Winter gardens in the North of England

Wrap up warm on a crisp winter's day and take a tranquil stroll through a garden near you. Explore one of the UK's largest winter gardens at Dunham Massey, see the reflective ponds covered in ice at Fountains Abbey or walk among half a million snowdrops at Wallington. Here are some of our favourite gardens to enjoy in winter:

Irises in bloom in the winter garden at Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey, Cheshire 

The Dunham Massey winter garden is the largest of its kind in the UK. Take a winter stroll to see striking white-stemmed silver birches and bright dogwood barks as well as colourful berries and winter flowers. Beneath the trees, thousands of bulbs spring to life over the cold season, including snowdrops, white cyclamen and striking blue winter irises.

A winter view of the Temple of Piety seen over the Canal and Half-Moon pond, at Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, North Yorkshire 

See the magnificent ruins of the Cistercian abbey stark against the winter sky at this breath-taking World Heritage Site. The beautiful landscaped Georgian water gardens create mirror-like pools that reflect the planting around them. Take a walk through the gardens and look out for the first signs of snowdrops along the river banks.

A lady walking her dog through snowdrops

Wallington, Northumberland  

Explore the gardens at Wallington in winter and take in the seasonal planting through the East Wood, with trees, shrubs and plants showcasing coloured and textured bark and winter berries. They’ll be joined by 500,000 snowdrops come February when a carpet of white will appear in the wood. The grounds at Wallington are open all year round, including Christmas Day, and are the perfect place to walk off the Christmas dinner.

The crocus in the winter garden

Sizergh, Cumbria  

With winter comes the opportunity to see Sizergh’s seasonal planting in the garden, showcasing coloured and textured bark as well as winter berries and bulbs. The twisted trunks of the acers in the rock garden are laid bare amongst the limestone and iced-over rock pools. After a bracing stroll around the gardens warm up with a hot drink and a tasty treat from the café.

Beningbrough Hall ha-ha walk carpeted in snowdrops

Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, Yorkshire  

Visit the gardens at Beningbrough during winter for a complete contrast to its colourful summer appearance. Bear, frosty branches on trees and bushes bring structure to the eight-acre gardens, with pruned pyramids, espaliers, cordons and fans. As the New Year emerges, so do 300,000 snowdrop bulbs along the ha-ha, making for a cheery walk, even on the greyest of days.

Tumbleton lake amongst frosty fields

Cragside, Northumberland  

Take in the winter textures on a walk around Cragside and enjoy sweeping views of the frosted Northumbrian countryside from the estate walks. One of our favourites at this time of year is the Armstrong Trail, which takes you around the frozen Tumbleton Lake and through the snow-capped trees in the Pinetum. Keep warm with a takeaway orange hot chocolate from the tea-room.

Visitors in the greenhouse at Quarry Bank

Quarry Bank, Cheshire  

Head beyond the mill and explore the gardens and the beautiful estate at Quarry Bank on a crisp winter’s day. If you wander along the river keep a lookout for flashes of electric blue as the kingfishers whizz by. In the gardens, you can take in the architecture of the restored glasshouse in the upper garden, where exotic fruit grew beneath its frame for the mill owners.