Wrapping up warm and taking a nice stroll before heading inside for a hot chocolate or mulled wine is one of the joys of winter.

The National Trust has revealed some of the best places for a wintry walk in the county.

Many of its gardens and countryside spots are open from Boxing Day onwards, so are perfect for walking off a little Christmas over-indulgence.

Lots of them have special guided walks on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day too.


Spend more time in the garden and studio, or enjoy one of the many estate walks around Chartwell, by picking up details outside the visitor centre.

Alternatively, visit the winter exhibition, Death of a Hero, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill and his lasting legacy.

Families can try out the Life and Legacy trail around the garden, which leads to the exhibition.

The shop, tea room, gardens and exhibition are open from 11am to 4pm, studio open noon to 3.30pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. House closed. Death of a Hero runs until February 22

Ightham Mote

Enjoy the peaceful setting of this romantic moated manor house, with its gardens, orchard, water features and woodland walks through the Kent countryside. Join a Boxing Day or New Year’s Day trek, complete with a tasty breakfast to fuel the informal guided walk through the estate or visit over January.

Ground floor of the house, garden, tea room and shop open 11am to 3pm daily between Boxing Day and December 31. New Year’s Day garden, tea room and shop open from 10am, house from 11am. Estate open dawn to dusk every day.

Boxing Day trek and breakfast 10am to noon, New Year’s Day trek and breakfast 11am to 1pm. All tickets £21.50 per person, booking essential on 01732 811314

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Picture National Trust/ Jo Hatcher


While Knole’s show rooms close for conservation during the winter months, the parkland is as alive as ever. Choose from a range of downloadable walks that offer glimpses of the resident deer herd, flat routes for relaxed strolls and a longer walk to nearby Ightham Mote.

Leave the excesses of the festive period behind with a New Year’s Day guided walk amongst the wildlife in our vast medieval park. The walk takes in the beautiful landscape as well as its fascinating history, finishing with the chance to warm up with refreshments from the Outdoor Café.

Outdoor café open 11am to 4pm and car park open 10.15am to 6pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Free New Year’s Day guided walk, 10.45am to 1pm, meet at the Outdoor Café. Downloadable walks available online

Scotney Castle

During winter Scotney Castle is transformed into an almost magical landscape, with frost and ice settling on the moat, grass and plants surrounding the ruins of the medieval castle.

Further afield, the estate is home to walks through beautiful parkland, woodland and alongside the historic Hop Farm – pick up an estate map from visitor reception and explore three way marked trails.

Inside the house, don’t miss Arthur’s War a fascinating exhibition showcasing recently discovered items from the First World War, all belonging to Arthur Hussey. See never before seen medals, war maps, diaries and letters as the ground floor of the house tells the story of aristocratic Arthur versus local men from Lamberhurst who worked on the Scotney Castle estate and fought on the Front Line.

In January, Scotney Castle’s winter warmer hike takes walkers around the estate to spot flocks of over-wintering birds, mammal tracks, historic landscape features and how to distinguish oak, beech and lime trees from their buds. A bonus at the half way point, warm up with a bonfire in the woods overlooking the best views the estate has to offer.

Estate open daily dawn to dusk, house, old castle and garden open 10am-3pm and shop and tea room open 10am to 3.30pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The winter warmer hike runs daily between Saturday 10 January and Friday 16 January, 1pm to 2pm. Normal admission charges apply, booking not necessary

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle are known for their vibrant planting. During the winter months the atmosphere is transformed - the pink brickwork and linear hedges reveal the structure that forms the backdrop to the abundant garden seen earlier in the year.

The garden takes a much needed rest in winter, but behind the scenes winter tours are available daily between December 26 and January 2. Hear the stories of the estate, buildings and people that have formed Sissinghurst Castle’s history and continue to shape its future whilst admiring the wintry garden.

Restaurant and shop open 10am to 5.30pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Garden closed except by guided tour. Estate open dawn to dusk all year round. Winter tours run between December 26 to January 2 every hour from 11am to 3pm, tickets £6.25 per person including a Gift Aid donation, no booking necessary

White Cliffs of Dover

Enjoy an atmospheric walk along the cliff tops throughout winter, spot some of the winter visiting birds including the Guillemot out at sea, short eared owl feeding over the grassland or the unmistakeable Waxwing in the hedgerows.

On New Year’s Day, join a free turn up and go walk from the White Cliffs visitor centre to the lighthouse at 11am. Your guide will cover the history and interesting features of the cliffs as you go and there’s the option to return by mini bus for those with tired legs.

Mrs Knotts tearoom will be open on New Year’s Day serving warming treats. One of the Trust’s most photographed tea rooms, it’s renowned for its delicious cakes and loose leaf tea, served in fine bone china cups and saucers.

Coastline and car park open 8am to 6pm daily throughout winter, visitor centre is open 11am to 4pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. 

On New Year’s Day the lighthouse and Mrs Knotts tearoom are open 11am to 4pm, last admission 3.30pm. The mini bus service runs every 40 minutes each way, with the first bus from White Cliffs at 11am and the last bus from the lighthouse at 4pm. Additional charges apply for the mini bus (including for National Trust members)