The National Trust have houses and gardens throughout the country that are all worth visiting! I’ve talked about the National Trust membership options before and they really do provide good value for individuals, couples and families alike. A membership gives you access to so many places that I thought a top 10 list may be helpful to get you started with your National Trust passport.
National Trust Winter Gardens
Anglesey Abbey, East Anglia
I’ll start this roundup fairly quite close to home in East Anglia. Anglesey Abbey is located just outside Cambridge (which is worth a visit in its own right!) and have some lovely gardens to explore. Bring your walking shoes!
Bought in the 1920s by Lord Fairhaven, Anglesey Abbey has evolved into a destination that delights all year round. Finding colour in the dark winter months can be a challenge but the gardeners at this National Trust have created a winter garden that provides just that! As you walk around the gardens, you’ll see the colourful Scarlet Willow and Red-barked Dogwood (what a name!) plants that provide an orange and red backdrop.
Address: Quy Rd, Lode, Cambridge CB25 9EJ
Dunham Massey, Cheshire
We’ll head north for the next entry on the list. At 7 acres and with over 1600 plants and trees, Dunham Massey is the largest winter garden in the UK. The project started in 2007 and opened a couple of years later after lots of hardworking made the vision a reality.
Beneath the Oak and Beech trees, thousands of bulbs are planted and flourish in these expansive gardens. The resulting Snowdrops, Irises, and Cyclamen not only make for pretty viewing but also a home for wildlife throughout the winter. Woodpeckers can be seen, and heard, knocking in to trees as they hunt for food through the harsher months.
Address: Wood house Lane, Altrincham. WA14 4SJ
Scotney Castle, Kent
Magical castles do exist and Scotney Castle is a fine example of this! Scotney Castle in Kent is one of the finest Winter gardens in the UK. Frosted trees and shrubs make for a picture perfect backdrop to warm up a cold day!
Beech, Oak and Lime trees have stood strong throughout intense storms over the decades. Weathering the storms has created a unique landscape in the Scotney Castle gardens that is a Winter must-see.
Address: Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells TN3 8JN
National Trust Spring Gardens
Ham House, London
Ham House is unique because it is a National Trust house and garden that you can reach by Tube. There are some beautiful Spring walking routes from Richmond and Kingston station that lead you along the Thames before arriving at Ham House.
The views along the river are so special that they are protected by law to preserve them for generations to enjoy. London can be a hectic place at the best of times so Ham House is a welcome release without needing to leave the boundaries of the capital city. Follow the Thameside signs for a screen-free, day out to remember!
Address: Ham St, Ham, Richmond-upon-Thames TW10 7RS
Snowdrops are such a feature at Stowe that there are dedicated walks to the beautiful flower. “Stowedrops” start to appear in the New Year with the annual snowdrop walk opening mid-to-late January each year. If you want to take the walk, it is worth downloading the free map and walking guide from the National Trust website.
There is more to Stowe than snowdrops as they share the gardens with thousands of other Spring bulbs. Bright Tulips surround the Chinese House whilst old varieties of Daffodils surround the main Stowe House. The family activity days at Stowe are worth visiting for a fun day out for all. Find out more about what is on at Stowe on this page. Before you leave, check out the shop for something beautiful to remind you of your day at Stowe.
You can find out more about Stowe at Spring in this video:
Address: New Inn Farm, Buckingham MK18 5EQ
National Trust Summer Gardens
Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight
I love the look of this magical garden in the Isle of Wight! There is a Mediterranean theme at Mottistone Gardens which is well-worth a visit in the summer. Due to its Southernly position, especially compared to some others on this list, this 20th Century garden makes the most of the warmer climate. The borders are full of bright shrubs as well as a seasonal fruit and vegetables.
There is more to the Mottistone Estate than just the gardens. Take a stroll down from the farmland, pass Bronze Age barrows and Neolithic Longstone and you’ll find yourself next to the sea! Mottistone is a natural haven that won’t disappoint.
Overbeck Gardens, Devon
It can be easy to forget that you are in Devon as you walk through the tropical gardens at Overbeck. There are gardens within a garden and all are handily named so you know what to expect: The Statue Garden, The Gazebo Garden, The Rock Dell, The Banana Garden, The Palm Garden, The Woodland Garden and our favourite, The Secret Garden.
‘First Flight’ is a statue that sits in the garden and has stood the test of time (and war!). The life size sculpture by Albert Bruce represents a young girl holding a nest of Larks while her other hand stretches out above her. That hand once held an adult Lark figure but that was shot off by a soldier during WWII as part of target practice! Despite being kept in the gardeners shed with the expectation for it to be take its rightful place once more, the bird sadly got lost.