I love going out for walks over Christmas - somehow the over indulgence needs to be tempered and it's always great to get some fresh air. Sadly the weather doesn't look very promising for Christmas, but at least if you visit a garden there's likely to be a café that you can dive into for cover!
There are lots of gardens around London that are open at this time of year. Painshill Park and Savill garden are great for visits with the children because there's so much open space, but I wanted to feature some gardens in other parts of the country too...
RHS Garden Wisley
This garden is right on my doorstep so I visit quite frequently. There is plenty to see at this time of the year with woodland areas, pinetum and arboretum. As well as lots of winter flowering shrubs, it's a particularly brilliant time of year to see how things have been pruned and trained.
Wisley has a fabulous shop and plant centre as well as two cafes within the grounds. It's open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
RHS Garden Rosemoor
Rosemoor is located in Devon, in the West Country and has a Winter Garden with a fabulous display of winter stems which look particularly gorgeous by the lake. Also on at the moment is a sculpture exhibition displayed throughout the garden.
The garden is open every day except Christmas Day and there is a restaurant and plant & gift shop too.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Kew is located in SW London and its extensive plant collection and superb glasshouses are world famous. It's a great place to visit with the children because there's lots of open space where they can run around.
Over Christmas it's open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so a great place to go for a walk on Boxing Day with the family.
Located in Buckinghamshire, Stowe is a fabulous 18th Century garden that has recently been taken over by The National Trust. The Neoclassical follies and monuments are spectacular, leading you round the garden - a brilliant example of this type of garden.
Stowe is open from 27th December 10am-4pm.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr
Located in North Yorkshire, Harlow Carr is a great garden to visit at this time of year. The Winter Walk is the star of the season with spectacular displays of winter stems and colourful bark. A great place for inspiration when many plants are in their dormant phase.
The garden is open everyday from 9.30am-4.30pm except on Christmas Day. All the RHS shops start their winter sale on Boxing Day so you may be able to pick up a bargain or two as well.
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey
The Winter Garden at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is wonderful. It's full of structure and form as well as plants with ornamental stems and fabulous trees with gorgeous winter bark.
The garden is open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day from 10am-5pm.