Photographs of Britain’s winter wonderlands

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

From dazzling landscapes to peaceful parklands, the National Trust cares for some spectacular places just waiting to be discovered during the cold winter months. Here are a few of our favourites…

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

There’s nothing better on a crisp, cold morning than venturing outdoors to explore frosty landscapes or Britain’s beautiful buildings dressed in their wintry best. Here is a selection of our favourite all-natural winter wonderlands…

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal in North Yorkshire combine magnificent ruins with beautiful landscaped Georgian water gardens at this breathtaking World Heritage Site, which boasts over 800 acres of beautiful parkland and its own medieval deer park. Stay in one of the 11 holiday cottages there, including two apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall, as well as five cottages at How Hill, which have been converted from a group of 18th-century farm buildings.

The statue of Galen AT Fountains Abbey. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
The statue of Galen at Fountains Abbey. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
A winter view of Fountains Hall. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
A winter view of Fountains Hall. Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Another stunning spot for the perfect weekend escape is Stourhead in Wiltshire, where the world-famous landscape garden comprises a magnificent lake reflecting classic temples, mystical grottos and swathes of surrounding trees. The buildings and statues in the garden are a key part of Henry Hoare II’s carefully constructed views and form focal points around the lake. To make a weekend of it, stay in 89 Church Lawn, set at the entrance to the garden, a pretty 18th-century holiday cottage, which sleeps seven and allows guests to enjoy the landscape garden before the crowds.

Winter scene at Stourhead. Credit: National Trust Images/ Stephen Robson
Winter scene at Stourhead. Credit: National Trust Images/Stephen Robson
Winter Stourhead. Credit: National Trust Images/Stephen Robson
Stourhead. Credit: National Trust Images/Stephen Robson

Winter is the perfect time to see the monumental garden at Stowe in Buckinghamshire glisten with crisp frost, with mist drifting across the lakes. There are more than 250 acres of garden to explore with lakes, classical temples, winding paths and woods created by some of the greatest minds of gardening design and architecture, including Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and William Kent.

Oxford Bridge at Stowe. Credit: National Trust Images/Rod Edwards
Oxford Bridge at Stowe. Credit: National Trust Images/Rod Edwards

At Bodnant Garden in Conwy, Wales, there will be a tree-dressing day on 6 December, where you will be welcome to join in with the ancient tradition. The winter garden at Bodnant has been open for just over two years and, with its winter colours and scents, it brightens up even the coldest of winter days – the perfect place for a post-Christmas walk. At weekends during the winter months you’ll be able to enjoy a warming cup of tea in the bottom of the garden at the Dell tea stop. With hot drinks, snacks and a warming fire, it’s the perfect place to pause and reflect while on your way round the garden.

Bodnant Winter Garden. Credit: National Trust Images
Bodnant Winter Garden. Credit: National Trust Images

Visitors to Mottisfont in Hampshire can enjoy the National Trust’s newest winter garden, whose plants are at their most beautiful when others are in hibernation. Gullies of foliage plants appear to wind through the banks of willow and spill into the stream and, as winter creeps in, the garden becomes a refuge for late flowering shrubs and sweet-smelling winter honeysuckle. We love the striking corridor of ancient trees below.

Trees in the gardens at Mottisfont. Credit: National Trust Images/John Miller
Trees in the gardens at Mottisfont. Credit: National Trust Images/John Miller
Mottisfont in snow. Credit: National Trust Images
Mottisfont in snow. Credit: National Trust Images

Whichever path you take through the woods at Wallington in Northumberland, whether it’s the winding Serpentine Path or the longer path that loops around the China Pond and past the impressive Portico House, the tranquillity of the landscape will surround you. Discover the mini-lake covered in a sprinkling of frost and the enchanting walled garden. There is also a beautiful Edwardian conservatory, originally created as a Winter Garden, which is home to an array of beautiful plants throughout the year. The grounds at Wallington are open all year round, including Christmas Day, and are the perfect place to walk off your Christmas dinner.

Wallington Clock Tower. Credit: National Trust Images/Chris Orton
Wallington Clock Tower. Credit: National Trust Images/Chris Orton

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