From dazzling landscapes to peaceful parklands, the National Trust cares for some spectacular places that are some of the most stunning of Britain’s winter wonderlands
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.
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 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.
At Bodnant Garden in Conwy, Wales, the winter garden is relatively new 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.
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.
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.