A Boxing Day walk is as traditional as a turkey roast for many of us at Christmas, and the thought of getting out in the open air, hopefully with friends and family, feels more necessary than ever this year.
With many gardens open over the festive period, a Boxing Day walk around some of the country’s finest gardens is a great chance to blow away the cobwebs of the past year and think of the year to come. Perhaps it could even inspire your garden plans for the next year too. If you’re looking for Boxing Day activities or Boxing Day walk ideas, have a read below of our top 10 favourites for this year.
And if these tickle your fancy, be sure to check out our list of festive light trails which are going ahead into the New Year as well. Or if it’s a day at the garden centre you’re in need of, we’ve compiled a handy list of garden centres still open during lockdown.
Gardens open on Boxing Day in the UK
Please book garden entry in advance where possible and check local government guidelines before travelling.
RHS Harlow Carr, Yorkshire
The RHS’s most northerly garden is open for pre-booked garden visits on Boxing Day this year. Enjoy the Main Borders and the dramatic Sandstone Rock Garden, or take a seasonal stroll through the garden’s Woodland where you can walk under majestic oak trees, hunt for toadstools and breath in the crisp winter air.
Time slots are available to book between 9.30am and 3pm. Last admission is at 3pm and the garden closes at 4pm. You may arrive at any time within your time slot and stay as long as you like within garden opening hours.
Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1QB
RHS Hyde Hall, Essex
Enjoy some peace and quiet this Boxing Day at RHS Garden Hyde Hall which is nestled in the heart of rural Essex. Known for its refreshing mix of traditional and contemporary garden styles, Hyde Hall is the perfect spot to to get inspired for the year to come. The Dry Garden, with its range of drought-resistant plants, and the Hilltop Garden, full of roses and herbaceous borders are two must-see areas.
Time slots are available to book between 10am and 3pm. Last admission is at 3pm and the garden closes at 4pm. You may arrive at any time within your time slot and stay as long as you like within garden opening hours.
Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8RA
West Dean Gardens
It’s a first this year that West Dean Gardens near Chichester will be opening on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Head gardener Tom Brown oversees the beautiful space, which featured a garden since 1622. Now there’s a chance to enjoy the gardens, parkland and arboretum too. Visits must be booked in advance and tickets are available online. The gardens are still offering free entry to NHS workers + one adult until 1 January 2021. RHS members gain free access to the gardens in January and February.
Open 10.30 – 4pm
Book a ticket at westdean.org.uk
West Dean Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex , PO18 0QZ
RHS Rosemoor, Devon
Have a leisurely wander in the fresh country air at RHS Rosemoor, in north Devon. Admire the frosty Foliage Garden and the new Cool Garden which offers interest all year round thanks to its structural plants. Or admire the scenic Woodland which provides wonderful views of the wider garden and surrounding landscape.
Time slots are available to book between 10am and 5pm. Last admission is at 4pm and the garden closes at 5pm. You may arrive at any time within your time slot and stay as long as you like within garden opening hours.
Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH
RHS Wisley, Surrey
What better place to take a Boxing Day walk than at one of the world’s most inspirational gardens (and also winner of a whopping five Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor)?! RHS Wisley is packed full of garden ideas, from their Exotic Garden to their Heather Landscape. And be sure to stop by the unmissable exhibition ‘The Four Seasons’ by Philip Haas; four larger than life sculptures made from seasonal fruit, vegetables, flowers and crops.
Time slots are available to book between 9am and 3.30pm. Last admission is at 2.30pm and the garden closes at 3.30pm. You may arrive at any time within your time slot and stay as long as you like within garden opening hours.
Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk
RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB
Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent
Entertaining for adults and children alike, Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent is a spectacular backdrop for a Boxing Day adventure. Marvel at the famous Italian Gardens, revived by Tom Stuart-Smith, and the Rivers of Grass and adjacent Floral Labyrinth, both designed by eminent Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf.
Half hour entry slots are available to pre-book between 10am-3pm. Last entry to the garden is 3pm and the garden closes at 4pm.
Book a slot at: trentham.co.uk
Trentham Estate, Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 8JG
Chiswick House Gardens, London
Escape the festive hustle and bustle and enjoy a peaceful Boxing Day walk amongst a classical garden landscape at Chiswick House and Garden. It was here that The English Landscape Movement was born with William Kent’s designs. In wintertime, you can admire the beauty of the naturalistic landscape, interspersed with impressive art and statues.
There is no pre-booking in place and the garden is free to enter, although donations are welcome.
Find out more at: chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk
Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2RP
Castle Howard Gardens, York
Enjoy the sight of the great misty lake and a spectacular 30-foot outdoor Christmas tree this Boxing Day at Castle Howard near York. The 1,000 acre grounds of this majestic palace include woodland walks, temples, fountains and lakes. And little ones can let off steam at the Adventure Playground.
Book an arrival slot and then enjoy the gardens for the rest of the day. The gardens close at 4pm with last entry at 3pm. If you happen to be running late or early, your booking will still be valid so there is no need to re-book.
Book your slot at: castlehoward.co.uk
Castle Howard Estate, York YO60 7DA
Kew Gardens, Richmond
Make it a Boxing Day walk to remember this year at one of the world’s most famous gardens and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Discover thousands of fascinating plants, have a crisp stroll through the vast arboretum and spot local wildlife at the lake and Sackler Crossing. And in terms of their light show, here’s everything you need to know about Kew Gardens at Christmas.
Pre-book your time slot from 10am-3pm, with last entry at 2pm.
Book your slot at kew.org
Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London TW9 3AE
The Newt, Somerset
Visit the beautifully cultivated gardens of The Newt hotel near Bruton in Somerset. The Walled Garden, Kitchen Garden, Fragrance Garden, as well as woodland and orchards make this a breathtaking environment for a Boxing Day out.
Booking is required but there is no need to specify a day or time; your ticket can be used on any day up until 16 January. This can be converted to a Garden Membership free of charge within 30 days of your first visit, allowing you to visit as many times as you like for the following 12 months – at no extra cost.
Open 9.30-4.30pm (last entry 4pm)
Book now at: thenewtinsomerset.com
The Newt in Somerset, Bruton, Somerset BA7 7NG
Many National Trust gardens are open on Boxing Day, including the traditional Victorian Gothic gardens at Tyntesfield near Bristol. Pick from a range of walking routes, including an accessible, steps-free walk and a woodland walk. The garden is full of wildlife, from hares to deers, so can keep an eye out!
Booking in advance is recommended.
Book a slot at: nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield
Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Bristol BS48 1NX