Love Where You Live - W is for Winter

This December, we’re celebrating why we love where we live by taking a look at 10 quirky features and experiences beginning with W that you can include in your next totally awesome day out. After all, W is for Winter, and so much more!

Here’s our Top 10 - W is for...

No.1 Windmills

Windmill |Treasure Trails

What?

Those funny looking things with sails that go round in the wind! This one is Brill Windmill.

Where?

You'll spot it overlooking the Hampshire countryside just outside Brill, between Thame and Bicester. There are plenty of other windmills scattered across the UK that are well worth a visit too!

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

If you time it right, you might be lucky enough to take a peek inside Brill Windmill - check out the opening times here! Spin yourselves around to enjoy the views, then hop into your squad car and head down to Thame, where you can blow us away with your clue-cracking skills on the Thame Detective Mystery Trail. After all that excitement, you'll need time to unwind - Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve is the perfect spot! Wander down the network of paths and see what wildlife can be discovered in Thame's green haven.

No.2 Waterfalls

Waterfall | Treasure Trails

What?

Where rushing water meets a steep drop and causes a splash! This one is Mealt Falls.

Where?

Along the coastline just to the south of Staffin on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. There are plenty on the mainland, too - check out this fab list for suggestions!

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Take a moment to gaze in awe at the falls and Kilt Rock (named because it looks like kilt pleats!). Then, step back into prehistoric times and head north, first to pay a visit to Staffin Dinosaur Museum and then up to An Corran Beach to discover actual dinosaur footprints! Or, head down the coastal road to Portree, where you'll pass not one but TWO more waterfalls (and heaps of stunning natural features) before you reach the seaside village, where you can reward yourselves with a much-deserved tea break.

No.3 Wishing Tree

Wishing Tree - Treasure Trails

What?

You’ve heard of wishing wells, but have you heard of wishing trees?

Where?

The genuinely magical St Nectan's Glen, near Tintagel in Cornwall. You can find traditional 'clootie trees' across Cornwall, including Madron's wishing well near Penzance. 

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

There's plenty to see as you explore St Nectan's Glen. As well as the clootie tree - decorated in ribbons and charms as offerings - there's a stunning waterfall, a mesmerising hermitage and an actual money tree! The winding walks will keep avid adventurers entertained for hours, plus there's a cafe on-site to keep you well fuelled. If you want to venture beyond the ancient woodland, keep the mysterious, magical vibes flowing with a trip to Tintagel Castle or Boscastle's Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

No.4 Walls

Wall - Treasure Trails

What?

Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland. Ok, so it’s not the Great Wall of China, but it’s the longest wall we’ve got here in the UK, and it’s well worth a visit!

Where?

Across England... Literally! Our image is of Caw Gap near Cawfield Quarry – find it here.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

It's well worth following the walking route linked above to see the wall and its features up close! Then, drive your expedition vehicle along the B6318 to get your Roman fix at Housesteads Fort and, a little further along, the fascinating Temple of Mithras. Nearby, swap Romans for Vikings on the Hexham Treasure Hunt Trail; can you unearth Halfdene the Dane's lost loot after nearly 2000 years? We'd suggest popping into Hexham Abbey too, but you might need an extra day or two if you want to fit everything in!

No.5 Weather Vanes

Weather Vane - Treasure Trails

What?

Those spinny things way up high that tell us the direction of the wind. They come in all shapes and sizes - some super quirky ones are even influenced by the buildings they're on!

Where?

This one is on the Old Billingsgate Market, once Billingsgate Fish Market, in the City of London. Where it's pointing to... Well, that's another matter, and might be important later!

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Now an event venue, you won't be able to take a peek inside Old Billingsgate Market in person, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out - check out the virtual tour and some historical images here. While you're out and about, test your feature-spotting abilities on the Tale of Two Bridges Treasure Hunt Trail; you'll need to look up, down and all around to crack every clue. As you track down the treasure trove, you'll pass the Tower of London and HMS Belfast - two classic London attractions that should be at the top of your to-do list!

No.6 Windows

Window - Treasure Trails

What?

Stained glass windows - colourful creations that turn a seemingly dull everyday feature into a work of art!

Where?

You'll discover this one at St Giles' Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh. Seek out historic places of worship across the UK, or maybe even some old manor houses, to explore more stained glass scenes.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

You'll patrol past St Giles' Cathedral on the Edinburgh Royal Mile Detective Mystery Trail - make sure you stop to look at it properly as you go. Take time away from your case to explore inside St Giles' Cathedral, too, especially if the rooftop tours are running, as there's no view quite like it! Of course, here at TTHQ, we love a twisting tale, so we'd be heading straight for the Scottish Storytelling Centre to check out one of their brilliant exhibitions or events or simply pausing in their cosy cafe for a post-Trail coffee (and cake!).

No.7 Waves

Waves - Treasure Trails

What?

Crashing, splashing, wintry waves! Bonus points if there are rocks or seawalls for them to smash on to make roaring sounds and seafoam.

Where?

Our photo is of stormy waves crashing against Tynemouth Lighthouse in Tyne & Wear, but you can admire waves (from a SAFE distance) anywhere along the UK coast.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Before you head out on your brilliant day out, remember that the sea is dangerous, especially during storms, high tides or changing currents. Always follow the advice of any weather warnings in place, keep safe and, as we always say in our Trail adventures, supervise Mini Explorers closely.

Now the serious bit is out of the way, time for some fun! If safe to do so, venture out onto Tynemouth Pier - which stretches 900 meters out to sea! - to get a closer look at this brilliant lighthouse without the waves crashing over it. Enjoy the sounds of the water (calmly) lapping against the rocks below, then wander inland to visit Tynemouth Priory and Castle, where you can soak up the history of the north coast as well as some stunning views!

No.8 Weirs

Wier - Treasure Trails

What?

A barrier that acts as a small dam across a river, lake or other body of water. Weirs control the flow of water and make awesome-looking mini waterfalls in the process!

Where?

This is Horseshoe Falls along the River Dee just outside of Llantysilio in North Wales. There are a few ways to reach it - check out some suggestions here

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Of course, we all know that a Treasure Trail is the perfect activity for any avid adventurer - and the Lovely Llangollen Detective Mystery Trail is within walking (or driving) distance once you've explored the falls! However, if you prefer your adventure with a kick of adrenaline, you're in the right spot. Check out Bearded Men Adventures for a bunch of outdoor activities in Llangollen (and the rest of North Wales), from canoeing across the top of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - the highest canoe aqueduct in the world - to white water rafting on the Dee. Now that's an awesome day out!

No.9 Whale Watching

Whale - Treasure Trails

What?

Something a bit different - the chance to see some magnificent (and massive) ocean dwellers in their natural habitat. Will you be lucky enough to spot a humpback whale too?

Where?

A trip to the west coast of Scotland is your best chance to spot a whale or one of their maritime friends - dolphins, porpoises and seals are popular around here too. We're heading to Tobermory on Mull, but you'll find other suggestions here.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

After a (hopefully successful) trip out whale spotting with one of Tobermory's boat companies, you've got to check out the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's Discovery Centre along the harbourfront to learn even more about the local waters and conservation efforts. A visit to The Mull Museum is the perfect way to round off the day for history lovers, or a peek inside Tobermory Distillery might suit older explorers. Meanwhile, those who don't want to say goodbye to the natural world just yet ought to head down the coast to the spectacular Aros Park.

No.10 Waterwheels

Waterwheel - Treasure Trails

What?

Remember when we said windmills were the funny looking things with sails that go around in the wind? Well, waterwheels suit the same purpose, but harnessing the power of rivers and streams instead! This one is Laxey Wheel - the largest working waterwheel in the world!

Where?

Laxey Wheel - also known as Lady Isabella - can be found on the hillside above Laxey on the Isle of Man. There are some fantastic working waterwheels on the mainland, too, including Daniel's Mill in Shropshire and Houghton Mill in Cambridgeshire.

Make a totally awesome day out of it:

Take time to explore the Laxey Wheel site if open - the views from the top are well worth the climb! Then, travel down to Laxey in style on the Great Laxey Mine Railway, pulled by a replica steam train along a restored, historical route. Once you're in the village, you're spoilt for choice! You could soak up the local heritage with a trip to the Laxey Woollen Mills, you could pack up a picnic and relax beside the Irish Sea, or you could swap steam for electricity and take a trip up to dizzy heights on the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

The West Badge

Treasure Trails West Badge

W is also for 'west', as pointed out by our fishy friend earlier on! The west badge is just one of 100s of Special Badges you can unlock when you complete your next Treasure Trail. But remember, you won't know which badge your Trail will unlock until you've submitted your answer. Only eight of our Trails will earn you the west badge, so you might have to be extra lucky to get this one! You can find out more about our Trail Blazer Badges and Footsteps Rewards here.

Happy Trailing!

Love Where You Live Treasure Trails

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