12 North East and Yorkshire Walks to Enjoy this Boxing Day
While we whole heartedly agree that this season is meant for cosying-up and indulging in a few festive treats, there is also nothing better than wrapping up and heading out for a family walk...
Take in all of Durham’s most famous landmarks on this riverside route which combines impressive medieval heritage with breathtaking riverside scenery. At the end of the path, wander through the cobbled streets of this tiny city, past the 900-year-old cathedral and stop at one of the many independent cafés for a well-deserved hot chocolate.
Tell your kids they are marching in the footsteps of Roman soldiers as they walk along this famous frontier. While you can make the route as long or as short as you like, you’ll likely pass ruined forts and the film-famous Sycamore Gap tree, all while taking in the breathtaking backdrop of Northumberland’s National Park.
There are dozens of walking routes across the city allowing you to discover its heritage at your own leisure, however it would be rude not to stop off at the city’s Museum and Winter Gardens. Kids can admire more than 2,000 plants thriving in the glass rotunda, before enjoying a bird’s eye view of Mowbray Park from the treetop walkway.
With more than 1,000 acres to explore and 14 way-marked routes, there’s plenty of walking to enjoy at Cragside. Wrap up warm for a wander through the woodland and as the trees and shrubs are bare, it’s a great time to spot the resident wildlife on the estate, plus the tea rooms are on hand to keep you toasty with hot drinks.
For a bracing and beautiful coastal walk, Northumberland is without compare and one of our favourite places to take the family is Low Newton. The route south along Embleton Bay is all about sea views and long sandy stretches, leading all the way to the brooding ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.
There’s something magical about being amongst the trees and by the water’s edge in winter and there’s no better place to enjoy a bracing walk than at Kielder Water. With more than 600 square kilometres of forest, 26 miles of shoreline and an abundance of walking routes weaving through the most stunningly beautiful countryside, it’s the perfect place for a festive walk with the whole family – including the dogs. For a moderate walk, just over two miles, start at Hawkhope car park at the northern end of Kielder Water and follow the waymarkers for the Lakeside Way path taking you onto the Belling peninsula where you’ll have fantastic views across the water. When you come to the fork, turn right and follow the anti-clockwise route around the peninsula. At the Lakeside Way turn right then immediately left to climb the rough track to North Haul Road, taking you back to the car park.
For a quick, brisk outing before returning to the warmth of your own home, this walk across Spurn Point, one of Yorkshire’s best nature reserves, is perfect. The thin strip of land features spectacular wildlife and incredible views, while clear paths and signage explain what you might see along the way. Together with the short distance, it makes for a perfect family walk. Dogs, however, are not allowed here, so it’s best to keep your furry friends at home.
If you’re looking for a long but laid back winter ramble through the Yorkshire Dales, this is the one to go for. The 11.5 mile route takes you around Malham Tarn, giving you plenty of time to take in the impressive scenery. Given the length of this walk we’d recommend bringing along snacks for the family, but don’t worry, there are plenty of picture perfect pitstop locations for taking a break along the way.
This flat canal footpath is a great buggy-friendly route for a short walk. Look out for the local wildlife along the way, before ending your excursion with a play in Roberts Park. For older families who want to go a bit further there is also a woodland path for an extended walk, or you can even continue to the Five Rise Locks in Bingley where you can enjoy views of the locks before refuelling in the café.
Cannon Hall Country Park
Any time you visit this parkland you’ll see walkers soaking up the atmosphere, dogs exploring, friends socialising, and families spending time together so it’s definitely got the seal of approval. Home to many animals, birds and insects the parklands are constantly alive with activity too, so why not see how many you can spot? There’s even a wealth of fish and amphibians below the waterline of the lakes, but we wouldn’t recommend having a look too closely in the winter.
Fountains Abbey Estate
This fairly easy walking route will take you around the estate boundary of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, giving some of the best views of the estate to enjoy. After taking in the sights of the hall and deer park, you can then enter the grounds and walk through the 18th century water garden and past the Abbey. Plus, the River Skell also runs through the site and it’s a great place for spotting wildlife.
Known for its three peaks (Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent) as well as the spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct, Ribblehead is a walker’s paradise and perfect for dogs (and their owners) looking for a challenge. There’s a number of routes you can take, but for a steady circular walk start at Ribblehead station and follow signposts to Whernside where you are met with a spectacular view of the Ribblehead Viaduct. Pass through the boulders and continue on the path and through Winterscales Farm. Once through the farm, continue on to the left, either go over the stile for a diagonal route and across the fields, or take the route to the right for a stile-free walk. Both will lead you to Winterscale Beck where the footpath branches off, passing another farm, and back to Ribblehead Viaduct. Walk beneath the viaduct, through one of the 24 arches and turn right at the boulders before making your way back to the main road.