Although most of us tend to think of gardens in their spring and summer glory, winter gardens can be quite beautiful in their own way. Here are some NT gardens to check out this season
This year, for the first time, the National Trust’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden will open during winter, allowing visitors to enjoy the architectural structure and pared-back beauty of this celebrated Kent garden at a time when it has traditionally been closed.
Anglesey Abbey’s Winter Garden, 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.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Discover the structure and shapes of Blickling’s garden, enhanced by the beautiful winter light. Wander around the Dell and Orangery gardens, where the snowdrops and hellebores begin to make a colourful appearance and follow the ongoing progress of the walled garden’s regeneration.
Stroll along Erskine Walk where the path winds through winter-flowering shrubs, showcasing coloured and textured bark, winter berries and bulbs. In winter the leafless trees provide the best views and the peaceful walled garden is also a magical spot on frosty mornings, especially when there’s a mist over the fairy lake.
Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Camelias, snowdrops and early flowering rhododendrons all create colour at Sheringham Park in the winter months. The frosty temperature is no match for the early snowdrops, but it will dictate when the camellias start to flower, if the weather is mild they can burst into bloom as early as January.
Peckover House & Garden, Cambridgeshire
Pull on your winter woollies and take a stroll around the beautiful garden at Peckover, where the gates open early in the year so you can make the most of this season. The two-acre garden boasts beautiful snowdrops and our 300 year old orange trees will also be at their most bountiful at this time of year.
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Visit the sleeping walled gardens at Calke Abbey this winter and see the gardeners at work, preparing a beautiful show of flowers and vegetables for the next season. Calke’s gardens are open from 10am–4pm every day. As the colours of autumn fades into winter, you’ll find the bare bones of the winter garden. Now’s the time to look out for berries, rose hips, holly and rowan, and follow your nose to find sweet-smelling Christmas box and Wintersweet in the Pleasure Grounds (near the green garden door).
Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire
The changing weather brings a different view of the gardens at Hanbury Hall. With the last of the flowering plants gone, the evergreen shrubs, trees and hedges come to the fore in a beautiful display. Enjoy the crisp, clean air whilst you enjoy the Garden in the ever-changing winter light. It is the perfect time of year to appreciate the geometric designs of the formal gardens and display the stark symmetry of the Parterre in all its glory.
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
Both Halls seem larger and more magnificent through the bare frames of mature garden trees. As winter descends upon us it brings its own beauty to the courtyards of the Hardwick gardens.
Croft Castle, Herefordshire
Croft’s head gardener, Jonathan Kellett, is busy all year round with his dedicated team of staff and volunteers and winter is no exception. Read on for some handy tips and ideas for caring for your garden during the frosty winter months.
Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Winter is here but neither nature or the gardeners stop. We are preparing for an even better show in 2020 and look forward to welcoming you in the spring.
Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
As you walk towards the mansion, stop to look around you as the gardens will be glowing in the winter sun. This is the perfect time of the year to see the wonderful specks of white scattered across the parkland. Head over to the tennis courts where you can see the beautiful snowdrops and enjoy the earthy green of the evergreens.
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.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, 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. Enjoy the gardens for longer in one of our 11 holiday cottages on the estate, from apartments in Fountains Hall to a large house in the deer park.
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.
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, Gallery and Gardens, Yorkshire
Visit the gardens at Beningbrough during winter for a complete contrast to its colourful summer appearance. Look out for 14 handcrafted lino-cut sculptural scenes, created by Yorkshire artist Gerard Hobson, nestled among the bare trees. 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.
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. Afterwards, warm up with an orange hot chocolate or tuck into beef stew and dumplings in the tea-room.
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 a stroll through the restored glasshouse and see the array of exotic plants and fruit, as well as taking in the seasonal poinsettia display.
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Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
The garden is a horticultural work of art, formed through centuries of landscape design, with influences of ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton. Four lakes form the heart of the garden, with paths circulating through the glades and wooded areas surrounding them. Each owner has left their impression, which can still be seen today in the layout of the lakes, the construction of Pulham Falls, the planting of Palm Walk and the many different tree and shrub species from around the world. Winter brings misty mornings and frosty trees to give the garden a timeless, sculptural beauty.
It won’t be long before you see the gardens bursting with snowdrops or as we fondly like to call them ‘Stowedrops’. Enjoy chilly walks in the New Year to spot the early signs of them peeping through as they develop in the masses throughout the Elysian Fields, Sleeping Wood and Lamport Garden.
Mottisfont’s winter garden is at its best from late November into early spring, specially planted to provide colour during the shortest days of the year. Stroll through paths that wind through winter-flowering shrubs and perennials, chosen for colour and scent.
