While winter temperatures are the norm for February it is also the month where we can enjoy the first stirrings of the new gardening season with Snowdrops, Hellebores, early blossom, neatly clipped evergreens tipped with frost and highly scented shrubs filling the air.
A bracing winter walk ahead of a warming drink or a hearty lunch is the recipe for a perfect Valentine’s Day in our book and there are many gardens that are spectacular at this time of year - we’ve chosen a few of our favourite uk open gardens to visit for a romantic walk this week.
Our Favourite Winter Walks
Visit their website to find open gardens near you and use their handy date search to plan a trip and support the fantastic charities they help each year.
Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire
The gardens at Trentham are famous for their immaculate topiary creating stunning winter structure and making it an atmospheric and inspiring place to visit especially in winter. Enjoy the imaginative schemes by Chelsea gold-medal winners, Piet Oudolf, Tom Stuart-Smith and Nigel Dunnett.
The Trentham Estate, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 8AX.
Open every day - 10am - 4pm
RHS Wisley, Surrey
The Wisley Winter Walk in Seven Acres showcases winter colour, shape, structure and scent with hard-surfaced pathways for an accessible way to discover the world renowned HQ of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Fragrance fills the air thanks to Hamamelis (witch hazel) and daphnes, and at ground level, irises and hellebores enrich the woodlands.
RHS Garden Wisley, Woking GU23 6QB.
Open every day except Christmas Day
National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire
Even in the worst weather that winter can throw at you the National Botanic Gardens of Wales allows you to walk protected from the elements. The Great Glasshouse is the largest single span greenhouse in the world and is home to some of the rarest plants from six areas of the world; California, Australia, The Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa and the Mediterranean Basin in over 3,500 square metres in the walk around the dome.
National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire SA32 8HN.
Open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond
Perhaps the most famous garden in the world, the Internationally renowned Kew Gardens is home to an extraordinary collection of plants. Kew is well worth a visit at any time of year, but for a winter walk the beautiful glasshouses offer a welcome retreat. Enjoy the balmy recently restored Temperate House that houses some of the rarest and most threatened temperate zone plants or stroll around The Princess of Wales Conservatory where there are 10 computer-controlled climatic zones all under one roof.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond TW9 3AE.
Open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
The spectacular and atmospheric ruins of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal offer perhaps the most perfect romantic winter walk with riverside paths, a deer park and ancient trees at this important World Heritage Site. The extensive parklands are covered in footpaths and trails, suitable for all ages and abilities and a circular walk around the whole estate offers a glimpse back over 400 years of history with views of the Abbey.
Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Ripon, N Yorkshire HG4 3DY.
Open daily except Fridays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Known as Cornwall's secret garden, the award winning restored gardens at Heligan are a ‘must see’ for every keen gardener. A winter visit exposes the bare bones of the garden and a chance to watch the thriving wild bird population from hides looking over the feeding stations.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St.Austell, Cornwall PL26 6EN.
Open every day except Christmas Day - pre-booking is essential
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
There is perhaps no better place to enjoy glorious drifts of snowdrops on a crisp winter walk with 400 cultivars, some of which are not found anywhere but the National Trust's Anglesey Abbey . Book one of the popular Snowdrop tours to learn all there is to learn about this winter favourite.
Anglesey Abbey, Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB25 9EJ.
Monday - Friday and every Sunday from 29th January to 29th February
With stunning views of the Conwy valley, the eighty acres of landscaped gardens at Bodnant are filled with plants chosen for their remarkable winter colour and fragrance. Take a gentle circular walk among nature on the Winter Garden trail taking you through 250 years of horticultural history
Bodnant Garden, Tal-y-Cafn near Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5RE.
Open every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon
The Winter Garden at RHS Garden Rosemoor if a wonderful example of how thoughtful plant choices create highlights throughout the year with a wonderful balance of mature specimens and ground-cover using conifers, evergreens and perennials. Spectacular planting schemes delivering a treat for all the senses with fragrant witch hazels, viburnums, daphnes.
The Kitchen Garden is a hive of activity, even in February with the team preparing for the busy spring season with plant supports and crop cages from the Agriframes Kitchen Garden Range- read our interview with Peter Adams, Edibles Team Leader to learn more about his work in the garden.
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH.
Open every day except Christmas Day, 10am-4pm
Benington Lordship, Hertfordshire
The garden at Benington Lordship is famed for its huge drifts of snowdrops around the grassy moat, ruins and Pulham Folly which are complemented by hellebores and winter flowering shrubs and reflections of coloured barks in ponds.
In the walled kitchen garden, vegetables are still grown, alongside the growing collection of named snowdrop varieties - 200 to date.
Benington Lordship, Nr Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG2 7BS.
Open to 25 February 2024. No booking required
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Established in 1979, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden hosts one of the most spectacular winter displays in the UK. Colourful winter stems, scented winter flowers and brightly variegated evergreens brighten even the dullest day and offers inspiration for planting schemes and specimens to bring winter magic to your own garden.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden, 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE.
Hever Castle & Gardens, Kent
With over 140,000 Snowdrops planted by the dedicated garden team Hever Castle offers the chance to see some of the more unusual varieties such as the colour tipped ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and Galanthus ‘Green Brush’ as well as the giant ‘Colossus’ - one of the tallest snowdrops you’ll see! and. You can also enjoy camellia, quince, daphnes, hellebores and early daffodils in bloom.
The self-guided Snowdrop Walk allows you to take in the beautiful Hever Castle along a wonderful exploratory tour of the Outer Moat, the Winter Gardens and through Sunday Walk and Church Gill.
Hever Road, Hever, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG.
Garden open daily from 7 February 2024
Stone Lane Gardens, Devon
For a fantastic example of how to use trees for a winter garden Stone Lane Gardens showcase of of the best - the birch. Across five-acres of woodland and water garden on the outskirts of Dartmoor you can enjoy the National Collection of wild-origin birches, planted in a natural style with Chinese red and the whitest of birches - Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii - proving to be particular showstoppers.
Stone Lane Gardens, Stone Farm, Chagford, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 8JU.
Open seven days a week, all year round, including Christmas Day!
Hedingham Castle, Essex
In the shadow of the magnificent castle the gardens at Hedingham are arguably some of the most romantic in the UK. The steep slopes of the motte and bailey are swathed in snowdrops against a backdrop of trees and lakes in front of the Georgian Mansion House.
Bayley Street, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex, CO9 3DJ.
Open for snowdrop walks on selected dates in February and March.
As always, please check websites before you travel to make sure the gardens are open to visitors and whether advance booking is required.