Britain's winter wanderland
Back at Mousehole, head for The Ship Inn, which is so close to the harbour you can almost step from bar to boat. In case you’ve forgotten where you are, there are nautical pictures hanging on the walls and Cornish flags are pinned to the ceiling. There’s a range of Cornish beers on tap and the menu offers local mackerel and sardines, or good old cod with chips in a bucket. Like the coast, this is a pub of many moods: it might be lively in the evening, but mid-afternoon you’ll find just a couple of locals at the bar or sitting quietly reading the paper.
Make it happen
This walk is a five-mile round trip if you go from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove and back. Mousehole (pronounced ‘mowzel’) is about three miles south of Penzance railway station.
The Ship Inn is open every day. In winter, food is served at lunchtime and evenings midweek, noon to 9pm at weekends (mains from £9). The pub also has rooms upstairs, most overlooking the lovely harbour (from £75).
For more information, see South West Coast Path.
Yorkshire: Towards England’s highest pub
The northern reaches of the Yorkshire Dales National Park are surprisingly little-visited – especially in winter. An ideal introduction to the area is a walk through the rugged moorland near the sturdy old Tan Hill Inn. Tracks and paths take you through North Yorkshire’s high, rolling hills covered in tough grass, split by deep valleys and crossed by dry-stone walls, with rarely a tree in sight. In summer, the peaty soil can cling to boots or swallow them completely, but in winter the ground is usually frozen, leaving you free to enjoy this big-sky landscape.
Across the road from the inn, a track leads southwards over the moorland. A signpost indicates that this is part of the Pennine Way, the famous trail that follows the ‘backbone of England’ for more than 260 miles. Continue south as the wide track becomes a narrow footpath and drops down along the valley’s side. Even in the depths of winter, you might meet long-distance hikers striding across the fells. However, our suggested route is not so strenuous, and after a mile or two you can turn around to retrace your steps back to Tan Hill. A crisp wind blowing across the snow and an uphill finish should ensure that the inn is a welcome end to your walk.
Perched above the Pennines like a rocky outcrop, this is England’s highest pub. It’s also one of the loneliest, providing shelter and beer through the centuries to drovers, farmers and, more recently, cyclists and walkers. With its ancient walls and big fire, the Tan Hill Inn has brought more than one Pennine Way trekker to grief here, when they pop in for a quick lunchtime drink with 10 miles still to go, and don’t leave until it’s almost dark. Those who enjoy a shorter walk should have no such pressing concerns, and can sit back and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere along with a pint. The only choice is which of Yorkshire’s fine brews to go for – Theakston or Black Sheep?
Make it happen
This is an out-and-back route, so the walk could be from around two to four miles.
Tan Hill Inn is about 20 miles west of Scotch Corner. The nearest rail station is 12 miles to the west: Kirkby Stephen on the famous Settle-Carlisle line. The inn serves traditional pub food all day from midday, and also has rooms available (mains from £7; doubles from £70).
For more walks, see yorkshiredales.org.uk/walking.