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.
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
National Botanic Gardens of Wales
If the weather doesn’t let up this winter and the thought of walking outside fills you with dispair, 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 Garden of Wales
Carmarthenshire SA32 8HN
The ruins of this cistercian abbey in North Yourkshire 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.
North Yorkshire HG4 3DY
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.
Fife, KY16 8QD
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. This year, as part of the White Christmas, after-dark, winter trail around the gardens, the long herbaceous borders will be illuminated for the first time, lighting up the house and champion trees.
Somerset TA20 4LU