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In a snowstorm, Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat could almost look like Zermatt. Almost / Image: Getty Images

Sitting by a fire after a long day zipping downhill, cheeks pleasantly ruddy as you sip a steaming toddy… you can’t beat the cosy feeling of an authentic alpine holiday, but you can come pretty close to it in the UK. And skiing, skating and embracing the cold a little closer to home still includes plenty of cockle-warming après options and snug places to stay. Here’s where to find your dream winter holiday in the UK.

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Lace up your skates in London

Lace up your skates in London
Henry VII's stately home makes a glorious skating backdrop / Image: Leftfield Images

No cold-weather holiday is complete without a spin on some ice. Henry VIII’s historic Tudor home, Hampton Court Palace, forms the backdrop for one of London’s favourite skating rinks, which pops up annually for six weeks from 20 November. There are skates available to rent for kids and adults, and children who need a little help can opt for an adorable penguin- or dolphin-shaped skate aid. Book online to guarantee a place; each session lasts 45 minutes. 

For after: When only ooey-gooey fondue will do, head into town to St Moritz restaurant on Wardour Street. Decorated with kitschy Swiss-chalet paraphernalia, this popular Soho spot specialises in bubbling cauldrons of the good stuff, plus hefty bratwurst and other hearty Swiss faves.  

Stay here: Take shelter at the Thistle Hyde Park, where a crackling fire in the bar makes for a warm welcome after a red-nosed day out.  

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Carve some powder in the Cairngorms

Carve some powder in the Cairngorms
You can find snowy slopes very close to home

Skiing in Scotland? It can be done. The resorts may be smaller than their central European counterpart but they offer thrills all the same (at much lower prices). Try Glenshee – about two hours south of Inverness, it’s the largest ski resort in Scotland and boasts a whopping 36 runs. The longest, Glas Maol, has 2km of downhill bliss. The ski season usually kicks off in December, but check the Visit Scotland website for up-to-date conditions.  

For after: On your way back to Aberdeen, stop by the Cairngorm Hotel for a post-piste dinner – a known après-ski favourite, its pretty, antler-studded dining room has a chalet feel, and they serve playful takes on fish pie and haggis lasagne.  

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Scale an ice wall in Glencoe

Scale an ice wall in Glencoe
Pick your icy adventure in Scotland / Image: Jeff Holmes Photography

Ice climbing may look like a totally mad sport, but anyone can master the basics, especially with the help of the pro wall-scalers at Ice Factor. About two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Glasgow, it offers indoor ice climbing sessions on a 40ft wall, and outdoor sessions when weather permits. Once you’ve got the technique down you can head out with a guide to try your hands (and feet) at scaling icy Highland peaks.  

For after: The Alpen Lodge is just as it sounds – a charmingly rickety central Glasgow pub modelled after the mountaintop shacks of Switzerland. The friendly bar staff will keep you merry with ales and warm conversation.  

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Ski without snow in Aberdeen

Ski without snow in Aberdeen
No snow? No problem / Image: Callum Mcgregor Chapman

This giant sports complex is like a mini-alpine resort – just without the snow. Punters can zip down several dry pistes on skis, snowboards or tubes, no white stuff required. Lessons are also offered for skiers of all abilities and ages. 

For after: The bar at the Ferryhouse Hotel is all mahogany, black leather and open fires, while the excellent food menu offers rib-sticking grub like moreish mac and cheese or beef stroganoff. Throw a well-curated whisky list on top, and you have a perfectly cosy cold-weather eve.  

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Get pulled around by huskies in Blairgowrie

Get pulled around by huskies in Blairgowrie
You'll get husky from shouting with glee on a sleigh ride / Image: @Bearhillhusky

Mush! And you’re off on a magical ride with Bowland Trailsa sleigh dog training centre about an hour-and-a-half north of EdinburghOwners and head trainers Mary and John are doggo whisperers who coach their beloved pack of 40 Siberian pups to outrace the competition at both national and international competitions. When they’re not in training mode, these speedy canines pull visitors around 220-acre estate for an exhilarating day out in the Scottish countryside.  

For after: The après-ski themed Cold Town House sits right under Edinburgh Castle and has a sprawling heated terrace with panoramic views of Castle Rock. Burrow down in one of their gondola-themed booths – complete with soft blankets – and chow down on a freshly made pie straight from the pizza oven downstairs.  

Stay here: The opulent Murrayfield Hotel, housed in a Victorian villa in a quiet corner of Edinburgh, dazzles with its soaring ceilings, elegant furnishings and original features such as stained-glass windows and cast iron radiators.  

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