National Trust at Christmas: Winter walks and exhibitions

PUBLISHED: 12:42 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 17 December 2019

Walkers in the snow (photo: National Trust Images/John Millar)

Walkers in the snow (photo: National Trust Images/John Millar)

©National Trust Images/John Millar

The run-up to Christmas can be stressful, so escape for a while by spending time reconnecting with nature

The links between our mood and surroundings are well-documented. In these weeks of shorter, colder days, it is more important than ever to pay careful attention to our wellbeing and to do all that we can to keep our spirits up and our mood positive. Here are four winter adventures to enjoy.

Circular motion

For those who can't decide which beautiful historical house and grounds to visit, why not do two in one go? National Trust rangers have mapped out a circular walk of 8.5 miles that starts out at the 600-year old Ightham Mote in Ivy Hatch before passing along the picturesque Greensands Way and continuing on to Knole Park near Sevenoaks.

After tea and cake at Knole you can return to Ightham Mote via a different route that takes in the Duchess Walk, Godden Green

and Broadhoath Wood.

Find the map online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/winter-walks-in-kent.

Festive trekking

Sticking with Ightham Mote for our next suggestion, shake off any festive over indulgence the healthy way with one or both of the Brunch and Trek events taking place at the medieval manor house on Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Enjoy a full English breakfast in the café before an informal guided ramble around the Ightham Mote estate.

The simple focus on a healthy walk and good company will do wonders for your mental health as you move into the New Year.

Back in time

This winter, from 11 January to 23 February, Chartwell celebrates the artwork of Sir Winston Churchill on a trail of paintings located throughout the grounds.

Painting was an essential pastime for Churchill, who considered it to have a positive impact on his life. Some of his most striking works came from times of greatest pressure.

You can see examples of his canvases set against the views he painted. An empty frame invites visitors to 'frame the landscape' and to take photographs to share on social media or recreate back home just as Churchill did.

On Boxing Day, 27 December and New Year's Day, the on-site café will be serving seasonal breakfasts from 11am to 2pm.

Creative inspiration

Another great way to stay positive this month is to plan your New Year's Resolutions. Many of us vow to express ourselves through art, music, writing and more.

National Trust attractions in Kent have been home to artists and creative geniuses of all kinds, from the Victorian actress Ellen Terry at Smallhythe Place to Vita Sackville-West, the famous garden designer and author who lived at Sissinghurst Castle with her husband, fellow writer and garden enthusiast Harold Nicolson. A three-mile walking trail around the gardens and wider estate at Sissinghurst offers seasonal beauty and inspiration for winter ramblers keen to embrace their artistic side.

The self-guided route takes in easy terrain that passes through formal gardens, woodland, parkland and orchards.

You can download the map at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden/trails/sissinghurst-castle-estate-walk.

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