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Best Winter Getaways in the UK

Tuesday 21 November 2023

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As the chilly winter months stretch out in front of you, it can be tricky to have something to look forward to, but there is a simple solution! Booking a winter getaway around the UK is a perfect opportunity to see a bit more of the country, get a change of scenery, and to get a bit of excitement in what can be a bit of a dull time. Save yourself from the winter blues with a weekend getaway right here in the UK with our suggestions for must-see places in the winter frost.

Winter Holiday Packing Tips

Tackling the packing for a chilly holiday is always a challenge, with our cosy but chunky jumpers vying for space in the suitcase. Larger knits and layers take up a lot more room than shorts and bikinis, so successfully closing your suitcase for a weekend trip to Edinburgh often proves more difficult than on a fortnight to Ibiza!

Here are some tips to help you make the most of limited space:

•    Purchase vacuum-sealable bags: Vacuum packs leave no room for wasted space, squeezing every last millimetre out of your suitcase.

•    Wear your bulky items enroute: By wearing your chunkier items rather than packing them away, you’ll free up precious suitcase space - be careful not to overheat though!

•    Pack thermal layers: Opting for thermal layers will keep you toasty and warm, with the added benefit of saving tons of space.

•    Plan in advance: Creating a checklist will help you remember the essentials and prioritise.

•    Roll, don’t fold: Rolling creates more space and reduces the chance of wrinkles in your clothes. 

If you’re travelling with CrossCountry, our Voyager trains have extra luggage space for larger bags, overhead space for small bags, and dedicated areas at the end of each carriage for medium-sized bags. So, even if you've exhausted all our packing hacks and find yourself in need of a larger suitcase, we've got you covered!

Beach Hikes in Cornwall

Now we know what you’re thinking, but beaches aren’t just for hot summer days! You don’t need to go for a swim (though many swear by the benefits of a wintry dip in the sea, for your mental and physical health), but simply going for beachy hikes in the winter offers unmatched scenery and a glimpse at some incredible wildlife.

Cornwall is renowned worldwide for their beaches, and this dramatic stretch of coastline has a timeless beauty in the winter months. Wherever you go in Cornwall, you’ll find nearby beaches with sand that reflects the winter sun, fresh coastal air, and long stretches for walking. One particularly beautiful spot for a winter walk is around National Trust Godrevy, which is situated less than ten miles from St Ives. With scenic views of the Godrevy Lighthouse from the magnificent cliffside, with crashing waves below, a hike around Godrevy is stunningly beautiful – even if it is a little cold! Wrap up warm, bring a flask of tea, and let the brisk air refresh you. 

Travel to Cornwall by train:

Trains to Cornwall are available on a range of CrossCountry services, as we serve stations across the county. Major stations include St ErthPenzance, and Newquay.

Godrevy Bay with rough blue waves, a lighthouse on an island, and a lifeguard hut.

City Break in Manchester

If you’re looking for a change of scenery that comes with a huge variety of things to do, places to see, and attractions to visit, Manchester is second-to-none. Manchester has become a firm favourite for UK staycations in the past few years, with its stunning blend of historical and modern architecture; unique independent coffee shops, bars, and restaurants; and wonderful arts and culture scene. Whether you’re looking for a busy weekend full of Manchester’s best free attractions or a romantic date staycation, you’ll find plenty to enjoy on a wintry weekend trip in Manchester.

Trains to Manchester

Manchester Piccadilly is one of the biggest stations on the CrossCountry network, through which a huge variety of trains from around the UK operate. You can get to Manchester from stations like Sheffield, Coventry, and Crewe.

Dales Rambling in Leeds

Now, you won’t find the Yorkshire Dales in Leeds city centre, but Leeds is the perfect place to make your base when going on a rambling holiday. The Yorkshire Dales National Park begins around twenty miles outside of Leeds, with Dales Bus services  operating between the city and the Dales to make your journey extra easy. 

The Yorkshire Dales completely transform in winter, becoming a snowy and frosty landscape filled with interesting wildlife and natural beauty. In the winter sun, you might be lucky enough to spot a Mistle Thrush singing, and you can look out for blue tits, long-tailed tits, great tits, and chaffinches throughout the park.

With early snowdrops popping up towards the end of the winter season and stunning dark skies for stargazing, the Yorkshire Dales are truly an incredible landscape to visit in the winter. If you’re looking for UK winter holiday destinations, none could be more refreshing and grounding than a trip to the Yorkshire Dales.

Trains to Leeds

You can get on a CrossCountry train to Leeds Station from all around the UK, with popular routes running from stations like Newcastle, Doncaster, and Derby.

A large tree with no leaves set against a snowy Yorkshire Dales sunrise

Heritage Staycation in Glasgow

When it comes to a weekend getaway in Scotland, you might immediately think of Edinburgh, as it is Scotland’s capital. But there is so much beauty and intrigue to be found in a winter break in Scotland’s second city, Glasgow. Whether it’s a moonlit walk along the Clyde, a night at the theatre, or a luxury dinner at one of Glasgow’s Michelin-star restaurants, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your winter holiday in Glasgow. 

On a frosty morning, what could be better than a walk through Glasgow Green and along the River Clyde? Stop off in a local café for a full Scottish breakfast – Haggis and square sausage included – to warm you up after, prepping you for a day of museums, Whisky tasting, shopping, and taking in the beautiful Glaswegian architecture. 

Trains to Glasgow

Glasgow is well connected, especially to the Scottish stations on the CrossCountry network, but can also be easily reached from a huge selection of CrossCountry stations in England. Hop on board at Dunbar, Berwick-upon-Tweed, or further south in Bristol to reach your Glasgow getaway.

Glasgow city skyline with orange trees in the foreground.

Wild Landscapes in Dartmoor

Winter brings out a special kind of beauty in nature, and it is not something to be missed just because it’s cold! Grab your hat, scarf, and gloves, and head off on a weekend away to Dartmoor. One of our personal favourite winter getaways in the UK, Dartmoor is a timelessly wild landscape with free-roaming ponies, Highland and South Devon cows, and countless varieties of birds, otters, and polecats. 

With nearly 1,000 square kilometres covered by the Dartmoor National Park, there are plenty of options for where to stay when organising your winter staycation in Dartmoor. With countless quintessentially British villages offering gorgeous cottage stays, as well as larger towns and cities like Exeter and Plymouth, you can choose between a fully countryside stay or a mixture of cityscape and wildlife. Wherever you stay, a holiday in wintry Dartmoor offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with nature and feel refreshed, to see you through until Spring. 

Trains to Dartmoor

With such a large area in South Devon, you can reach Dartmoor via a few CrossCountry train stations, including Exeter, Plymouth, Totnes, and Newton Abbot.

If you’re planning a winter getaway in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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