Winter walk at the Botanic garden of Wales

Winter walks: the best gardens for your winter walk

Don't let the cold put you off from visiting gardens over the winter months. Here is a list of spectacular gardens to visit for a winter walk

During the colder months, it’s tempting to stay indoors and keep warm by the fire but winter gardens can be a great source of inspiration so it is well worth taking the time to visit. Many designers will have made sure their gardens work with haunting, structural seedheads and covered in a magical layer of frost, so visiting a garden in winter can be just as rewarding as seeing everything in full bloom.

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Below are a selection of gardens perfect for a winter walk, that offer a great day out, whatever the weather. As always, make sure you check before you travel to make sure the gardens are open to visitors. Most will only be taking visitors who have booked in advance.

For more, head to our perfect gardens to visit in autumn, and don’t miss our round up of the best Christmas light shows.

 

1

Trentham Gardens

The gardens at Trentham are renowned for their beauty and magical atmosphere in winter. They have a spectacular structural display of topiary and seedheads, offering a great starting point for thinking about future planting schemes in your own garden that could encompass all seasons. On a winter walk it is difficult not to be inspired by these extensive gardens that include planting schemes by Chelsea gold-medal winners, Piet Oudolf, Tom Stuart-Smith and more recently Nigel Dunnett.

The Trentham Estate
Stoke-on-Trent
Staffordshire ST4 8AX
www.trentham.co.uk

 

2

National Botanic Gardens of Wales

Botanic garden of wales winter

If the weather doesn’t let up this winter and the thought of walking outside fills you with despair, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales allows you to have your winter walk away from the gloomy outdoors. The Great Glasshouse is the largest single span greenhouse in the world and as well as an excellent place to shelter from the Welsh wind and rain, the greenhouse is home to some of the rarest plants from six areas of the world; California, Australia, The Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. You can cover countries and continents over 3,500 square metres in the walk around the dome. Obviously 2020 and 2021 is a little different to usual winters, so always check before you travel that the Glasshouse is open for visitors.

National Botanic Gardens of Wales
Llanarthne
Carmarthenshire
SA32 8HN

gardenofwales.org.uk

3

Forde Abbey

An extensive, historic garden that still features a monastic pond that was originally used to power a mill for grain. In the winter, take the nut walk along the west wall of the garden through an area filled with trees and hazel bushes and admire the four ponds, which flow into each other to become a tranquil, calming focus to the garden.

NOTE: Forde Abbey is closed over winter 2020 to undertake essential works. 

Forde Abbey
Chard
Somerset TA20 4LU
www.fordeabbey.co.uk

 

4

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Internationally renowned for its collection of plants, Kew is well worth a visit at any time of year, but for a winter walk, its famous glasshouses are a welcome retreat from winter weather. Warm up in the newly restored Temperate House that houses some of the rarest and most threatened temperate zone plants. Plus. stroll around The Princess of Wales Conservatory where there are 10 computer-controlled climatic zones all under one roof. Always check before you travel, as indoor areas at Kew are not all open to the public following the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s more on Christmas at Kew 2020. 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
TW9 3AE

kew.org

 

5

Fountains Abbey

Looking over the Half Moon Pond and weir of Studley Royal Water Garden in winter from the Surprise View towards Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.
© Photo by Andrew Butler

The ruins of this cistercian abbey in North Yorkshire is a wonderfully atmospheric winter walk. You can walk around the water gardens and along riverside paths to the deer park, home to red, fallow and sika deer. It is a World Heritage Site with a historic and romantic feel. There are many ancient trees within the deer park such as sweet chestnut, limes and oak. As well as the riverside walk, the extensive parklands are covered in footpaths and trails, suitable for all ages and abilities. You can take a circular walk around the whole estate, enjoying views of the Abbey and passing through over 400 years of history.

Fountains Abbey
Ripon
North Yorkshire
HG4 3DY

nationaltrust.org.uk

 

6

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Cornwall’s secret garden is famous for its award-winning restoration and over the years the garden has grown to become a year-round tourist hot spot. On a winter walk, visitors can appreciate the bare bones of the garden, watch birdlife on the feeders behind the hide and keep an eye out for fungi in hidden damp areas of the garden.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Pentewan
St.Austell
Cornwall
PL26 6EN

heligan.com

7

Bodnant Garden

80 acres of landscaped gardens with stunning views of the Conwy valley, Bodnant has an established winter garden, filled with plants chosen for their remarkable colour and fragrance. If it’s particularly chilly on the day of your winter walk, take the stream-side path down to the Old Mill, and warm up with a tea, coffee and something sweet.

Bodnant Garden
Tal-y-Cafn
near Colwyn Bay
Conwy
LL28 5RE

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nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden