Nine ways to chill out now it’s chillier
With temperatures dropping, it’s time to snuggle up, get cosy... and chill. Yes, winter is coming and Jon Snow's not here to save us.
So here are a few ideas for laid-back winter fun from chunky jumpers and comfort food to the biggest outdoor ice rink in the North.
1. Wander in a winter wonderland
As the evenings get darker, it’s time to get into the spirit of the season and stroll around Christmas markets with a mug of something warming in your hand. For full-on festive fun, head to the Magic of Christmas at Hull’s Museums Quarter on 26 November. There’s loads for the family to enjoy, including a taste of a Victorian Christmas in the Streetlife Museum, where you can meet characters from A Christmas Carol.
2. Get spirited away with celebrity ghosts
A roaring open fire in a dimly lit pub – there’s nothing cosier when it’s cold outside. For a place that ticks all the snuggling-up boxes, try the Victoria Inn in Durham. Voted one of Britain’s cosiest pubs, this four-star inn is all open fires and wood panelling. And its impressive array of malts and Irish whiskies will help warm your cockles.
3. Wear your woolliest jumper
Fashion? Forget it. Comfort is everything when it comes to winter chilling, so now’s the time to dig out the jumper that your gran knitted you and wear it with pride. And with Christmas Jumper Day coming up on 15 December, you could always hit the shops at Trinity Leeds or the Metrocentre in Newcastle in search of another snowman-and-tinsel adorned number. Who says you can have too many?
4. Scoff comfort food
Steamed puds, roast dinners, stews, pies – they’re all essential winter warmers. Head to Britain's comfort food capital, Leeds, to enjoy all your favourites. You can savour a slow-cooked Yorkshire beef pie at the Town Hall Tavern, or satisfy your sweet cravings with a steamed sticky ginger pudding at George's Great British Kitchen.
5. Drink up!
Spicy mulled wine and thick, sweet hot chocolate aren't guilty pleasures in winter – they're just pleasures. And there's no better place to enjoy them than at the York Museum Gardens Christmas lights extravaganza, starting on 16 November. Sip your festive refreshments as you explore the rainbow forest of musical trees and the fantastic light projection onto the ruins of St Mary's Abbey.
6. Hit the beach
No, seriously. Nothing spells winter like a brisk walk on a deserted, wind-swept beach, so why not wrap up warm and explore the sands in Northumberland? From Seahouses to Holy Island, there are lots of remote, pristine stretches to discover. For somewhere really atmospheric, try Bamburgh Castle Beach where the castle forms an impressive backdrop.
7. Get your skates on
Have a go at gliding (or stumbling) across the ice this winter. Even if your efforts aren't exactly graceful, it's still great fun. Skating at Somerset House has become a London winter tradition, and this year there's a special programme of Skate Lates, where you can hit the ice to the sounds of Afrobeat, soul, R&B and more. Skating starts on 15 November. Or head to the largest outdoor ice rink in the North at Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland, from Saturday 18 November.
8. Find some fireworks
For a dramatic light show to kick off the new year, head to Edinburgh for its biggest party, Hogmanay. There's music and some truly impressive fireworks at the foot of Edinburgh Castle on December 31. If the idea of the crowds put you off - or you fancy something a bit off-the-beaten-track - opt for the Tar Bar'l in Allendale, Northumberland, where every year 45 townspeople celebrate the beginning of a new year by setting fire to whiskey barrels filled with tar and marching them through the streets in an awesome flame-filled spectacle.
9. Enjoy a chilled-out journey
With most people hunkering down on the sofa rather than venturing out, setting out on a winter adventure should be relaxingly crowd-free. Sit back with a book or box set (make sure you download our BEAM app before you board!) as the train chugges along and enjoy a chilled-out trip to your winter destination.