One of the UK’s most-visited garden attractions provides a spectacular seasonal show for winter – not only offering a natural wonderland, but also frosty fairies, a festive willow trail and even handy tips on looking after feathered friends.
Staffordshire’s beautifully restored Trentham Gardens, which lie at the heart of The Trentham Estate visited by more than 3.2m people a year, opens every day, except Christmas Day.
During the winter months, the gardens, woods and parkland are perfect for frosty walks, while Trentham Shopping Village, 60 timber lodges housing shops, cafés and restaurants on the edge of the Gardens, is transformed with festive treats. From the grand Christmas lights switch-on, on Wednesday 23 November 2016, the Shopping Village will sparkle with festive fun including seasonal shopping, Santa and Mrs Claus in their Grotto – plus a chance to see real-life penguins and reindeer! And the popular Trentham Ice Rink is back (9 December 2016 – 8 January 2017, except 25 December), this year relocated to an area beside the River Trent. Once again, it’s a real ice rink, with under cover skating inside the comfort of a marquee.
Within the gardens, the famous Italian Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, as well as Piet Oudolf’s acclaimed Rivers of Grass are stunning in winter. Set against the backdrop of the mile-long Capability Brown lake, frost clinging to the structured box beds and seed heads can really make visitors feel like they are walking in a winter wonderland. Along with nature’s seasonal displays, visitors can also enjoy Trentham Garden’s Winter Willow Decoration Trail (26 November – 26 February), discovering some larger than life sculptures and learning fascinating woodland facts along the way. For even more magic, follow Trentham’s hugely popular Fairy Trail, with sculptures of fairies and giant dandelions.
There is also the chance to learn how to look after our feathered friends during the winter as well as make natural tree decorations and greeting cards during special Winter RSPB Activities (Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 December).
And to discover how to survive the winter by making shelters, fire and finding water in a wilderness wood, try Winter Wilderness Survival Skills (Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 December).
Back in the Shopping Village, there is late night shopping every Wednesday from 23 November, with Santa and Mrs Claus taking up residence in their Grotto from 30 November (Wednesdays and weekends until 18 December and then daily, 19-23 December).
And the penguins and reindeer? Head for the Grotto 30 November and 7 December to meet the penguins, along with their handlers who can answer any penguin related questions, while real reindeer will be at the Grotto on the 4, 11 and 18 December.
For full details of all events, admission and booking, visit www.trentham.co.uk