Winter walks around National Trust sites to blow the Christmas blues

The National Trust maintains hundreds of walking trails in beautiful places across the country and with the stress of the season it’s time to warm up and brave the cold for a winter walk.

Head to the coast to admire dramatic gray skies and thundering waves, blow spider webs with cliff top walks and mountain climbs, or follow trails through frosty parks and historic gardens.

Here are some of the best hiking trails to give you a spring in your step during the cold winter months.

South East

Cliveden, Berkshire

Set atop chalk cliffs and overlooking the River Thames, the beautiful gardens and forests of Cliveden offer breathtaking views that have been admired for centuries.

The view from Cliveden’s south terrace on a cool winter morning is memorable, looking out over the beautiful six-acre parterre and across the Thames Valley.

Trails also weave through miles of forest and descend to the banks of the Thames.

Ham House and Garden, Surrey

Explore the walled orchard of 30 apple trees and stroll through the wild garden – a secluded area surrounded by a hedge of charms – enjoying the crackle of frosted leaves beneath your feet.

As winter progresses, the topiary in formal gardens takes on its full meaning; its domes, pyramids and cones sprinkled with dew, frost and cobwebs.

Mottisfont, Hampshire

This house and this gallery, located in the middle of gardens by the river, are most beautiful with a pinch of frost.

Stroll through the Winter Gardens, filled with richly colored dogwood, ornamental silver brambles and flowering shrubs or follow the river promenade along the crystal clear waters.

Scotney Castle, Kent

It’s so peaceful

The views of the old castle from the Scotney Estate are timeless and capture the setting that inspired the owners to build the mansion above.

Follow the blue or red-topped poles on a stroll through the many acres of parks, woods, and waterways to discover a stone bridge, an avenue of beech trees, and even WWII bomb craters .

Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

There are over 20 downloadable trails to explore on the Isle of Wight, featuring rolling land, woodland and spectacular coastline.

Osterley Park and House, Middlesex

Osterley Park and House is a beautifully preserved Georgian country property a short distance from central London.

With its acres of parkland and idyllic farmland, the estate is still full of color at this time of year, with the winter display in the Garden House a particular delight.

South West

Hidcote, Gloucestershire

Whatever the weather, there is always something of interest to see on a stroll through the gardens designed by Lawrence Johnston.

Set in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, the magnificent estate is divided into a series of ‘outside rooms’, each with its own character.

Stroll through the old garden and don’t miss the beautiful Italian shelter by the pool, a quiet place to shelter from the wind and rain.

Buckland Abbey, Devon

Buckland Abbey is steeped in over 700 years of history, from the Cistercians who built the Abbey and operated the estate to sailors Grenville and Drake.

There are hiking trails to follow, showcasing the best of the estate’s winter colors – a picture-perfect spot is Beech Avenue, with lovely gold and orange leaves above and underfoot. , and views over the Tavy valley.

Pentire, Cornwall

Overlooking Polzeath, a popular holiday destination in North Cornwall, the Pentire Headland has been inhabited by humans since 4000BC, but remains mostly underdeveloped and provides a coastal escape for visitors.

Remnants of the Iron Age ramparts can be seen at the Rumps and scars from lead and silver mines are etched on the promontory.

Tyntesfield, North Somerset

Just 7 miles from central Bristol, Tyntesfield nestles in a tranquil landscape overlooking the Yeo Valley.

One of the last Victorian estates in the country, the house is a Gothic Revival masterpiece and its turrets, towers and family chapel take on a special aura in winter thanks to atmospheric mists and frost.

The formal terraces in front of the house, the large walks lined with topiaries, the arboretum for rare trees and the intimate rose garden can be enjoyed.

Studland Bay, Dorset

Stream reflecting clouds, Sandbanks Shell Beach, Studland Bay, Dorset, UK
Stream reflecting clouds, Sandbanks Shell Beach, Studland Bay, Dorset, UK

Four miles of beautiful beaches line the sheltered waters of Studland Bay.

Backed by heather and dune systems, the beaches stretch from the edge of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site at Old Harry Rocks in the north to Shell Bay.

Winter wildlife includes sanderlings scurrying along the water’s edge and comically following the waves up and down.

Stroll to Middle Beach where a small flock of Brent Geese is a common sight.


Attingham Park, Shropshire

As soon as you walk through the gates of Attingham, the view opens up over 200 year old parkland to the Shropshire Hills and the impressive Regency Mansion emerges against silhouetted cedars.

Cattle graze and fallow deer roam, historic trees cluster in woodland glades and the beautiful stretches of the Severn and Tern can be enjoyed.

The many ponds are a haven for wildlife of all kinds, from ducks and swans to otters.

Belton, House, Lincolnshire

From cool, bright and frigid days to atmospheric and misty mornings, Belton is a winter delight.

On these calm days, Belton’s deer are often very close to home and provide great photo opportunities.

Croft Castle and grounds, Herefordshire

Croft is best known for its impressive variety of ancient trees. Located on the Anglo-Welsh border, the park’s millennial chestnuts and quarry oak are particularly atmospheric this time of year.

Even after they shed their fiery leaves, the crisp outlines of the branches are breathtaking. There are also walled gardens, wild forests and even an Iron Age fort.

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Carved out of the ancient forests of Sherwood, Clumber Park is a magnificent expanse of parkland, moorland and woodland covering over 3,800 acres.

The hiking routes around the beautiful lake are very special in winter, especially on misty mornings when fog surrounds the Gothic Chapel.

Then reward yourself with a hot meal in our Turning Yard Café, featuring produce grown in the walled vegetable garden.

East of England

Ickworth, Suffolk

An Italian palace in the heart of Suffolk with over 1800 acres of beautiful grounds, woodland, Italian gardens are an all weather trail to enjoy.

Ickworth is the perfect place to get back to nature with the Monument Walk, a great winter walk.

North West

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

The gardens of this Georgian estate near Manchester are teeming with color until winter.

Stroll the park’s tree-covered alleys, smell the familiar ‘burnt sugar’ scent of cotton candy from the katsura trees along the canal, and listen to the herd of resident fallow deer among the rustling leaves under the trees. feet.

Career Bank, Cheshire

At Quarry Bank, you can experience a complete industrial community and experience the very different worlds of the owner and the worker, who have lived and worked here side by side.

On the estate there are acres of woodland to explore and you can follow the winding path of the Bollin River and cross the Bridges of Madness.

Watch for flashes of electric blue as kingfishers speed past. If you’re really lucky, you might even be able to spot an otter as it slips through the water.

Speke Hall, Garden and Estate, LiverpooI

Visitors approaching Speke Hall in Liverpool in winter
Visitors approaching Speke Hall in Liverpool in winter

Just eight miles from the Liver Building, Speke Hall is a rare timber-framed Tudor mansion in an unusual setting on the banks of the River Mersey.

La Halle is surrounded by restored gardens and protected by a wooded pass.

Take a stroll around the estate and you’ll enjoy lovely views over the Wirral, North Wales and even the skyline of Liverpool city center.


Chirk Castle, Wrexham

At Chirk Castle, there are 480 acres of meadows, meadows and beautiful forests, full of ancient trees which are especially stunning in a wintry landscape.

On a bright, clear day, on the Old Golf Walk you can see the Forest of Bowland 70 miles to the north and the Peak District 65 miles to the east.

Erddig, Wrexham

For over 300 years, visitors have been invited to explore Erddig Park.

The Erddig Clywedog Riverside Walk is a short circular walk that takes you through the park to the historic village of Felin Puleston.

The route includes the unusual waterfall of the cup and the saucer.

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