Gardens to Visit in Winter
Down House, Luxted Road, Downe, Kent BR6 7JT, 0370 333 1181
The home of Charles Darwin, the gardens have swathes of snowdrops and native daffodils. In late January/february there are displays of orchids, including osmoglossum pulchellum, which smells like lily of the valley.
Lacock Abbey, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 2LG, 01249 730459
Originally a medieval abbey and then a Tudor family home, Harry Potter fans will recognise the building as being Hogwarts in two of the films. The tranquil gardens are renowned for the amazing snowdrop displays from late January.
Burton Agnes Hall, Rudston Road, Burton Agnes, Driffield, Yorkshire YO25 4NB, 01262 490324
A family home since the 12th century, this stunning house has a garden to match, with attractions including a walled garden, a maze, giant games such as chess and hopscotch, and a woodland sculpture walk.
Killerton, Broadclyst, Exeter, Devon EX5 3LE, 01392 881345
A Georgian house with landscaped gardens and extensive parkland. Winter walks through the grounds reveal colourful hellebores and crocuses, complemented by the red bark of cornus and white-stemmed birches.