Discover winter wonderland gardens with the National Trust
There’s nothing better on a crisp winter’s day than venturing outdoors to explore frosty landscapes and spot winter wildlife.
Visits to a National Trust winter wonderland help supports bulb planting, conservation work and extra care through cold weather so when spring arrives they are transformed by beautiful blooms.
From pleasure grounds to peaceful parkland, here is a selection of some of the great places just waiting to be discovered during the winter months:
With a mild maritime climate the garden at Trelissick often benefits from early flowering as a result. The bare trees at this time of year open the spectacular view all the way down the ‘Carrick roads’ estuary. A walk around Trelissick is sure to blow away the cobwebs.
Prior Park, Bath
The peaceful garden at Prior Park looks magical on frosty mornings, with mist over the lakes and graceful swans gliding on the surface. It is the perfect place to relax over the busy Christmas period. In winter the leafless trees provide the best views of the valley and the city beyond.
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
The Winter Garden at Kingston Lacy is picture perfect during the cold months. The footbridge and twisty pathways from the Japanese garden lead through a tunnel of evergreen foliage for you to explore. The frosty temperature is no match for the early snowdrops either, peak into the Victorian fernery in December to catch Galanthus plicatus or 'Three Ships' sprouting next to the curled fronds of exotic ferns.
There is no better garden to explore in winter than Stourhead. The frosty mist coming off the lake is magical. Why not take a stomp through the grounds before warming up with a hot chocolate in the café.
London and South East
Mottisfont’s winter garden matures into a beautiful and unique landscape, full of horticultural treasures. Stroll along paths through winter-flowering shrubs and perennials, rich in colour and scent. There's brilliantly coloured bark from dogwood and silvery ornamental bramble, while berries, fruit and flowering perennials also provide colour during the shortest days of the year.
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Polesden Lacey’s winter garden, designed by Graham Stewart Thomas, is a winter masterpiece. It has a wide central bed of bright yellow winter aconites, interspersed with a variety of pure white snowdrops, some dashed with streaks of green or yellow. Three Persian ironwood trees form the centrepiece, drawing the eye upwards to a dark canopy of crimson buds.
East of England
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
The Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey is planted with a range of plants, trees and shrubs chosen to provide vivid colour, textures and scent during the winter months. The grand finale of the winter garden is the grove of Himalayan Silver Birch with their pure white trunks.
Come and find out how the gardeners and volunteers are getting on with Blickling’s walled garden restoration. Autumn through to winter is the best time to start preparing for the following spring. Bulb planting of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils keeps the garden team busy and your winter visits help the National Trust get ready for spring blooms.
Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire
Biddulph Grange Garden is one of the most exciting survivals of the great age of Victorian gardening. The garden was the vision of one man, James Bateman, who from 1841 spent more than twenty years collecting plants from all over the world. The Pinteum is a highlight in winter especially if you are lucky enough to catch snow on the Monkey puzzle trees.
Attingham Park, Shropshire
The Pleasure Grounds and Walled Garden at Attingham Park are lovely in winter. Enjoy the Mile Walk and see the restoration of the Pleasure Grounds taking place where the landscape and views will be re-instated. You can also nip into the Walled Garden and see the gardeners at work or pop into the bothy to have a poke around.
Belton House, Lincolnshire
The long and winding frost covered paths, leading to the boating lake, create wintry views to inspire. The tranquil mirror pond lies in sight of the mansion, presided over by the figure of a Roman goddess statue and the walking beech tree. The Palladian style stone temple provides a sheltered spot to sit and enjoy the wonderful reflections on the pond.
Dunham Massey, Cheshire
At seven acres, Dunham’s Winter Garden is the largest of its kind in the UK and with over 1000 winter shrubs, trees and evergreens chosen for their scent, colour and texture, it offers a treat for the senses over the winter season. Thousands of bulbs spring to life during the cold weather, including delicate blue and purple irises and cyclamen which thrive in the dry conditions. The white of the birch triangle stands out against the variety of grasses and black stem dogwood which surrounds it. Towards the end of January, the snowdrops flood the garden in white.
Explore the gardens at Wallington 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 300,000 snowdrops come February when a carpet of white will appear in the wood. In the meantime, you’ll find the Edwardian conservatory in the walled garden bursting with colour throughout the year – it was built to be a winter garden by the Trevelyans in 1908 and is still full of colour and scent all year round and open every day, including Christmas Day, for you to enjoy.
Visit the gardens at Beningbrough during winter for a complete contrast to its colourful summer appearance or the bountiful harvest of autumn. The starker shadows loom across the garden and the trees come to the fore with their different shapes, from espaliers on the walls to Yorkshire champions in the garden. The trees off-set a new owl sculpture trail through the garden, ‘Oh wise owl’, with artwork to be discovered in unexpected places. As the New Year emerges, so do 300,000 bulbs along the ha-ha, making for a cheery walk, even on the greyest of days.
Winter brings the opportunity to see Sizergh’s seasonal planting, showcasing coloured and textured bark, winter berries and bulbs. The stumpery continues to enthral with a structural beauty while the twisted trunks of the Acers in the rock garden are laid bare amongst the limestone and iced over rock pools.
Whether you're looking for relaxation, to escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas, or inspiration, activity and fresh air as you stride out into a New Year, Bodnant garden has 80 acres of landscape to enjoy. The jewel in the crown is the Winter Garden, opened in 2013. The new garden makes the most of the winter light, which at midday shines from the south across the Old Park backlighting the varied herbaceous and stark plants.
Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Shorter days and misty mornings might be upon us, but as a garden for all seasons, we have plenty for you to discover at Dyffryn over the winter months. With Dyffryn’s impressive architecture, walk through romantic archways, winding outdoor steps and marvel at icy water features as you meander through the 55 acres in the rural area of the Vale of Glamorgan. There will be bright red holly berries bursting through the arboretum and colourful chrysanthemums on show to admire in the glasshouse.
Powis Castle, Powys
Pull on your winter woollies and take a stroll around the beautiful garden this winter at Powis Castle. See the shapes of topiary and intricately trained fruit trees, sparkling under frost or casting their long shadows in the low afternoon light. This is the best time to appreciate the garden’s structure and appreciate how it's been made.
Rowallane Garden, County Down
At Rowallane Garden there is something always in season. For winter it’s the honeysuckle and witch hazel which the garden team recommend. Complimented by the evergreens and red berries, it makes the perfect winter garden. After a bracing walk come in from the cold to get warm by the open fire with a bowl of wholesome soup from the café.