture credit: David Falk Image from Ben Heather
The forest and Heath Trail in Brandon Country Park (Photo: David Falk)

Norwich, Norfolk

Hit the University of East Anglia (UEA) while the students are away to explore the Norwich campus’s natural side. As well as bold modernist architecture, you’ll find world-class sculptures and the lazy River Yare. The easy mile-long Green Trail loops the UEA’s quiet Broad; otters and herons might be seen. tinyurl.com/45uuep72

Grantchester, Cambridgeshire

Leave Cambridge’s glowing grandeur for a misty 4.7 mile stroll along the Cam to Grantchester and back. You will pass numerous nature areas and pubs open for refuelling, including the historic Eagle. Alternatively, do the same trip by punt: Scudamore’s is open for Boxing Day hire (scudamores.com). tinyurl.com/24cu9f32

Hatton, Warwickshire

Forget the sales: Hatton Shopping Village is closed on Boxing Day. But this retail outlet, five minutes off the M40, is a great base for winter wanders. Follow the 3.5 mile Watery Stroll for a cheek-ruddying walk via the Grand Union Canal’s 21 Hatton Locks. tinyurl.com/ry79ux6j

Worcestershire Beacon, Worcestershire

Follow a three-mile circuit up and around the highest peak in the Malverns – when winter mist settles in the valleys, and the slopes are cloaked in frost or snow, these modest hills look like a mini mountain range. tinyurl.com/4d29rve3

Colemere Collywobbles Colemere in Shropshire credit Graham Mitchell Image supplied by Jo Gaukrodger
The Colemere Collywobbles is a flat circuit to enjoy (Photo: Graham Mitchell)

Colemere, Shropshire

The name alone might be enough to entice kids out on this easy loop near Ellesmere. The 1.5 mile Colemere Collywobbles is a super-flat circuit of Cole Mere, a steep-sided lake created in the Ice Age, hugged by huge trees. tinyurl.com/455j7yr8/

Clent Hills, Birmingham

The whole tribe will love the mile-long all-ability path at Clent Hills. From here, just 15 minutes from Birmingham, you can see the Cotswolds, Peak District and Welsh Black Mountains, plus low light shining through the strange summit-top Four Stones. tinyurl.com/55v56nk6

Beacon Hill Country Park, Leicestershire

This enclave of open heath and 700 million-year-old rock sits only 10 minutes off the M1. Follow the two-mile Blue Route, which loops via woodland and wooden sculptures to the 248m summit of Beacon Hill for some of Leicestershire’s biggest, most bracing views. tinyurl.com/37m3yymw

Hardingstone Pocket Park, Northamptonshire

Hardingstone Pocket Park may be small, but offers a lovely two-mile loop amid firs that seem swiped straight from Narnia. Well-made trails make the walking easy, while Christmas cocktails are served at the nearby Sun Inn. tinyurl.com/28ca5ub5

Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire

They may not be reindeer, but Wollaton Hall’s red and fallow deer add a dash of Rudolf-like joy to a stroll on the edge of Nottingham. Trails wend around the Elizabethan mansion, lake and parkland; alternatively, visit after dark for the festive light trail (throughout December; charges apply). tinyurl.com/mr2ejx3u

Wing, Rutland

Pull over in the East Midlands for a wonderful winter walk around Wing. This historic village – complete with turf maze and award-winning Kings Arms Inn – is the starting point for a 5.2 mile stroll across the Chater Valley to Rutland Water Nature Reserve, where winter waders might be spotted. tinyurl.com/yzdw3936

Longshaw Woodland, Derbyshire

Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors are just a hop-skip from Sheffield. The three-mile Longshaw Woodland Explorer trail starts from the tearoom (open Boxing Day) and combines a sparkling pond, gritstone tors, packhorse route and the gnarled, moss-cloaked oaks of Padley Gorge. tinyurl.com/3cn7fhde

Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

Well-marked paths, shelter from chilly breezes, the chance of spotting deer… Cannock Chase’s 2.5 mile Fairoak Trail is a treat for families. Follow the route into the valley to Fairoak Pools, a scatter of small lakes rich in wildlife and ravishing on a crisp winter’s day. tinyurl.com/muu5rw4z

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

As well as a 17th-century manor and 300-acre deer park, Dunham Massey – just off the A56 – is home to one of the UK’s largest Winter Gardens. Follow the winding paths around this splendid seasonal patch, planted with more than 1,600 shrubs, trees and evergreens. National Trust admission charge applies. tinyurl.com/ymsz3k4z

Sale and Chorlton, Manchester

Accessible from Manchester by trams (due to run Boxing Day), this 5.9 mile circular is a great family leg-stretch. It takes in the lakes of Sale and Chorlton Water Parks plus the River Mersey and rustic Jackson’s Boat pub, with good birding en route. tinyurl.com/3r87amkb

Clougha Pike, Lancashire Credit: Jane Huddleston Image supplied by Raimy Greenland
Clougha Pike, Lancashire, is an easy climb with stunning views (Photo: Jane Huddleston)

