A reading list for winter

Things to do

A reading list for winter

Offering adventure, wisdom, and escape for thousands of years, it’s of little surprise that books are still one of our favourite pastimes. From the worn classic you read every year by the fire to the recipe book that gets passed around the family as you discover and share your favourite dishes with loved ones, nothing beats a good book.

In the winter months, during long, cosy evenings, there’s nothing better than turning to the pages of a great book. 

To celebrate the turn of the seasons, we’ve compiled a reading list for winter to give you some inspiration, whether at home or while on holiday, from fiction you can’t put down to soul-quenching memoirs and more. 


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A book and a pair of reading glasses on a table with a coffee pot in the background

A true American classic and one of those beloved stories that gets pulled off the shelf year after year, Little Women is a semi-autobiographical tale that follows the lives of four sisters. The story is one of love, loss, and family, with a wonderful reminder that every tale is worth telling. 

We love reading Little Women in winter as it’s the perfect season for rediscovering our favourites. Pull on your cosiest of socks, fill up the teapot, and reacquaint yourself with the amazing March sisters as they become young women with fierce hearts and strong minds. 


The Winter Spirits: Ghostly Tales for Frosty Nights (various authors)


Oh, how we love a collection of short stories, especially when they’ve been carefully curated to weave intriguing webs while frost gathers at your window! The Winter Spirits is an anthology of short and not-so-sweet festive stories that are sure to send a shiver or two down your spine, with authors like Bridget Collins, Jess Kidd, and Kiran Millwood Hargrave adding to the mix. 

The deliciously spooky tales are wonderfully varied, taking you all over the world as you cosy into the pages of the book. From macabre settings and madness to kidnappings and familial hauntings, it has never been easier to get lost in the pages of a book. The only problem? You’ll wish the stories were longer!


A Midwinter’s Tail by Lili Hayward

A book, Christmas biscuits, hot chocolate, and a present on a bed

Weaving a spot of Cornish folklore with the magic of the season, this bite-sized book is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon of hot chocolates and flickering fires - especially fitting for Christmas stays in Cornwall

The story follows Londoner Mina Kestle who journeys to a tiny Cornish island as a favour to her long-estranged Godfather, where she’ll discover a world of wonder, secrets, and a wonderfully characterful cat. Whether you love Cornwall, Christmas, or cats, this enchanting read is a holiday must! 


LEON Happy One-pot Cooking by Rebecca Seal

The cosy kitchen at Rydon cottage in Devon

When winter draws in, our attention usually turns to easy comfort food so that evenings can be spent curled up on the sofa with a bowl of something hearty. This LEON edition truly takes the cake when it comes to relaxed cooking as it’s full of wonderfully cosy dishes that are deliciously easy to make and boast minimal washing up as a welcome bonus. 

From a vegan black bean stew that’s sure to warm the cockles of your heart to one-pot breakfasts that start the day off right, this recipe book has seen us through many mouth-watering winters.



The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

A book and a pair of reading glasses on a fur blanket at La Cabine Francaise in Dorset

The art of embracing cosiness in all that we do, hygge is a practice well suited to winter, and this handy little book is the perfect introduction. Meik Wiking delves into the various methods of happiness we can incorporate into our lives, from the simplicity of enjoying a cup of steaming hot chocolate by candlelight to curling up with a book that soothes the soul. 

While reading this book, you’ll learn the importance of appreciating the small moments, whether it’s the golden glow of the sun before it travels behind the horizon or the feel of your favourite pair of socks as you get dressed in the morning. This book is a wonderful reminder that happiness is gained in many ways, and being present is the best way to notice them.


The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy


A book that has touched the hearts of many through page and small screen, Charlie Mackesy’s touching tale follows an unlikely yet unshakeable friendship. Exploring themes of love, courage, and understanding, it’s more a collection of conversations than a story, which only adds to the book’s charm.

Indeed, you can pick the book up and turn to any page and be met with a soul-warming life lesson and beautiful illustration that’s quick to resonate, making it a truly special book to read with children. 


A World Full of Winter Stories by Angela McAllister and Olga Baumert

A collection of books on the shelf at Duncombe in Devon

This winter, why not gather the family around a roaring fire to share stories from around the world, from hibernating bears in North America to rabbits in Japan. The wonderfully illustrated book is a marvellous anthology of wintery tales, taking readers on a journey across the globe, seeing the season through other people’s eyes. 

The book is a captivating blend of myth, legend, and folk tales, sparking imagination regardless of age. Our recommendation? Make sure mugs are full of hot chocolate before embarking on the most magical of adventures. 


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A table with a pile of books in front of a window

Queen of the thriller, you can pick up any one of Daphne du Maurier’s enthralling reads and find yourself with the perfect accompaniment to a wintery night, but one of our favourites has to be Rebecca. Taking you from the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo to the rugged wilderness of the Cornish coast, this gothic tale has everything you need for a gripping holiday read.

The haunting story follows an unnamed heroine as she discovers more and more about her new husband, her new home, and the woman whose name haunts the pages of the book like a chill wind. Read Rebecca this winter and you too can wake up thinking, “Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderlely again.”


Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter by Nigel Slater


Another wholesome recipe book to turn your kitchen into a ray of sunshine on a winter’s day, Nigel Slater’s Autumn, Winter is a round-up of seasonal bakes and a must for anyone looking to discover some plant-based meals that feed the body and soul in one happy plateful.    

Following on from their Spring, Summer edition, you’ll find a myriad of kitchen staples in this cloth-bound beauty of a book, celebrating the season’s veg with pasta and grains adding even more comfort and flavour to the dishes. From deeply satisfying pies to soups that warm your hands and heart, nothing gets us in the mood for the chilly season like this hug of a recipe book. 


Wintering by Katherine May

A wood burner with two book shelves on either side at Duncombe

A memoir that leads you gently by the hand into a season of restoration and deep healing, Wintering is a truly comforting read. Taking note from nature, Katherine May encourages you to build back your internal stores throughout the winter season, whether that’s by cosying down like the dormouse or finding joy in the simple things like the red-chested robin with its cheerful song.

Mindfulness is at the heart of this beautiful book, providing slow and heartfelt pearls of wisdom to help guide you through dark winters, which is perhaps why it’s often referred to as a ‘reading cure’ - we couldn’t agree more and wholeheartedly recommend picking up this book if you’re looking for a seasonal rebirth.


A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

A book on a dresser at Cowan cottage in Cornwall

An advocate for the environment and minimising our impact wherever possible, Kate Humble has crafted a book to help us find a slower pace, focussing on what’s important to each of us, as well as the planet.

Throughout the book, Kate looks at ways in which we can slow down our living, whether through the careful art of mending over replacing or turning your garden into a world of fresh veg and aromatic herbs. If you’re looking for an introduction to slow living, this heartfelt book is a wonderful starting point full of inspiration for the year ahead.  

Excited to cuddle down with a good book this winter? Explore our collection of cosy holiday cottages across the UK for a memorable winter stay.

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