Ightham Mote, Kent
After the leaves have fallen and many shrubs lay dormant waiting for spring, it’s time for the structure of the garden to stand up proud. With a series of smaller ‘gardens’ leading up towards the historic pleasure grounds, Ightham Mote’s 14 acre garden has something ethereal about it in winter.
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
The garden becomes a magical place at winter time, with beautiful walks, stunning views and adventure to be had around every corner. Don’t forget the Stables cafe is open at weekends 11am-4pm, serving hot and cold food.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent
Discover the bare beauty of the garden in winter and the structure which provides the frame work for abundant planting later in the year every weekend. Sissinghurst is famous as the epitome of the English Garden; a result of the creative tension between the formal design of Harold Nicolson and the exuberant planting of Vita Sackville-West. Walk at your leisure around parts of the garden not normally open at this time of year to discover the structure and architecture at its best.
Wrap up warm and make the most of the winter exploring frost-jewelled corners of the gardens. You’ll find spots of colour too, thanks to bright red berries, creamy hellebores, fiery dogwoods and more.
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Discover an array of snowdrops at Polesden Lacey in February. There are white drifts lining the Lime Walk down to the formal gardens, but perhaps the best place to see them is in the Winter Garden. Planted by noted botanist Graham Stuart Thomas, this garden really comes to life, with yellow winter aconites, in the depths of the winter frost.
Nymans, West Sussex
During wintertime the garden at Nymans is at rest, but not asleep, with snowdrops, ﬂame coloured cornus stems, scented daphne and colourful camellias ﬂowering throughout the garden.
Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
Laced with frost and dotted with unusual winter blooms, Winkworth Arboretum becomes a secret haven of botanical beauty during the colder months. Wrap up warm and discover 149 acres of understated tranquility in this fascinating wintry woodland.
Bateman’s, East Sussex
Nature may be resting, but there is beauty to be found in the sculptural forms of the skeleton trees, splashes of colour from winter flowers and a sense of peace in the sleeping garden. The winter landscapes reveal the structure of the garden that Kipling created at Bateman’s and capture views that can only be enjoyed at this time of year.
Petworth, West Sussex
Explore the Pleasure Ground and deer park of Petworth this winter and discover nature at rest. From proud bare trees, misty views, winter berries and snowdrops that signal warmer days of spring to come, there’s still plenty of life outdoors at Petworth.
Basildon Park, Berkshire
Winter at Basildon Park is a beautiful time of the year, and the perfect place for a refreshing winter walk. The winter trees open up new views of the garden and house, and you can see long vistas of natural beauty. Put on your wellies and coat and get ready to let off some steam!
Osterley Park, London
We have been developing the winter garden for the last five years and it is now a sight to behold while the rest of the garden slumbers We have planted many varieties of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and bulbs – all of which have colourful or interesting leaves, bark, stems or flowers in the winter months, which are at their best when light levels are low and when the sun’s low angle lights up their bright stems.
Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
Throughout the year there are scenes to behold at Dyrham Park as the trees, plants and animals undergo their annual cycle. Dyrham Park is a great place to witness the changing seasons and in the winter months you can see the deer in their winter coats, watch the house glisten in the frost and see bright bursts of colour in the garden.
Coleton Fishacre, Devon
There’s a nip in the air and a crunch of leaves underfoot; autumn is waning and winter is arriving. There’s still plenty to see during November and December weekends in this sheltered garden, and the sea views are uninterrupted when the leaves are falling.
Greenway Garden, Devon
Winter is the perfect time to explore the garden; while the leaves are down from the trees the views over the river are opened up, and there are plenty of interesting plants in flower. A winter weekend walk around the garden is perfect for blowing away the cobwebs.
Winter walks at Hidcote, Gloucestershire
Hidcote during the winter is a really special time, come along to a wintry walk around the garden or venture further to see festive views of the estate.
The garden changes through the year but always has something exciting and beautiful to discover, even in winter. Find out what’s brightening up the garden this season, and what the gardeners have been up to recently.
Prior Park Landscape Garden, Somerset
Far from being a place void of life in winter, the garden fills with new birds, seasonal plants and different perspectives. Winter in the garden is a wonderful time. The bare trees open views which are not possible with summer foliage. The gardeners undertake tree felling work at this time of year – as we work to restore the garden to it’s 1764 state, and the time of creator Ralph Allen’s death.
After a visit to the house, visitors can take a lakeside stroll and enjoy the tranquillity of the winter landscape garden that was created over 250 years ago and enjoyed by thousands each year.
There are 12 hectares (30 acres) of garden to explore, with twisting paths leading you through important collections of flowers, together with woodland plants and herbaceous borders that provide year-round colour and interest. Don’t forget to pop into the café for a warming brew.