Winning tip: White sands and surf, Iona
Head to Scotland’s beautiful twin islands of Mull and Iona in winter and you will have beaches and caves to yourselves. Take a warm tent, a decent wetsuit and warm clothes for exploring the cliff paths, pristine white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. Port Ban beach is sheltered and if the sun comes out you are in heaven – you could be in the Caribbean here if the temperature were 20 degrees higher. The surf is good at Ardanalish beach if you are into that – or just walk and enjoy fresh air and open views to the wild Atlantic.
Cold water boost, Cornwall
I swim year-round in Cornwall, and in all sorts of places: tidal pools, rivers, quarries and beaches. I take short dips without a wetsuit, but use one for long-distance swims – along with two swimming caps and thermal undergarments! Find tips on wildswimmingcornwall.co.uk. It was set up to promote the mental health and community benefits of wild swimming in the UK and encourage people to get closer to nature, and also raises money for Mind UK, using the #selfcareswims hashtag.
English Skiing, Lake District
My top tip for a UK winter trip has to be the Lake District Ski Club next to Helvellyn. Boasting a 360-metre button-tow and up to nine ungroomed runs (depending on conditions), this is an amazing place to ski, snowboard or just visit! Access is a little challenging as it’s an hour’s walk from the mines at Glenridding, but this hidden gem is well worth putting in the effort for. The Club members are lovely, welcoming folk, and there’s even a heated ski lodge to have a rest and a brew in. The snow conditions are obviously very variable, but on a good day this is a unique experience for intermediate-to-advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Woodland Wonder: Yorkshire
For a wonderful winter adventure for all the family, go exploring in the North Yorkshire’s beautiful Dalby Forest. From active stuff like mountain biking, Segway riding and ziplining to gentle strolling, there is something there for everyone.