Many people do not realise there are a number of spectacular landscapes and places to explore during the cold months of winter.  In fact, some of the most beautiful winter gardens are a result of that bit of Old Man Winter and the magical touch from Jack Frost.  There are new things to be seen and plenty of winter and holiday activities to enjoy with family and friends that can only be experienced at this very special time of the year.  The following is a list of five of the best winter weather gardens and winter retreats to visit and enjoy.

  1. Bodnant Garden, Conwy  
    This relatively new winter garden at Bodnant has wonderful scents and beautiful winter colours to experience throughout the winter season, even on the days that Old Man Winter chills to the bone.  The Bodnant Garden is characterised by crisp patterns, stark shapes, and is a world famous garden that is the perfect location for a brisk walk in the cold air.  The Bodnant Garden is noted for its botanical collections; plants are grown from seeds and cuttings that were collected on plant hunting expeditions from all over the world more than a century ago.  This superbly located garden is eighty acres created by five generations of a single family.  Visitors will experience spectacular views across Snowdonia as well as intimate corners, expansive lawns, impressive terraces and grand ponds, and a steep wooded valley and stream.  Some of the wonderful plants that are currently showing are oak leaved hydrangeas, helenium and dahlias, echinaceas, kaffir lilies, sedums, cornus and viburnum in berry, euonymus in berry, late flowering salvias, purple calicarpa, geraniums in flower, crab apples, first winter daffodils, colorful stemmed dogwoods, and fiery acres.  Check out the new shop where the perfect Christmas gift can surely be found.  Browse around at the many gifts that will fit all tastes and budgets for this wonderful Christmas holiday.

  2. Anglesey Abbey, Garden and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire  
    This winter garden is an oasis of colour and scent with approximately one hundred and fifty species of plants to enjoy.  Visitors can stroll along the atmospheric Emperor's Walk and witness the Corinthian columns that are located in the Temple Lawn.  Thanks to mild autumn weather there is still some of the vibrant autumn colour to be seen throughout the gardens.  In both hidden spaces and in open spaces there are statues depicting mythological and biblical subjects situated all around the gardens.  This is due to the avid collector of statuary, Lord Fairhaven.  The Snowdrop Festival runs from the 26th of January to the 1st of March 2015.  Early in the New Year there are three hundred and twenty varieties of Snowdrop that carpet the gardens in white.  At this time of year the Anglesey Abbey Winter Garden bursts with life.  With beautiful winter colour and fragrance, this is a garden that is specifically designed with plants for winter visitors to enjoy.  Come to Anglesey Abbey and enjoy a walk while experiencing the beautiful winter garden.

  3. Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire  
    Clumber has more than three thousand acres of green, open space that can be enjoyed on a bike, traveling over twenty miles of cycle routes, or simply on foot, taking a quiet and easy stroll along the longest lime tree avenue in Europe.  There is a lot of history at Clumber, having been the estate of the Dukes of Newcastle.  Discover a ducal park with peaceful woodlands, a magnificent lake, picturesque parkland and gardens while also experiencing the amazing array of wildlife at Clumber.  Visit the Walled Kitchen Garden with The Magic & Myths of Christmas Plants trail on the weekends leading up to Christmas.  The Lantern Trail is beautifully lit from 4-6pm.  Also present on the weekends at Clumber is Father Christmas and the Clumber Gift Market that features music, traditional fair rides and seasonal refreshments up to Christmas.

  4. Dunham Massey, Cheshire  
    The largest winter garden of its kinds in the UK is located at Dunham Massey, Cheshire.  Visitors can enjoy seven acres of more than seven hundred various plant species and another sixteen hundred shrubs.  This unique winter retreat has tremendous colour and scent to enjoy even in the depths of winter.  The Stables Restaurant offers the ideal place to warm up with a hearty homemade snack or meal after unwinding on one of the circular walks.  Dunham provides plenty of activities for families with trails and a natural play area.  Christmas is a festive season at Dunham where traditions old and new come alive.  Visitors can visit Father Christmas, join in singing Christmas carols, craft a special wreath, or even help servants prepare crackers, pomanders, and spiced buns for Christmas.

  5. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Yorkshire  
    The breath-taking views of this World Heritage Site will capture the imagination of visitors.  There are elegant temples, neo-classical statues, and extensive ruins of the Cistercian abbey, canals, and the Royal Water Garden to discover.  There are Christmas events every weekend, including Music & Lights, and Carols by Candlelight where the abbey is lit with a rainbow of colours, live music is played and Christmas carols are sung.  Go on winter walks on the miles of footpaths and trails.  Explore the beautiful landscape while walking various routes.