The nights are getting longer, the days are getting shorter, and the annual “can you believe how dark it is!?” conversations are in full swing. While it is tempting to retreat into the nest of warmth and blankets that is bed, I challenge you to resist – lace up your boots, zip up your puffer and venture into the great outdoors.
The autumn and winter months have their own unique beauty. Let’s start embracing the season, even if that means pretending it not sub-zero out there! Ignore the bad press that this time of year gets and help #MakeNovemberGreatAgain. So here is a whistle-stop guide to getting outside in winter.
In the city:
This is an great choice if you don’t want to stray too far from campus. The pond wildlife is worth the walk alone, forget people-watching… it’s all about swan-watching this year. There’s plenty to do in the park including the Café in the Park which offers a 10% student discount, as well as an outdoor gym and tennis and basketball courts.
Located just north of the city centre, there is no excuse not to pay a visit to the tree-lined ravine. Follow the riverside footpaths along the valley and find all sorts of gems along the way, including everyone’s favourite petting zoo – Pet’s Corner. If you love waterfalls, Insta-worth bridges, and goats the size of donkeys – then Jesmond Dene is the perfect outdoor retreat.
Out of the city:
Sometimes a change of scene can be just what you need to take a breather, relax and return to the city feeling refreshed. Newcastle is surrounded by the ever-beautiful Northumberland countryside, just waiting to be explored. Head down to central station and hop on the Carlisle line to reach our next destinations.
This historic Dickensian-style village is gorgeous in winter and feels like jumping into a Christmas card scene – bonus ‘cozy points’ if you stop off for a hot chocolate! The village has some great cafes and pubs, or if you want to maximise your vitamin D intake explore the village itself or take a stroll along the river.
Back on the train and a little further down the line you’ll reach Hexham. This little town boasts a substantial abbey which is free to look around. Also, there are plenty of independent shops, ideal for a spot of Christmas shopping.
Head to Durham on the train and after looking around the city, remember to take a walk down by the river. This walk takes you down and around under the Cathedral, which at this time of year is especially gorgeous, with fallen leaves lighting up the riverside path.
The upcoming strike period is a golden opportunity to explore the local area. Spending time outside has been proved to help mental and physical health and works as a general mood lifter. So if you’re suffering with a case of deadline-blues or dark-days-itus – grab some pals and go get yourself a much needed dose of vitamin D. Dust off your coat and head into the open – its free and all yours for the taking!
Last modified: 3rd December 2019