stay on a frozen lake in Sweden or go for an ice walk in Estonia

Winter mountaineering

Cairngorms

The Scottish Highlands are home to the UK’s largest national park, a landscape of mountains, moorlands, rivers and forests, as well as red squirrels and raptors. An immersive week-long mountaineering course will introduce visitors to much of this, while honing their climbing skills under expert guidance. There are five days of hiking and climbing, with a day off to soothe tired limbs (as well as visits to the sauna in the evening).

A week from January 16 costs £ 799 per person including tuition and breakfast plus transfers, no-boundaries.co.uk

Coast and cocktails

Pembrokeshire

From the cozy confines of a lodge near Abermawr Beach, guests warm up with hearty Welsh breakfasts and a walk in the woods before plunging into the Pembrokeshire coast. There is surfing, coasting and sea kayaking, depending on your tolerance for cold water, and the option to explore St Davids or RSPB Ramsey Island. Board games and a wood stove keep things toasty warm at the lodge.

Two nights £ 189 from February 4th (group bookings taken December – January), preseliventure.co.uk/events/adventure-weekends

Citizen science

Shropshire

The Wenlock Edge limestone escarpment stretches approximately 15 miles between Ironbridge and Craven Arms and is home to diverse flora. An investigation into endangered hazel dormice is underway as part of a project that began in 2015. Every fall and winter, volunteers search for hazelnuts with tooth marks to establish the presence of these difficult nocturnal mammals. to find.

Winter walkers and volunteers should register their interest at [email protected] The recently opened Old Hall B&B in Cressage has double rooms from £ 130 B&B, oldhallcressage.co.uk

Camp kitchen

Aberdeenshire

A trio of voguish chefs make their way to the forest of Glen Dye Estate, southwest of Aberdeen. Over the next three weekends, the American-inspired Forest Camp of Cabins, Airstream Trailer, and Cabins welcomes Whyte Rushen (who loves topping oysters with Monster Munch), Yotam co-author Ottolenghi Ixta Belfrage and food photographer. Joe Woodhouse for foraging (river trout, perhaps), wood-fired cooking and demonstrations, as well as hiking, stargazing and wild swimming.

From £ 45, glendyecabinsandcottage.com/winter-chef-residencies

Igloo Kilpisjrvi in ​​Finland (Photo: Filippo Dias / Stars of Scandinavia)

Star gazing

Dumfries and Galloway

Galloway Forest Park is designated a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park for its exceptionally unpolluted skies; over 7,000 stars and planets are visible to the naked eye. If you need some advice on explaining what you’re watching, there are several ways to find it, including a downloadable map and guidebook (forestryandland.gov.scot). The cozy Selkirk Arms Hotel in Kirkudbright hosts a three-day stargazing weekend in February to visit the city’s new Dark Space Planetarium. There will be an astronomy conference, dinners, lectures and night walks.

February 25, £ 289 per person half board, selkirkarmshotel.co.uk/stargazing-break

Winter wildlife

Norfolk

Baby gray seals – with their snow-white fur and large black eyes – are starting to appear at Blakeney Point on the north Norfolk coast, home to the country’s largest colony (£ 20, beansboattrips.co.uk). Whooper swans and Bewick also arrive from Iceland and Siberia, settling for the winter in Welney (www.org.uk/wetland-centres/welney), south of King’s Lynn, while the short-billed geese congregate at Snettisham (rspb.org .uk) and snow buntings can be seen on Titchwell Beach (visitnorfolk.co.uk/inspire/norfolks-winter-wildlife-safari.aspx).

The Gunton Arms near Cromer has stylish rooms, a renowned restaurant and views of red deer roaming the park outside. Doubles from £ 95, theguntonarms.co.uk

Soak up seaweed

Ireland

Vitamin-rich seaweed, renowned for its beneficial effect on circulation and for softening the skin, has been harvested on the Atlantic coast of Ireland for its health-promoting properties since the 12th century. There are still several simple public baths in Galway, Sligo, Clare and Mayo counties, where you can sink into a steaming, cloudy porcelain tub filled with silky strands. Voya’s stylish public bath in Strandhill, Co Sligo elevates tradition with spa treatments (€ 30, voyaseaweedbaths.com). To see the source, Wild Irish Seaweeds in Co Clare will take you to the shore to help with the harvest (€ 30, wildirishseaweeds.com).

Voya baths are offered at the Twelve Hotel in Galway, which doubles from € 150, thetwelvehotel.ie

Night ice road in Estonia (Photo: Urmas Lauri)

Ice driving

Estonia

In addition to numerous highways, Estonia has seven official ice roads, accessible only in January and February when conditions allow safe passage through the Baltic Sea. Mainly connecting the mainland and the western islands, the roads vary in length – the longest ice road, Hiiumaa stretches for 25 km – carrying thousands of cars each year. As part of a winter getaway to explore the capital, Tallinn, visitors can travel one of the ice roads to visit Haapsalu town, Keila-Joa waterfall and the Noarootsi peninsula, with its churches in wood and its Swedish cultural heritage.

Regent Holidays is offering a three night break from £ 525 per person with flights, B & Bs, transfers, a full day of ice driving and a city pass. Ice skating on the lake, cross country skiing and ice fishing are also possible, regent-holidays.co.uk

Snowshoeing

Albania

You will often have to yourself the snow-capped alpine landscapes of Valbona National Park in northern Albania, near the country’s borders with Montenegro and Kosovo. A small-group snowshoe excursion showcases the tranquil splendours of the park, hiking the glacial valleys for two to five hours a day past waterfalls and evergreen forests, and staying in small cabins. comfortable hosts. There is also a visit beyond the border to the Prizren River in Kosovo – with its mosque churches – and an overnight stay in Radomire, at the foot of Korab, the highest peak in Albania.

Eight days from € 520 pp excluding flights, responsivetravel.com

Take the night train

Norway

The Nordland Line runs over 450 miles from Trondheim to Bodo, as far north as you can travel by train in Norway, and crosses the Arctic Circle. The journey departs from the beautiful fjords and wooden houses of Trondheim, then passes through the forests and mountains of Saltfjellet on its 10-hour overnight journey to the Arctic coast. In winter, passengers also have the chance to witness the Northern Lights.

Tickets cost from 199 Nkr (£ 18), sj.no

Slumber party on the frozen lake

Finland

Lake Inari is the largest lake in Finland’s cultural region of Sápmi, and when it freezes in winter, it is possible to walk, skate or snowmobile to its many islands. An exciting way to experience the Lapland landscape is to sleep in an Esko cabin – a heated basket on skis with a bed and toilet, which can be carried across the ice by snowmobile. Sauna, ice fishing, dog sledding and sleigh rides can also be arranged.

From £ 331 per night for two, canopéeandstars.co.uk

Husky sled in Norway (Photo: Tromso Vilmarkssenter / Stars of Scandinavia)

Moonbikes and Yetis

France

The French Alps will be teeming with skiers again this winter, but there is much more to do than skiing and snowboarding. New this winter in Val d’Isère, moonbikes: electric snowbikes that transport passengers along snow-covered paths and through the forest towards the hamlet of Laisinant. Children will love the new Mountain Yeti course which teaches them to respect nature through snowshoeing in the Boisses forest, building igloos and trapper activities, completed with a marshmallow toast.

Moonbiking € 70 pp for one hour, mountain yeti from € 55 pp, evolution2.com

Ice climbing and tobogganing

Switzerland

The frozen waterfalls in and around the glitzy Swiss resort town of Verbier form a picturesque playground for climbers in winter. Mountain guides direct you to the most beautiful waterfalls in the Val de Bagnes, armed with ice picks, ropes and crampons and offer courses for novices or advice to help experienced climbers. Those who still have energy to spare can try
The 7 km long toboggan run at La Tzoumaz starts at the Savoleyres cable car summit station, which descends 711 m in its hairpin bends.

Ice climbing from SFr180pp (£ 150), verbier4vallees.ch

Cross-border adventure

Lapland

Most visitors to the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia focus on a single country, but it is possible to switch from Norway to Finland for a short trip full of adventures. Departing from the Norwegian coastal town of Tromso, he starts off with a husky sled in search of the Northern Lights, then moves to Kilpisjarvi in ​​Finland where a glass-roofed cabin offers spectacular accommodation. A full-day fat bike tour takes guests to the border of Norway, Finland and Sweden before heading to another glass-roofed lodge in Rovaniemi and an encounter with reindeer and Sami herders .

Five nights from £ 1,795 per person excluding flights, offthemap.travel/stars-of-scandinavia/

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Sleep in a wooden skyscraper

Sweden

Skelleftea in Swedish Lapland is known for its mining industry, but also for a 20-story wooden building that opened last month. Inside is the Sara Cultural Center, which will host exhibitions and concerts, while across the entire building is the Wood Hotel, crowned with a rooftop spa. Nearby activities include snowshoeing with huskies (1,000 Skr / £ 85, openlappland.com) and skiing in Vitbergsbacken (visitskelleftea.se).

Doubles from 1,500 Skr (£ 130) B&B, elite.se

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