Take a walk in a win­ter won­der­land

Check out th­ese win­ter won­ders at the Na­tional Trust dur­ing Jan­uary and Fe­bu­rary. Jo-Anne Rowney se­lects some of the clos­est prop­er­ties open through the colder months for walks, ac­tiv­i­ties and vis­its

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE - Greys Court, near Hen­ley-on-Thames Stowe, near Buck­ing­ham Basil­don Park, near Read­ing

WIN­TER was once the time of year when Trust places closed for their an­nual clean and rest. Now it marks a time spent car­ing for the attractions in var­i­ous ways so that peo­ple can visit many of them all year round.

Wrap up warm and en­joy a breath of fresh air by see­ing the his­toric houses and gar­dens in a new light this win­ter.

Look­ing after the Trust’s places and con­serv­ing them for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, whilst also en­sur­ing ev­ery­one can en­joy them to­day, is a big chal­lenge that in­volves a great deal of plan­ning and metic­u­lous care be­hind the scenes.

This does not only ap­ply to the houses; Na­tional Trust gar­dens and coun­try­side are also man­aged in spe­cial ways to pro­tect their beauty and nat­u­ral habi­tats.

Gar­dens and land­scapes have a spe­cial beauty in win­ter when Mother Na­ture is rest­ing be­fore the sap rises again in spring, and it is also fas­ci­nat­ing to see the houses at this time of year when some of the vi­tal con­ser­va­tion work is tak­ing place.

The fol­low­ing places are all open daily in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary:

Hugh­en­den, near High Wy­combe

Daily house tours will fo­cus on dif­fer­ent as­pects of Hugh­en­den and the in­trigu­ing col­lec­tion of items be­long­ing to its il­lus­tri­ous for­mer owner, Ben­jamin Dis­raeli. There’s also a se­ries of free talks on dif­fer­ent top­ics on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noons.

If you fancy a breath of fresh air, you can choose from a num­ber of dif­fer­ent walks through the beech woods and park­land sur­round­ing the Manor and the tea-room in the Sta­ble Yard is open for warm­ing treat.

Open daily 11am to dusk. Manor open from noon.

Nestling in the foothills of the Chilterns, the house and gar­dens of Greys Court are open for the first time in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. The house ex­udes the nos­tal­gic at­mos­phere of fam­ily life in a by­gone age, and the gar­dens are de­signed as a se­ries of out­door ‘rooms’. There is a gen­tle walk around the en­tire es­tate which is suit­able for all ages, and dogs on leads. The Cow Shed tea-room serves fresh food daily.

Open daily 10am to dusk. House

open 11am-3pm for hourly tours only.

Th­ese mag­nif­i­cent land­scape gar­dens are dot­ted with tem­ples and stat­ues, wind­ing lakeside paths and open vis­tas, and in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary the Lam­port Gar­den and the Elysian Fields are bright­ened by drifts of del­i­cate snow­drops.

It’s the per­fect place for a brac­ing win­ter walk or a gen­tle stroll fol­lowed by a treat in the light and airy café at the New Inn vis­i­tor cen­tre.

Open daily this month and next from 10am to 4pm.

A guided tour will re­veal how this el­e­gant Ge­or­gian man­sion was saved from near ruin by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s and how it’s been used in re­cent years as an im­pres­sive lo­ca­tion in many pe­riod film and TV dra­mas, in­clud­ing Downton Abbey.

The peace­ful park­land and gar­dens are per­fect for a gen­tle walk, and the café is open for warm­ing treats.

Open daily 11am to dusk.

En­joy­ing a walk be­tween the col­umns of and on the Ox­ford Bridge on a frosty day

Tem­ple of Con­cord and Vic­tory at Stowe

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