Can't steal time away from the desk this winter? Or struggling to pull together the pennies for a trip to the Alps? Well fear not - because great skiing can be found in Scotland and the North of England if you know where to look.

While local resorts may enjoy seasons that are better measured in weeks or days, when the snow comes they are definitely worth the visit and there’s nothing quite like a slide around on the local hills and farm lands. Not to mention you can pack the car with as much equipment as you like and take a sandwich for lunch.

Here are a few ideas to inspire a skiing staycation closer to home:

Allenheads, Northumberland 

The friendly little town of Ski-Allenheads sits on the edge of an old lead mining village, about an hour’s drive from Newcastle. The club runs two semi-permanent tows and several portable tows during the winter, offering runs in a sheltered 120m field that holds the snow well. Even when other roads are blocked the centre is easily accessible, and the ski area is often quiet.


Lying above the town of Aviemore, which probably hosts the UK’s best après ski, the ski area at Cairngorm caters for all abilities. A modern funicular whisks skiers up the mountain and a large selection of greens, blues and reds await. The resort has invested heavily over recent years, adding brand new snow machines, the UK’s first halfpipe and the best terrain park in country to its already impressive armoury.


Glencoe has recently been served a healthy dumping of snow and is known as Scotland’s “original ski area”. With 7 lifts and 9 runs including the longest and steepest run in Scotland, Glencoe has something to please everyone. The resort is situated on Rannoch Moor and offers stunning views of the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor.

Stevie McKenna / Ski Scotland


Glenshee is the largest ski resort in Scotland and boasts 25 miles of downhill runs across four mountains. With an impressive 22 lifts, the resort offers a diverse range of terrain for all skiing and snowboarding abilities. Edinburgh Airport (75 miles, approx 1.5hrs) is the most convenient for international flights.’ so weekend breaks and short holidays are perfectly feasible.


The most southern ski area in England is Another World Adventure Centre, just outside of Halifax. It's at an altitude of 350m in the Pennines, and is in easy reach of Leeds, Manchester, Bradford and Huddersfield. The surroundings are breath-taking and with floodlights on site, you can even catch some turns in the evening.


The Lecht Activity Centre can be found in the heart of Scotland’s largest National Park and is an especially good resort for beginners and intermediates. They have a total of 12 lifts along with a magic carpet travelator which helps to get novices moving from day one.

Lowther Hills

Lowther Hills is the UK’s newest ski resort and is based in the South of Scotland. The club hails from Scotland's two highest villages, Wanlockhead and Leadhills, which boast some of Scotland's oldest Curling and Skiing heritage. They’re currently building brand new facilities including a clubhouse, a 400-metre long ski tow for intermediates, and a beginners’ area with a 100 metre-long ski tow.

The Nevis Range

The Nevis Range has 12 lifts and 20km of on-piste runs, with a variety of greens and blues to gain confidence on and polish up your skills. The Back Corries off the back of the ski area also offer some of the UK’s best off piste runs, with some steep gullies and multiple cornice drops on offer. The Pinemarten cafe bar and Snowgoose Restaurant serve home baking and bring a family vibe to a commercial resort. They’re even offering some great deals for World Snow Day on the 18th January. For access, the nearest regional airport is at Inverness (68 miles approx 1.5hrs)

Steven McKenna

Raise, Helvellyn

Raise is a super fun resort that’s not afraid to keep things retro, and is serviced by a 360 metre button tow. Positioned for receiving the best snow conditions in the Lake District, Raise and has some unexpectedly good terrain both on and off-piste. The resort certainly doesn’t compete with the Alps in terms of waist deep powder but when the conditions are right, the skiing is great.

Weardale, England

When conditions are good, Weardale is awesome and the high basin serviced by the ski club's two Poma lifts becomes a giant playground. The committee and club members work tirelessly in the summer to maintain the rushes and snow fencing and it really pays off come winter. Peak season the runs are just sky of a kilometre.

Yad Moss, Cumbria

Yad Moss is easily accessible and a popular English choice so it’s best if you turn up early. It’s rumoured that after heavy snow you have to dig your own parking space which is understandably challenging so be sure to throw a shovel in the boot. The ski area is also served by a fast Poma button tow so a more likely choice for experienced skiers and boarders.

* While many of the English resorts are members only, they allow non-members to ski mid-week when the conditions allow.

Indoor Snow Centres

If you’re getting ready for your first ski holiday, or are looking to brush up on your skills before you return to the slopes, indoor snow centres are always a great place to warm up rusty legs. Many also put on freestyle nights for the more adventurous skiers and boarders.

Chill Factore

Chill Factore is the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope at 180m. As well as the usual skiing and snowboarding lessons, the Chill Factore runs mogul, ski and boardercross sessions. The Charity Disability Snowsport UK is registered here so the centre also provides adaptive skiing options for individuals with any disability, including physical, sensory and learning difficulties.


Snozone centres are located in both Milton Keynes and Castleford and have real snow slopes with all the trimmings, including freestyle areas and lessons. The Snozone centres are also a great way to get your family accustomed to the snow environment, and you can have authentic snowplay experiences such as tubing and sledging.

Tamworth Snowdome

This leisure complex has a learner slope and main slope, complete with freestyle features such as boxes, rails and jumps. Lessons are available to suit all abilities, and there’s even an ice rink for a change of scenery.

The Snow Centre

The Snow Centre offers the closest real snow to London. As Britain’s newest indoor snowsports destination, The Snow Centre is designed to deliver well maintained snow surfaces on its huge 160m main slope. Just two minutes from the M1 and five minutes from the M25, the slope is the ideal spot for your quick snow fix.


For Ski Club members a wide range of discounts are available for ski areas throughout the UK. Click here for a comprehensive list of all UK ski areas and dry slopes.

*The Ski Club would like to acknowledge the role of Paul Godsmark as a contributor to this article. The resource article originally appearing in the Guardian can be found here.


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