Gardens Illustrated
The Winter Walk in snow with Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the foreground at RHS Garden Harlow Carr
The Winter Walk in snow with Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the foreground at RHS Garden Harlow Carr

Best UK gardens open for Boxing Day walks

Published: December 9, 2021 at 2:56 pm

Many UK gardens are open this festive season, so why not work off your Christmas indulgence between Boxing Day and New Year with a winter walk at one of these 13 great open gardens?

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.

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With many gardens open over the festive period, a Boxing Day winter 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.

Gardens open on Boxing Day in the UK

Please book garden entry in advance where possible and check local government guidelines before travelling.

1

RHS Harlow Carr, Yorkshire

The Winter Walk in snow with Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the foreground at RHS Garden Harlow Carr
The Winter Walk in snow with Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' in the foreground at RHS Garden Harlow Carr

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 10am and 4pm. 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.

Open 10am-4pm

Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk

RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1QB

2

RHS Hyde Hall, Essex

Frost in The Dry Garden in winter at RHS Garden Hyde Hall.
Frost in The Dry Garden in winter at RHS Garden Hyde Hall.

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 4pm. 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.

Open 10am-4pm

Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk

RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8RA

3

West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens near Chichester will be opening this year 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. 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

4

RHS Rosemoor, Devon

RHS Garden Rosemoor - General views of the Foliage Garden
RHS Garden Rosemoor - General views of the Foliage Garden

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 4pm. 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.

Open 10am-4pm

Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk

RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH

5

RHS Wisley, Surrey

Glasshouse borders in Winter, RHS Wisley Garden
Glasshouse borders in winter, RHS Wisley Garden Glasshouse borders in Winter, RHS Wisley Garden

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.

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.

Open 9am-3.30pm

Book a slot at: rhs.org.uk

RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB

6

Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent

The Italian Garden in winter at Trentham Gardens
The Italian Garden in winter at Trentham Gardens

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.

Open 10am-4pm

Book a slot at: trentham.co.uk

Trentham Estate, Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 8JG

7

Chiswick House Gardens, London

The Cascade at Chiswick Gardens
The Cascade at Chiswick Gardens

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.

Open 7am-dusk

Find out more at: chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk

Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2RP

8

Castle Howard Gardens, York

Castle Howard Lake
Castle Howard Lake

Enjoy the sight of the great misty lake 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.

Open 10am-4pm

Book your slot at: castlehoward.co.uk

Castle Howard Estate, York YO60 7DA

9

Kew Gardens, Richmond

Temperate House and cedars in snow, RBG Kew
Temperate House and cedars in snow, RBG Kew

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.

Pre-book your time slot from 10am-3pm, with last entry at 2pm.

Open 10am-3pm

Book your slot at kew.org

Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London TW9 3AE

10

The Newt, Somerset

The Newt in Somerset
The Walled Garden at The Newt, Somerset © Jason Ingram

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.

You will need to buy an annual membership to visit the garden. This gives you unlimited access to the gardens, restaurants and attractions for 12 months.

Open 9.30-4.30pm (last entry 4pm)

Book now at: thenewtinsomerset.com

The Newt in Somerset, Bruton, Somerset BA7 7NG

11

Tyntesfield, Bristol

Visitor on the Yew Walk at Tyntesfield, Somerset. Victorian Gothic Revival house with gardens and parkland.
Visitor on the Yew Walk at Tyntesfield, Somerset. Victorian Gothic Revival house with gardens and parkland. © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

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!

Open 10am-5pm

Find more details at: nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield

Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Bristol BS48 1NX

12

Lowther Castle & Gardens

Naturalistic planting in shades of green at the base of castle ruins
The naturalistic planting within The Garden-in-the Ruins designed by Dan Pearson. Photo: Claire Takacs.

With dramatic ruins, extensive gardens and views out across the Lake District, Lowther Castle is a magical place for a Boxing Day walk. The gardens have been reimagined and restored by Dan Pearson, who has overseen the creation of the Parterre, the naturalistic Garden-in-the-Ruins and The Rose Garden.

The woodland, complete with hidden swings, the child's playground, and a spectacular walk along the western terrace makes Lowther a festive destination for the whole family to enjoy. The gardens are open 10am to 4pm, with last entry at 3pm.

Open 10am-4pm

Book now at: lowthercastle.org

Lowther Castle, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 2HH

13

Aberglasney Gardens

Formal garden design with topiary and borders sit infront of a large white mansion house
Formal gardens at Aberglasney. Photo: Rictor Norton and David Allen / Flickr

The fully restored Elizabethan Cloister Garden at Aberglasney in Carmarthenshire is one of the only surviving examples of its kind in the UK. Surrounding the Grade II listed mansion is a wealth of hidden garden gems, from woodland areas to pockets of exotic planting.

The gardens are open from 10.30am to 4pm, with last entry at 3pm. Entry to the garden gives you access all day, allowing plenty of time to explore the gardens in full.

Open 10.30-4pm

Book now at aberglasney.org

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Aberglasney Gardens, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire SA32 8QH

Authors

Katie is a Staff Writer for HomeStyle magazine and YourHomeStyle.uk. She previously worked on Gardens Illustrated magazine and has written for various other lifestyle magazines and brands. She particularly enjoys writing about indie and sustainable homeware brands, interior styles through the ages, houseplants and decor hacks for small spaces. She is also responsible for HomeStyle's buyer's guides, so you'll often find her testing out the latest homeware gadgets and kitchen appliances.

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