Veronica Peerless

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At this time of year the last thing you might want do is visit a garden – there will be nothing to see, surely? But make the effort and you'll be surprised. There's much more to gardens in winter than snowdrops, lovely as they are. You'll be amazed at just how much colour there is, not only from brightly coloured berries and stems but from flowers too. You'll also be struck by the abundance of strong scents, and the subtle beauty of seedheads and bark. Visit one of the 10 gardens below and you'll be glad you peeled yourself off the sofa.
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens & Lode Mill

The Winter Walk at Anglesey Abbey is a justly famous. Almost half a kilometre long, it's packed with winter flowering shrubs like mahonia, wintersweet, viburnum and winter honeysuckle, shrubs with interesting stems and bark, and bulbs such as cyclamen and aconites. There are also over 200 varieties of snowdrops and a stunning grove of Himalayan birches, with vivid white trunks.

Dunham Massey

The Winter Garden at Dunham Massey is relatively new (planting began there in 2007) but it's already packing quite a punch. At seven acres, it's said to be the largest winter garden in the UK, and is packed with over 700 different plant species. Highlights include a grove of white-stemmed silver birches and carpets of ivy leaved cyclamen.


Mottisfont is best known for its roses in summer, but it now has an exciting winter garden too. Planted in 2010, it takes its inspiration from the River Test. Its main feature is a ‘river' of evergreens, punctuated with clipped box plants that are shaped to resemble rocks in the water. There's a three-dimensional plant sculpture to wander through, and lots of unusual winter plants too.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens look good all year round, but the Winter Garden, said to be the largest in Europe, is renowned worldwide. It contains more than 650 plants that are at their best between November and March – yes, there really are that many! A wander around the large beds and borders will inspire you to plant more winter beauties in your own garden.