A couple chill out with a bracing stroll at Kew Gardens

Winter walks: a couple chill out with a bracing stroll at Kew
 Photo: Eden Breitz / Alamy

The adults are stuffed with stuffing, the children are jumped up on chocolate.
Getting out of the house is desirable – in some cases an urgent necessity –
in the aftermath of Christmas. Plenty of gardens offer a wealth of festive
activities, from night-time strolls to activity workshops and winter
planting advice.

See Kew by night

Kew Gardens is offering a daily “after dark” experience, from 5pm to 10pm,
until January 5. An illuminated trail through the arboretum highlights the
magic of the wintry landscape, with lights and displays. There is also a
boutique Christmas village, with stalls, music and rides, so you can have a
mulled wine while the children are entertained. Recommended by Telegraph
columnist Judith Woods. Royal
Botanic Gardens
, Kew, Surrey. Adults £15, children £10 (020 8332

Experience a magical garden

Many gardens are closed for New Year, but the lovely gardens at Dunham
, Cheshire, Britain’s largest winter garden, are open. Free
with garden entry, adults £8, children £4 (0161 941 1025).

Stretch your legs

At Gibside,
Tyne & Wear, there are many antidotes to Christmas schmaltz.. On New
Year’s Day, there’s a refreshing five-mile guided “Boundary Walk”,
exploring the park’s flora and fauna. On January 24 and 25, as part of the
RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch, there’s a “Feed the birds” weekend
where families can make tasty bird feeders and get up close and personal to
wild birds (01207 541820).

Take part in an ancient tradition

Fancy a spot of Wassailing? The team at Stowe
in Buckinghamshire will be holding a noisy procession to welcome in the New
Year, to encourage a good harvest. You can bring your own instruments, or
make some in a craft session from recycled materials. Adults £9.50, children
£4.95 (01280 817 156)

…and visit a garden for free

, near Wheatley in Oxfordshire, began as a teaching centre
and is now a visitor favourite. There are ornamental displays, plants for
sale, courses and teas. This January, the gardens are open free of charge –
take advantage for a New Year visit. Daily, 10am-5pm, from January 2 (01844

Melanie Hancill

Journalist at Mirror
Sugar-free, home & garden writer for the Mirror and Sunday People news outlets.