Botanic garden of wales winter

Winter garden walks: the best and most inspiring

Don't let the cold put you off from visiting gardens over the winter months. Here is a list of spectacular gardens to visit in winter that offer wonderful walks, whatever the weather

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. We’ve picked five winter garden walks that show off stunning garden structure and offer a great day out, whatever the weather.




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. 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
Staffordshire ST4 8AX



Cambo Estate

The Victorian walled garden of Cambo Estate in Scotland is open throughout the year but the garden season starts in February with their much-loved snowdrop festival. First opened 20 years ago, the Victorian garden spans 2.5 acres and is accessed through an informal woodland garden. The waterfall looks spectacular after a good bout of rainfall and the rose-clad iron bridges add character and structural appeal. The woodland walks are free all year and suit all ages and abilities although the gravel path may prove difficult for wheelchairs.

Cambo House
Fife, KY16 8QD



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 garden fix 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.

National Botanic Gardens of Wales
SA32 8HN


Forde Abbey

An extensive, historic garden that still features a monastic pond that was originally used to power a mill for grain. 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.

Forde Abbey
Somerset TA20 4LU



Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Internationally renowned for its collection of plants, Kew is well worth a visit at any time of year, but 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.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew



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.

The ruins of this cistercian abbey in North Yorkshire is wonderfully atmospheric in winter. 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
North Yorkshire



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. In winter, 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
PL26 6EN


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, take the stream-side path down to the Old Mill, and warm up with a tea, coffee and something sweet.

Bodnant Garden
near Colwyn Bay
LL28 5RE


The National Trust has an amazing array of properties with gardens that are particularly spectacular during the winter months. Have a look at their website to find a garden near you. Here is a list of their favourite winter gardens.