The covers that got away…

Choosing the spring cover was no easy task, especially with so many stunning images to choose from. Here are a few that made it onto our shortlist, and why we liked them…

A view in the Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Cranbrook, Kent

Sissinghurst Castle Garden ©NTPL/David Sellman

‘The sunlight falling on the red tulips, against the more muted blues and greys in the background, creates such a simple and striking effect.’ Debbie Schrieber (Acting Editor)

Latticed arched door leading to the Top or Upper Garden at Cotehele, near Saltash, Cornwall

Cotehele ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

‘The empty bench is so inviting! You can really imagine yourself there, enjoying the views of the garden.’ Helen Beer (Editorial Assistant)

View from the beech tree on the top path of the garden at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire

Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

‘Quarry Bank Mill is about more than our industrial heritage – it’s also full of colourful gardens and beautiful natural features, which this photograph shows perfectly.’ Debbie

View through an arched brickwork gate in the White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, near Cranbrook, Kent

Sissinghurst Castle Garden ©NTPL/Jonathan Buckley

‘There’s a lovely depth to this photo, with the brickwork gate providing just a glimpse of the White Garden beyond, and the magnolia in the foreground look almost close enough to touch.’ Helen

For more beautiful National Trust photography, check out

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‘Tis the season at Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey’s Garden and Countryside Manager, Simon Akeroyd, tells us why it’s the perfect place to visit this winter

Photography © James Day/National Trust


The views of Polesden Lacey’s 30 acre garden are breathtaking when the valley is covered with frost and glistens in the low winter sun. The trees, denuded of their foliage stand upright on the slopes, casting shadows and silhouettes onto the rolling hills.


The Winter Garden was designed by the famous plantsman and prolific garden writer Graham Stuart Thomas and it is believed that it is the only existing example designed by him. The jewel in Polesden’s crown, it was popular with royalty, celebrities and high society during the Edwardian period.


In February, Winter Aconites form a carpet of yellow under the canopy of three impressive Persian Ironwood trees (Parrotia persica). The air is heavily scented with the fragrance of Christmas Box (Sarcoccoca humilis) and Winter Sweet (Chimonanthus praecox) which jostle for position among rarer shrubs. The garden also features over 20 varieties of snowdrops.

See for the Trust’s top ten Winter Gardens. 

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Winter wonderland

Matthew Ward, Head Gardener at Prior Park, gives us his thoughts on why winter is so special there

Photography ©National Trust Images/Philip Pierce

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset, under a dusting of snow

Prior Park offers great views over Bath and in winter more can be seen, as the trees lose their leaves.

A woodland path at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset, under snow

We’ve had snow the past few years and it transforms the garden – the grass is carpeted in white and the evergreen trees stand out against the snow.

142946We always try to open at weekends when the snow is lying – as it’s the perfect time to enjoy a bracing walk. 

Look out for Prior Park in the Reader’s Snapshot page of our spring issue, out next month.

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Win a pack of National Trust Christmas cards

National Trust Magazine is delighted to offer three lucky followers the chance to win a pack of National Trust Christmas cards.

Christmas cards

Terms and conditions

Three answers to the question posted by @NTMagazine at 12 noon on 6 December will be selected by an independent person to win a pack of National Trust Christmas cards.  This prize draw is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man aged 18 years or over, excluding employees and their families of The National Trust, or anyone connected with this promotion.
Only one entry per household.
The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
The winner will be notified by Twitter direct message within 24 hours of the closing date and time, giving them an email address to respond to. If a winner does not respond via the email address specified setting out their contact details and address within 3 days, the Promoter has the right to pick another winner from all valid entries.

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Advice from a radio ‘virgin’

Editorial Assistant Helen Beer shares some insider’s tips on how to sound good on the radio…

‘Don’t worry Helen, I’ll make you sound good.’ Encouraging words from Nigel, our Studio Manager, after I failed (several times) to construct a sentence in my run through with our producer, less than 72 hours before the real thing.  It’s scary stuff, sitting surrounded by microphones in a fish tank style room, being watched – and more importantly, listened to –  by the editor, deputy editor, studio manager, producer and anyone else who happens to pop in to the ‘control room’. Luckily for me, these people kindly passed on their top tips. So, as I had a bit of a head-start, I thought it was only fair to share their advice with you…


  1. Don’t forget, you’re in control. Talk about what YOU want to talk about – lead it! Malcolm Billings, producer
  1. Remember what you found interesting about the story you’re telling, as this is what the audience will be most interested in. Don’t treat it as something formal, but as a chat in which you are trying to hold the other person’s attention – exactly as you do in real life! John Waite, presenter
  1. Don’t eat biscuits before you go on air – you’ll sound crunchy. And tempting though it may be, save the glass of wine for after. Nigel, our studio manager
  1. Write your opening sentence down as it’s often those first few words that are hardest to get out – once you’re going, you’ll find you relax. Debbie Schrieber: Deputy Editor, NT Magazine
  1. Smile whilst you’re talking. You might not feel like it, but when someone’s smiling you can hear it in their voice. Sue Herdman, Editor, NT Magazine

How did I do? Listen here and judge for yourself!

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Simply scones

In our autumn magazine we asked you to let us know your favourite type of scone. Here are our top five answers:


We recently had the pleasure of visiting Brownsea Island for their Sconefest, where we were able to sample many delicious homemade varieties (and purchase a few for our packed lunches the following day!)  Between us our favourites were:
Cherry & Coconut, Spring Onion & Goat’s Cheese, Cheese & Bacon and Carrot & Coriander. Simon, Dorchester

My favourite scone is the cheese scone.  First encountered at Mottisfont rather a long time ago!  Cheese scones, served with a small pot of cream cheese, and fruit chutney, the perfect lunch after a visit to the stunning rose gardens! I wonder if they still serve them? Laura, by email

I love sultana scones fresh from the oven. I recently had some at Fyne Court, delicious with a pot of green tea :0)
I made some myself for the first time and found that I needed a bigger cutter. So the second batch were bigger, definitely the bigger the better (more room for the jam & cream!) Lysa, by email

Add 1oz/30g finely chopped stem ginger to the traditional sweet scone recipe before adding the milk – definitely a favourite here. June, Newport

My favourite scone is the good old plain one – but made with buttermilk and served with real Cornish clotted cream and home-made strawberry jam. What a treat! Jane, by email
Other flavour suggestions we liked included blue cheese, apricot, apple, black olive and feta cheese, cheese and watercress and scones made with rosewater.

Top baking tips included using milk soured with raspberry vinegar, and dipping the tops of the scones in a little milk, before lightly dipping in brown sugar – yum!

For more scone recipes see

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Reader’s snapshot – the highlights so far

We met the Giltinan Allias family, our four millionth members, at Osterley Park.

Natasha and her friend Levi are transported to wonderland at Antony, one of the locations that Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was filmed.

Emma Woodhall wasn’t expecting to find this contemporary exhibition by Susie MacMurray, ‘Promenade’, when she visited Kedleston Hall in autumn 2010.

The Gould family take a break on the tree seat at Knightshayes Court in 1978 – which is still there today!

Lynn Mash captured this image of Orford Ness during one of the first National Trust photography classes to be held there.

Jan Bell’s Welsh Terrier, George, and his sister Tess, are well known faces at Attingham Park.

James Stove had a chilly day out in January at the Clent Hills, as he waited for the sun to go down to take this stunning shot.

Andre, Louis and Lilly Rhiann said that their visit to Bodnant Garden was ‘the best day ever!’

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