When the weather is cold and dark it can be tempting to just hunker down under a blanket and not leave the house at all. But getting out for a long walk at this time of year is actually very rewarding- with the changing seasons offering the potential for some beautiful views. Beats Netflix for lifting your mood, too.

Loch Venachar, Stirling

Get it in the right conditions, and there is hardly a prettier place in Scotland. Loch Venachar’s combination of forest tracks, frosty hillside and frozen lochans make it the perfect spot for a chilly winter walk. You can start at the public car park at the end of the Invertrossachs road, on the loch’s southern shore, before heading up above the loch along a path full of frozen puddles (which kids will love sliding around on). From there you’ll look across the loch to Ben Ledi before passing some spectacular Sitka Spruces and emerging at a fairy-tale lochan hidden in the trees. It is a small enough body of water that it will often freeze overnight in the winter, so be sure to snap some envy-inducing pictures before following the track down its meandering path to the lochside. From there, it’s a gentle (but beautiful) route back to the car park.

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow

If you aren’t a huge fan of being out in cold weather, then this is the walk for you. While undeniably pretty, the Botanic Gardens offers the reassurance of remaining within close reach of one of the dozens of cosy coffee shops that pepper this part of the west end. You can loop around the edge of the well-manicured gardens and then head down the steps behind the Kibble Palace that lead to the Kelvin riverside path, a charming route which you can follow along several offshoots depending on how far you want to go. Plus, this weekend is your last chance to see the outlandish set of the GlasGLOW Botanics lights festival which, although not quite as impressive in the daytime, is still well worth a look.

Falls of Bruar, Blair Atholl

Even before being immortalised in poetry by Robert Burns, the Falls of Bruar was a popular Perthshire visitor attraction. It has a craggy gorge that offers a perfect funnel for water to crash down dramatically to the pools below, with some old stone bridges completing the picture-perfect scene. Yet although modern visitors will reach the falls by walking through thick woodland that leads from the House of Bruar car park, Burns himself was disappointed with the lack of decent vegetation surrounding the river during his visit. His poem about the waterfall was actually entitled as a “petition” to the “Noble Duke of Atholl” to plant some extra plants and trees and improve the appearance of the area. It worked: with the Duke eventually planting more than 100,000 pine trees. Modern visitors can enjoy this foliage on the walk to the lower falls as well as on the short, but steep climb to the higher viewing point above.

Allt na Criche, near Fort Augustus, Loch Ness

You might start this walk feeling cold, but after tackling the steep climb through the trees past Allt na Criche you will soon be nice and toasty. After emerging from the pine forest you will be rewarded with views over Loch Ness and towards Fort Augustus (but with none of the tourist crowd that comes from being in the town itself). You can then follow an easy-to-tackle forestry track back to the car park, hop in the car and take a scenic -and crucially warm- drive along the shores of Loch Ness.

Belhaven Beach, Dunbar, East Lothian

November doesn’t necessarily scream 'beach weather'. But, if you do brave a wintry trip to the seaside, then you will be rewarded by the invigorating air, lack of noisy children, and early evening sunsets dipping across the water. The Belhaven Bay stretch of Dunbar Beach is especially good, with expansive golden sands and clear views across the Forth Estuary. And when you finish, ducking into the warmth of a cafe (try Espresso Black on the High Street) creates an almost giddy excitement at being able to feel your toes again.

Queen’s Park, Glasgow

As Shawlands becomes increasingly popular with those looking to escape the steep property prices in the west end of the city, Queen’s Park has become a magnet for trendy young people. This gives it a real buzz -even on a cold day- and makes the park’s 148 acres an attractive option for a laidback wintry walk. Start with a loop of the picturesque pond before heading up the path to the park’s high viewpoint (marked with a flagpole) where you can enjoy a view of the charming Queen’s Park Baptist Church, and even as far as Ben Lomond and the Campsies on a clear day. If it snows, then the park is particularly magical, with families flocking to its steep slopes for some thrill-seeking sledging.

Loch Morlich Circular, Aviemore, Cairngorms

Mix sandy beaches with snowy mountains and pine forests and you’ve got the ingredients for a stunning -albeit unconventional- winter walk. Loch Morlich offers all three, with the backdrop of the northern Cairngorms looking particularly spectacular at this time of year. Yet unlike many other Aviemore walks, the terrain is reasonably easy to navigate, a flat, circular route that is popular with families thanks to its reasonably short 6km circumference. The paths are well maintained, with sandy stretches and forest trails offering both variety and great scenery.

Seaton Cliffs, Arbroath

It can be tempting to avoid the sea wind on a cold day. But if you brave a trip to the spectacular Seaton Cliffs, on the edge of Arbroath, you will find the bracing sea air -and remarkable views- to be the perfect antidote to many weeks spent indoors. These red sandstone cliffs look almost otherworldly, jutting out into the sea in a series of fascinating formations. You can admire the inlets, arches and sea caves that stretch along the coast, enjoying some endlessly interesting photo opportunities on a clear day. If you follow the coastal path further along to the village of Auchmithie, which itself sits at the top of a cliff, you can reward yourself with a warming coffee in the But n’Ben.

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

The walk up Calton Hill is excellent but can be mobbed in summer: so a visit off-season will be much more peaceful. Start at the Waverly Steps just outside the train station, then head east up towards the hill, aiming for the Athenian acropolis at the top. The acropolis -an unfinished monument intended to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens- provides a great vantage point to sit and look out over the city below.

Hill 99 Trail, Culbin, Nairn, Moray

Wintry conditions can make walks tricky at this time of year, but the 3.5 miles that make up the Hill 99 Trail is mostly flat, making it an ideal route for young kids or older family members. Clearly marked and well signposted, it will lead you through buggy-friendly forest paths past scenic ponds and pools, before culminating in a picturesque finale at the ‘squirrel’s eye’ viewpoint. This tall wooden tower offers expansive views across the treetops: to Findhorn Bay, the Moray Firth and horizon beyond. Its position near to the Culbin RSPB nature reserve means that there’s potential for some birdwatching too.