Going for long walks on a Sunday is a great way to spend the day. Getting plenty of fresh air and exercise before going back to work on Monday is just perfect. However, in the winter finding a suitable and safe place to do so can be difficult. If you read my blog from our walk up the Cheviot Hills (which you can read here if you missed it), you’ll know what I mean! That’s why I wanted to put together a list of some perfect places to go walking and have a lovely day out in winter.
Of course right now, inside adventures are either none-existent (thanks to tier 3) or uncomfortable due to having to wear masks and worry about all the other other people being idiots. So being outside takes away almost all of these stresses!
When searching for a good place to go walking in winter, the main things I look for are; is it fairly covered if it rains; is there a fairly solid path (again referring back to the cheviot hills disaster); is it close to the car in case it rains; or are their toilets/some kind of civilisation to get hot food or coffee in case its freezing. As you can tell, weather is a huge influence and I don’t like being cold or/and wet! Therefore, all the places on this list fit into at least some of these aspects.
Hamsterley Forest, County Durham
Hamsterley Forest absolutely fits all the criteria for a wintery walk. Even in bad weather the path is sturdy and easy to walk on, the toilets are open, the cafe is open for take out. And of course its a forest and is covered (depending on which route you take) for the most part. Hamsterley is a pretty safe bet, and always such a good day out.
I wrote a full guide for visiting Hamsterley forest with all the information such as post code, parking costs and open times in another post which you can view HERE.
Bolam Lake Country Park, Northumberland
We visited Bolam Lake in the summer (between lockdowns). The walk here is much like Hamsterley where you pick and choose how far and long you walk. The lake itself is about 1 mile around and is pushchair/wheelchair accessible. However you could do what we did and go for a longer walk in the surrounding areas to make more of the day. Thankfully, the toilets are open, and it appears that parking is free right now too which is always a bonus.
Again, my blog post about our hike has the postcode as well as other information you might need for visiting which you can read HERE!
The Northumberland coast is full of beautiful places to go walking. Many of which offer towns or villages with takeaway cafes and fish and chips to warm you up, and most importantly public toilets. However, I only recommend visiting on a day with light wind. The coast here is fairly flat and if the wind is strong you’re going to get hammered by it!
There are a number of options here, so you can take your pick. I have a few blog posts which might help you decide. The main places you really should visit along here are Beadnell, Bamburgh and Seahouses or Crastor and Dunstanburgh Castle. In the relative blog posts, you can find post codes and other information.
Raby Castle, County Durham
Raby castle was our first post-lockdown adventure this summer. Now when I read back through the blog post I wrote, the taste of freedom is so prominent. If only I knew then how thing would be 6 months later…
However, recent photos from Raby castle grounds show that they have added a lot of Christmas decorations and displays to the garden area which will make for a really cute day out. There are toilets here, as well as a refreshment stand and plenty space to sit (if we ever get out of tier 3) which are both open. The castle itself however still isn’t yet.
My blog on Raby Castle has all the details you need to plan your visit which you can read HERE!
Beamish Museum, County Durham
Under the current government guidance, Beamish is very much an outdoor museum as the indoor exhibits are closed. However, the toilets are open, as are the food outlets (for takeout of course). The only tram running is the one for wheelchair access. However, the walk around the museum is not too bad for children to manage.
My favourite thing about beamish is the nostalgia I get when I visit as it is somewhere we always visited on school trips. My blog post from our visit back in January 2020 is full of the up to date information you need to plan a visit which you can read HERE!
Kielder Forrest, Northumberland
Kielder is such a big beautiful place, I never feel like I have seen it all even after however many times I have visited. Its fits all the criteria but feels the most wild and the most like a proper countryside adventure of all the spots on this list.
The current information regarding the park is that the toilets at Kielder Castle, Tower Knowe Visitor Centre and Kielder Waterside are all open. However none of the indoor aspects of the various centres are open. This included food outlets (not even for takeout), the shop or the visitor centres. If you are going right now, you are simply going for an outdoor walk. You can find more information regarding covid HERE!
Despite the number of times I have been, a blog post about Kielder has never amounted, yet… So you will have to find out the information for yourself! Just kidding, imagine if I left it at that!!
HERE is a official trail guide. There are a great number to chose from depending on where you park, and how long you want to walk for which makes it ideal for people of all abilities.
Plessey Woods, Northumberland
Again, for some reason, Plessey Woods never got a blog post. If that doesn’t show what kind of determined committed blogger I am then I don’t know what will….
Plessey woods is an ideal place to go if you have small people! There is a huge pay area at the entrance and in the summer when we visited it was heaving! Its the perfect place for a short walk and a picnic. Entry to the woods is free, you simply pay parking.
Up to 2 hours – £1.60
Over 2 hours – £3
The machine also takes card, for people like me who never have cash!
Postcode: NE22 6AN
The walk around the woods isn’t too long or strenuous, so if you’re after something pretty chill, this is perfect. It will also be great for splodging in the river in the summer too!
Roker to Whitburn Seafront, Sunderland
I have mentioned this in another posts about the top 5 places for daily walks in Sunderland. And I believe it to be one of the best places to go walking in the northeast (not biased at all….). Along our coastline there are numerous places to park, enjoy takeout coffee (many of which are on this list of the best in Sunderland) and other food outlets, and most importantly take in the beautiful coastline.
The walk along is pretty easy going and most importantly you can choose how long you walk for, making it another one that’s perfect for everyone!
Durham Heritage Coast, County Durham
My recent blog post about the heritage coast got loads of views and everyone seemed to enjoy it, which is why I popped it in this list. However it doesn’t have toilets outside of Seaham under normal restrictions and right now, I’m not sure there are any even open there. The path is also not perfectly sturdy, I’d imagine in very wet weather the path may get quite claggy.
However it is partially covered, again depending on far you walk. And the views are just spectacular. You can read my blog post all about it HERE, postcodes and other information you need is all there!
It has been a while since we visited Tynemouth, and have thought about going back a few times. For some reason it just never makes it to the top of the pile of places we want to visit! The main reason I have added it to this list is for the Snowman and Snowdog trail available this winter. I suggested this to my family for a day out and the message just got ignored by all! I was really serious about going but, my family completely disagreed. You can find info on the trail HERE.
There are takeout places open in Tynemouth for coffee and other food outlets, are there are a number of places to park. However it isn’t covered so if it rains you’re gonna get wet. Although there is a pretty good path along the coast and you can always walk through the town itself.
Well that’s my top 10 places to go in the winter. I hope you have found somewhere on this list for you. Please stay safe while exploring the northeast and always check government websites to stay up to date with current advice before travelling!
Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring
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