In the wintertime, we’re often filled with anticipation and excitement for something that the warm days of summer, as pleasant as they are, could never offer: a good skiing trip. Planning an adventure abroad is a time-consuming and costly affair, so if you’re in the UK and would rather quench your skiing thirst at home, we have compiled a neat list of the best places to ski and snowboard in the UK.
These ski resorts, snow centres towns and mountain ranges in England and the UK form the crème de la crème of locations where to indulge your passion for snowsports. From the windswept hills of the north of Scotland to the moody peaks of the Lake District in England, the British Isles have something for every avid skier. We’ve also included a handful of indoor ski centres for those who’d rather enjoy the pleasure of skiing in a controlled environment away from the typically uncertain weather conditions in the cold season.
CairnGorm Mountain, Aviemore
This stunning area set within the heart of the Cairngorms mountain range is undisputedly one of the most scenic and impressive skiing spots not just in Scotland, but throughout the whole of Britain. The ski resort town of Aviemore is close by and probably hosts the UK’s finest après-ski offerings, with a thriving local community and shops, bars and restaurant that keep the place eventful all year round.
The way up to the mountain resort is a magical journey in itself. Scotland’s only funicular railway transports you to some of the most fantastic views in the country from over 3,500ft. CairnGorm Mountain UK ski resort is expertly equipped and has invested heavily in development in recent years, making facilities such as snow machines and halfpipes readily available to all.
The terrain park is nothing short of spectacular and with dedicated services at hand to help make your skiing trip a success, CairnGorm Mountain remains among the top destinations for UK skiing all over the country.
Glenshee Ski & Snowboard Centre, Braemar
Glenshee Ski & Snowboard Centre boasts the privilege of being the largest ski and snowboarding resort in Scotland, with 25 miles of downhill running across four mountains. A satisfying 22 lifts dot the resort, which presents a diverse range of terrain for skiers of all proficiency levels. The resort recently inaugurated the new Cairnwell chair lift, which promises mind-blowing panoramas for skiers over the coming winter and wider access to pistes at high altitudes.
The range of different runs makes Glenshee Ski & Snowboard Centre among the most accommodating UK ski resorts, where everyone from amateurs to professionals can slide down slopes in breathtaking fashion.
Glencoe Mountain, Glencoe
It is only fitting that one of Scotland’s most spectacular glens is also considered the traditional place for skiing in Scotland. The reputation it holds as a “traditional ski area” stems from its infamous and eventful historical past and the crisp lines and plains of its majestic hills. Glencoe Mountain UK ski resort is a mecca for the adventurous skier, having the longest and steepest run in Scotland amid its 7 lifts and 19 runs.
The resort is nestled in Rannoch Moor and perches over magical views of the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor. Furthermore, if you’re wondering where does it snow the most in England and the UK, Glencoe Mountain has an enviable snowfall record that makes it a firm favourite among regular skiers in the winter months.
Nevis Range Mountain Resort, Fort William
If the prospect of taking a ride in a mountain gondola doesn’t whet your appetite for skiing in the UK, nothing will. The Nevis Range Mountain Resort for skiing near Fort William has this unique advantage over the rest of the resorts in Britain, and uses it well. Fort William is a renowned hotspot for sporting events that draw crowds from all four corners of the UK and beyond, so the ski and snowboarding resort is perfectly placed for trying out a little bit of everything along with your snowsport pursuits.
The mountain range’s gondola is managed exceptionally and will lift you up 2,130ft to the green, blue and red areas in just 12 minutes. There are also off-piste black slopes for the most experienced.
Lecht Ski Centre, Strathdon
The Lecht Ski Centre is a haven for beginner and intermediate skiers who shy away from tackling the more demanding terrains and slopes. Found in Scotland’s largest national park at 2,090ft in the beautiful Eastern Cairngorms, the centre has 20 maintained ski runs and 13 lifts.
The adjoining ski school is the perfect destination for newbies who want to get started and one-off skiers wanting to brush up their skills. The staff are friendly, helpful and will imbue you with the confidence you need to take that first exciting plunge into the white.
