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New winter walks offer a seasonal treat at Burghley

Fancy discovering more about what historic house gardeners get up to during the winter months?

Then Lincolnshire’s Burghley House is the place to be in January and February 2020.

For the first time, the historic estate is staging winter walks with head gardener Joe Whitehead featuring a stroll around the normally closed family South Gardens - with its seasonal flower displays - as well as the dramatic Sculpture Garden and the whimsical Tudor Garden of Surprises.

The new winter guided walks will take place on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 January 2020 and Thursday 6 and Friday 7 February with online tickets priced at £12 each, but booking is essential as each tour will be limited to a maximum of 20 people. Separate dates for group bookings are also available, subject to availability.

Leading the special walking tours will be Burghley’s head gardener Joe Whitehead, who really has country house gardening in his blood. His grandfather and great grandfather were both head gardeners on large country estates, and after being under gardener at Burghley early in his career Joe went on to work at RHS Garden Wisley and Salle Park in Norfolk before returning to Burghley as head gardener in 2017. He is also a regular panelist on BBC Norfolk's Saturday gardening show and BBC Cambridge's Sunday Gardener's Question Time.

While Burghley’s parkland, designed by ’Capability’ Brown in the 18th century, is open all year and free (except on event days), providing walks and open-air fun all year round, the Gardens of Surprises and South Gardens are closed from the end of October until March.

The new winter walks offer a chance to see the gardens out of season, as well as a rare opportunity to stroll the private South Gardens, which normally only open for a limited time in the spring as part of the National Gardens Scheme. Offering seasonal displays, they give an injection of formality into ‘Capability’ Brown’s sweeping vistas.

Offering a different experience, discover contemporary sculpture in a historic setting in the Sculpture Garden, a mix of open space and trees with shrubs creating natural archways and ‘rooms’ containing discreetly hidden sculptures. Or turn the clock back to Tudor times in a whimsical garden with a difference at Burghley’s aptly named Garden of Surprises. Boasting 32 water features, this modern version of a Tudor-inspired ‘trick’ garden is based on an original design created by the 1st Lord Burghley back in the 16th century.