Christmas is a fantastic holiday that we all look forward to celebrating with our friends and family. However, after two days of eating turkey and watching the TV most of us are raring to head outdoors to enjoy a hike through the winter landscape. The fresh air and biting wind is often just the medicine we need to shake off the Christmas induced fog and get ready for the New Year ahead. Wrapping up warm and going for a walk is a fantastic experience come rain or shine, and here in the South of England we have a wide range of areas of natural beauty, historic castles and manor grounds to explore. While the frost can be discouraging for those interested in heading out, the winter landscape has its own unique beauty and can help you make some fantastic memories.
This article will list some of the best Boxing Day walks in Kent and Sussex for you to enjoy. Whether you are interested in a quick wander or a day long hike, there will be a route on this list that will fit the bill.
Nestled directly between Kent and Sussex, Bewl Water is the largest reservoir in the South of England. The full route is 12 ½ miles and passes through a wide variety of habitats with some wonderful scenery to enjoy and many birds wintering at the reservoir.
For Boxing Day with some less enthusiastic walkers or young children along, this route may seem a little long, and while the full route around Bewl takes around 6 hours to complete, there are lots of shorter routes which cross over to the reservoir before heading back in much shorter loops. If you need a break before heading home, there are benches and a playground free to enter near the visitor centre.
With an incredible view of the sea, this cliff top walk takes you past the Belle Tout lighthouse and along the coastal paths to Birling Gap. The path will take you along the top of the Seven Sisters, an iconic chalk cliff face with a thriving ecosystem that is often visited by tourists. On this route there is a wide variety of different sights to see, with a truly dramatic landscape.
While there is a fairly steep hill to walk up to begin the route, the rest is fairly easy walking for both adults and young children. The walk passes sites of historical significance as well – the mound near Horseshoe Plantation hides the remains of an ancient Saxon rampart that once encircled the hill.
Designated an area of outstanding natural beauty in 1983, Nymans Estate is a beautiful place to visit in winter. The ancient forest is filled with redwood trees and evergreens, with sculptures situated near the path for anyone passing by to view. Nymans house itself will be open to visitors, with the café and shop open for those who need a drink to warm up after the walk! There are many different Christmas events being organised at Nymans Estate, with specific winter walking routes including the Christmas Pudding Pootle, designed to work off a slice of Christmas cake. This walk will take on average two hours to complete, and is listed as moderate and dog friendly – perfect for a quick trip to blow away the Christmas cobwebs!
This stunning estate was the childhood home of Churchill and has been maintained by the National Trust since it was handed over by his family. When the family handed over the estate they asked that a marmalade cat called Jock be always in attendance on the estate. Over the years there have been many Jocks living in the main house, and when you walk past you may spot him roaming the grounds.
There are many walks in the local area, the most prominent of which is the Octavia Hill walk which takes visitors from Toys Hill on a round route that passes the Chartwell estate. The route honours Octavia Hill, the founder of the National Trust and a prominent reformer and philanthropist, who is buried in the local Church.
The route takes roughly three hours and involves a lot of hills and more difficult areas to get through, so consider whether everyone in attendance will be able to get through before deciding to visit.
This historic area is an iconic part of the South Downs with a 6000 year history. The ring holds one of the earliest flint mines in the country and was probably once used as a burial ground before being adapted as a hill fort. Currently the route is known for butterflies in the summer, but the fort is equally beautiful in winter offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
The route listed on the link is three miles long, and takes walkers on a looping walk to explore the fort. If you wish to have a longer walk, there are plenty of connecting footpaths that extend onto the South Downs Way for visitors to explore, and Storrington car park provides easy access.
This moated manor was built nearly 700 years ago and has weathered the ages as the home of medieval knights, prominent courtiers and Victorian aristocrats. There are three separate walks set on the estate, which all have varying levels of difficulty so they can be customised to suit the amount of time you have. The Estate contains extensive woodlands and a working farm which is still run by tenant farmers to produce a wide variety of products.
Ightham Mote house and its extensive gardens are open to visitors on Boxing Day, with the café open for hungry visitors who need a bite and a cup of tea to replenish themselves after a long hike in the woods.