CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

National Trust reveals 12 winter wonders in Surrey

PUBLISHED: 14:57 09 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:04 09 December 2014

Winkworth Arboretum, by Andrew Butler / National Trust

Winkworth Arboretum, by Andrew Butler / National Trust


The days following the anticipation, excitement and festivities of Christmas Day can feel a little flat. How do you entertain friends and family that are visiting between Christmas and the New Year period? Help is at hand from the National Trust...

1. Try out the natural play trail, through the woods at Box Hill. The play trail for families at Box Hill is made from natural timber, in little clearings throughout the woods. It has new features, including dens, balance beams and even star-gazing seats. Settle down in the café afterwards, in front of a roaring log fire. Café open daily. More @

2. Explore a spectacular wintery landscape at Hindhead Commons and Devil’s Punch Bowl. There is a new set of waymarked trails at Hindhead, with free leaflets to guide you. Try an easy-access level walk along from the car park or stride out a more adventurous trail that leads right down into the Punch Bowl. Retreat afterwards to the cosy cafe for a delicious warming treat. Visitors can tuck into seasonal delights including soups and hot pots. Café open daily. More @

3. Make your New Year’s resolutions at the top of the Leith Hill. With as many as 13 counties stretched out before you on a clear day, what better place is there to get an overview on the year ahead? Take a walk up through the woods to the tower and feast your eyes on the views. There is a hatch in the tower selling hot drinks and snacks, daily 10am to 3pm. More @

4. Meet up with friends for a walk around the lake at Claremont Landscape Garden, near Esher. See the island and pavilion, grotto and many viewpoints and vistas. There are hidden features to enjoy such as the children’s play area and the thatched cottage. Don’t miss the Camellia Terrace, which is a mass of blooms from December to May. Claremont Landscape Garden and its tea room are open every day in January and February. More @

5. Spot the witch-hazels at Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming. The National Trust’s only arboretum was planted by Dr Fox, the creator of the arboretum and it contains a wide variety of winter flowering shrubs planted in a relaxed woodland setting. There is so much to see, including the winter beauty of its impressive tree collection, the massive drifts of winter bulbs such as Narcissus ‘January Gold’, and various winter flowering shrubs, such as the witch hazels and winter flowering Japanese camellias (Camellia sasanqua). From February, look out for small drifts of snowdrops along the main slopes and paths in the upper arboretum. Winkworth Arboretum and tea room is open every day in January and February. More @

6. Set yourself the challenge of walking the length of the River Wey Navigations. The Navigations in winter are an atmospheric place of misty waterways and riverbanks. The towpath stretches nearly 20 miles, from Godalming to Guildford, and all the way up to Thames lock in Weybridge, with pubs along the route. Each length of the river has its own character so why not walk it in bite-sized chunks at a time. Even the names are intriguing: Catteshall Lock to St Catherine’s, Papercourt, Triggs, Walsham and New Haw. Our river conditions blog is a great source of information and you can see at a glance if the Wey is in flood or if everything is hunkydory: or visit for more information on the lengths.

7. Get the family out of the house at Morden Hall Park, near Wimbledon. There comes a time in the winter when you can’t snuggle up on the sofa any longer and you just have to get out, whatever the weather. Morden Hall Park, near Wimbledon, is free entry and has paths running through a large countryside estate in the heart of South London. Try going out for a gentle jog whilst the kids scoot or cycle, then warm up in the café afterwards with a hearty stew or soup. There are also pocket-money priced gifts in all our shops and little bags of old-fashioned sweets, in case any extra incentives are needed. The café at Morden Hall Park is open daily. More @

8. Go on a romantic walk at Ham House and Garden. This Stuart palace near Richmond has formal gardens, topiary and tree lined arches that look magical in the frost, especially with grand backdrop of the house and the river Thames. The atmospheric cellars of the house are open and you can warm up with a hot drink or lunch in the Orangery café, or browse in the shop. The garden, below stairs, café and shop are open seven days per week and the house is open for tours from February 23. More @

9. Polesden Lacey contains what is possibly one of the first ever winter gardens. It was designed by Graham Stuart Thomas, a National Trust gardens advisor, and is planted on a compact domestic scale. During winter the garden is alive with the scent of viburnums and Christmas box; is stuffed full of yellow winter aconites and at its heart has a small group of very imposing Persian iron woods (Parrotia persica). This large, tree-like shrub produces masses of tiny, spider-like flowers in early January that make the tips of the branches shimmer red. More @

• From Boxing Day to January 4 (daily, 10am till 3.30pm) try a game of Polesdenopoly in the gardens and play at becoming a millionaire like Mrs Greville, on a family trail. Play for £5 per set, normal admission applies.

10. Step inside the Marble Hall at Clandon Park and discover how the Georgians kept their houses spick and span and how the National Trust cares for Clandon today. The ground floor rooms of the house, garden, restaurant and shop are open every weekend from January 17. Hatchlands Park, just down the road opens on February 15 – its first winter opening - with a newly refurbished café and trails around the parkland. More @ and

11. Go wassailing at Swan Barn Farm on January 23, 7pm to 9pm. Walk down to Swan Barn Farm from Haslemere High Street with torches or lanterns and learn the art of the wassail to improve your chances of a bumper apple crop. Join us for an evening of spirit warding, superstition and fun as we perform a traditional wassailing ceremony to banish the evil spirits from our orchards. Bring pots and pans to bash and scare away the spirits - and sample the traditional drink of the ceremony: wassail, made with apples pressed right there on the farm. More @

12. Runnymede, near Egham, has a big year ahead of it, with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta being celebrated this summer. Get ahead of the crowds and walk along the River Thames, through tranquil water meadows in the calm of a January day. There are various intriguing memorials onsite and a cosy National Trust tea room open all winter. More @


Share winter walks and gardens photography @


More from Surrey Life

Thu, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search