Enjoy January at Kent’s National Trust properties

Jumping in puddles never ceases to delight (photo: National Trust Images/Chris Lacey)

Jumping in puddles never ceases to delight (photo: National Trust Images/Chris Lacey) - Credit: ©National Trust Images/Chris Lac

This month, the National Trust is encouraging us all to embrace the wintery weather conditions and get out of doors, whatever the forecast may say

After the Christmas festivities are over, it’s time to look ahead to a new year. Yet while January offers the promise of hope, excitement and good times ahead, it also brings along the winter winds, seasonal rain and bouts of frost, ice and snow.

However, as Scotney Castle ranger Mark Musgrave says: “When brief days offer little in the way of energising light, it’s more important than ever for our mental and physical health to get outside and experience beautiful places on a rejuvenating walk.”

Raindrops keep falling...

The Norwegians have a saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.’ So as long as your coats are waterproof and your boots free from leaks, you can have fun outside even in the rain. Children know exactly what to do when they come across a puddle, and a hike in the rain can give everyone that invigorating, ‘I’m the king of the world!’ feeling of battling the elements. Not to mention the warmth of a hot cup of tea at a National Trust café afterwards.

Or put up your hood and head out for a potter around a beautiful garden as it is gently watered by the rain. Enjoy the enhanced colours of the wet pebbles and leaves around you, try to make out the reflections in the puddles and take in the ‘petrichor’ (that smell of the ground after rainfall). Great places to explore in the rain include Scotney Castle and Emmetts Garden.

A winter wonderland

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Imagine your favourite summertime walk without the humming of insects, the swish of your feet through grass or far-reaching views consisting purely of green. These exact same places can offer a totally new experience in winter. Skeletal trees look stunning against the backdrop of a dramatic winter sky, while lengthening shadows make the pathways look very different indeed. The Kentish coast can look especially beautiful at this time of year, with white cliffs set against grey skies and the frost glistening on the rocks below.

Snow business

Walking across snow-covered countryside is like nothing else on earth. Every sound is muffled, apart from your own footsteps.

If we do get any snow falling in Kent this winter, do let the children run wild with it, enjoying snowball fights and sledging, building a snowman or making a snow angel.

The wider estates of several local National Trust properties are open throughout winter, including Chartwell, Ightham Mote and Knole.

Children working through the National Trust’s challenge to complete ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ can tick off a few more items on their list in winter, including playing in the snow and running around in the rain.

Make the most of the post-Christmas holidays to get out and about before heading back to school this January.

Find out more

For further details of winter walks, events and property opening dates and times during January, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast.