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Find Your Own National Trust Winter Wonderland

If you want to get away from the maddening crowd this weekend, why not get back in touch with nature? There’s something very special about country walks in the colder months, with wellies and a woolly hat. Take a thermos with you and have pit stops while the dogs run around sending crunchy leaves flying everywhere. Here’s what the National Trust recommends.


There’s nothing better on a crisp winter’s morning than venturing outdoors to explore frosty landscapes and spot winter wildlife.

From spectacular landscapes and peaceful parklands to exotic colour with rich scents, National Trust gardeners and volunteers have been working hard to create these beautiful winter wonderlands.

Here’s a selection of some the great places just waiting to be discovered during the cold winter months:

South West

Godolphin, Cornwall

This gentle ramble up to the top of Godolphin Hill boasts some of the best views over West Cornwall. On a clear winters’ day you can even see as far as St Michael’s Mount and St Ives Bay. What’s more, every time you venture into the Cornish countryside you’re helping National Trust rangers maintain pathways and trails for family walks all year round.

Studland, Dorset

Get a view of the breath-taking Jurassic coast from the edge of these unique rock formations. Beautiful on both a calm or blustery day, the sound of the waves beneath is the perfect winter escape to the coast. N.B. Café and shop closed 25th December.

Anglesey Abbey National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

London and the South East

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Post-Christmas walk

27 December, 10am – 12pm

Take a walk with a nature expert through the Ashridge estate to blow away the cobwebs, and see the sculptural gnarled shapes of the veteran trees silhouetted against the sky. Can you spot any of the fallow deer herd in their winter coats, grazing the woodland floor?

Box Hill, Surrey

Fancy a gentle stroll with a big payoff? Follow the trail around the top of Box Hill to enjoy some of Surrey’s finest scenery, which was very popular with Victorian picnickers. It might be a bit chilly for alfresco eating at this time of year, but you can still enjoy a breath of fresh air and stretch your legs. Afterwards, pop into the café for hot lunches, coffees and the famous Box Hill flapjacks. N.B. Café closed 25th December

An avenue of autumnal beech trees in the grounds at Killerton, Devon, in September.

Image Credit: National Trust

Tennyson Down, IoW

Guided walk

28 December, 10am – 12.30pm

If you’re looking for a way to burn off your Christmas dinner, why not join the National Trust rangers for a bracing four-mile walk over Tennyson and West High Downs? You’ll get to discover how the conservation charity cares for these landscapes and the wildlife that live here – if you’re lucky you might even spot some of the winter birdlife. You’ll also find a warm welcome at the Needles Battery, where you can buy drinks and a bite to eat in the tea-room. Can’t make the event? You can still download the walk from the National Trust website, and follow in Tennyson’s footsteps at your leisure. Price: donations welcome for guided walk. Old Battery tea room open 26 – 31 Dec, 11am – 3pm

East of England

Flatford, Suffolk

The little riverside hamlet of Flatford was the setting for some of landscape painter John Constable’s most famous works. Why not discover these picturesque locations for yourself on a winter walk, where you can revel in big sweeping views, crunch through frosty fields and watch the dancing reflections of trees along the river. N.B Café & shop closed Mondays & Tuesdays, plus 24 – 26 December

Dyrham Park National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

Winter is a spectacular season for walking at Wicken Fen, especially as the all-weather boardwalk offers good footing even in cold or wet weather. It’s also the perfect time to spot a whole range of amazing wildlife, from winter wildfowl and owls to hen harriers and starlings. You might even see some of them coming in to roost towards dusk as the sun sets over Sedge Fen. N.B. Closed 25 December

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Sheringham Park is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas, or to walk off those calories after the big day. You’ll find plenty of peace and quiet here, interrupted only by birdsong and maybe a steam train passing through the park. There are
1.5 miles of surfaced path for those wanting to avoid getting too muddy or looking for somewhere that’s buggy or wheelchair friendly. What’s more, now that all the leaves have fallen off the trees you’ll be able to enjoy even better views of the Norfolk coastline. N.B. Café closed 24 – 26 December.

Mottisfont National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire Whipsnade and Dunstable Downs walk

Dunstable Downs is an ever popular spot for Boxing Day and New Year’s walks, and it’s not hard to see why. Join one of the festive guided walks and you’ll get to enjoy a 1.5 – 2 hour leg stretch in the company of other friendly walkers. Alternatively you can embark on an exhilerating self-guided route across the Downs, where you’ll pass Iron Age hill forts and ancient burial mounds, as well as possibly spotting some of the local wildlife. N.B. Visitor Centre closed 24 & 25 December.


Kedleston, Derbyshire

Winter Solstice Lantern Walk

21 December, 3pm – 4.30pm

Fancy a festive walk with a twist? Bring along a lantern (or torch) and join the National Trust team for a wander through Kedleston’s parkland as the sun sets on the shortest day of the year. The route will meander its way to the fire pit, where you can warm your hands and join in with singing Christmas Carols. Need a bite to eat? There’ll be hot and cold refreshments for sale too, so you can enjoy special seasonal treats. Price: Normal admission applies

Ham House National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Croome, Worcestershire

If you’re looking for a moderately challenging walk, this 4.5 mile loop around the Croome Estate could be the one for you. You’ll get to wander through the outer parkland, and even visit one of the most eye-catching structures on the estate: the purpose-built ruin of Pirton Castle which was designed to make the estate seem older than it actually is. Don’t forget to take the camera, as you’ll also get to enjoy fantastic views across the Worcestershire countryside. N.B. Whole estate closed 24 & 25 December

Longshaw Estate, Peak District

Why not take advantage of the amazing views now that the leaves have gone from the trees, and enjoy a wintry stomp across the Longshaw Estate. Stride out through meadows and woodland, or head down to Padley Gorge where the rushing Burbage Brook tumbles its way down the gritstone gorge. Afterward you’ll have earned a trip to the tea-room where you can indulge in tasty seasonal treats. N.B. Café closed 24 & 25 December


Bodnant National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Packwood, Warwickshire

If you’re looking for a walk that the whole family can enjoy, why not try this one mile loop around Packwood? It’s perfect for the winter months as there are lots of stepping stones and balancing beams along the way, so little ones can work their way around any muddy
patches. Alternatively just bring the wellies and enjoy jumping in puddles! You can also work together to build dens, have a go at hoopla or compose a masterpiece on the tree xylophone


Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Seasonal Saunter, 9 December, 11am–3pm

Guided Boxing Day walk, 26 December, 12noon–3pm

The wild landscape of Marsden Moor is the perfect place for a wintery walk – whether you’re escaping the Christmas preparations, or trying to walk off all the turkey. The ‘Seasonal Saunter’ will involve a six-mile walk with a stop for mince pies and mulled wine, while the Boxing Day walk is slightly shorter at 5 miles – a great option for families.

Mount Stewart National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Craster and Low Newton, Northumberland

For a wild and bracing coastal walk, Northumberland is without compare. This route sets off from the fishing village of Craster, passing the mighty ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and the long golden sweep of Embleton Sands before reaching Low Newton by the Sea. During the winter months you’ll get to experience beautiful light and almost empty paths – perfect for a tranquil time out. Don’t forget to listen out for the calling of seals along the route.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Get a different perspective on the fine collection of veteran trees in the park at Dunham Massey in winter when the trees are frosted and bare. They also provide a sparkling backdrop for the herd of more than 150 fallow deer that live among them. N.B. Closed 25 December.

Rowallane Garden National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Sticklebarn and the Langdales, Lake District

Winter Wanders

4 & 18 December, 12noon – 4p

For a true adventure, there’s nothing quite like the Lake District in winter. On these walks you’ll be guided by a qualified mountain leader, so you can safely explore the Langdale fells in the quiet season when very few other people are out and about. Afterwards you can kick back and relax next to the fire in the cosy Sticklebarn tavern. N.B. The actual route will be determined by the weather conditions. Price: £20pp, booking required 01539437356.


Martins’ Haven, Pembrokeshire

Head to the Marloes Peninsula and eIslescape it all with a refreshing winter walk around the historic Deer Park at Martin’s Haven. Despite the name you won’t find any deer here, but that’s more than made up for by the stunning seascapes, glimpses of seals and the view over most of Pembrokeshire’s islands.—the-deer-park-walk

Biddulph Grange Garden National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Powis Castle, Powys

In the dark and cold of winter it’s all too easy to slip into hibernation mode, but if you wrap up warm, you’ll find that there’s plenty to discover at Powis. Pull on your winter woollies and take a stroll around the beautiful gardens to see the shapes of the topiary and intricately trained fruit trees sparkling under frost. You can also soak up the unparalleled views across the Severn Valley and Breidden Hills. Feeling tired after Christmas? There are plenty of rest stops along the way, and you can also recharge your batteries with a hot drink and slice of cake in the Courtyard Restaurant at the end of your walk. N.B. Closed 25 December.

Rhossili, Gower Peninsula

The Rhossili headland walk is a perfect walk to blow away the cobwebs this winter. The fresh air is the perfect antidote to over indulgence this Christmas, and the peaceful landscape is enough to leaving you feeling completely at ease. N.B. Shop and visitor centre closed 24 – 26 December.

Wallington National Trust

Image Credit: National Trust

Rhossili, Gower Peninsula

The Rhossili headland walk is a perfect walk to blow away the cobwebs this winter. The fresh air is the perfect antidote to over indulgence this Christmas, and the peaceful landscape is enough to leaving you feeling completely at ease. N.B. Shop and visitor centre closed 24 – 26 December.

Northern Ireland

Mount Stewart, County Down

New Year’s Day Walk

1 January 2019, 11am – 1pm

What better way to start 2019 than wrapping up warm for a walk through the magical gardens at Mount Stewart. One of the National Trust’s gardening experts will be your guide, sharing unique stories and unusual facts about the gardens and how the team care for them during the winter months. Price: Adult £10, Child £5. Booking essential via 028 4278 8387.

National Trust

National Trust

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The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces, and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything the charity does.

Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 775 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

More than 20 million people visit every year, and together with 4.5 million members and over 62,000 volunteers, they help to support the charity in its work to care for special places forever, for everyone.