Best of British: Winter Gardens

With a sprinkle of snow or a touch of frost, the UK’s landscape is at its most magical this time of year.

The Trentham Estate, Staffordshire

The trentham estate

Mice, deer and even monkeys—the diversity of wildlife within the beautiful grounds of the Trentham Estate is a big draw for visitors. In warmer months, guests can explore the monkey forest where primates roam free, but the wildlife is no less impressive in winter; a herd of black fallow deer inhabit the grounds as well as plenty of voles, badgers, foxes, hares and stoats. 

Set within a vast area of woodland, these 300-acre grounds include a lake, deer park, bird hide and 18th-century gardens designed by Capability Brown. Today, the huge Italian garden’s wide walkways lead up to the area where Trentham Hall once stood and have recently enjoyed a revival at the hands of Chelsea Flower Show gold medalist Tom Stuart-Smith. Designed to interest visitors whatever the weather, head of garden and estate Michael Walker believes winter sees Trentham at its most memorable. 

“The vast perennial plantings and formal structure of the Italian garden are enhanced through the early winter by the beauty of defoliated stems and sun-bleached seed heads,” he says. “When combined with snow, or even a hoar frost, the garden provides a picture-perfect experience.” 

Winter visitors can enjoy horsedrawn carriage rides, follow the Winter Willow Decoration Trail or take part in a wild weekend of bug and scavenger hunts on January 17–18.

Visit The Trentham Estate website for more details