Lowther Hills Ski Club, Wanlockhead
The youngest ski resort in the UK is based in the south of Scotland, flanked by two villages sitting at some of the highest altitudes in the country. Wanlockhead and Leadhills are the flagship villages that retain an ancient curling and skiing legacy. Lowther Hills Ski Club originates from a hotbed of historical importance and prides itself on maintaining a tight-knit community feel that’s as much about building friendships as enjoying skiing.
Annual membership fees in support of the volunteers’ great cause is humbly priced at £39 for adults, £22 for under 18s and £66 for families, which grants you use of the ski tows free of charge every day the club is open, discounts on day tickets at other Scottish ski resorts, and discounts from selected suppliers of equipment, clothing, and travel. Skiing goodness for a steal, while contributing to a worthy project.
Formerly the British Norwegian Ski Club, Ski-Allenheads borders an old lead mining village in the county of Northumberland. This quaint Northern England area houses a small centre that proposes runs in a sheltered field that holds the snow very well and promotes peaceful silence. Ski-Allenheads is a quiet place to ski – ideal if you’re after a calm and tranquil remote backdrop for your skiing time this winter.
Although this is not the most facility-heavy ski club, it packs a punch in terms of the reliability and quality of the snow. You can watch skiers trying their luck gliding down the slopes from a cosy cabin that makes for a panoramic lunch and break away from the skis.
The Lake District Ski Club, Glenridding
The Lake District is a sight to behold in winter – a fairytale spot for the skiing fanatic. The Lake District Ski Club is situated on Raise, adjacent to Helvellyn in the Lake District National Park. The journey to the ski club is an experience in itself, but once you’re there, you’ll find a modern button lift and The Millennium Hut welcoming you into this remote skiing paradise with a family feel.
The volunteers regularly hold work parties for members and will cheer you on from 2,900ft.
Yad Moss, Alston
Yad Moss has been touted as England’s premier snow slope and is also run by a team of committed volunteers. Note, however, that the ski area is served by a fast Poma button tow which is off-limits for inexperienced skiers. The length of the piste is almost 2,000ft, with a vertical rise of almost 400ft, making it a challenging slope for the thrill-seeking seasoned skier.
Despite the lack of catering or equipment hire facilities, the stone day lodge offers warmth and shelter at the highest points of the North Pennines in England. Plan ahead and be early as this area is popular and gets busy very quickly after bouts of fresh snow.
Weardale Ski Club, Bishop Auckland
Tucked away in Northeast England, Weardale Ski Club has yet another core collective of volunteers working away to keep the heart of this ski club alive. The ski area consists of a massive basin that is serviced by the ski club’s two Poma lifts. Once at the top, the vista materialises into a gigantic personal playground.
During peak season, the runs can reach lengths of up to 3,280ft and the snow cover is generally stable due to the extensive snow fencing carried out by the volunteers during the summer months.
Snow Factor, Braehead
Scotland’s only indoor ski slope with real snow is 550ft long – the real deal for serious skiers who want a fully authentic skiing experience without the adverse weather and risks associated with open-air skiing.
Snow Factor is a great choice for family outings and skiing can be done 364 days a year, irrelevant of external conditions. The enclosed slope is a good place to start learning how to ski; you can learn at your own pace without wind, rain or ungroomed and uncontrolled runs to hinder your progress. Skiing is a fun, easy and value-for-money affair at Snow Factor.
The complex has an award-winning Bavarian-themed bar and restaurant providing a well-rounded accompaniment to an afternoon of skiing. Plus, families get to benefit from kids eating for free on Sundays between 12 pm and 6 pm.
Snozone, Milton Keynes
As far down south as the English town of Milton Keynes, Snozone comprises two indoor snow centres with real snow slopes and the added bonus of new freestyle terrain built each week. Ski lessons are available for aspiring skiers of all ages and levels, as well as a host of other snowsports activities.
Snozone stands out for their disability access, giving anyone having a sensory, cognitive or physical impairment the opportunity to take part in the fun and learning. The team of highly experienced and qualified coaches provide bespoke adaptive (disabled) tuition, guiding and coaching for all types of skiers, from beginners to national team athletes. Find out more about Snowbility here.
There you have it – the round-off of the best ski locations the UK has to offer. It’s never too early to start planning your trip, and with so many different skiing destinations to choose from, we have you covered for the prime season ahead.