It’s no surprise that Staffordshire’s award-winning Trentham Gardens are a popular draw for visitors anytime of the year but as winter takes hold, nature puts on a spectacular seasonal show – as well as offer a chance to meet a frosty fairy or two…
One of England’s most-visited garden attractions, winter adds an extra perspective to Trentham’s celebrated landscapes created by two of the county’s finest historic garden designers, Capability Brown and Charles Barry.
Perfect for a winter walk, or just admiring nature’s seasonal show, Trentham boasts lakeside and woodland trails taking in the majesty of the 18th Century Capability Brown tree plantings, carpets of meadow winter flowers, fragrant woodland trails and one of the finest Italian Gardens outside of Italy, a legacy of Charles Barry’s Victorian garden remodelling.
Previously owned by the Dukes of Sutherland for 400 years, since re-opening to the public 16 years ago Trentham Gardens – on the edge of Stoke-on Trent – has been lovingly restored, with new contemporary twists on the historic designs provided by some of today’s top garden designers.
And many of these offer a stunning winter display, especially the today’s famous Italian Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, with its splashing fountains, as well as Piet Oudolf’s acclaimed Rivers of Grass, which are stunning throughout the long winter months.
While nature is the undoubted star of winter, for even more seasonal wonder, follow Trentham’s ever-popular Fairy Trail, with wire sculptures of fantasy fairies even more stunning with a dusting of frost or snow, or peeking through misty winter mornings.
Last year yet more fairies flew into Trentham, making themselves at home around the gardens and lakeside of the historic estate, while some of the existing fairies – all created by artist Robin Wight – have been mysteriously moving around, too.
A hit with visitors, photographers and social media fans since first taking-up residency in the gardens in 2012, last year saw five new fairies join the existing 16 sculptures to create an extra special ‘fairy-tale’ experience for visitors.
Many of them also offer great ‘fairy photo spots’ too – now offering winter wonderland backdrops – with visitors encouraged to share images on social media, using #trenthamfairies.
As well as a chance to discover new, and old, fairies on the Fairy Trail, for those looking for a winter walk – whether a leisurely stroll around the mile-long lake, a garden amble, or woodland wander – there is plenty of seasonal horticultural interest.
Perennial meadows created by another of today’s leading designers, Professor Nigel Dunnett – whose successes include gardens at The Queen Elizabeth London Olympic Park – have added interest this year, thanks to the planting of thousands of plants, including winter flowering hellebores.
There are also hot spots of colour in the more intimately scaled show gardens, with the Wildlife Garden looking particularly interesting with new planting, including winter flowering shrubs, while the Capability Brown designed lake provides a haven for vast flocks of winter waterfowl, while the River Trent is also patrolled by Kingfishers.
Car parking is free at Trentham, and the free-entry Shopping Village, with its festively decorated log cabin shops and cafes, adds the chance for a seasonal shopping spree too.
Visitors can enjoy 25% off admission to the gardens when booking online and using code WINTER25, with full terms and conditions available on the website.
For more information, see www.trentham.co.uk.