Despite the winter bringing along morning frost, nippy winds and snow on the ground that makes us humans want to bury ourselves even deeper under the covers, our pooches are always ready to go on a walkie! Get ready to bundle yourselves up, because in this blog, we’re listing the best winter dog walks from the north to the south of the UK that are worth getting out of bed for.
Frozen Lochs in Scotland
While it may be a bit of a hike to reach Loch Morlich in northern Scotland, we assure you that it is paws--itively worth the trip, especially in the winter! Located in Cairngorm National Park, the moderate 3.5 mile (approximately two-hour) walk around Loch Morlich circular is great for pups of all ages and abilities. Strolling through this trail will make you two feel like you’ve entered a winter wonderland, thanks to picturesque views of the snow-capped Cairngorm Mountains around you. For an equally breathtaking walk closer to Glasgow, check out Loch Fyne in the village of Cairndow, where after your walk around the scenic lake, you two will be welcomed with open paws at nearby Fyne Ales Brewery.
Edinburgh’s Impressive Arthur’s Seat
In the winter, it can be so tempting to stay home, being kept warm by the fireplace…but how does climbing up an (extinct) volcano with your pooch in tow sound instead?! Take a trip up to Arthur’s Seat—Edinburgh’s largest green area—where after reaching its peak, you and your pup can enjoy spectacular views of the city below. There are various routes that can take you to the top, so choose one that you and your pup can handle. Before heading off, make sure you’re both bundling up in your cosiest gear, wearing proper shoes (this goes for your pooch too, if you decide to take one of the rockier paths) and keeping an eye out on the weather, as parts of the climb can become slippery when wet.
Beautiful Brisk Paths in the Lake District
The Lake District is a year-round favourite amongst pups who like to get their sniff on! In the winter, this scenic area turns particularly magical for humans and pooches alike; snow covers the mountain tops in the distance and cosy dog-friendly coffee houses and pubs are all just a crisp stroll away from any given trail. For an extra special gift this festive season, treat your dog to a ride on the Windermere Lake Cruise, where you two can take a break from your chilly hike to snuggle up and enjoy all the Lake District has to offer without moving a foot (or paw)!
Wondrous Ruins at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire
The Fountains Abbey ruins in North Yorkshire are worth a visit any time of the year, being considered a top British heritage attraction, however, they are particularly enchanting on a frosty winter day. Take your pooch on the easy, 5-mile Fountains Abbey Walk which will take you around the Georgian-style Studley Royal Water Garden and through a medieval deer park. Be sure to keep your pooch on a lead at all times here, as there are many species of deer and other wildlife that call Fountains Abbey their home.
Enchanted Broadway Tower atop the Cotswolds
If your pooch isn’t afraid to make some paw tracks in the snow, take them for a walk around Broadway Tower and Park on a winter day—especially if they have lots of zoomies to release! The 65-foot-high tower located on the Cotswold Way is set within a 200-acre estate of parkland, meaning your pooch will feel like royalty with all the land within their paws’ reach. While pups are not permitted inside the Tower Museum, they are welcome to enjoy the new circular walk and dog agility obstacles on the premises—though they must be always kept on a lead due to the presence of deer in the area. After adventuring, you and your pooch can relax at Morris and Brown Café or Espresso Bar Restaurant at Tower Barn where there are dog-friendly seating areas.
Lovely Walks through these London Parks
If your pooch already told Santa Paws what they want this Christmas at one of London’s many Christmas markets, treat them to a walk through one of the bustling city’s nature escapes. At Hampstead Heath, you and your pup have over 800 acres of woodland and meadows to discover, which become even more beautiful with a dusting of snow. On another day, escape the bright, overwhelming lights and noise at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and opt instead for a calm walk in another section of the park, such as Kensington Gardens.
Stunning Cliffs in Sussex
Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are paws--itively breathtaking at any time of the year, though they look particularly striking if snow had just fallen. Dogs on a lead are allowed to walk up the cliff or simply take in its beauty while running along the vast beach below. Be sure that if you two do trek up the cliff to stay clear away from the edge, especially during this frosty season.
The Sparkling Southwest Coast
The UK’s southwest coast, encompassing Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, make the perfect wintery walk for you and your four-legged companion. If you two are ready for a long stroll, check out the Southwest Coast Path—England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath (though we don’t recommend walking all 630 miles of it at once!). On the North Devon side, check out the path from Abbotsham to Westward Ho! for an easy to moderate walk with views that you and your pooch will be thinking about long after you’ve arrived home and are cosy by the fire again.
‘Winter is Coming’ in County Down
If you and your pup watched Game of Thrones together, you both would undoubtedly enjoy a walk around Castle Ward in Northern Ireland—the farmyard that was known as Winterfell in the series. Dogs on leads are allowed to roam the acres of countryside and woodland belonging to the 18th-century estate, in addition to its main walking trail and the Stableyard Tea-room. Near the main car park and admission hut, your pooch can release all their zoomies at a designated off-lead dog exercise field. To enter the premises, hoomans must pay a fee, however, doggos can come along for free!
Feel the Winter Breeze in Brecon Beacons
All your pooch probably wants for Christmas is to be taken for a stroll through Brecon Beacons in Wales—a doggy’s dream playground made up of 520 quare miles of valleys, castles, moorland, waterfalls, caves, and the famous Black Mountains. Pups nationwide have given two-paws up for Four Falls Walk—an easy to navigate and mostly flat path that takes you by four waterfalls over 5.5 miles (beware that the waterfalls can only be seen via linking trails from the main path that can be steep, muddy and slippery, especially in the winter). For the more adventurous duo, give the 4-mile Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular route a try, where you’ll be rewarded with impressive views overlooking Bristol Channel and the Cambrian Mountains that will make even the chilliest winds worth enduring!
No matter when and where you and your pooch walk, you should always take precautions; this is especially the case in the winter. Before heading out for your walk, make sure your pooch is dressed appropriately with either a water-resistant coat or sweater. Be aware of the possible increased danger of certain trails due to snow or rainfall and be sure to always keep your pup on a lead (except when in a protected, designated off-lead area)—we don’t want any pooches on the loose, possibly running onto a frozen body of water and falling through the ice. Be on the lookout if there is any salt or antifreeze on the ground where you two are strolling, as both can irritate your pooches’ paws and the latter’s sweet taste attracts dogs but is fatal to them when ingested. To prevent this, put some stylish booties on your pup, or if they’re not a fan of those, make sure to thoroughly clean their paws before bringing them inside the house to ensure they don’t lick anything dangerous that they’ve carried with them.
If your dog shows any signs of hypothermia or frostbite after an outdoor adventure, such as shivering, whining, slowing down, etc., immediately bring them inside to a warm place and contact their vet. If it’s too cold outside for a walk, turn a hallway of your home into a temporary exercise area where your pooch can do laps running after a favourite toy. You will have plenty of time to enjoy these magical winter walks that the UK has to offer!