Clougha Pike, Lancashire

A five-mile trip up Clougha Pike offers big bang for your Boxing Day buck. The 413m summit, near Lancaster, is a relatively easy climb (though a trickier descent), and affords breathtaking views of Morecambe Bay, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District fells. tinyurl.com/5n6db87m

Rievaulx Abbey, North York Moors

The whole family – wheelchairs and buggies included – can follow the 2.5 “miles without stiles” loop at English Heritage-run Rievaulx Abbey. Leafless trees provide unobstructed views of the 12th-century ruins. tinyurl.com/bdu68vyr

Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

Overdone it over Christmas? Reset yourself in Hamsterley Forest. Supported by Sport England, the two-mile Wellbeing Trail is dotted with panels encouraging you to connect with the frosty forest – spending time amid trees is proven to boost mental and physical health. tinyurl.com/4tkntpbr

Jesmond Dene, Tyne and Wear

Take a winter woodland wander without leaving the city. Numerous trails – some accessible, some less so, up to around 3.5 miles – weave amid Jesmond Dene’s landscaped parkland in Newcastle. Stroll via little bridges, old mills, stepping stones and magical cascades. tinyurl.com/2uwyp98s

Black Rock, Monmouthshire

Are you hopping between England and Wales over the holidays? Then detour to Black Rock picnic site where, on a stile-free three-mile walk, you’ll be blasted by Severn Estuary breezes, visit an Iron Age fort and get views of both the Severn Bridge crossings. tinyurl.com/46927cxb

Porthkerry Park, Vale of Glamorgan

Within easy reach of Cardiff and Bristol, this three-mile walk from Porthkerry Park to the Knap is packed with family fun. Kids could try out new bikes in the park before exploring the pebble beach and climbing the Golden Stairs – it is said that pirate treasure is buried below. tinyurl.com/4c5yyt2r

Langland Bay, Gower Peninsula

On Swansea’s doorstep, this cobweb-blasting two-mile cliff yomp delivers sweeping views of big winter swells, super sandy bays and pretty beach huts – all without too much effort. Look out for grey seals and surfers in the waves. tinyurl.com/4fh6sbu5

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

During Tenby’s annual Boxing Day Swim (11am), hundreds of hardy souls take a brisk fancy-dress dip in the sea. Watch the madcap action, then take a hike along the coast path; the 3.2 mile Waterwynch Circular climbs to Allens View and offers great Tenby town views. tinyurl.com/2sx9fsfm

Dyfi National Nature Reserve, Ceredigion

Wrap up for a walk around wild Dyfi reserve, midway between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth. Take the easy 2.75 mile Ynyslas Walk to explore the vast, shifting dunes, raised peat bogs and saltmarshes, and look out for wintering wildfowl, waders and birds of prey. tinyurl.com/5423wv2x

Neidpath Castle Tweed Peebles Image supplied by Lotte Latimer <lotte@beelinepr.com
Neidpath Castle alongside the Tweed in Peebles (Photo: Duncan Ireland)

Peebles, Scottish Borders

If you’re crossing betwixt Scotland and England this Christmas, make a pit stop in Peebles. A lovely four-mile circuit ambles along the banks of the burbling Tweed, passes hillside Neidpath Castle, crosses a pretty stone bridge and returns via woods where you might spy red squirrels. tinyurl.com/f67d6hpt

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

From Waverley Station, it’s only a mile-long jaunt up Calton Hill – one of the country’s finest urban hikes. You will pass an array of historic monuments en route, as well as gaining idyllic views over Edinburgh, its sandstone buildings and rock outcrops glowing in the winter sun. tinyurl.com/5zpzuawt

Pollok Park, Glasgow

On Glasgow’s south side, Pollok Park is perfect for woodland walks. On the 3.25 mile loop, you might well encounter Highland cows. Visit any other day and the park’s free Burrell Collection – the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 – will be open too. tinyurl.com/3kpp5afd

Pollok House is a stately house in Glasgow, Scotland designed by famous architect William Adam. The house contains a fine collection of artwork and is open to the public.
Pollok House in Glasgow was designed by architect William Adam (Photo: Gogosvm/Getty/iStockphoto)

Arbirlot Falls, Angus

In the countryside east of Dundee, you will find Arbirlot Falls, a magnificent 7m-high cascade that rages dramatically during the winter months. A four-mile nature trail along an old railway trackbed leads from the village of Elliot to Arbirlot, via the falls. tinyurl.com/5da23fnw

St Andrews, Fife

For the ultimate Boxing Day cobweb-blower, hit the Fife Coast Path from St Andrews. Walk (or run?) along West Sands, aka the enormous Chariots of Fire beach. Return via some of the city’s great golf courses, making a 4.5-mile loop. tinyurl.com/y6y48534

Loch an Eilein, Cairngorms

If you are lucky enough to be in the Cairngorms this festive season, a loop of gorgeous Loch an Eilein will add extra icing to your Christmas cake. On this family-friendly 4.25-mile stroll you will see snow-cloaked pines and a ruined island castle reflected in the chill waters. tinyurl.com/yaaydu9t

Most Read By Subscribers