Walk away the winter blues at spectacular National Trust places in and around Bucks

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If you’ve had more than enough festive rest but you’re not quite ready for a walk on the wild side, the National Trust has answers

After the Christmas indulgence, when you’re stuffed with stuffing and turkey – not to mention the mince pies – and you’re up to here with hygge and telly, what you could really do with is a brisk walk in some spectacular scenery.

And if you’re not quite ready to brace yourself for a walk on the really wild side, the National Trust has some glorious places to explore on winter walks in and around Buckinghamshire.

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‘Christmas at Waddesdon’ continues until Monday, January 2, with magical lights, the gardens aglow and Christmas displays in the house for the first time since 2019. There’s a new route through the East Wing with light installations, sparkling trees and sumptuous decorations inspired by the Manor’s many treasures.

Bauble at the Stables, Waddesdon. Picture: National Trust/©Yes EventsBauble at the Stables, Waddesdon. Picture: National Trust/©Yes Events
Bauble at the Stables, Waddesdon. Picture: National Trust/©Yes Events

The Winter Light Trail, which continues until January 22, sees the garden spectacularly lit up with colourful interactive light installations.

Stowe, near Buckingham, boasts 250 acres of gardens landscaped by Capability Brown that are open every day of the year except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Escape stuffy rooms for a breath of fresh air in the frosty landscape with its grand avenues, secluded woods, monuments and lakes. The Garden Undressed walk highlights the winter wonders of Stowe and you can pick up a map in the porch at the New Inn visitor centre.

It won’t be long before you see the gardens bursting with snowdrops, or ‘Stowedrops’. Enjoy chilly walks in the new year to spot the early signs of them peeping through as they develop in the masses throughout the Elysian Fields, Sleeping Wood and Lamport Garden.

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Hughenden, near High Wycombe, is hosting its ‘12 days of Christmas’ until Monday, January 2. Whisk your family away from the everyday and escape into a fairytale, with enchanting scenes from the 12 days of Christmas brought to life in the garden, stableyard and manor.

The Palladian Bridge at Stowe. Picture: National Trust/John MillarThe Palladian Bridge at Stowe. Picture: National Trust/John Millar
The Palladian Bridge at Stowe. Picture: National Trust/John Millar

Witness seven swans a-swimming on a cascade of blue baubles on the parterre and step through five giant gold rings into the fairy-lit manor. Inside, aromas of sandalwood and cinnamon accompany a tour of sparkling trees and themed decorations. Sip scented hot chocolate or mulled cider in the stableyard surrounded by pearly baubles and festoon bottle lights. There’s even a milk churn fountain.

Greys Court, near Henley-on-Thames, continues its ‘Together for Christmas’ celebration until Thursday, January 5. The local Women’s Institute, Sport in Mind and pupils from Kidmore End School have helped create a glowing, gingerbread-scented Christmas to bring families and friends together.

Take family pictures in a garden twinkling with fairy lights and decorated with Christmas wreaths and giant, gift-wrapped presents. Children can scamper along the Woodland Animals Trail to work up an appetite for the tea room, festooned with garlands created by schoolchildren. Christmas trees have also been decorated in the stableyard for the first time.

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The Women’s Institute and Greys Court’s talented volunteers have taken inspiration from the Brunner family Christmases in the house. Enjoy carols in the drawing room, traditional toys in the nursery and Lady Brunner’s gingerbread baking in the kitchen.

Opening times vary and booking is required for some venues, so check before travelling at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk